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Manifest Destiny

            The early settlers of the original thirteen colonies were brought to the New World in search of a life free of religious persecution. They hoped to begin a new society in which a freedom would be forever a part of both their own and their descendents" lives. By the 19th century, America had grown significantly from the original thirteen colonies. The United States was comprised of all its present territory minus Hawaii and Alaska. The hopes and dreams of many were invested in the exploration and acquisition of new, unconquered land. Born of their forefather's previous struggles to remove themselves from the oppression of others, a desire to spread American societal values further westward came to be one of the premier issues of the mid-1800s. This thirst to expand was outlined in an ideology that became known as Manifest Destiny. The concept of Manifest Destiny was intended to be seen as an altruistic attempt to spread American influence and to somehow "assist" the indigent peoples in overcoming their savage, heathen ways so that they, too, could become good, productive members of American, subjugation and removal of the native inhabitants from their homelands. Throughout the remainder of this essay, I will discuss how 19th century American's desire to fulfill their ancestor's will of spreading freedom throughout the land ironically became the source of oppression of the native people. .
             Manifest Destiny was a direct result of the combination of American nationalism and a vision of social perfection. Inflamed by publication in the penny press papers and the rhetoric of soapbox politicians, its ideology was based in politics. As with all political issues, there were different opinions as to what Manifest Destiny truly meant. For some expansion was limited to just wanting to settle the west. Others wanted the west and beyond. Some Americans wanted to United States to include Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and the Pacific Islands.

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