Manifest Destiny

Manifest destiny was the 19th century UNITED STATE belief that the nation had actually a divine best to expand throughout and take over the continent.

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Key Takeaways

Key PointsThe idea of manifest destiny, coined by a newspaper editor, justified American expansion throughout the continent.The expression “manifest destiny” said that expansion across the American continent was evident, unavoidable, and also a divine best of the United States.Manifest destiny was used by Democrats in the 1840s to justify the war through Mexico.While many type of writers focus mainly on UNITED STATE expansionism when mentioning manifest destiny, others see a more comprehensive expression of belief in the country’s “mission” in the world.Key Termsexpansionism: A nation’s plan of expanding its region or financial affect.manifest destiny: The political doctrine or idea hosted by the United States, especially throughout its expansion, that the nation had a one-of-a-kind role and divine ideal to expand also westward and also gain control over the continent.exceptionalism: In the United States, the belief that the country does not condevelop to an establimelted norm, and also rather has a special and also magnificent function to play.

Amerideserve to Expansionism

Manifest destiny was the 1ninth century U.S. belief that the nation (and even more particularly, the white Anglo-Saxon race within it) was destined to expand also throughout the continent. Democrats used the term in the 1840s to justify the war via Mexico. The principle was greatly denounced by Whigs and also dropped right into disusage after the mid-1nine century. Advocates of manifest destiny thought that development was not only wise, however that it was easily apparent (manifest) and also can not be prevented (destiny).

The concept of UNITED STATE expansionism is in truth much older. It is rooted in European nations’ early colonization of the Americas, the facility of the United States by white Anglo-Saxons from England also, and the ongoing battles against and also required removal of the American Indians native to the lands. In 1845, John L. O’Sullivan, a New York newspaper editor, introduced the principle of “manifest destiny” in the July/August worry of the United States Magazine and Democratic Review, in an write-up titled, “Annexation.” The term explained the extremely well-known idea of the distinct function of the USA in overtaking the continent—the divine appropriate and also duty of white Americans to seize and clear up the continent’s western area, therefore spanalysis Protestant, democratic values.

Manifest Destiny and Politics

In this climate of opinion, voters in 1844 elected into the presidency James K. Polk, a slaveholder from Tenneswatch, bereason he vowed to annex Texas as a new slave state, and also to take Oregon. “Manifest destiny” was a term Democrats generally supplied to assistance the Polk Administration’s expansion plans. The concept of development was also sustained by Whigs prefer Henry Clay, Daniel Webster, and also Abraham Lincoln, who wanted to expand also the nation’s economic climate. John C. Calhoun was a remarkable Democrat that mostly opposed his party on the concern, which fell out of favor by 1860.

Manifest destiny was a general concept quite than a particular policy. The term merged a belief in expansionism through other popular principles of the era, consisting of US exceptionalism and also Romantic nationalism. While many type of writers have focused on US expansionism as soon as pointing out manifest destiny, others watch in the term a wider expression of a belief in the United States’ “mission” in the civilization, which has actually supposed various points to different human being over the years. For example, the idea in an UNITED STATE mission to promote and safeguard democracy throughout the human being, as expounded by Lincoln and also Woodrow Wilson, proceeds to affect US political ideological background to this day.

The angel Columbia was an image generally used at the moment to personify the USA. Originating from the name of Christopher Columbus, it was originally supplied for the 13 colonies and remained the dominant photo for the female personification of the USA until the Statue of Liberty displaced it in the 1920s. Throughout the era of manifest destiny, many images were developed of Columbia spreading democracy and various other USA worths across the western lands.


Key Takeaways

Key PointsThe Oregon Trail extended around 2,000 miles from Missouri, Iowa, or Nebraska, finishing in the Oregon Territory.The Oregon Trail’s initial route was scouted by fur traders and also trappers. Each year, as even more settlers brought wagon trains alengthy the trail, brand-new cutoff paths were uncovered that made the course shorter and also safer.The Overland Stage Company kind of provided the Overland also Trail to run mail and passengers to Salt Lake City, Utah.Both the Oregon and Overland also Trail came to be obsolete once the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad made traveling west safer, easier, and also cheaper.The original wave of western settler-invaders alengthy the Oregon and Overland also Trails included moderately prosperous, white, US-born farming families from the east.More current immigrants also migrated west, through the largest numbers coming from Northern Europe and Canada. Several thousand Afrihave the right to Americans additionally migrated west complying with the Civil War.Key TermsOregon Trail: A 2,000-mile (3,200 km), historical east-west wagon route that connected the Missouri River to valleys in Oregon and also areas in in between.Overland also Trail: A stagecoach and wagon trail in the Amerideserve to west in the time of the 1nine century.Transcontinental Railroad: A consistent train line in the USA that traveled across the nation and also connected the Pacific shore to the Atlantic coastline.

