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

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What connection does John O’Sullivan make between manifest destiny and the idea of American freedom?

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The idea of manifest destiny was not a new one before John O’Sullivan coined the phrase in his essay “Annexation”, published in The United States Magazine and Democratic Review in 1845. The process of westward expansion had been ongoing since the British defeat of the French in in 1763. By the early nineteenth century, westward expansion became more embedded in American policy, especially after the Louisiana Purchase in 1803.

Therefore, it is important to understand that the idea of manifest destiny was present in United States expansionism during the first part of the nineteenth century. Many leading Americans, including President Andrew Jackson, justified their policies of westward expansion with the rhetoric of American freedom. This inevitably involved removing obstacles to that "freedom," such as the various indigenous tribes which occupied the lands to the west, or indeed foreign nations like Mexico. By 1846, the term "manifest destiny" had been adopted by both supporters and...

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