Manifest Destiny

Manifest destiny was the 19th century U.S. idea that the nation had actually a divine ideal to expand throughout and also take over the continent.

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Key Takeaways

Key PointsThe concept of manifest destiny, coined by a newspaper editor, justified Amerihave the right to development throughout the continent.The phrase “manifest destiny” suggested that expansion across the Amerideserve to continent was apparent, inescapable, and also a magnificent ideal of the USA.Manifest destiny was used by Democrats in the 1840s to justify the battle via Mexico.While many type of writers focus generally on UNITED STATE expansionism when pointing out manifest destiny, others see a more comprehensive expression of belief in the country’s “mission” in the civilization.Key Termsexpansionism: A nation’s policy of broadening its region or financial influence.manifest destiny: The political doctrine or idea held by the USA, especially during its expansion, that the nation had a unique duty and magnificent best to expand westward and gain regulate over the continent.exceptionalism: In the USA, the idea that the country does not concreate to an established norm, and also rather has actually a special and also divine duty to play.

Amerideserve to Expansionism

Manifest destiny was the 1nine century UNITED STATE belief that the nation (and also more especially, the white Anglo-Saxon race within it) was destined to expand also across the continent. Democrats supplied the term in the 1840s to justify the war via Mexico. The idea was largely denounced by Whigs and also fell right into disusage after the mid-1nine century. Advocates of manifest destiny thought that development was not just wise, but that it was conveniently evident (manifest) and also might not be prevented (destiny).

The concept of UNITED STATE expansionism is in truth a lot 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 also the ongoing wars against and also compelled removal of the Amerihave the right to Indians indigenous to the lands. In 1845, John L. O’Sullivan, a New York newspaper editor, presented the concept of “manifest destiny” in the July/August problem of the United States Magazine and Democratic Review, in an post titled, “Annexation.” The term explained the very renowned principle of the distinct role of the United States in overtaking the continent—the divine appropriate and duty of white Americans to seize and work out the continent’s western territory, therefore spreading Protestant, democratic values.

Manifest Destiny and Politics

In this climate of opinion, voters in 1844 chosen right into the presidency James K. Polk, a slaveholder from Tennescheck out, bereason he vowed to annex Texas as a brand-new slave state, and also to take Oregon. “Manifest destiny” was a term Democrats mostly offered to support the Polk Administration’s growth plans. The idea of growth was likewise sustained by Whigs like Henry Clay, Daniel Webster, and Abraham Lincoln, who wanted to expand also the nation’s economic climate. John C. Calhoun was a noteworthy Democrat that primarily opposed his party on the concern, which dropped out of favor by 1860.

Manifest destiny was a general notion fairly than a certain policy. The term unified a belief in expansionism via other famous ideas of the era, consisting of US exceptionalism and also Romantic nationalism. While many authors have concentrated on US expansionism when discussing manifest destiny, others see in the term a more comprehensive expression of a belief in the United States’ “mission” in the people, which has meant different points to different human being over the years. For instance, the idea in an UNITED STATE mission to promote and also protect democracy throughout the human being, as expounded by Lincoln and Woodrow Wilkid, continues to affect US political ideology to this particular day.

The angel Columbia was a photo frequently offered at the time to personify the USA. Originating from the name of Christopher Columbus, it was initially provided for the 13 nests and remained the dominant image for the female personification of the United States till the Statue of Liberty disput it in the 1920s. During the era of manifest destiny, many images were produced of Columbia spreading democracy and also various other USA worths throughout the western lands.


Key Takeaways

Key PointsThe Oregon Trail covered roughly 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 trappers. Each year, as even more settlers brought wagon trains alengthy the trail, brand-new cutoff paths were found that made the course shorter and also safer.The Overland also Stage Company type of used the Overland Trail to run mail and passengers to Salt Lake City, Utah.Both the Oregon and Overland also Trail ended up being obsolete once the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad made traveling west safer, less complicated, and cheaper.The original wave of western settler-intruders along the Oregon and Overland also Trails included moderately prosperous, white, US-born farming family members from the eastern.More recent immigrants also migrated west, through the largest numbers coming from Northern Europe and also Canada. Several thousand also Afrideserve to Americans also moved west adhering to the Civil War.Key TermsOregon Trail: A 2,000-mile (3,200 km), historical east-west wagon course that linked the Missouri River to valleys in Oregon and also areas in in between.Overland also Trail: A stagecoach and also wagon trail in the Amerihave the right to west in the time of the 1ninth century.Transcontinental Railroad: A continuous train line in the United States that traveled across the nation and associated the Pacific shore to the Atlantic shore.

Oregon Trail

The Oregon Trail was a 2,000-mile, historic east-west wagon route and emiapprove trail that connected the Missouri River to valleys in Oregon and locations in in between. The eastern part of the trail spanned part of the future state of Kansas and nearly all of what are now the says of Nebraska and also Wyoming. The western fifty percent of the trail extended most of then future claims of Idaho and also Oregon.


