Manifest Destiny and the American Frontier

Categories: Manifest Destiny

The manifest of destiny was a term that was coined in the mid-18th century by a journalist called John L. O'Sullivan, where he urged his fellow Americans to uphold their Divine Providence and undertake the mission to conquer the entire country. Furthermore, the American frontier refers to continuously advancing western border in North America. This essay will examine and interpret these two terms.

Religion and colonization also played a massive role in North America, in the 17th century. The Americans believed in the separation of church and state, freedom of speech and freedom of religion.

However, the pressures of fundamentalism, institutionalization, and traditionalism fuelled their lust for wealth and power and were used as a justification for murder and land possession.

The task of conquering North America was not an easy one as it spanned a total area of 24,709,000 square kilometres it was occupied by Spain, France, and the indigenous Native Americans. This conquest can be separated into numerous frontiers.

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The first frontier started when the settlers on the Atlantic coast started looking West. They dreamed of exploring the lands, expanding their colonies and further escaping the influences of England. After the war of independence, the Americans expanded quickly setting up settlements as they please. Despite partially coexisting with the Native Americans, this new expansion was starting to affect the Native Americans and war followed. It was that Battle of fallen timbers that led to the Americans gaining the Northwest territory. This first real advancement proved to be an ironic one as these new settlements quickly differed in opinion over slavery, taxes, and religion.

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By 1800 Kentucky, Pennsylvania and Tennessee had been added as territories and in 1803 the "Louisiana Purchase" in which the American purchased Louisiana from France. Shortly thereafter, Britain being highly dissatisfied with the Americans for trading with their enemies the "war of 1812" broke out as the Americans refused to stop their trade with the French. Simultaneously, before the "war of 1812" had ended the "Battle of Moraviantown" (1813) broke out which was against the British and the Native Americans. Having been greatly outnumbered, the Americans won the war driving the Native Americans out of Ohio and further increasing their territory taking the rest of Ohio and Ontario in Canada.

The third and final frontier managed to claim the rest of North America and lasted from 1840 until 1890. This new frontier lead to an entirely different aspect of North America as it was not the same agricultural ripe land as the East, instead, the land was dry, treeless and rainless and had rocky mountains. This land was commonly referred to as the "Wild West". There was plenty of mining opportunity and the many bison lead to the development of the tapping industry. However, this land was much more difficult to cultivate and utilize so focus was initially shifted back inland until the necessary resources were gathered so that railroads and mines could be built, as well as labour forces assembled.

The Americans started as British outcasts and ended up conquering what is one of the vastest countries in the world. The Americans have proved to be a strong and hard-working force, regardless of whatever difficulties came they fought for what they wanted, however poorly justified their motivation for colonization may have been.

Updated: Feb 25, 2024
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Manifest Destiny and the American Frontier. (2024, Feb 25). Retrieved from

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