Manifest Destiny

Manifest destiny was the 19th century U.S. idea that the country had actually a magnificent appropriate to expand also across and take over the continent.

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Key Takeaways

Key PointsThe idea of manifest destiny, coined by a newspaper editor, justified Amerideserve to growth throughout the continent.The expression “manifest destiny” said that growth throughout the American continent was obvious, unpreventable, and a magnificent right of the United States.Manifest destiny was used by Democrats in the 1840s to justify the war through Mexico.While many kind of authors focus generally on UNITED STATE expansionism as soon as mentioning manifest destiny, others check out a wider expression of belief in the country’s “mission” in the world.Key Termsexpansionism: A nation’s plan of expanding its region or economic affect.manifest destiny: The political doctrine or idea hosted by the United States, specifically throughout its expansion, that the country had actually a distinct duty and also divine best to expand westward and also get control over the continent.exceptionalism: In the United States, the idea that the nation does not condevelop to an establimelted norm, and rather has actually a unique and magnificent function to play.

American Expansionism

Manifest destiny was the 1ninth century UNITED STATE idea that the country (and more specifically, the white Anglo-Saxon race within it) was destined to expand also across the continent. Democrats used the term in the 1840s to justify the battle with Mexico. The principle was mainly denounced by Whigs and fell into disuse after the mid-1nine century. Advocates of manifest destiny thought that development was not just wise, however that it was conveniently obvious (manifest) and might not be prevented (destiny).

The principle of U.S. expansionism is in truth much older. It is rooted in European nations’ early colonization of the Americas, the establishment of the USA by white Anglo-Saxons from England, and the continued battles against and also forced removal of the Amerideserve to Indians native to the lands. In 1845, John L. O’Sullivan, a New York newspaper editor, introduced the concept of “manifest destiny” in the July/August problem of the USA Magazine and also Democratic Review, in an post titled, “Annexation.” The term defined the exceptionally well-known idea of the unique function of the United States in overtaking the continent—the divine right and duty of white Americans to seize and resolve the continent’s western region, therefore spanalysis Protestant, autonomous values.

Manifest Destiny and also Politics

In this climate of opinion, voters in 1844 chosen right into the presidency James K. Polk, a slaveholder from Tennesview, because he vowed to annex Texas as a brand-new slave state, and also to take Oregon. “Manifest destiny” was a term Democrats primarily used to assistance the Polk Administration’s growth plans. The concept of development was additionally supported by Whigs choose Henry Clay, Daniel Webster, and Abraham Lincoln, who wanted to expand the nation’s economic situation. John C. Calhoun was a remarkable Democrat that primarily opposed his party on the concern, which fell out of favor by 1860.

Manifest destiny was a basic notion quite than a details policy. The term linked a idea in expansionism with various other well-known principles of the era, including US exceptionalism and Romantic nationalism. While many kind of authors have focused on US expansionism as soon as mentioning manifest destiny, others view in the term a more comprehensive expression of a belief in the United States’ “mission” in the people, which has actually expected various things to various human being over the years. For instance, the idea in an U.S. mission to promote and also safeguard democracy throughout the people, as expounded by Lincoln and also Woodrow Wilchild, proceeds to influence US political belief to today.

The angel Columbia was an image typically offered at the time to personify the United States. Originating from the name of Christopher Columbus, it was initially supplied for the 13 swarms and also remained the dominant photo for the female personification of the USA till the Statue of Liberty disput it in the 1920s. During the era of manifest destiny, many type of imeras were created of Columbia spanalysis democracy and various other United States worths across the western lands.


Key Takeaways

Key PointsThe Oregon Trail extended approximately 2,000 miles from Missouri, Iowa, or Nebraska, ending in the Oregon Territory.The Oregon Trail’s initial route was scouted by hair traders and also trappers. Each year, as more inhabitants brought wagon trains along the trail, new cutoff routes were discovered that made the route shorter and safer.The Overland Stage Company kind of used the Overland Trail to run mail and also passengers to Salt Lake City, Utah.Both the Oregon and Overland Trail became obsolete as soon as the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad made traveling west safer, easier, and cheaper.The original wave of western settler-invaders along the Oregon and also Overland Trails had moderately flourishing, white, US-born farming families from the east.More recent immigrants likewise moved west, through the biggest numbers coming from Northern Europe and Canada. Several thousand African Americans likewise migrated west complying with the Civil War.Key TermsOregon Trail: A 2,000-mile (3,200 km), historic east-west wagon path that connected the Missouri River to valleys in Oregon and areas in between.Overland also Trail: A stagecoach and also wagon trail in the American west throughout the 19th century.Transcontinental Railroad: A consistent train line in the USA that traveled across the nation and connected the Pacific coast to the Atlantic shore.

