Manifest Destiny and Territorial Expansion DBQ: US Unification

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Document-Based Question 1 While Manifest Destiny and territorial expansion created conflict with foreign nations, including the Mexican-American War (1846-1848), and within the United States, it worked to unify the United States from 1830 to 1860 by strengthening the nation as a whole, creating economic opportunities for people from all different walks of life, and expanding the United States through the annexation of Texas and the acquisition of California from Mexico. The United States became further united due to the continuous desire and procurement of new territories. In President James Polk’s 1845 Inaugural Address, he shared his opinion of the “danger to [the nation’s] safety and future peace” if Texas remained an independent state. Polk’s point of view was that the annexation of Texas in 1845 was necessary in order to avoid a conflict with Mexico. However, the United States went to war with Mexico anyway over the California territory. Economic opportunities were created in California due to the gold rush, which brought many people from many different ethnicities. California became a “seat of wealth and power,” due to the California Gold Rush (1848-1855) and its acquisition from Mexico after the Mexican-America War, as foreshadowed by an anonymous writer of the 1846 article “California and the National Interest” in the Whig journal American Review. The author’s purpose was to highlight the territories of California, Oregon and Texas with the intention to promote Manifest Destiny and westward expansion in a published Whig journal. Whigs promoted rapid economic and industrial growth, including the expansion of territories through Manifest Destiny, by demanding government support for a more modern, market-oriented economy, suggesting high tariffs, and funding internal improvements. The term Manifest Destiny was coined by John O’Sullivan, the editor of the 1846 Democratic Review. He claimed in his article that California will “fall away from Mexico…and a

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