Manifest Destiny

Manifest destiny was the 1nine century UNITED STATE idea that the nation had actually a divine right to expand across and also take over the continent.

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Key Takeaways

Key PointsThe concept of manifest destiny, coined by a newspaper editor, justified American expansion across the continent.The expression “manifest destiny” suggested that expansion throughout the Amerihave the right to continent was noticeable, unpreventable, and also a magnificent best of the United States.Manifest destiny was provided by Democrats in the 1840s to justify the battle with Mexico.While many authors focus mainly on UNITED STATE expansionism as soon as stating manifest destiny, others view a wider expression of belief in the country’s “mission” in the people.Key Termsexpansionism: A nation’s policy of widening its area or economic affect.manifest destiny: The political doctrine or belief hosted by the USA, especially during its expansion, that the country had actually a special duty and also divine right to expand westward and also get regulate over the continent.exceptionalism: In the United States, the idea that the country does not conform to an established norm, and also rather has actually a special and also divine function to play.

Amerideserve to Expansionism

Manifest destiny was the 1ninth century UNITED STATE belief that the nation (and also even more particularly, the white Anglo-Saxon race within it) was destined to expand across the continent. Democrats supplied the term in the 1840s to justify the battle with Mexico. The idea was greatly denounced by Whigs and fell right into disusage after the mid-1nine century. Advocates of manifest destiny believed that growth was not only wise, yet that it was readily apparent (manifest) and could not be prevented (destiny).

The idea of U.S. expansionism is in reality much older. It is rooted in European nations’ beforehand emigration of the Americas, the establishment of the United States by white Anglo-Saxons from England also, and also the continued wars against and also forced removal of the Amerihave the right to Indians aboriginal to the lands. In 1845, John L. O’Sullivan, a New York newspaper editor, presented the principle of “manifest destiny” in the July/August concern of the United States Magazine and Democratic Review, in an article titled, “Annexation.” The term defined the very well-known idea of the one-of-a-kind function of the USA in overtaking the continent—the divine appropriate and also duty of white Americans to seize and resolve the continent’s western region, for this reason spreading Protestant, democratic worths.

Manifest Destiny and Politics

In this climate of opinion, voters in 1844 elected into the presidency James K. Polk, a slaveholder from Tenneswatch, because he vowed to annex Texas as a new servant state, and to take Oregon. “Manifest destiny” was a term Democrats primarily supplied to assistance the Polk Administration’s development plans. The principle of growth was also sustained by Whigs like Henry Clay, Daniel Webster, and also Abraham Lincoln, who wanted to expand also the nation’s economic situation. John C. Calhoun was a noteworthy Democrat who mostly opposed his party on the issue, which dropped out of favor by 1860.

Manifest destiny was a basic notion rather than a particular policy. The term unified a belief in expansionism through various other famous concepts of the era, including US exceptionalism and Romantic nationalism. While many writers have focused on US expansionism once pointing out manifest destiny, others see in the term a broader expression of a belief in the United States’ “mission” in the civilization, which has actually intended different points to various world over the years. For example, the idea in an U.S. mission to promote and also protect democracy throughout the civilization, as expounded by Lincoln and Woodrow Wilboy, continues to affect US political belief to now.

The angel Columbia was a photo typically provided at the time to personify the United States. Originating from the name of Christopher Columbus, it was originally provided for the 13 nests and continued to be the dominant picture for the female personification of the United States till the Statue of Liberty displaced it in the 1920s. Throughout the era of manifest destiny, many type of images were produced of Columbia spanalysis democracy and various other USA values throughout the western lands.


Key Takeaways

Key PointsThe Oregon Trail covered roughly 2,000 miles from Missouri, Iowa, or Nebraska, ending in the Oregon Territory.The Oregon Trail’s initial path was scouted by fur traders and also trappers. Each year, as even more inhabitants carried wagon trains along the trail, brand-new cutoff routes were found that made the course shorter and safer.The Overland Stage Company type of supplied the Overland also Trail to run mail and also passengers to Salt Lake City, Utah.Both the Oregon and also Overland Trail came to be obsolete once the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad made traveling west safer, simpler, and cheaper.The original wave of western settler-invaders along the Oregon and also Overland Trails consisted of moderately flourishing, white, US-born farming family members from the eastern.More current immigrants additionally moved west, with the biggest numbers coming from Northern Europe and Canada. Several thousand Afrideserve to Americans also moved west following the Civil War.Key TermsOregon Trail: A 2,000-mile (3,200 km), historic east-west wagon course that connected the Missouri River to valleys in Oregon and also locations in between.Overland Trail: A stagecoach and wagon trail in the Amerihave the right to west throughout the 19th century.Transcontinental Railroad: A consistent train line in the United States that traveled across the country and connected the Pacific coast to the Atlantic coastline.

