Explain the historical significance of manifest destiny?

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mkoren eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Manifest Destiny had an important impact on history. The concept of Manifest Destiny, at first, meant we should expand from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean. As a result of this policy, we began to expand our control over the land that is now part of our country. We eventually got control of the Pacific Northwest by agreeing to split the Oregon Territory with Great Britain. We got the southwestern part of the United States by going to war with Mexico in the Mexican-American War. This land was part of the Mexican Cession. We also took land from the Native Americans by forcing them to move to the land west of the Mississippi River. Thus, expansion across what is now the United States impacted Mexico, the Native Americans, and the British.

In the late 1800s, we began to believe we should take the concept of Manifest Destiny worldwide. We believed we should spread our way of life worldwide by gaining control of colonies. Since there wasn’t much land left to colonize, we were most likely going to have to go to war to gain control of these lands. This led us into a conflict with Spain. We were concerned about the Spanish treatment of the Cubans. When newspapers exaggerated this poor treatment, American public opinion turned against Spain. When the U.S.S. Maine exploded in Havana harbor, we blamed Spain. The pressure increased to declare war on Spain, which occurred in 1898. As a result of the Spanish-American War, we were able to spread our control around the world. We got control of Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines.

Manifest Destiny had an important historical impact at home and abroad.

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