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

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Does the belief in Manifest Destiny still exist in the minds of Americans today? Explain.

The idea of Manifest Destiny, a term coined by President James Polk in 1845, first began when the Puritans left England to seek religious freedom and construct their “city upon a hill.” These pioneers started the uniquely American belief that this land was a pristine and untouched canvas—perfect for Americans to carve and shape. America continues to believe in Manifest Destiny as is evidenced by our national mission, government structure, and focus on American security.

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Manifest Destiny, as a feeling of divine obligation to spread from “sea to shining sea”, built slowly over our history. Each generation demanded more and more territory. America purchased the Louisiana Territory from Napoleon in 1904, making it the largest land purchase between two countries in the world’s history. From there, America gained more land from England and purchased or annexed land from Mexico. In the Gadsden Purchase of 1854, the United States paid $10 million for a 29,670 square mile portion of Mexico that would become the states of Arizona and New Mexico. Along the way, America’s government made it clear that Native Peoples’s sovereignty was less important than the dominant group’s own “American Dream” and nationalist expansion.

Although we may think that Americans no longer adhere to this antiquated notion, it is clear that we still hold onto this historic sentiment in our national mission, government structure, and focus on American security. America’s...

(The entire section contains 4 answers and 1058 words.)

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