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What does manifest destiny have to do with the American Revolution?

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maddieringewald | eNotes Newbie

Posted December 18, 2012 at 2:21 AM via iOS

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What does manifest destiny have to do with the American Revolution?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted December 18, 2012 at 2:31 AM (Answer #1)

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Manifest destiny had very little to do with the American Revolution.

The term “manifest destiny” was not used until the 1840s.  It referred to the idea that the American people were superior to other people in terms of their culture, their government, and their race.  This, they argued, gave them the God-given right to spread out over the continent, taking land from people like the Native Americans and the Mexicans.

This, clearly, had little to do with the American Revolution.  The colonists did believe they were superior to the Native Americans and they did believe they had the right to take the Indians’ land.  However, this did not really cause the Revolution.  The only real connection between the two is the Proclamation of 1763.  This was an order from the British crown prohibiting settlers from going out past the Appalachian Mountains.  This angered the settlers because, one can argue, it kept them from fulfilling their manifest destiny.  The Proclamation did anger the colonists, but it was a fairly minor part of what drove them to rebel.  Most of the factors that caused the Revolution had nothing to do with manifest destiny.

One could argue, however, that the Revolution helped lead to manifest destiny.  It gave the US a republican form of government that, it felt, was superior to all other forms.  In this way, the Revolution helped make America special and helped ensure that it had the manifest destiny to expand.

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