Manifest Destiny: Term Or Reality Essay

1369 words - 5 pages

The three authors that describe Manifest destiny have very different beliefs but all use one person with vastly different views on Manifest Destiny and his beliefs on the term. The person that first used the term in any form of writing was John O’ Sullivan and is accredited with coining the phrase but much of this time had this strong belief in expanding the territory and states of the United States. Their views on this term were different because some believed that the United States should expand from the Pacific to the Atlantic or the whole North American continent or the whole hemisphere. The common thing that they all believed in was the annexation of Texas into the Union and was the major driving point behind the term and movement.
As Stephanson puts it the major driving force behind expansionism and the politics behind it were driven behind the media and the press. O’ Sullivan especially followed the ideology of Jackson democracy and wanted territorial expansion and the integration of the territories eventually into the Union over time. They believed that God and Christianity were behind them to expand the United States to the vast territories in the continent. As Stephanson explains it O’ Sullivan was even willing to wait many years for these territories such as Mexico and other nearby nations to join the Union which he believed naturally belonged to the United States because of their connection with various rivers and oceans.
In Stephanson’s writing you get the idea that manifest destiny was a short term manifestation of a long term ideology and a temporary messianic impulse. As he mentions that the term was around before it was used heavily in the 1840’s to explain the reason behind the United States need for expansion. He also discussed how they strongly believed a higher power was demanding and calling for this growing expansion. They explained they were following some political beliefs of some former presidencies like Jackson and his need for expansion and his belief that God was in full support of their cause and efforts to do these tasks. “In short, Christianity, democracy and Jackson’s America were essentially one and the same thing, the highest stage of history, God’s plan incarnate” (Stephanson 208). It was also mentioned about the filibusters in Cuba that were supported by various expansionists to gain this valuable territory for its resources and roles in future efforts in the area.
The next author, Hietala, I think used a combination of a short-term manifestation of a long-term ideology, a temporary messianic impulse, and a cynical political plan because it showed that it stretched through various levels of politics and various presidencies. It also depended on their policies in order to be implemented fully into the United States diplomacy and to be carried out fully throughout the years. He really does mention Jackson democracy and O’ Sullivan and their views he beliefs that the term doesn’t accurately portray the role...

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