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Manifest Destiny: Was It Really Imperialism?

813 words - 3 pages

Imperialism is, by definition, the extension of rule or influence by one government, nation or society over another; manifest destiny is the belief held by many Americans in the 1840s that the United States was "destined" to expand across the continent. This belief of "destined expansion" was nothing new to America's leaders for their vision of the United States when they first established it was that of a nation that stretched from the Atlantic to the Pacific. The American people themselves had underlying reasons for their imperialistic actions as well, mostly economic and political. During the conquest of manifest destiny the US acquired Texas, Oregon and California. Americans tooled over the West like an aggressive imperialistic empire reaching over unclaimed lands full of Native Americans and Mexicans in order to accomplish their political and economic destiny.Stimulated by the American Revolution, Americans felt the need to expand its territories. In February of 1821, Congress ratified the Transcontinental Treaty, which completely excluded Texas from American territory. American's feelings towards Texas quickly changed when they realized that cotton flourished on the Texas plains. The South quickly took interest in the land. Mexican authorities even offered free land to groups of settlers following the treaty and by 1830 there were 20,000 white Americans and 2,000 slaves living in Texas. In 1836 Texas declared their independence from Mexico and ten years later was annexed into the US. The annexation of Texas had been a controversy for years because of the slavery issue. Slavery was another issue that further fueled expansionism, as the North and South each wanted the nation to admit new states that supported its section's economic, political, and slave policies. The United States had no reason to annex Texas other than the fact that they wanted the fertile land and more votes in Congress. They hid behind the idea of "Manifest Destiny" but the truth is that each section wanted the land for its own purposes. We even fought a war of it. The unnecessary annexation of Texas is a perfect example of imperialism in the United States.The expansion campaign in America during the 19th century stretched all the way west to Oregon. Oregon was a territory that was shared with the British under the Treaty of 1818. Americans pressured the British to give up their claim to Oregon territory. This...

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