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

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How did the spirit of manifest destiny show itself in the American expansionism of the 1840s?

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The word "manifest" means "obvious"; what is "manifest" is right in front of your eyes. The word "destiny" is easier: it is what is fated, what is meant to be. What is destined to happen will happen.

Therefore, Manifest Destiny stated that it was obvious that the Northern Europeans who constituted the free population of the United States were going to own the entire central North American continent, from the Atlantic to the Pacific oceans. This was not a debatable possibility: it was a certainty, at least to many people in power in the United States at that time. 

If we look more closely at the use of the phrase in the 1840s, we find it was popularized by a newspaper editor, John O'Sullivan, who was a proponent for the US annexing Texas. He wrote in the summer of 1845 that it is

. . . our manifest destiny to overspread the continent allotted by Providence for the free development of our yearly multiplying millions.

Later that year, he used the phrase in a...

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