Western Expansion, Manifest Destiny, and the Mexican-American War

Start Your Free Trial

How did the belief in “Manifest Destiny” come to divide the nation?

Expert Answers info

Michael Koren eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2015

write2,982 answers

starTop subjects are History, Law and Politics, and Social Sciences

Manifest Destiny was an idea that the United States should control the land from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean. This concept also implied that the American way of life was a better way of living. However, the concept of Manifest Destiny divided the nation.

As the country expanded westward by annexing Texas, gaining the Mexican Cession, and dividing the Oregon Territory with Great Britain, the debate regarding slavery intensified. Southerners wanted as much land as possible to have slavery. Northern abolitionists didn’t want slavery to spread. Thus, there was a great deal of discussion whether new territories should or should not have slavery. The Compromise of 1850 allowed California to enter the Union as a free state. However, it led to the passage of the Fugitive Slave Act. Northerners didn’t like having to help capture runaway slaves and return them to the South. The Kansas-Nebraska Act in 1854 allowed people to decide the issue of slavery in the Kansas and Nebraska...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 767 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now


check Approved by eNotes Editorial

D. Reynolds eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2016

write9,151 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

pohnpei397 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2009

write35,413 answers

starTop subjects are History, Literature, and Social Sciences

check Approved by eNotes Editorial