How did the idea of Manifest Destiny influence America's western migration?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The idea of Manifest Destiny influenced the America’s westward migration because it made that migration more likely.  It made America more likely to expand territorially.

The idea of Manifest Destiny held that Americans were superior to most other people in a number of ways.  They were said to have a superior form of government, a superior culture, and a superior religion.  For these reasons, it was said, they were destined by God to expand their territory. 

This attitude led to the westward migration.  First, it helped lead to the expansion of US territory.  It helped lead to the Mexican-American War because it promoted the attitude that America deserved all of that land more than the Mexicans did.  America’s God-given destiny made it acceptable to take the land from Mexico.  The same attitude applied to the Indians as American settlers moved west.  The idea was that the Indians were so inferior that they did not deserve the use of the land.  They were to be moved and the land was to go to the Americans who deserved it and would use it well.

In these ways, the idea of Manifest Destiny helped to cause the western expansion of the United States.

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mkoren | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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Manifest Destiny was a concept that impacted our western expansion. The idea behind Manifest Destiny was that it was our duty or destiny to expand from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean.

This concept suggested that our way of doing things was superior to those of other groups. It implied it was G-d’s will for the American people to settle and to develop the land. We viewed the Native Americans as a group of people who were holding back progress. They needed to be relocated so we could expand. We viewed the Mexican control of the southwestern part of the United States as an impediment to progress. Thus, we went to war with Mexico so we could control this land and develop it. As we controlled more land, we spread our ways of living, which we believed were superior to other group’s ways of living.

The idea that we were the ones that should develop the land and spread our way of life helped to encourage people to move to the West so we could settle there and develop the region.

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