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

Start Free Trial

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

The idea of Manifest Destiny influenced America's western migration by promoting it and causing it to occur quickly. Manifest Destiny was the ideology that God had given Americans the land all the way to the Pacific Ocean and that it was their right and duty to settle in it. This led to a great number of Native Americans being driven out of their lands or killed.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Manifest Destiny was the prevailing belief that claim to the North American continent (to an extent) was essentially the god-given right of the current Americans living in the eastern states under the federal government. Essentially, they believed that expansion throughout what is now the United States of America was both "inevitable and justified"—essentially that God had ordained this expansion to give the fertile land of America to these people.

The belief and justification of this idea led to many Americans deciding that it was their responsibility and right to lay claim to the Western frontier—and that everything to the Pacific Ocean was their right to take control of and use. This "personal responsibility" encouraged people to travel to the West much more quickly and frequently than they would have otherwise, spurring a drastic spike in its population and creating small towns and homesteads that dotted the land from Missouri to California.

By supporting this belief, it...

(The entire section contains 5 answers and 991 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team