The starts of the Oregon Trail were lhelp by hair trappers and traders from around 1811 to 1840; these at an early stage trails were just passable on foot or by horseback. By 1836, when the initially migrant wagon train was arranged in Independence, Missouri, a wagon trail had actually been cleared to Fort Hall, Idaho. Wagon trails were cleared progressively further west, ultimately reaching the Willamette Valley in Oregon. Each year, as even more inhabitants lugged wagon trains alengthy the trail, brand-new cutoff were uncovered that made the path shorter and also safer. Imverified roadways, ferries, and bridges also improved the expedition. Tright here were assorted offshoots in Missouri, Iowa, and also the Nebraska Territory; the converged along the lower Platte River Valley near Fort Kearny, Nebraska Territory and also led to affluent farmlands west of the Rocky Mountains.

From the beforehand to mid-1830s, and also specifically through the epochal years of 1846–1869, about 400,000 inhabitants, ranchers, farmers, miners, and businessguys and also their households provided the Oregon Trail and also its many offshoots. The eastern half of the trail was also supplied by travelers on the California Trail (from 1843), Bozeman Trail (from 1863), and also Mormon Trail (from 1847), who supplied many type of of the very same trails prior to turning off to their separate desticountries. Use of the trail decreased as the initially transcontinental railroad was completed in 1869, making the pilgrimage west significantly much faster, cheaper, and safer. Today, modern-day highmethods such as Interstate 80 follow the exact same course westward and also pass through towns initially established to company the Oregon Trail.

Overland Trail

The Overland Trail (also known as the Overland Stage Line) was a stagecoach and also wagon trail in the American west during the 19th century. While explorers and trappers had actually used parts of the course because the 1820s, the Overland Trail was the majority of heavily provided in the 1860s as an alternative route to the Oregon, California, and also Mormon Trails with main Wyoming. The Overland also Stage Company type of owned by Ben Holladay famously offered the Overland Trail to run mail and also passengers to Salt Lake City, Utah, using stagecoaches in the beforehand 1860s. Starting from Atchichild, Kansas, the trail descended into Coloraexecute prior to looping ago approximately southern Wyoming and also rejoining the Oregon Trail at Fort Bridger. The phase line operated until 1869, as soon as completion of the First Transcontinental Railroad removed the require for mail company through stagecoach.

Who Were the Settlers?

In the 19th century, as today, relocating and beginning a brand-new life took money. Because of the initial price of replace, land, and gives, and months of preparing the soil, planting, and succeeding harvesting before any type of produce was ready for sector, the original wave of western settler-intruders alengthy the Oregon Trail in the 1840s and 1850s contained moderately thriving, white, native-born farming family members from the east. More current immigrants additionally moved west, via the largest numbers coming from Northern Europe and Canada. Germans, Scandinavians, and Irish were among the many prevalent. Compared through European immigrants, those from China were a lot much less plenty of, yet still substantial.

In addition to a far-ranging European migration westward, numerous thousand Afrihave the right to Americans migrated west adhering to the Civil War, as a lot to escape the racism and also violence of the Old South regarding discover brand-new economic avenues. The last were were well-known as exodusters, referencing the biblical trip from Egypt, because they fled the racism of the South, with a lot of headed to Kansas from Kentucky, Tenneswatch, Louisiana, Mississippi, and also Texas. By 1890, over 500,000 African Americans lived west of the Mississippi River.

The Western Frontier

As the country expanded westward, inhabitants were urged by avenues to farm the land also or “make it rich” via livestock or gold.

Learning Objectives

Describe the conditions widespread in western frontier towns

Key Takeaways

Key PointsWhile the incentive for exclusive profit overcame a lot of the motion westward, the federal federal government played a supporting role in securing land also and also keeping regulation and also order.The rigors of life in the West presented many type of obstacles to homesteaders, such as dry and barren land also, droughts, insect swarms, shortperiods of products, and lost crops.Although homestead farming was the main goal of a lot of western inhabitants in the last half of the 19th century, a tiny minority sneed to make fortunes conveniently via other indicates, such as gold or cattle.The Amerihave the right to West came to be notorious for its tough mining communities, such as Deadlumber, South Dakota and Tombrock, Arizona, and entrepreneurs in these and various other communities put up stores and also businesses to cater to the miners.Key TermsHomesteading: A way of living of self-sufficiency characterized by subsistence farming and also residence preservation of foodstuffs; it may or may not additionally involve the small-range production of textiles, clothes, and also craftoccupational for household usage or sale.

