In the United States in the 1800’s Manifest Destiny was a widely held belief that America was destined to expand across the continent. Altogether Manifest Destiny was great for Americans and the future of the country. There are three basic themes to Manifest Destiny. The want and desire to expand westward. America wanted to expand themselves and become more of an agrarian society. It was an irresistible destiny that had to be accomplished.
Manifest destiny not only led America into expanding into one of the largest countries in the world, but also contributed to America becoming the most powerful nation in the world in a short time. If Mexico still had the land that they owned before the Mexican-American war, maybe Mexico would be one of the more powerful countries in the world (Document B). For the Native Americans however; I believe they were bound to lose their land eventually. By maintaining a hunter-gatherer life style and not keeping up with modern technologies (Document F) they had little power or influence. Even if manifest destiny did not happen, Native Americans were going to lose their land one way or another. This is not to say that the trail of tears was by any means a good thing.
The religious fervor spawned by the Second Great Awakening created another incentive for the drive west. Indeed, many settlers believed that God himself blessed the growth of the American nation. The Native Americans were considered heathens. By Christianizing the tribes, American missionaries believed they could save souls and they became among the first to cross the Mississippi River.
The southern boundary of the United States with Mexico was not the only western territory under dispute. The Oregon territory spanned the modern states of Oregon, Idaho, and Washington, as well as the western coast of Canada up to the border of Alaska. Both Great Britain and America claimed the territory. The Treaty of 1818 called for joint occupation of Oregon — a solution that was only temporary. Led by missionaries, American settlers began to outnumber British settlers by the late 1830’s. But Britain was not Mexico. Its powerful navy was still the largest in the world. Twice before had Americans had fought against their former colonizers with major destruction to each side. Cautiousness would ensure a negotiated settlement, but the spirit of manifest destiny dominated the American thought. Then another ,battle ended up happening. Oregon fever swept the nation in the 1840’s. Thousands of settlers, lured by the lush Willamette Valley and the gold in California, headed west on the Oregon Trail (Document I).
Expanding the land westward was also a great opportunity to learn and absorb new and innovative ideas that the Native Americans had. America learned new ways to plant crops and also new crops to plant and how to plant them. They would also get and trade some of their resources for the resources of the Native Americans. They would receive Buffalo for food and clothing and many other uses for them and their other products(Document G & H).
Overall, manifest destiny was a great thing for the United States of America giving it more resources, land, power, and influence.
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