During the 19th century some Americans had a dream that they felt was delivered from God. They dreamed of their homeland stretching from coast to coast, Atlantic to the Pacific. The goal wasn’t that far away, they were long on their way to reaching it. Morally, these Americans believed that it was their own responsibility to grow the nation. This was soon to be known as the Manifest Destiny. John O’Sullivan was the first to use this term. He first used this term in an article called “Annexation”, which appeared in the July-August edition of the Democratic Review. It didn’t receive a lot of attention then. He used the term for the second time in an article for the New York Morning News in December 1845. This time it created a buzz and Democrats embraced the term.
The United States had a dispute with Great Britain over the Oregon Boundary because of the progression of the Manifest Destiny. The Convention of 1818 provided a proposal to Britain for joint occupation of the Oregon country. During the 1840’s, thousands of Americans migrated to this territory on the brutal Oregon Trail. British government rejected the idea to divide the region along the 49th parallel. With a counter offer, the boundary line would be moved farther south along the Colombian river. Democrats suggested annexing Oregon with the election in 1844. However, the dispute was resolved by the Treaty of Oregon in 1846. Oregon was now a part of the United States.
The expansion of Texas was a crucial part of the Manifest Destiny. Americans settlers were living in Texas and built plantations and farms. Settlers, led by Stephen F. Austin, asked to be granted independence from the Mexican nation. Once Mexico refused, war broke out and this led to Santa Anna’s famous attack on the Alamo. After losing many men, Texas declared its own independence once. They elected Sam Houston as its first president. In 1845, the United States annexed Texas as the 28th state to join the nation.
Difficult tensions were rising between America and Mexico. President Polk had decided to send U.S troops across the Rio Grande River. When Mexico unexpectedly attacked the U.S troops, Congress declared war. As a result, the American troops easily demolished the weak Mexican army. The treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo ended the war, and the U.S. gained the Mexican session. This was a huge accomplishment for the nation, this large piece of land was finally apart of the United States.
With expanding westward, came many problems. The main issue would be the extension of slavery into the newly added territories. It was North vs. South, along with various other controversies. The Democrats loved Manifest Destiny and the Whigs didn’t like it. The Missouri Compromise pleased both sides of the nation temporarily.
In conclusion, the United States successfully expanded the nation from sea to shining sea. In simplest terms, manifest destiny was the doctrine or a strong belief that the expansion of the U.S was their responsibility to civilize the beautiful land God had blessed them with. The Manifest Destiny still has an effect on American politics today.
Courtney from Study Moose
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