This essay discusses the philosophy of Manifest Destiny. It analyses how the ideas of Manifest Destiny reflect certain racial attitudes prevalent in the country in the mid 19th century. The essay considers why tension increased between the American settlers in Texas and the Mexican government…
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It was the driving force behind the fast growth of America from west to east. The idea of Manifest Destiny was promoted in newspapers and other media. In political circles, the Manifest Destiny meant that the American government was destined to launch uninterrupted political influence traversing the entire North American continent. The American people used it to extend political control over frontier lands hence taking control of European powers and Native Americans. The idea of manifest destiny also involved a component of religion. The first puritans inhabited New England and had a feeling that God had “destined” them to establish a religious, political and moral country. Although the philosophy of manifest destiny has become history, the sense of purpose associated with it has persisted in the American society. Similarly, a strong secular element of its vestiges has a principle of American foreign policy. Though manifest destiny marks a past era in the history of America it is perceived as the main cause of imperialism in America today. How the Ideas of Manifest Destiny Reflect Certain Racial attitudes Prevalent in the Country in the Mid 19th Century Racism is considered to be a modern idea. The first traces of racism began in America with the establishment of the race-based slave system. The ideas of manifest destiny and the white man’s burden, both capture the notion of racial differences and civilization. In respect of Manifest Destiny, the notion of racial inferiority has been institutionalized in the laws and government policies. As a result, racial definitions have also changed with time (University Microfilms International 34). The idea of Manifest Destiny, which initially had seemed holy, came to be proved as more of a bomb wrapped in Idealism. This is because it later sparked a lot of concern among the Americans. For instance, the manifest destiny had stern results for the American Indians as continental expansion targeted the Native Americans who were to occupy the land. The Indians were encouraged to sell their land to the Native Americans and become civilized. This meant pushing away Indians who were not supposed to live like the whites. During the Manifest Destiny period, the idea of Indians selling their land referred to as Indian removal, became more prominent. Hence, the racial rhetoric went high during the manifest destiny era and it was explained by Francis Parkman. Parkman acknowledged that the Indians’destiny was to melt and disappear before the expanding waves of Anglo-American power which went unchanged and unopposed. Why Tension Increased Between the American Settlers in Texas and the Mexican Government Texas was originally Spanish land which borders the United States. It had few Spanish settlers despite it being colonized by the Spanish. Tejanos were the most popular in that land and they were the first people to live in Texas. Stephen Austin, who was a bankrupt miner, was granted permission by the Spanish to establish a colony in Texas. Soon after Austin reached Texas, Mexico became independent leading to Austin’s initial colony becoming worthless. He later asked for land from the Mexicans and was given it on condition that its settlers were to become Mexican citizens and Catholics as well.
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There were Native Americans in the continent when the first Europeans arrived as shown by Norse settlement in year 985 (U.S. Department of State, 2010). At the time when Europe colonized North America, it was estimated that around 18 million Native Americans were already living in what is now the United States of America (U.S.
The author states that the term Manifest Destiny was first coined by a reputed journalist, John O’Sulliavan. The concept itself had already been prevalent for some time. The first was that the expansion across the continent was something that was readily apparent (manifest), while the second aspect was that the expansion was inevitable (destiny).
The destiny did not incorporate those who were seen as not capable to govern themselves, such as those of non-European decent and the indigenous people. Other factors and political plans also came into play. The increase in population of the initial 13 Colonies and the growth of the United States economy increased the desire to grow into additional land.
The roots of the Spanish-American War of 1898 were planted decades earlier in a popular notion known as Manifest Destiny. Though there was not an official policy of expansionism, Americans were acculturated to the idea that it was their right to spread westward and outward. The flames of American Imperialism were stoked by many diverse interests.
Whites continued to encroach on Indian lands, sparking conflicts that eventually forced the Native Americans further and further from centers of white civilization. By the time of the American Revolution, most of the Native Americans in New England had relocated far away from their ancestral homelands, died from foreign diseases, such as smallpox, or through the increasing warfare between the colonists and the natives.
In short, it was an exhortation to expansionism. O’Sullivan opined that the “magnificent domain” should include “its floor shall be a hemisphere – its roof the firmament of the star-studded heavens, and its congregation a Union of many Republics
Thus, colonization and territorial acquisition was deemed justified and was considered somewhat of religious obligation. It became the major reason behind the American expansion, not just of territory but also of influence. It
Also at hand were the issues of land known as California and New Mexico, considered holdings of Mexico at the time and desired by the United States (“U.S. History: Pre-Columbian to the New Millennium”). It was a point of fact that