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Manifest destiny and the forcible removal of american indians - Research Paper Example

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MANIFEST DESTINY: THE FORCIBLE REMOVAL OF AMERICAN INDIANS AND THE CONFISCATION OF MEXICAN LAND Introduction In the 19th century, Manifest Destiny was the American belief that the United States was destined to expand extensively across the North American continent, from the Atlantic seaboard to the Pacific Ocean…
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Download file to see previous pages The term Manifest Destiny integrated the nationalist concepts of Anglo-Saxon superiority with capitalist expansion of territory, “ideas which had deep roots in American political culture” (Nevins 2002: 17). On the other hand, Caldwell (2006) identifies the roots of manifest destiny in religion, the providentially sanctioned Christian destiny territorial conquest going back as far as the Crusades, and “a God-given right to any land occupied by non-Christian peoples” (p.84). The extensive American efforts at expansion included in addition to the Louisiana Purchase and the acquisition of the lands of the Mexican cession, internal expansion as American settlers moved westward during the California gold rush (Joy, 2003) Thesis Statement: The purpose of this paper is to investigate the concept of Manifest Destiny in 19th century American history, and its role in America’s rise from a colony to a super power. Further, the extent to which manifest destiny was reflected in domestic policy by the country’s government will be identified. The forcible removal of American Indians, attempts to civilize them, and Americans’ seizing of Mexican land, and waging war on Mexico will be discussed. The underlying roots of European racism and imperialism fuelling manifest destiny will be examined. Manifest Destiny and Westward Expansion in America From the 14th century to as late as the 1840s, Europeans fled to the New World of America in search of religious freedom and a new life. There was westward expansion in the 19th century because the population density in the industrial towns in the east was increasing tremendously by growing numbers of Europeans who entered America at the eastern seaboard. Moreover, the gold rush in the western region particularly in California, as well as news of fertile soil and plentiful opportunities were powerful motivators to move westwards. Consequently, the Americans found it necessary to spread westward in search of new land to cultivate, to build on, and new livelihood to undertake. This westward expansion was termed as manifest destiny by Anglos were the whites arriving in California from the eastern towns in the 19th century. Through close association and marriage allegiance with the California elite the white settlers acquired great wealth and political power (Mountjoy 2009). Notions of national superiority form a significant reason for the concept of Manifest Destiny to take shape and to promote westward expansion towards new opportunities. According to Caldwell (2006) the reasons for America’s notions of superiority include myths of the unique regenerative power of the new land of America that the Europeans made their home; from Americans’ self developed visions of being the people chosen by God to utilize the abundance of natural resources; of being given the mission to spread civilization in underdeveloped areas, and of being granted the high destiny of spreading westward for achieving profit and prosperity. Americans’ sense of supremacy is also rooted in their ability to succeed as immigrants through self-sufficiency, confidence, self-reliance; their realization of the abundance of natural wealth in the land; and their view of the universality of American ideology. Expansionist Theory, Racism and Imperialism in Manifest Destiny American Indians who were the original natives of the land were marginalized and every ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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