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“We Must Fulfill Our Destiny” Essay

1007 words - 5 pages

In year 1845, journalist John L. O’Sullivan used the phrase “manifest destiny” in an article to support the U.S. right to occupy new territories, saying: “[that claim is by the right of] our manifest destiny to overspread and to possess the whole of the continent which Providence has given us for the development of the great experiment of liberty and federated self-government entrusted to us” (Boyer 388). O’Sullivan proposed the idea that the expansion of the United States wouldn’t happen if it was not supposed to. The topic created a big controversy whether the Manifest Destiny confers the United States the destiny to expand or it is an excuse to take other people’s land (Allard par. 1).
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Polk, whose goal was to expand the U.S. territory (Allard par. 24). He believed he brings America’s triumphs of the industry, jurisdiction of laws, and benefits of republican institutions to new lands (Allard par. 24). With these declarations, he went to the war with British and Mexico. After wars, the United States “grew by more than one-third with the acquisition of the Oregon Territory, California, Texas and the New Mexico and Utah territories” (Allard par. 9).
Discussion over Manifest Destiny divided the nation to supporters and opponents. Supporters of Manifest Destiny “indicated that the U.S. should push westwards” (Allard par. 57). First of all, supporters defended their position asserting that, “as the chosen nation, the U.S. had an obligation to mankind to expand its reach and spread its culture, bringing God, technology and civilization to the west” (Allard par. 40). That was also the idea presented by O’Sullivan in his famous article. Moreover, they claimed “expansion benefited Indian people […] by spreading American democratic, cultural and religious values and institutions” (Allard par. 12). Other supporters of the Manifest Destiny presented the need for expansion, stressing that the big growth in population leads to the need “to expand to accommodate those people” (Allard par. 50). Some of the supporters saw a benefit in the expansion in securing the new nation. One of them, president Polk, who believed Texas could endanger the union, contributed: “None can fail to see the danger to our safety and future peace if Texas remains an independent state, or becomes an ally or dependency of some [more powerful] foreign nation” (Allard par. 51). Another benefit of Manifest Destiny was seen in that it helped to improve the development as it “inspired pioneers to transform plains and fertile valleys into farms and small towns, helping to build up the nation” (Allard par. 54).
On the other side, “opponents questioned both the idea of Manifest Destiny and its practical consequences” (Allard par. 69)....

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