Oregon Trail

The Oregon Trail was a 2,000-mile, historic east-west wagon route and emigrant trail that connected the Missouri River to valleys in Oregon and areas in in between. The eastern component of the trail extended component of the future state of Kansas and practically all of what are currently the says of Nebraska and Wyoming. The western half of the trail extended the majority of of then future states of Idaho and also Oregon.


The starts of the Oregon Trail were laid by hair trappers and traders from about 1811 to 1840; these early on trails were just passable on foot or by horseback. By 1836, as soon as the initially miprovide wagon train was organized in Independence, Missouri, a wagon trail had actually been cleared to Ft Hall, Idaho. Wagon trails were cleared progressively additionally west, eventually reaching the Willamette Valley in Oregon. Each year, as more settlers lugged wagon trains along the trail, new cutoff routes were found that made the route shorter and safer. Imverified roads, ferries, and also bridges likewise boosted the trip. There were various offshoots in Missouri, Iowa, and the Nebraska Territory; the converged alengthy the reduced Platte River Valley close to Ft Kearny, Nebraska Territory and also resulted in well-off farmlands west of the Rocky Mountains.

From the early on to mid-1830s, and also especially through the epochal years of 1846–1869, about 400,000 settlers, ranchers, farmers, miners, and businessmales and their households offered the Oregon Trail and its many offshoots. The eastern half of the trail was likewise offered by travelers on the The golden state Trail (from 1843), Bozeman Trail (from 1863), and Mormon Trail (from 1847), who supplied many of the same trails before turning off to their sepaprice desticountries. Use of the trail decreased as the initially transcontinental railroad was completed in 1869, making the pilgrimage west dramatically quicker, cheaper, and safer. Today, modern-day highmeans such as Interstate 80 follow the exact same course westward and pass through communities originally established to company the Oregon Trail.

Overland also Trail

The Overland also Trail (additionally well-known as the Overland Stage Line) was a stagecoach and also wagon trail in the American west during the 19th century. While explorers and also trappers had actually used portions of the course because the 1820s, the Overland also Trail was a lot of greatly used in the 1860s as an alternate path to the Oregon, The golden state, and also Mormon Trails via main Wyoming. The Overland Stage Company type of owned by Ben Holladay famously used the Overland also Trail to run mail and passengers to Salt Lake City, Utah, using stagecoaches in the at an early stage 1860s. Starting from Atchison, Kansas, the trail descended right into Coloraexecute before looping ago up to southern Wyoming and also rejoining the Oregon Trail at Ft Bridger. The stage line operated till 1869, as soon as completion of the First Transcontinental Railroad eliminated the need for mail service through stagecoach.

Who Were the Settlers?

In the 19th century, as this particular day, relocating and also beginning a brand-new life took money. Since of the initial expense of relocation, land also, and gives, and months of preparing the soil, planting, and succeeding harvesting before any kind of produce was prepared for industry, the original wave of western settler-invaders alengthy the Oregon Trail in the 1840s and 1850s consisted of moderately prosperous, white, native-born farming households from the east. More recent immigrants additionally moved west, via the biggest numbers coming from Northern Europe and also Canada. Germans, Scandinavians, and also Irish were among the many common. Compared via European immigrants, those from China were a lot less many, yet still significant.

In enhancement to a far-ranging European migration westward, numerous thousand African Americans moved west following the Civil War, as much to escape the racism and also violence of the Old South regarding discover new financial opportunities. The last were were known as exodusters, referencing the biblical trip from Egypt, bereason they fled the racism of the South, through a lot of headed to Kansas from Kentucky, Tennescheck out, Louisiana, Mississippi, and also Texas. By 1890, over 500,000 Afrihave the right to Americans lived west of the Mississippi River.

The Western Frontier

As the country expanded westward, settlers were motivated by opportunities to farm the land or “make it rich” with livestock or gold.

Learning Objectives

Describe the problems widespread in western frontier towns

Key Takeaways

Key PointsWhile the motivation for exclusive profit dominated a lot of the activity westward, the federal government played a sustaining function in securing land also and also keeping legislation and also order.The rigors of life in the West presented many kind of obstacles to homesteaders, such as dry and barren land also, droughts, insect swarms, shorteras of products, and lost crops.Although homestead farming was the major goal of many western inhabitants in the latter half of the 1ninth century, a tiny minority sneed to make fortunes conveniently through various other indicates, such as gold or cattle.The American West came to be well known for its tough mining communities, such as Deadlumber, South Dakota and also Tombrock, Arizona, and also entrepreneurs in these and other towns set up stores and also businesses to cater to the miners.Key TermsHomesteading: A way of living of self-sufficiency defined by subsistence agriculture and also residence preservation of foodstuffs; it might or might not additionally involve the small-scale production of textiles, clothes, and also craftoccupational for family usage or sale.