Oregon Trail

The Oregon Trail was a 2,000-mile, historical east-west wagon course and also emigive trail that linked the Missouri River to valleys in Oregon and also places in between. The eastern component of the trail spanned component of the future state of Kansas and also nearly every one of what are now the states of Nebraska and Wyoming. The western fifty percent of the trail spanned many of then future states of Idaho and Oregon.


The beginnings of the Oregon Trail were lassist by hair trappers and also traders from about 1811 to 1840; these early trails were only passable on foot or by horseback. By 1836, as soon as the first migive wagon train was arranged in Independence, Missouri, a wagon trail had actually been cleared to Fort Hall, Idaho. Wagon trails were cleared progressively better west, eventually getting to the Willamette Valley in Oregon. Each year, as more inhabitants carried wagon trains alengthy the trail, brand-new cutoff routes were discovered that made the path shorter and also safer. Imshowed roads, ferries, and also bridges also improved the expedition. Tright here were assorted offshoots in Missouri, Iowa, and the Nebraska Territory; the paths converged alengthy the reduced Platte River Valley close to Fort Kearny, Nebraska Territory and brought about well-off farmlands west of the Rocky Mountains.

From the at an early stage to mid-1830s, and particularly through the epochal years of 1846–1869, about 400,000 settlers, ranchers, farmers, miners, and also businessmales and also their households supplied the Oregon Trail and also its many offshoots. The eastern half of the trail was likewise used by travelers on the The golden state Trail (from 1843), Bozemale Trail (from 1863), and also Mormon Trail (from 1847), that used many kind of of the same trails prior to turning off to their sepaprice desticountries. Use of the trail declined as the initially transcontinental railroad was completed in 1869, making the expedition west dramatically quicker, cheaper, and safer. Today, modern highmethods such as Interstate 80 follow the very same course westward and also pass through communities originally establimelted to organization the Oregon Trail.

Overland Trail

The Overland also Trail (likewise known as the Overland Stage Line) was a stagecoach and wagon trail in the Amerihave the right to west during the 1nine century. While explorers and trappers had supplied portions of the route given that the 1820s, the Overland Trail was many greatly offered in the 1860s as an alternative course to the Oregon, The golden state, and Mormon Trails via main Wyoming. The Overland also Stage Company type of owned by Ben Holladay famously offered the Overland also Trail to run mail and also passengers to Salt Lake City, Utah, via stagecoaches in the early 1860s. Starting from Atchichild, Kansas, the trail descfinished right into Coloraperform prior to looping ago as much as southern Wyoming and rejoining the Oregon Trail at Ft Bridger. The phase line operated till 1869, once completion of the First Transcontinental Railroad removed the require for mail organization by means of stagecoach.

Who Were the Settlers?

In the 1ninth century, as this particular day, relocating and founding a brand-new life took money. Due to the fact that of the initial price of rearea, land also, and also provides, and also months of preparing the soil, planting, and subsequent harvesting before any produce was ready for industry, the original wave of western settler-invaders alengthy the Oregon Trail in the 1840s and 1850s contained moderately prosperous, white, native-born farming households from the eastern. More current immigrants additionally migrated west, with the largest numbers coming from Northern Europe and Canada. Germans, Scandinavians, and also Irish were among the the majority of prevalent. Contrasted via European immigrants, those from China were a lot less many, yet still considerable.

In enhancement to a far-ranging European migration westward, a number of thousand also Afrihave the right to Americans moved west complying with the Civil War, as a lot to escape the racism and violence of the Old South regarding find new economic avenues. The latter were were recognized as exodusters, referencing the biblical trip from Egypt, bereason they fled the racism of the South, through many headed to Kansas from Kentucky, Tennesview, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas. By 1890, over 500,000 African Americans lived west of the Mississippi River.

The Western Frontier

As the nation broadened westward, inhabitants were encouraged by opportunities to farm the land or “make it rich” via livestock or gold.

Learning Objectives

Describe the conditions common in western frontier towns

Key Takeaways

Key PointsWhile the inspiration for private profit overcame much of the movement westward, the federal government played a sustaining function in securing land also and also preserving legislation and order.The rigors of life in the West presented many challenges to homesteaders, such as dry and also barren land also, droughts, insect swarms, shorteras of materials, and also shed plants.Although homestead farming was the primary goal of many western inhabitants in the latter half of the 1nine century, a small minority sought to make fortunes conveniently with various other implies, such as gold or livestock.The American West became infamous for its tough mining towns, such as Deadtimber, South Dakota and also Tombrock, Arizona, and also entrepreneurs in these and various other communities set up stores and businesses to cater to the miners.Key TermsHomesteading: A way of living of self-sufficiency identified by subsistence farming and residence preservation of foodstuffs; it might or might not also involve the small-scale production of textiles, apparel, and also craftwork for household usage or sale.

