One of the most important ideas to shape American history was that of Manifest Destiny, a term coined by politicians to reflect the idea that it was destined that the United States would encompass all of the land from the Atlantic to the Pacific Oceans. This philosophy would help to shape the American landscape as well as American culture and politics. The expansion of the United States into the Western territories would become Manifest Destiny’s most obvious sign of success. The United States does, today, expand from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean and therefore this idea had a great impact on our history.
Manifest Destiny was first used by Jacksonian Democrats in the mid-1800’s. During this period, it became important for the politicians of the day to support the expansion of the United States beyond it’s current borders during that time. Western expansion meant many things: homesteading and settlement of the prairie and the west, the cessation of lands that once belonged to Mexico, and the subduing of the Native peoples of the west. The cause of the idea of Manifest Destiny was the fact that politicians were in need of a reason or validation for their expansion into the west. The urban areas of the East were becoming crowded and many people were anxious to set off to settle a territory that was untamed. With the advent of the Manifest Destiny idea, the United States was validating it’s choice of moving civilization from one ocean to the other. This also meant they could validate their reasons for killing and subduing the people that were already living in these areas, like the Mexicans or the Native Americans.
The effects of Manifest Destiny are felt even today in the geographic makeup of the United States. Without Manifest Destiny there would never have been the current United States, but there also would never have been the domination of the United States government over the Native Americans and Mexicans, all for the love of a certain ideal of Manifest Destiny.
“Manifest Destiny Overview.” U.S.-Mexican War. PBS. 10 Mar. 2007 <http://www.pbs.org/kera/usmexicanwar/prelude/manifest_destiny_overview.html>.