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The Idea of a Manifest Us Destiny

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The original idea to keep expanding one’s land goes back hundreds of years. It is in the human drive to want to explore and reach out and see what more the world has to offer. When the colonist landed in North America and created the colonies, their main mission was to explore the land and see what resources were available that they had not discovered yet. In 1776 when the United States of America became an official country on its own, it continued to want to expand. Then in the nineteenth century, “John O’Sullivan declare it was the Manifest Destiny for Americans to expand westward to the Pacific Ocean, the idea that god had given the continent to the Americans and wanted them to settle in the western land.” The idea of manifest destiny inspired the need to move west but also issued the desire in some to expand south creating tensions with other countries. In this essay I will explain how the idea of manifest destiny both helped and hindered The United States of America.

With the population growth in America, more people wanted to move west with the newest additions of the Northwest Territory and the Louisiana Territory. This expansion resulted in the increase of farmland and crop production as well as more laborers and farmers from the continuous influx of immigrants from Europe. Cities grew, new canals and ships were built, and roads and railroads began to open up the interior of the United States with so much new settlement. The westward frontier offered the notion of upward mobility and independence for all. At the time, slavery was still prominent in the southern states and with the Missouri Compromise in 1820, allowing Missouri in as a slave state and Maine as a free state, the compromise stated that slavery would be prohibited beyond the northern border of Missouri.

Thousands of Americans began settling in the Oregon Territory, which belonged to Great Britain at the time, and to the Mexican territories of California, New Mexico, and Texas. In 1837, Texas gained independence from Mexico and was annexed into the United States as a Slave state. This increased tensions in the Americans who opposed slavery and did not want any more states to be allowed to have slaves. But in the same year of 1846, negotiations were made with Great Britain allowing Oregon to join as a free state to balance it out. The same month though, President Polk had declared official war with Mexico, prompting the Mexican- American war which lasted two years and, in the end, allowed the U.S. to gain California, Nevada, Utah, and Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and part of Wyoming.

Although the belief of manifest destiny allowed for the United States to gain many new territories, it also caused the practice of filibustering with the consent of the American government. This idea caused Americans to act against the Neutrality act of 1818, which protected nations that were at peace from attacks from the U.S. These filibusters sought out to attack and conquer foreign lands mainly in Mexican Territory. Others were southern who wanted to expand slavery to the territories that they seized.

In conclusion, the idea of manifest destiny did help America in expanding out west and further creating and building civilizations and land that more people could occupy, in turn growing the United States as a resourceful country. Although it did cause America to have tensions with other countries and issued a war with Mexico, in the end it allowed for us to gain many of the states that are a part of the Unites States today.

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