Moving West

The Federal Role

While the incentive for personal profit dominated much of the movement westward, the federal government played a supporting duty in securing land and also preserving law and also order. In spite of the Jeffersonian aversion to, and also mistrust of, federal power, the federal government bore even more greatly right into the West than any type of various other area, fueled by the concepts of manifest destiny. Due to the fact that neighborhood governments in western frontier communities were often nonexistent or weak, westerners relied on the federal government to safeguard them and their rights.

The federal federal government establiburned a sequence of actions concerned manage over western lands. First, it sent out surveyors and also explorers to map and record the land also and eventually get western territory from other nations or American Indian tribes by treaty or force. Next, it ordered federal troops to clear out and also subdue any kind of resistance from Amerideserve to Indians. It subsidized the construction of railroad lines to facilitate westward migration, and also ultimately, it established bureaucracies to manage the land also (such as the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Land Office, US Geological Survey, and Forest Service). By the finish of the 1ninth century, the federal government had actually amassed good dimension, power, and affect in nationwide affairs.


Transportation was an essential issue in westward growth. The Army (specifically the Army Corps of Engineers) was provided complete duty for facilitating navigating on the rivers. The steamwatercraft, initially supplied on the Ohio River in 1811, made inexpensive take a trip making use of the river devices possible. The Mississippi and also Missouri Rivers and their tributaries were especially provided for this objective. Military explorations up the Missouri River from 1818 to 1825 enabled engineers to improve the innovation. For example, the Army’s steamwatercraft, the Western Engineer, of 1819 linked an extremely shpermit draft through among the earliest stern wheels. During this period, Colonel Henry Atkinkid emerged keelboats through hand-powered paddle wheels.

In addition to river take a trip, the Oregon and Overland Trails permitted for boosted travel and migration to the West. The completion of the initially transcontinental railroad in 1869 significantly changed the pace of travel in the country, as human being were able to complete in a week a route that had actually formerly taken months.

Life in the West


The rigors of life in the West presented many type of difficulties and difficulties to homesteaders. The land was dry and also barren, and homesteaders shed crops to hail, droughts, insect swarms, and various other challenges. Tright here were few materials with which to develop, and early on residences were made of mud, which did not stand as much as the aspects. Money was a consistent issue, as the cost of railroad freight was exorbitant, and banks were unforgiving of negative harvests. For women, life was especially difficult; farm wives functioned at least 11 hrs a day on chores and had actually restricted accessibility to doctors or midwives. Still, many kind of womales were even more independent than their eastern counterparts and also worked in partnership with their husbands.

As the railroad increased and also much better farm devices became obtainable, by the 1870s, big ranches started to succeed via economic situations of range. Yet tiny ranches still struggcaused continue to be afloat, bring about climbing discontent among the farmers, that worked so tough for so little bit success.

Western Frontier Towns

Although homestead farming was the major goal of most western inhabitants in the last half of the 1nine century, a small minority smust make their fortunes conveniently through various other suggests. Specifically, gold (and also ultimately silver and copper) prospecting attracted hundreds of miners looking to get affluent conveniently before returning East. In enhancement, ranchers capitalized on recently easily accessible railroad lines to relocate longhorn steers that populated southerly and also western Texas. This meat was very sought after in eastern markets, and the demand produced not just wealthy ranchers but an era of cowboys and also cattle drives that in many type of ways defines exactly how we think of the West this day. Although neither miners nor ranchers intended to remain permanently in the West, many individuals from both teams ultimately continued to be and also settled there.

The Amerideserve to West became notorious for its hard mining communities. Deadhardwood, South Dakota, in the Black Hills, was an archetypal late gold tvery own established in 1875. Although the tvery own was much from any railroad, 20,000 human being lived tright here as of 1876. Tombrock, Arizona was a notorious mining tvery own that flouriburned much longer than many, from 1877 to 1929. Silver was found there in 1877, and also by 1881 the town had actually a population of over 10,000. Entrepreneurs in these and also various other towns erected stores and businesses to cater to the miners. Gambling and prostitution were central to life in these western communities, and also just later―as the female populace raised and reformers relocated in―did prostitution end up being somewhat much less common.

The famous picture of the Wild West depicted in publications, tv, and film has actually been among violence and also mayhem. The entice of quick wealth via mining or driving livestock intended that a lot of the West indeed had unstable men living a unstable life, although the violence was exaggerated and also also glorified in the dime-keep novels of the day. The exploits of Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, and others created good stories, but the truth was that western violence was even more isolated than the stories might indicate. These clashes frequently arisen as world struggled for the scarce sources that could make or break their possibility at riches, or as they dealt with the sudden wide range or poverty that prospecting gave.

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As well-off guys lugged their households west, the lawless landscape gradually began to change. Abilene, Kansas is one instance of a lawless town, replete with prostitutes, gambling, and also various other vices, that transcreated as soon as middle-course woguys arrived in the 1880s with their husbands. These women started to organize churches, colleges, civic clubs, and other neighborhood programs to promote family members worths.