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

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What were the important American beliefs and values that were involved in the westward movement?

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Manifest Destiny and American exceptionalism worked hand-in-hand as compatible ideologies that gave strong moral impetus to both westward expansion and the Mexican-America War.

Manifest means plain or obvious (what is manifest is visible), and destiny means decreed by God as what will be. In the context in which the term was used, it signaled that it was completely obvious that God meant for white US citizens to control the entire North American continent—at least below Canada—from sea to sea. God was explicitly stated to be on the side of whites of European descent and on the side of the spread of American-style democracy: Americans were understood to be uniquely situated to be the rightful heirs of a rich continent. They were the supposedly superior race (white) and embraced a supposedly superior worldview (democratic rather than monarchial or tribal).

This gave the US the confidence to push westward, disregarding the rights of indigenous peoples already on the land.

As for the...

(The entire section contains 4 answers and 1068 words.)

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