Oregon Trail

The Oregon Trail was a 2,000-mile, historical east-west wagon path and emiprovide trail that associated the Missouri River to valleys in Oregon and also locations in in between. The eastern part of the trail covered part of the future state of Kansas and also practically every one of what are currently the claims of Nebraska and also Wyoming. The western fifty percent of the trail extended a lot of of then future states of Idaho and Oregon.


The beginnings of the Oregon Trail were lassist by hair trappers and traders from around 1811 to 1840; these early on trails were just passable on foot or by horseearlier. By 1836, once the first miapprove wagon train was arranged in Independence, Missouri, a wagon trail had been cleared to Fort Hall, Idaho. Wagon trails were cleared progressively additionally west, eventually reaching the Willamette Valley in Oregon. Each year, as more settlers brought wagon trains along the trail, brand-new cutoff routes were uncovered that made the route shorter and safer. Imconfirmed roads, ferries, and bridges also boosted the pilgrimage. Tbelow were miscellaneous offshoots in Missouri, Iowa, and also the Nebraska Territory; the paths converged along the lower Platte River Valley close to Fort Kearny, Nebraska Territory and caused 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, around 400,000 settlers, ranchers, farmers, miners, and also businessmen and also their family members supplied the Oregon Trail and its many kind of offshoots. The eastern half of the trail was additionally offered by travelers on the California Trail (from 1843), Bozemale Trail (from 1863), and also Mormon Trail (from 1847), who offered many kind of of the same trails prior to turning off to their sepaprice desticountries. Use of the trail decreased as the initially transcontinental railroad was completed in 1869, making the expedition west dramatically quicker, cheaper, and also safer. Today, modern highways such as Interstate 80 follow the exact same course westward and pass with communities originally establiburned to company the Oregon Trail.

Overland Trail

The Overland also Trail (also known as the Overland Stage Line) was a stagecoach and also wagon trail in the Amerideserve to west in the time of the 1nine century. While explorers and also trappers had offered portions of the route given that the 1820s, the Overland also Trail was the majority of greatly offered in the 1860s as an different path to the Oregon, California, and also Mormon Trails through central Wyoming. The Overland also Stage Company owned by Ben Holladay famously used the Overland also Trail to run mail and passengers to Salt Lake City, Utah, via stagecoaches in the early 1860s. Starting from Atchison, Kansas, the trail descended into Colorado prior to looping ago up to southerly Wyoming and also rejoining the Oregon Trail at Fort Bridger. The stage line operated till 1869, once completion of the First Transcontinental Railroad got rid of the require for mail company by means of stagecoach.

Who Were the Settlers?

In the 19th century, as now, relocating and beginning a new life took money. Because of the initial cost of replace, land, and also gives, and also months of preparing the soil, planting, and subsequent harvesting before any type of develop was all set for industry, the original wave of western settler-intruders along the Oregon Trail in the 1840s and also 1850s had moderately flourishing, white, native-born farming family members from the east. More recent immigrants additionally moved west, via the largest numbers coming from Northern Europe and Canada. Germans, Scandinavians, and Irish were among the the majority of prevalent. Compared through European immigrants, those from China were a lot less plenty of, yet still significant.

In addition to a significant European migration westward, several thousand Afrideserve to Americans migrated west following the Civil War, as a lot to escape the racism and also violence of the Old South as to discover new financial opportunities. The latter were were well-known as exodusters, referencing the biblical flight from Egypt, bereason they fled the racism of the South, with most headed to Kansas from Kentucky, Tenneswatch, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas. By 1890, over 500,000 African Americans lived west of the Mississippi River.

The Western Frontier

As the country broadened westward, inhabitants were urged by methods to farm the land or “make it rich” via livestock or gold.

Learning Objectives

Describe the conditions widespread in western frontier towns

Key Takeaways

Key PointsWhile the motivation for private profit conquered a lot of the movement westward, the federal government played a sustaining duty in securing land also and preserving legislation and also order.The rigors of life in the West presented many obstacles to homesteaders, such as dry and also barren land also, droughts, insect swarms, shorteras of materials, and shed plants.Although homestead farming was the major goal of the majority of western settlers in the last half of the 1ninth century, a small minority sshould make fortunes quickly via other suggests, such as gold or livestock.The American West became well known for its hard mining towns, such as Deadtimber, South Dakota and Tombrock, Arizona, and also entrepreneurs in these and other communities erected stores and also businesses to cater to the miners.Key TermsHomesteading: A lifestyle of self-sufficiency characterized by subsistence agriculture and house preservation of foodstuffs; it might or might not also involve the small-scale production of textiles, clothing, and also craftwork for family members use or sale.

