Manifest Destiny: Supporting Territorial Enlarment In The 1840s And 1850s

1699 words - 7 pages

Manifest Destiny was a doctrine used to support U.S. territorial enlargement in the 1840s and 1850s. It emphasized that expansion of the United States throughout the American continents was both justified and unavoidable. The phrase was created by the U.S. journalist John L. O'Sullivan, and was originally used to regard the Mexican and Indian land in Texas and the Southwest. He said, "The fulfillment of our Manifest Destiny to overspread the continent allotted by Providence for the free development of our yearly multiplying millions." (Sullivan as qtd in Carnes and Garraty, 300). The concept was raised later in an argument with Great Britain over Oregon and in relation to terrain controlled ...view middle of the document...

By the end of the 19th century, this belief was used to support expansion in the Caribbean and the Pacific. Not everyone agreed with this though. The Whig Party resisted expansion, believing that the republican experiment in the United States would fail if the nation grew too large. Politicians from the Northeast felt they would lose political power in Congress if the United States welcomed more states into the union. Attempts to expand further into Mexico were defeated by racism toward Mexicans. The abolitionists also opposed expansion, particularly if it would bring slave territories into the union.
The Monroe Doctrine was another factor that set the United States mind frame towards a "manifest destiny." Monroe basically claimed in his speech that the United States would no longer get into affairs of England or any other country for that matter. He also expected England to stay out of our business as well, hoping that other countries would follow our example. Monroe said, "It is still the true policy of the United States to leave the parties to themselves, in the hope that other powers will pursue the same course." (as qtd in Independence Hall Association, 1 ). This led to American mindset that our country was destined to be great because they finally warned England got them “off their backs.”
Texas also had a big role in the belief of Manifest Destiny. According to President Polk in his inauguration, the annexation of Texas was supposed to be a peaceful acquisition of a territory that the United States actually used to own. President Polk tried to persuade Americans and everyone else in his speech that if we added Texas to the confederation, with the consent of Texas, it would take away the chances of war while also opening up the markets for their products. Polk stated that, "The world beholds the peaceful triumphs of the industry of our emigrants. To us belongs the duty of protecting them adequately wherever they may be upon our soil. The jurisdiction of our laws and the benefits of our republican institutions should be extended over them in the distant regions which they have selected for their homes." (Polk as qtd in his inaugural address). This also led Americans to have that sense of Manifest Destiny. Americans believed that it was their right and their duty to spread across North America because it was "rightufully" theirs.
Between the Elections of 1800 through the Compromise of 1850, Westward expansion was high and much debated. Friction between the North and the South began to rise as the subject of slavery was asked as more people settled into the West. With new land, new people, and innovative ideas floating around, the North and South were bound to break apart even further. First, Thomas Jefferson bought the Louisiana Purchase in 1803 for $15 million. (Cited in Carnes and Garraty). This not only led to political separation between the North and the South, but also led to the big question of slavery, which is one of the main...

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