Manifest Destiny, a phrase coined in 1845, is the idea the the United states is destined—by God, its supporters believed—to broaden its dominion and also spread democracy and capitalism across the whole North American continent. The ideology drove 19th-century U.S. Territorial expansion and also was supplied to justification the forced removal of indigenous Americans and other groups from your homes. The rapid development of the United claims intensified the issue of enslavement as brand-new states were included to the Union, resulting in the outbreak the the polite War.

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Louisiana Purchase

Thanks come a high bear rate and brisk immigration, the U.S. Populace exploded in the an initial half that the 19th century, from about 5 million world in 1800 to an ext than 23 million by 1850.

Such rapid growth—as well together two financial depressions in 1819 and 1839—would drive millions of Americans from the west in find of new land and brand-new opportunities.


President thomas Jefferson kicked turn off the country’s westward growth in 1803 through the Louisiana Purchase, i m sorry at some 828,000 square miles nearly doubled the size of the united States and stretched from the Mississippi river to the Rocky Mountains. In addition to sponsoring the western expedition of Lewis and also Clark of 1805-07, Jefferson also set his sights top top Spanish Florida, a process that was finally concluded in 1819 under chairman James Monroe.

But movie critics of that treaty faulted Monroe and also his secretary that state, john Quincy Adams, for yielding come Spain what they taken into consideration legitimate cases on Texas, where many Americans ongoing to settle.

In 1823, Monroe invoked Manifest Destiny once he spoke prior to Congress to warn European nations not come interfere v America’s westward expansion, threaten that any kind of attempt by europeans to colonize the “American continents” would be seen as an action of war. This policy of one American round of influence and of non-intervention in europe affairs came to be known together the “Monroe Doctrine.” ~ 1870, it would certainly be supplied as a rationale for U.S. Treatment in Latin America.

Texas Independence

Cries for the “re-annexation” the Texas increased after Mexico, having actually won its self-reliance from Spain, happen a legislation suspending U.S. Immigration into Texas in 1830.

Nonetheless, there were still much more Anglo settlers in Texas than Hispanic ones, and also in 1836, ~ Texas won its own independence, its brand-new leaders seek to sign up with the unified States. The managements of both Andrew Jackson and Martin van Buren stood up to such calls, fearing both war v Mexico and also opposition from americans who thought calls for annexation were linked with the desire to expand slavery in the Southwest.

But man Tyler, that won the presidency in 1840, was determined to continue with the annexation. An agreement concluded in April 1844 made Texas standard for admission as a U.S. Territory, and also possibly later as one or more states.

Despite opposition come this commitment in Congress, the pro-annexation candidate James K. Polk winner the 1844 election, and also Tyler was able to push the invoice through and also sign it before he left office.

The Coining the 'Manifest Destiny'

By the moment Texas was admitted to the Union as a state in December 1845, the idea that the united States should inevitably broaden westward every the method to the Pacific Ocean had actually taken firm hold amongst people from different regions, classes and also political persuasions.

The phrase “Manifest Destiny,” which arised as the best-known expression the this mindset, first appeared in one editorial released in the July-August 1845 issue of The democratic Review.

In it, the writer criticize the opposition the still lingered against the addition of Texas, urging nationwide unity on behalf of “the fulfillment of our manifest destiny to overspread the continent allotted by Providence because that the totally free development of our yearly multiply millions.”

As the phrase likewise appeared in a nearly identical paper definition in a July 1845 article in the New York Morning News, that originator is believed to be john O’Sullivan, the editor the both the Democratic Review and the Morning News in ~ the time. The December, one more Morning News short article mentioned “manifest destiny” in referral to the Oregon Territory, another new frontier end which the United claims was passionate to assert that dominion.

Oregon Territory

An 1842 contract between an excellent Britain and also the unified States partly resolved the question of whereby to attract the Canadian border, yet left open up the question of the Oregon Territory, which extended from the Pacific coastline to the Rocky hills over one area including what is currently Oregon, Idaho, Washington State and also most of brother Columbia.

Polk, an ardent proponent the Manifest Destiny, had won election v the slogan “54˚ 40’ or fight!” (a recommendation to the potential north boundary the Oregon as latitude 54˚ 40’) and called U.S. Claims to Oregon “clear and unquestionable” in his inaugural address.

But together president, Polk want to acquire the concern resolved so the united States could move on to gaining California indigenous Mexico. In mid-1846, his management agreed come a compromise through which Oregon would certainly be split along the 49th parallel, narrowly avoiding a situation with Britain.

Impact that Manifest Destiny: The civil War, native American Wars

By the moment the Oregon concern was settled, the United states had entered into all-out war with Mexico, pushed by the soul of Manifest Destiny and territorial expansion.

The contract of Guadalupe Hidalgo, which ended the Mexican-American war in 1848, added secondary 525,000 square miles of U.S. Territory, consisting of all or parts of what is now California, Arizona, Colorado, brand-new Mexico, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming.

Despite the lofty idealism of Manifest Destiny, the quick territorial development over the an initial half of the 19th century resulted not only in war with Mexico, but in the dislocation and brutal mistreatment of indigenous American, Hispanic and also other non-European occupants of the territories currently being lived in by the joined States.

U.S. Expansion likewise fueled the growing debate over slavery, by increasing the pushing question the whether new states being admitted to the Union would enable slavery or not—a dispute that would ultimately lead to the polite War.


Julius W. Pratt, “The origin of ‘Manifest Destiny’,” The American historical Review (July 1927). Sean Wilentz, The rise of American Democracy: Jefferson come Lincoln (New York: Norton, 2005). Michael Golay, The tide of Empire: America’s March come the Pacific Era that U.S. Continent Expansion,, arts & Archives: U.S home of Representatives.

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