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History assignment - Essay Example

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It expresses the conviction of Americans that it is their divine mission to expand their civilization and institutions across the entire continent of North America (Hietala). The…
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‘Manifest Destiny’ and Frederick Jackson Turner’s ‘Frontier Thesis.’ The term ‘Manifest Destiny’ was coined by John O’Sullivan in his 1895 newspaper article. It expresses the conviction of Americans that it is their divine mission to expand their civilization and institutions across the entire continent of North America (Hietala). The ‘Frontier Thesis’ was postulated by the historian Frederic Jackson Turner in a paper delivered at a meeting of the American Historical Association in 1893. Turner states that  “the existence of an area of free land, its continuous recession, and the advance of American settlement westward” is crucial to the development of America (MacKay).
Both the terms share the common goal of advocating territorial expansion and link it to superior American traits. ‘Manifest Destiny’ uses the philosophical belief in the divine sanction, the propagation of democratic institutions and economic compulsions to support its stand. It was largely based on feelings of cultural and racial superiority (MacKay). The ‘Frontier Thesis’ holds that the very character of the American people was shaped by Westward expansion. Here again, territorial expansion is linked to superior American traits, such as democracy and individualism (Hietala).
These terms are significant in American history because they form the basis of the American policy of expansion: first on the continent and, later for US imperialism across the globe. The annexation of Texas in 1845, the acquisition of Oregon from Britain in 1846, the conquest of California and New Mexico in the American-Mexican War of 1846, and the appropriation of land from the Native Americans were all partly justified on the principle of ‘Manifest Destiny’ and approval of the ‘Frontier Thesis.
Works Cited.
Hietala, Thomas. “Expansionism and Imperialism.” Manifest Destiny. pbs.org. 14 March
2006.Web. 1 April 1, 2013
http://www.pbs.org/kera/usmexicanwar/prelude/md_expansionism.html
MacKay, Kathryn L. “Frederick Jackson Turner Frontier Thesis.” Weber State University. Web.
1 April 2013
http://faculty.weber.edu/kmackay/frederick_jackson_turner.htm Read More
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