Moving West

The Federal Role

While the impetus for personal profit dominated a lot of the activity westward, the federal federal government played a sustaining duty in securing land and also preserving law and also order. Despite the Jeffersonian aversion to, and mistrust of, federal power, the federal government bore even more heavily right into the West than any kind of various other region, sustained by the principles of manifest destiny. Since neighborhood governments in western frontier towns were frequently nonexistent or weak, westerners relied on the federal federal government to defend them and also their legal rights.

The federal federal government establimelted a sequence of actions regarded control over western lands. First, it sent surveyors and explorers to map and document the land also and eventually obtain western area from various other nations or Amerihave the right to Indian people by treaty or force. Next, it ordered federal troops to clear out and also subdue any kind of resistance from Amerihave the right to Indians. It subsidized the construction of railroad lines to facilitate westward migration, and ultimately, it establiburned bureaucracies to control the land also (such as the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Land also Office, US Geological Survey, and Forest Service). By the finish of the 1ninth century, the federal federal government had amassed great dimension, power, and affect in nationwide affairs.


Transportation was a vital worry in westward development. The Military (specifically the Army Corps of Engineers) was offered full obligation for facilitating navigation on the rivers. The steamboat, initially used on the Ohio River in 1811, made inexpensive travel making use of the river devices possible. The Mississippi and also Missouri Rivers and also their tributaries were particularly provided for this function. Military expeditions up the Missouri River from 1818 to 1825 permitted engineers to boost the technology. For example, the Army’s steamwatercraft, the Western Engineer, of 1819 linked an extremely shpermit draft through among the earliest stern wheels. Throughout this period, Colonel Henry Atkinboy emerged keelboats through hand-powered paddle wheels.

In addition to river travel, the Oregon and also Overland also Trails allowed for raised travel and also migration to the West. The completion of the initially transcontinental railroad in 1869 drastically adjusted the pace of travel in the country, as world were able to complete in a week a course that had actually previously taken months.

Life in the West


The rigors of life in the West presented many kind of difficulties and also difficulties to homesteaders. The land also was dry and also barren, and also homesteaders shed plants to hail, droughts, insect swarms, and other obstacles. Tright here were few products through which to construct, and early on houses were made of mud, which did not stand approximately the aspects. Money was a constant concern, as the expense of railroad freight was exorbitant, and banks were unforgiving of negative harvests. For women, life was especially difficult; farm wives worked at least 11 hours a day on chores and also had actually limited access to doctors or midwives. Still, many womales were even more independent than their eastern countercomponents and worked in partnership through their husbands.

As the railroad expanded and also better farm equipment came to be obtainable, by the 1870s, huge ranches began to succeed through economic climates of scale. Yet small farms still struggcaused continue to be afloat, leading to increasing discontent among the farmers, who worked so difficult for so bit success.

Western Frontier Towns

Although homestead farming was the primary goal of many western inhabitants in the last half of the 1nine century, a tiny minority smust make their fortunes easily via other suggests. Specifically, gold (and also ultimately silver and copper) prospecting attracted hundreds of miners looking to gain affluent quickly prior to returning East. In enhancement, ranchers capitalized on recently available railroad lines to relocate longhorn steers that lived in southern and also western Texas. This meat was very sought after in eastern markets, and also the demand also developed not only rich ranchers however an era of cowboys and also livestock drives that in many ways defines exactly how we think of the West this particular day. Although neither miners nor ranchers intended to remain permanently in the West, many kind of people from both groups inevitably remained and settled tright here.

The Amerihave the right to West became notorious for its difficult mining towns. Deadtimber, South Dakota, in the Black Hills, was an archetypal late gold tvery own founded in 1875. Although the town was far from any railroad, 20,000 people lived there as of 1876. Tombrock, Arizona was a notorious mining town that flouriburned longer than the majority of, from 1877 to 1929. Silver was uncovered tright here in 1877, and also by 1881 the tvery own had a population of over 10,000. Entrepreneurs in these and various other communities set up stores and also businesses to cater to the miners. Gambling and also prostitution were main to life in these western communities, and also only later―as the female population raised and also reformers relocated in―did prostitution come to be rather much less common.

The popular photo of the Wild West portrayed in publications, tv, and film has actually been just one of violence and mayhem. The entice of quick riches through mining or driving cattle expected that much of the West indeed contained stormy men living a unstable life, although the violence was exaggerated and also also glorified in the dime-save novels of the day. The exploits of Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, and others created good stories, yet the truth was that western violence was even more isolated than the stories might suggest. These clashes regularly emerged as people struggled for the scarce resources that could make or break their possibility at wide range, or as they faced the sudden wide range or poverty that prospecting provided.

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As wealthy males brought their households west, the lawmuch less landscape gradually started to adjust. Abilene, Kansas is one instance of a lawless town, replete via prostitutes, gambling, and also various other vices, that transcreated when middle-class women arrived in the 1880s via their husbands. These womales started to organize churches, institutions, public clubs, and also various other community programs to promote household worths.