Manifest Destiny

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The belief in Manifest Destiny, America’s right to expand westward, was popular among the Democratic Party, which paved the path for conflict in U.S. politics. In the 1840’s, Manifest Destiny was used as justification for the annexation of Texas, the war with Mexico, and to acquire portions of Oregon from the British.

The debate over whether America really had a manifest destiny to expand all the way west or if it was used as an excuse to acquire more land led to debates in U.S. politics. Advocates of manifest destiny, mostly democratic, argued that the U.S., as a more advanced culture, had a God-given right to expand its borders. They believed the expansion would civilize the West and America’s democratic, cultural, and religious values would benefit the Native Americans. In addition, supporters would argue that the belief would strengthen the union, making it invulnerable. On the opposing side, consisting mostly of the Whig party, the God-given right to expand all the way westward at the price and rights of thousands of innocent natives was blasphemy. The Whig party was not manifest destinies only critic, abolitionist, fearful of slavery spreading, argued that the constitution did not give the country the right to gain new land and the country’s vital institutions would suffer as America was spread too thin.

Texas’ sought to join America as a new state, after it gained independence from Mexico and had a revolution. The process of expansion in which newly democratic and free states would seek entry into the United States, rather than the U.S. extending its government over unwanting people was ideal. The Democratic Party was threatened to fall apart if Texas entered the Union, as it would become another slave state and this forced both Presidents Jackson and Van Buren to decline Texas’ plea. During the election of 1844, both Henry Clay of the Whig Party and Van Buren of the Democratic Party were against the annexation of Texas, this displeased the...
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