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Manifest Destiny Essay

Manifest Destiny was a term created in 1845 by John L. O’Sullivan in a magazine article. It states that America was destined by God to move west and spread the Country from coast to coast. However, Manifest Destiny affected Native Americans lives in many ways; it moved their home, changed their way of life, and hurt their culture. Native Americans were forced onto Reservations on the West-Side of the Mississippi River. “A long time ago this land belonged to our fathers; but when I go up to the river I see camps of soldiers here on its bank.

These soldiers cut down my timber; they kill my buffalo; and when I see that, my heart feels like bursting; I feel sorry. ”(Santana, Chief of the Kiowas, 1867) This was a drastic change to the Native Americans because they were used to living in the environment prior to having other people move in. On the reservation, they were not able to hunt buffalo or able to roam around as they did before. Now that they lived on the reservation they also lost their spiritual ties to the land.

And when they were moved on to the Reservations, their whole life changed. The way the Native Americans used to live also changed when they were moved, they had to completely start life over and try to rebuild their nation. “In 1889, only 1,091 buffalos were left in North America. The rapid decrease in buffalo started in the 1870’s, and it was because of white hunters who moved west, railroads being built, and the introduction of European livestock diseases. Buffalo population graph from National Geographic, November 1994) This was a big change for Plains Indians, who used buffalos for many products and food, because there wasn’t enough Buffalo for them to hunt. Also with the decrease of buffalo the Indians had to change what they used to survive. And when their lives changed, it hurt their culture. Their culture also was hurt drastically because they had to be able to modernize and forget their old way of life to adapt to their new home and environment.

The Indians here I find are not very unlike white people. ”(Document B) The Indians were willing to work for what they have, and also learned trades to help them to do business with the whites. They tended to be able to learn trades easily, which caused a rapid advancement in mechanism. This in return began to modernize them, which started to corrode their culture and their language. Also their new environment affected their culture because they had to change things they did when performing rituals.

The Native Americans homes were moved, their life was changed, and their culture was hurt by Manifest Destiny; which swept through America in the 1800s. All of these were just a few key points where Manifest Destiny affected Native Americans negatively. Today, Indians are still like this; they are still on the Reservations they were given back in the 1800s, which means their land that was once theirs was never returned to them; their living in poverty because they grew up with the bare minimum; and their culture is fading, since they speak english to fit in with the rest of the United States.


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