Moving West

The Federal Role

While the impetus for personal profit dominated much of the motion westward, the federal federal government played a sustaining duty in securing land also and keeping regulation and also order. Regardless of the Jeffersonian aversion to, and also mistrust of, federal power, the government bore more greatly right into the West than any other region, fueled by the principles of manifest destiny. Due to the fact that regional federal governments in western frontier towns were regularly nonexistent or weak, westerners depended upon the federal federal government to protect them and their rights.

The federal government establimelted a sequence of actions related to manage over western lands. First, it sent surveyors and also explorers to map and also record the land and eventually obtain western region from other nations or Amerideserve to Indian tribes by treaty or pressure. Next off, it ordered federal troops to clear out and also subdue any kind of resistance from Amerihave the right to Indians. It subsidized the building and construction of railroad lines to facilitate westward migration, and also finally, it establiburned administrations to manage the land also (such as the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Land Office, US Geological Survey, and also Foremainder Service). By the end of the 1ninth century, the federal government had actually amassed excellent dimension, power, and influence in national affairs.


Transportation was a key worry in westward growth. The Military (especially the Army Corps of Engineers) was given full duty for facilitating navigating on the rivers. The steamwatercraft, first offered on the Ohio River in 1811, made inexpensive take a trip making use of the river systems feasible. The Mississippi and Missouri Rivers and their tributaries were specifically supplied for this purpose. Army explorations up the Missouri River from 1818 to 1825 allowed designers to boost the technology. For instance, the Army’s steamwatercraft, the Western Engineer, of 1819 unified an extremely shallow draft via among the earliest stern wheels. During this duration, Colonel Henry Atkinchild emerged keelwatercrafts with hand-powered paddle wheels.

In enhancement to river travel, the Oregon and also Overland Trails permitted for enhanced travel and migration to the West. The completion of the first transcontinental railroad in 1869 dramatically changed the pace of take a trip in the country, as people were able to finish in a week a course that had formerly taken months.

Life in the West


The rigors of life in the West presented many kind of challenges and also difficulties to homesteaders. The land also was dry and also barren, and also homesteaders lost plants to hail, droughts, insect swarms, and other obstacles. Tright here were few materials with which to develop, and beforehand dwellings were made of mud, which did not stand up to the elements. Money was a constant issue, as the price of railroad freight was exorbitant, and also banks were unforproviding of bad harvests. For women, life was specifically difficult; farm wives operated at least 11 hours a day on chores and had limited accessibility to medical professionals or midwives. Still, many woguys were more independent than their eastern countercomponents and operated in partnership via their husbands.

As the railroad expanded and also much better farm tools became available, by the 1870s, big ranches started to succeed via economic climates of range. Yet small farms still struggled to remain afloat, bring about increasing discontent among the farmers, that operated so difficult for so little success.

Western Frontier Towns

Although homestead farming was the primary goal of the majority of western inhabitants in the last half of the 19th century, a tiny minority sneed to make their fortunes quickly via various other implies. Specifically, gold (and also ultimately silver and also copper) prospecting attracted countless miners looking to get wealthy conveniently prior to returning East. In addition, ranchers capitalized on newly obtainable railroad lines to move longhorn steers that inhabited southern and western Texas. This meat was extremely sought after in eastern industries, and also the demand produced not only rich ranchers but an age of cowboys and cattle drives that in many means specifies just how we think of the West this day. Although neither miners nor ranchers intfinished to remain permanently in the West, many kind of people from both teams ultimately remained and settled there.

The American West ended up being infamous for its tough mining communities. Deadtimber, South Dakota, in the Black Hills, was an archetypal late gold town started in 1875. Although the town was much from any kind of railroad, 20,000 world lived tbelow as of 1876. Tombstone, Arizona was a notorious mining tvery own that flouriburned longer than the majority of, from 1877 to 1929. Silver was uncovered tright here in 1877, and by 1881 the town had actually a populace of over 10,000. Entrepreneurs in these and also other towns erected stores and also businesses to cater to the miners. Gambling and also prostitution were central to life in these western communities, and just later―as the female population increased and also reformers relocated in―did prostitution become rather less common.

The popular image of the Wild West depicted in publications, television, and film has been one of violence and mayhem. The lure of quick riches through mining or driving cattle meant that much of the West indeed contained unstable guys living a turbulent life, although the violence was exaggerated and even glorified in the dime-save novels of the day. The exploits of Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, and also others made for good stories, but the reality was that western violence was more isolated than the stories could imply. These clashes often arisen as people struggled for the scarce resources that might make or break their chance at wide range, or as they dealt with the sudden riches or poverty that prospecting provided.

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As well-off guys lugged their families west, the lawmuch less landscape slowly began to change. Abilene, Kansas is one example of a lawmuch less town, replete with prostitutes, gambling, and other vices, that transdeveloped when middle-class womales arrived in the 1880s through their husbands. These woguys started to organize churches, institutions, public clubs, and various other community programs to promote household worths.