Manifest Destiny in the Past Term Paper

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We are entering on its

untrodden space, with the truths of God in our minds, beneficent objects in our hearts, and with clear conscience unsullied by the past. We are the nation of human progress, and who will, what can, set limits to our onward march? Providence is with us, and no earthly power can. (O'Sullivan 1)

Not all Americans believed in the concept of manifest destination. Many settlers from different countries actually got along with the Native Americans and did not adapt to the concept of slavery of any kind. Many German immigrants belonged to this group. The Germans and Native Americans actually got along quite well. One would assume that the Germans treated that Native Americans much like others that came here. They did not treat them poorly, though. The Native Americans were considered indigenous and so too were the Germans when they first settled in the United States. The two groups probably had more in common than they knew. However, the Germans fared much better than the Native Americans when it came to assimilating and becoming a part of American culture (Eller 18). The German settlers were clearly in the minority on the treatment and attitudes toward the natives.

The Mexican-American War was one of the biggest and most infamous events resulting from manifest destiny. The expansionists were seeking not only to conquer, but also to expand slavery in the western states. Mexico rejected this concept and thus war broke out because their vision of manifest destiny was quite different from the expansionists' view. Mexico did not want to give up Texas and the United States government felt that just as they had taken most of the west by force, they could do so with Texas. John O'Sullivan, the person given credit for coining the phrase manifest destiny was in favor of the annexation of Texas because he believed in the superiority of the Anglo-Saxon race (Rodriguez Diaz 44).

O'Sullivan was not alone in his belief that the whites were superior over other races. Before the abolishment of slavery in 1865, many whites wanted to expand it over the entire American continent. This is a testament to the fact that they believed in their superiority and felt that they could expand across the country and possess the land and the people who were already inhabitants. Since the northern states rejected the notion of slavery, it made sense for those clinging to the doctrine of manifest destiny to extend slavery westward. The southerners who believed in slavery felt that the warm climates of the western states and Mexico would be the perfect reason to expand slavery to this area (Dunning 113).

The persistent push towards the west and the need for continuous expansion gradually increased the conflict between the early inhabitants of the land and the colonists, leading to aggression. Upon their arrival in Massachusetts Bay, after their first encounter with the Native Americans, the colonists were quick to resort to violence, as an attempt to please their God. After confronting the natives, many believed that "…it pleased God to vanquish their enemies and give them deliverance…" (Bradford 85), indicating the fact that God was used to justify every action taken on behalf of the American population. Conflict with the Native Americans continued with the rise of Native American Removal Act, which drove the Natives who remained in the East to move to reservations. Of the many incidents that occurred during the process of enforcing the removal act, the most well-known is the "Trail of Tears," when President Martin Van Buren (President Jackson's successor) ordered the removal of about twenty thousand Cherokee that remained in the East as a sign of rebellion against the government.

The U.S. troops rounded off the Cherokee, who were then sent off in groups of about a thousand each, on an eight hundred mile journey in which many died along on the path that is now commonly referred to as the Trail of Tears, the route in which the Native Americans followed from Georgia to the Indian Territory (Danzer 130). As reflected in the apathy portrayed towards the Cherokee, under the leadership of the American government, the United States Army did not tolerate any resistance to the removal, and with the clearing of the Native Americans, Americans concentrated on the development of transportation which was used to facilitate the volume of trade and manufacturing, as well as infrastructure. As the prospects of statehood over the majority of the western territories became more transparent, the nation tackled the issue of slavery in the West, contributing to the causes of the Civil War, which inhibited the rate of expansion. Nonetheless, expansion accelerated over the last several decades of the nineteenth century, after the completion of the rural and urban infrastructure, as well as the transcontinental railroad, and, the complete removal[continue]


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