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

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Explain how manifest destiny is important to westward expansion.

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Manifest Destiny is a nineteenth-century doctrine that rationalizes the expansion of the United States' borders and is the primary reason behind the country's westward expansion. Proponents of the ideology concluded that Americans were destined to expand the country from "sea to shining sea" through developing western territories.

Due to the Second Great Awakening, a Protestant religious revival, many Americans held a feverish belief that it was God's will they move west and bring his word to nonbelievers. Not all settlers heading west were in it for the divine mission, however. The expansion was profitable for many businesses. As families and individuals went westward, they needed supplies, churches, and other services.

The Manifest Destiny doctrine helped expand America's borders to the Pacific Coast. In 1848, the discovery of gold in California would help reinforce the country's belief in the ideology.

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Manifest destiny was important as one of the causes behind westward expansion.  Manifest destiny was the idea that the United States was destined by God to expand out across the North American continent.  The idea was that the US had a system of government, a society, and a religion that was superior to that of the Indians and the Mexicans.  Therefore, the US deserved to have the land more than those groups did.  The US was sure (people thought) to make better use of the land and to use it to improve the world as a whole.  This idea helped to motivate westward expansion.

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