What groups did Manifest Destiny affect?

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saintfester | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

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Manifest Destiny affected the lives of many different groups within the U.S.

Lower and middle class farmers were affected by the large tracts of land opened by territorial acquisitions and conquests. As the U.S. expanded its reach west, new lands were opened up for settlement. Farmers, shopkeepers, trappers and many other groups began settling in these lands, starting new lives and expanding the U.S. economy.

Other countries were affected by Manifest Destiny as well. Great Britain, France, Mexico, Russia and a number of other nations all saw their borders change or their overseas colonies shrink and grow thanks to American expansionism. Sometimes it was mutually beneficial, such as in the case of France and the Louisiana Purchase. Sometimes it wasn’t, such as in the cases of Spain’s loss of Florida or Mexico’s loss of its northern provinces.

The group most affected however were Native Americans. As settlers moved west, natives were pushed off their tribal lands or forced into losing battles with the American military. Sometimes they were pushed on to reservations, like in the case of the Navajo or Sioux. In other cases they were totally wiped out, like the Modoc of northern California. Diseases, Christian missionaries and alcohol also played a role in the destruction of the native way of life.

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