Moving West

The Federal Role

While the inspiration for private profit overcame a lot of the motion westward, the federal federal government played a supporting function in securing land also and also keeping legislation and order. Regardless of the Jeffersonian avariation to, and also mistrust of, federal power, the federal government bore even more heavily right into the West than any various other area, sustained by the principles of manifest destiny. Because regional governments in western frontier communities were regularly nonexistent or weak, westerners depended upon the federal federal government to protect them and also their legal rights.

The federal federal government establimelted a sequence of actions related to regulate over western lands. First, it sent out surveyors and also explorers to map and record the land and inevitably obtain western region from various other nations or Amerideserve to Indian tribes by treaty or pressure. Next, it ordered federal troops to clear out and also subdue any resistance from Amerideserve to Indians. It subsidized the building and construction of railroad lines to facilitate westward migration, and lastly, it establiburned administrations to manage the land (such as the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Land Office, US Geological Survey, and Foremainder Service). By the end of the 19th century, the federal federal government had amassed good size, power, and affect in national affairs.


Transportation was an essential concern in westward expansion. The Army (particularly the Military Corps of Engineers) was offered full responsibility for facilitating navigating on the rivers. The steamboat, initially offered on the Ohio River in 1811, made inexpensive take a trip making use of the river systems possible. The Mississippi and Missouri Rivers and their tributaries were specifically used for this objective. Military explorations up the Missouri River from 1818 to 1825 permitted designers to improve the modern technology. For instance, the Army’s steamwatercraft, the Western Engineer, of 1819 merged a very shenable draft via among the earliest stern wheels. During this period, Colonel Henry Atkinkid occurred keelboats with hand-powered paddle wheels.

In enhancement to river take a trip, the Oregon and Overland also Trails enabled for increased take a trip and migration to the West. The completion of the first transcontinental railroad in 1869 dramatically adjusted the pace of take a trip in the country, as civilization were able to complete in a week a path that had actually formerly taken months.

Life in the West


The rigors of life in the West presented many kind of obstacles and challenges to homesteaders. The land was dry and barren, and also homesteaders lost crops to hail, droughts, insect swarms, and also various other challenges. There were few products through which to develop, and early on residences were made of mud, which did not stand also up to the elements. Money was a continuous concern, as the cost of railroad freight was exorbitant, and also financial institutions were unforproviding of poor harvests. For woguys, life was specifically difficult; farm wives functioned at leastern 11 hrs a day on chores and had actually restricted accessibility to medical professionals or midwives. Still, many woguys were even more independent than their eastern counterparts and also operated in partnership with their husbands.

As the railroad broadened and much better farm devices became available, by the 1870s, large farms began to succeed with economic situations of range. Yet tiny ranches still struggled to remain afloat, bring about rising discontent among the farmers, who functioned so difficult for so bit success.

Western Frontier Towns

Although homestead farming was the primary goal of a lot of western inhabitants in the latter fifty percent of the 1ninth century, a tiny minority sneed to make their fortunes quickly through various other suggests. Specifically, gold (and ultimately silver and also copper) prospecting attracted hundreds of miners looking to obtain wealthy quickly prior to returning East. In addition, ranchers capitalized on recently available railroad lines to relocate longhorn steers that inhabited southerly and western Texas. This meat was extremely sought after in eastern sectors, and also the demand also developed not only well-off ranchers however an era of cowboys and livestock drives that in many means specifies just how we think of the West this particular day. Although neither miners nor ranchers intended to remajor permanently in the West, many type of individuals from both teams ultimately remained and also settled tbelow.

The American West ended up being well known for its tough mining communities. Deadhardwood, South Dakota, in the Babsence Hills, was an archetypal late gold town founded in 1875. Although the tvery own was much from any kind of railroad, 20,000 human being lived tright here as of 1876. Tombstone, Arizona was a notorious mining tvery own that flouriburned longer than a lot of, from 1877 to 1929. Silver was discovered there in 1877, and by 1881 the town had a populace of over 10,000. Entrepreneurs in these and various other towns set up stores and also businesses to cater to the miners. Gambling and prostitution were central to life in these western towns, and just later―as the female population raised and also reformers moved in―did prostitution come to be somewhat less widespread.

The well-known photo of the Wild West shown in books, television, and also film has been one of violence and also mayhem. The tempt of quick wide range through mining or driving livestock expected that much of the West indeed consisted of unstable men living a turbulent life, although the violence was exaggerated and even glorified in the dime-keep novels of the day. The exploits of Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, and others created good stories, however the reality was that western violence was more isolated than the stories could imply. These clashes often arisen as human being struggled for the scarce sources that could make or break their opportunity at riches, or as they dealt with the sudden wide range or poverty that prospecting provided.

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As rich men carried their family members west, the lawless landscape gradually began to change. Abilene, Kansas is one instance of a lawless town, replete with prostitutes, gambling, and also other vices, that transdeveloped as soon as middle-course womales arrived in the 1880s with their husbands. These woguys started to organize churches, colleges, public clubs, and also various other community programs to promote family members worths.