Expansion and the inevitable conflict in the U.S.
4. Discuss the concept and meaning of Manifest Destiny. What were the main factors driving continental expansion in the move west?
In the years after America won the revolutionary war, the people had to decide what to do with it. They had formed a government, and dealt with the many problems that came along with that. However, there was one fact that they still hadn’t necessarily reckoned with; they were still a very small nation. Not only that, but in 1803 Jefferson had a very important opportunity - the chance to buy the Louisiana territory from France. After that, Jefferson was anxious to learn all about this new land. In order to do that, he sent out Lewis and Clark on their famous expedition. However, while most people believed he had only sent them out to explore the land that he had bought, Jefferson actually told them to go even farther than the edge of the land. In truth, Jefferson had instructed them to keep going past that border - all the way to the pacific ocean.This proved to be a definite statement made by Jefferson saying that he fully intended to keep expanding, regardless of the fact that the other lands west were already occupied by other nations.
The people expanding the US had many ways they justified this, the main one being a term coined by John L. O’Sullivan in 1845 known as “manifest destiny”. This was the belief that America was destined to reach from coast to coast. O’Sullivan had used this term to promote expansion to the west, telling people that if they go anywhere they should go west. People said that not only could they expand, but they were chosen by God to do it. In your lecture you discussed the term “young America” Which meant that in all...
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... once the Southern states considered seceding to be an option, their minds were already set. There was no way they could be convinced otherwise. However, had actions been made sooner, like not putting off the discussion for so long, as I discussed earlier, perhaps they might have kept the states from leaving.
In all the events leading up to the Civil war, many could’ve been avoided. However, it isn’t definite that any of them could’ve actually prevented the civil war. No one knows exactly how any event will play out, and therefore it is impossible to say whether or not the Civil War could have been avoided. All we can do is be thankful for the outcome, as if it hadn’t happened society would be very different than it is today. In conclusion, perhaps the civil war could have been prevented, but to say that for certain any one event could prevent it is irresponsible.
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