How Did Manifest Destiny Manifest Itself?

Topics: Native Americans in the United States, United States, American Civil War Pages: 6 (1876 words) Published: November 22, 2012
How did Manifest Destiny manifest itself?

Manifest Destiny manifested itself in several ways during the period 1840-1896. Almost every major crisis or notable event was somehow related to manifest destiny. To understand the meaning of Manifest Destiny, we need to go back to its origins.

The term Manifest Destiny was first used by John O´Sullivan in July-August 1845, in the Democratic review; “our manifest destiny to overspread the continent allotted by Providence for the free development of our yearly multiplying millions” O´Sullivan said this while asking Congress for the annexation of Texas. The annexation followed quickly after but O´Sullivan´s use of sentence was barely noticed. Later in 1845, O´Sullivan reused the phrase but this time it created an extremely influential political idea.

The general idea of Sullivan´s phrase was that God gave the United States of America territory so that the American people could travel westwards and settle on land that was rightfully theirs. We can notice that Manifest Destiny is a racial doctrine and it put forward the white supremacy. Some people say, that the idea served as a justification for the expropriation of Native American lands. This theory cost the death of many Whites, Blacks and Native Americans. O´Sullivan created the perfect excuse for politicians like Polk, to push forward their plans of expansion in the West.

James Polk was the 11th President of the United States and was in charge during both of the annexation of Texas and the Mexican War. He is one of the only presidents that competed his agenda while he was in his office. He was the last president before the outbreak of the Civil War. He is mostly remembered for his foreign policy success.

The only reason Polk was not criticized a lot about the war was that he put forward Manifest Destiny. He stated that he was fighting for the Americans so that they could move westwards into new land. While the Mexican war was going on, Polk managed to increase the size of Texas, gain new territories of California, Nevada and Utah. This war of two years resulted in the treaty of Guadeloupe.

According to different Sources, the treaty of Guadeloupe gave the USA an area of land from 900,000 square miles. Because of all this new and unpopulated land, the American government was keen on populating these areas to get for example more export availabilities. This caused a lot of Americans to move west because it was a new opportunity for them. From 1940 to 1962, four new laws were put through which encouraged people to move westwards.

The Religion of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, more commonly known as the Mormons was another cause why the western borders were shaped by Manifest Destiny. The Mormons claimed that people from Jerusalem were helped by god to get to the western hemisphere 600 years before Jesus Christ was born. According to Smith, the western land was rightfully the property of the Mormons and therefore resembles with the doctrine of Manifest Destiny.

Smith died before being able to bring his people west. The LDS were persecuted so much because of their beliefs in Ohio and Illinois, that when Brigham Young took over, he started going westwards. The plan was to escape was to create a religious state in Utah. On the way to the West, they were attacked by both Native Americans and other Whites (mostly Mormons). When they arrived, Young founded Salt Lake City and became governor of Utah. It was in Utah, where the Mormons fought bitterly against other religious movements because of their previous hounding.

The Oregon Boundary Dispute was another incident that was the cause of manifest destiny. It had been a problem since 1818 when the USA and Britain claimed that the Oregon territory was their own. To avoid war, the two countries occupied the territory and waited for a permanent solution instead.

In 1844, there was another presidential election and Polk was a candidate. He...
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