Chr istine Joy Dar Essay

Christine Joy Dar
Dr. Weaver
Assignment #5: In what ways was “Manifest Destiny” a force for change in the United States during the first 90 years of its history. Was it a force for good, bad, neither or both.

The territorial expansion in America that occurred during the 19thcentury was outlined
under the doctrine of Manifest Destiny. It was introduced in 1845 by a newspaper editor named
John O’Sullivan. The doctrine referred to the notion that it was America’s God-given right and
duty to expand its borders across the North American continent. It was indeed considered a
force for change because it brought about Christianity and democracy to more people as well as
more land and power to the New World.

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I do believe that the notion of Manifest Destiny had both good and bad consequences to
America and the American people. Some of the good consequences was it did reinforce so much
pride and nationalism in the mid-19thcentury. Because Americans believed that it was destined
or God-given right to expand America’s borders, expansionists that it was their mission to
expand, control and populate the country as they see fit. They believed that it was their duty to
conquer and Christianize the land. This was best exemplified by the Puritans’ notion of
establishing a “city on a hill”. Others also saw Manifest Destiny as a means of American
domination of North America from sea to sea. It satisfied America’s lust for land. Land
represented wealth and progress and the untapped wilderness provided the expansionists an
opportunity for economic advancement. It also gave Americans a means to protect national
borders and the removal of foreign influences. It also provided more room for a growing
Expansion through the Manifest Destiny brought about improvement and progress. As
proof, we are now one of the most powerful country in the world because our forefathers
followed what was destined for them. It also opened new doors to trade and industry with other
countries. By acquiring lands from other places like Alaska fromRussia, more routes for trade
and barter was opened that is why we are now one of the most influential player in the world’s
economy. The doctrine not only benefitted America economically and religiously but also
culturally. With Manifest Destiny, American culture expanded. Americanswere able toshare
their culture especially their love of individuality and freedom and these traits were shared to the
Indians. The Indianswere able tolearn from the American culture democratic, religious and
cultural ways that were beneficial to them. The Manifest Destiny also offered American to
discover other places other than the community they grew up in. Their chance of exploration
expanded which enabled them to maximize their potential, discover new ways of living and learn
to be innovative.
Despite of the many positive gains brought about by the doctrine,opponents also argued
and I agree, that there were also some bad consequences from it. It brought about war and
conflict by starting a war with Mexico and Spain. We were also branded as imperialist by taking
over other countries and territories like Guam, the Philippines and Puerto Rico. Territorial
expansion encouraged slavery even more. Although Americans promised that they will not take
land of other people like the Native Americans without their consent and through peaceful
means, history showed that this did not happen. Slavery of Native Americans was as its peak
and many were killed and displaced during the expansion. It also led to the death and suffering
of manypeople,particularly the Indians. It also used the name of God in vain to manipulate
other people. Land were taken forcibly while the Indians were made to suffer and abused. It
was unconstitutional and was a threat to the indigenous populations like American Indians and
Native Hawaiians.
Although the era of Manifest Destiny has long ended, its influence could still be felt
today on every foreign policy decisions. It could be heard in JFK’s plan to explore the moon and
our interests into other countries like the Philippines. Because America believes that they have
an inherent right to mind other countries business and because they think that they have a
humanitarian duty to spread democracy around the world, Manifest Destiny continues to loom
large in the United States’ national character. That is the reason why we care aboutPresident
Duterte’sso called extra-judicial killings and the Syrian refugees, and other conflicts in the
Middle East. In other words, Manifest Destiny made us a watch dog and care taker of
democracy around the world.

Work Cited:
LaFeber, Walter. The American Age: US Foreign Policy at Home and Abroad 1750 to Present. W.W. Norton ; Co. New York, NY. 1994.

Moriarty, J. T. Manifest Destiny: A Primary Sources History of America’s Territorial Expansion in the 19thCentury. The Rosen Publishing Group. New York, NY. 2004.


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