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The originally-thought of as divine destiny to help other nations became an intense selfish purpose to divide and conquer other nations, not just northward, which justified the original term “continentalism” but also westward, or the whole world ultimately.
This belief became a source of division among the American nation, particularly on the issue of “All Oregon or Nothing”. During the Anglo-American Convention of 1818 which discussed the joint occupation by the United States and Great Britain of the Oregon Country, the British government refused the idea of then President John Tyler to divide the Oregon Country along the 49th parallel. Instead, the British suggested that a boundary line along Columbia River be made. This was objected to by the advocates of Manifest Destiny. They wanted the whole Oregon Country instead of sharing it with the British. They demanded that annexation be made (otherwise known as 54degrees 40’N).
Then Presidential candidate James Polk proposed to divide the Oregon Country along the 49th parallel. Again, the British refused the proposal. Advocates of Manifest Destiny cried out for “The Fifty-Four Forty or None!” When Polk became President, he insinuated to terminate the joint occupation agreement. Thus, the British had no option but to accede to the proposal of dividing Oregon Country along the 49th parallel. The Oregon Treaty of 1846 was born
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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 term was originally used by an American news paper editor, John O’Sullivan in 1845 when writing about anticipated annexation of Texas. He stated that it was America’s “manifest destiny to overspread the continent “according to Wisegeek. (1).The idea of manifest destiny heavily influenced the American policy in the 17th century.
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.
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
Mountjoy (2009) contends that these factors included the idea of the manifest destiny, the policy of the federal government, and cheaper and faster transportation. The manifest destiny was an idea based on the belief that God had destined the people of the United States