Question:Explain the philosophy of “Manifest Destiny.” What forces created this concept, and what did it look like in practice? Meaning, how did the official American policy on expansion support the philosophical underpinnings of “Manifest Destiny.”The philosophical underpinnings of “Manifest Destiny”, was that the land was west of the Mississippi River was the United States’s for the taking, and the expansion of America was inevitable. The American policy on expansion was that they were willing to fight wars, and take people out of their homes for this to happen.
The man who first used this term, John O’Sullivan a New York journalist, truly believed that the Oregon Territory and Texas should be annexed into the United States. The U.S.
was prepared to endanger the lives of over 15 million people, both soldier, and civilian. “Manifest Destiny” was used to justify violence, and slaughter, that could have been avoided. The Louisiana Purchase cost 15 million dollars and doubled the size of the U.S. There where both supporters and people who didn’t like the idea of the purchase. One such person was Alexander Hamilton. In an editorial written by Hamilton, for the New York Evening Post, it says “On the whole, we think it may with candor be said that, whether the possession at this time of any territory west of the river Mississippi will be advantageous, is at best extremely problematical” (LP: DA). Hamilton believes that nothing good will come out of the purchase and the U.
S. will regret following through with it. America would be spread too thin and couldn’t protect themselves if needed. Another enemy of the purchase, Rufus King, a New York Senator, worries about the constitutionality of adding states. He writes, in a letter to another Senator “Can the Executive by treaty admit them, or, what is the equivalent, enter into engagements binding Congress to do so?” (LA: DB). King wonders if it’s possible constitutionally, for states to be annexed in through a treaty. In the end, an amendment was not made, and the Louisiana Territory was annexed. Florida was bought from Spain, after years of negotiation for about $5 million.
Before they reached a consensus, the first Seminole War started. The U.S. authorities were trying to recapture runaway slaves that had run to Florida for safety.
The Seminole tribes refused to give them up, and the U.S. saw reason to go to war. General Jackson captured a Spanish fort and tried to dispose of the government, his actions caused two more wars; “Two more wars ensured (1835-1842), (1855- 1858), which ultimately resulted in the confiscation of the Seminoles’ land for white settlement” (F: FSW). The first war was caused by the fact that, the Seminole tribes wouldn’t give up the slaves, and who can blame them. Slaves were treated horribly and didn’t have any rights. The U.
S. was so caught up in this idea, of “Manifest Destiny” that they slaughtered seven men, one woman and two kids of the Chehaw tribe, allies to the U.S. during the first Seminole war. “Manifest Destiny” was used defend the actions of this war, that was never necessary. Texas declared independence from Mexico in 1836. The idea “Manifest Destiny” lead our country to believe that it was our mission to extend its border, and annexing Texas wasn’t the last step.
Mexico according to the Texas Declaration of Independence wasn’t protecting Texan’s anymore. On March 2nd, 1836, the Texas Declaration of Independence was signed. The preamble states, ” the mexican government has ceased to protect the lives liberty and property of the people… as well as the inalienable rights” (T: DA). Texas believed that Mexico had mistreated them and had not protected them.
After the U.S. annexed Texas they set their eyes on Californian. O’Sullivan writes “California will probably next fall away from (Mexico)” (MAW: DA). American wanted California but Mexico wouldn’t give it up. It’s not for sure who started the Mexican-American War, or known by Mexicans as “The U.
S Invasion”. The problems started the questioning of where the Texas and Mexico border was. American soldiers were shot at, according to the US, on Texas territory. According to Mexico, the US was invading Mexican territory. The entire war had over 40,000 casualties, both Mexican and American, and to think it could have been avoided had the US taken the warning given by Mexico seriously. Mexico told them that annexing Texas would be seen a sign of war and the US didn’t pay heed to their warning. During a war, it’s kill or be killed, and some Mexican civilians were killed in both New Mexico and California for resisting the US’ annexation claims.
The Mexican American War was driven by the United States social and political pressures to expand its territory. Oregon Territory was claimed in the 1600s by four countries, US, Britain, Russia, and Spain. By the mid-1820’s, only America and Britain remained.
They agreed to split the territory, this lasted 28 years. With the issue with Texas still happening, there was a split in Congress. The northerners wanted Oregon Territory while the southerners didn’t, it would add a non-slave state. President James K. Polk got elected into office, on the platform that he would acquire Texas, California and all of the Oregon Territory. The first proposal for a border was at the 49th parallel bisecting Vancouver Island, Britain refused the proposal; “President Polk then took a bolder position by reasserting his campaign to promise to support the 54° 40′ line” (O).
Northerners cheered on President Polk’s actions with shouts of “Fifty-Four Forty or Fight”, while the southerners made sure that people knew that they wouldn’t risk a war with Britain over Oregon. Once the Mexican-American War started though, the Senate was so preoccupied with that war, that they agreed to set the boundary at the 49th parallel. “Manifest destiny” was a concept that O’Sullivan came up with, that caused thousands of lives. The feeling of “Manifest destiny” caused leaders to make reckless decisions, that resulted in devastation within America and other countries. It was used to defend actions that didn’t need to be made. For the sole purpose of expansion, the US went to War twice, and almost a third. America justified its action by saying it was their purpose on earth to expand to the west coast.
Violence and slaughter could have been avoided, and the US used “Manifest Destiny” to explain their actions. LP: Louisiana Purchase FSW: First Seminole WarMAW: Mexican-American War