Manifest Destiny -- the Intangible of American History

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American history was built on a chronological record of significant events, each event having a cause and subsequent effect on another event. Historical events are presented in history as being tangible, being tied to a date, or an exact happening. Manifest Destiny on the other hand, is a phenomenon. It can not be tied to a date, event or even a specific period of time. Manifest Destiny existed and still exists as the philosophy that embraces American history as a whole. Manifest Destiny is an intangible ideology that created American history. In its simplest form, Manifest Destiny can be defined as, "A Movement." More specifically, it would be the systematic body of concepts and beliefs that powered American life and American culture. Coining the Phrase

In 1845, a democratic leader and influential editor by the name of John L. O'Sullivan gave the movement its name. In an attempt to explain America's thirst for expansion, and to present a defense for America's claim to new territories he wrote: ".... the right of our manifest destiny to over spread and to possess the whole of the continent which Providence has given us for the development of the great experiment of liberty and federaltive development of self government entrusted to us. It is right such as that of the tree to the space of air and the earth suitable for the full expansion of its principle and destiny of growth." (Brinkley 352) Manifest Destiny became the rallying cry throughout America. The notion of Manifest Destiny was publicized in the papers and was advertise and argued by politicians throughout the nation. The idea of Manifest Destiny Doctrine became the torch, that lit the way for American expansion. A Movement As Old As America Itself

Although the movement was named in 1845, the philosophy behind Manifest Destiny always existed throughout American History. For example, in 1818 Andrew Jackson, while taking a broad interpretation of vague instructions from President Monroe, led...
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