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An investigation on the factors that influenced manifest destiny and americas westward expansion

Why, were other reasoning wanting, in favor of now elevating this question of the reception of Texas into the Union, out of the lower region of our past party dissensions, up to its proper level of a high and broad nationality, it surely is to be found, found abundantly, in the manner in which other nations have undertaken to intrude themselves into it, between us and the proper parties to the case, in a spirit of hostile interference against us, for the avowed object of thwarting our policy and hampering our power, limiting our greatness and checking the fulfillment of our manifest destiny to overspread the continent allotted by Providence for the free development of our yearly multiplying millions.

First, many Americans believed that the strength of American values and institutions justified moral claims to hemispheric leadership. Second, the lands on the North American continent west of the Mississippi River and later into the Caribbean were destined for political and agricultural improvement helmed by American example.

Third, Americans who supported expansion believed that God and the Constitution the political manifestation of divine perfection ordained an irrepressible destiny to accomplish redemption and democratization throughout the world. In every age of the world, there has been a leading nation, one of a more generous sentiment, whose eminent citizens were willing to stand for the interests of general justice and humanity, at the risk of being called, by the men of the moment, chimerical and fantastic.

Which should be that nation but these States? Which should lead that movement, if not New England? Who should lead the leaders, but the Young American?

The War and Westward Expansion

Abraham Lincoln summed up this criticism with a fair amount of sarcasm during a speech in 1859: He is a great friend of humanity; and his desire for land is not selfish, but merely an impulse to extend the area of freedom. In knowledge he is particularly rich. But westward expansion did not come without a cost.

Artistic propaganda like this promoted the national project of manifest destiny. Columbia, the female figure of America, leads Americans into the West and into the future by carrying the values of republicanism as seen through her Roman garb and progress shown through the inclusion of technological innovations like the telegraph and clearing native peoples and animals, seen being pushed into the darkness.

John Gast, American Progress, 1872. Antebellum Western Migration and Indian Removal After the War of 1812, Americans settled the Great Lakes region rapidly thanks in part to aggressive land sales by the federal government. Farther north, lead and iron ore mining spurred development in Wisconsin.

By the 1830s and 1840s, increasing numbers of German and Scandinavian immigrants joined easterners in settling the Upper Mississippi watershed. Go west, before you are fitted for no life but that of the factory. However, the vast west was not empty. American Indians controlled much of the land east of the Mississippi River and almost all the West. Expansion hinged on a federal policy of Indian removal. The harassment and dispossession of American Indians — whether driven by official U. Of course, a fair bit of racism was part of the equation as well.

The political and legal processes of expansion always hinged on the belief that white Americans could best use new lands and opportunities. This belief rested upon the belief that only Americans embodied the democratic ideals of yeoman agriculturalism extolled by Thomas Jefferson and expanded under Jacksonian democracy. The most important factors that led to the annexation of Florida included anxieties over runaway slaves, Spanish neglect of the region, and the desired defeat of Native American tribes who controlled large portions of lucrative farm territory.

By the second decade of the 1800s, Anglo settlers occupied plantations along the St. Johns River, from the border with Georgia to Lake George 100 miles upstream.

Spain began to lose control of the sparsely European-populated Florida as the area quickly became a haven for slave smugglers bringing illicit human cargo into the U. Plantation owners grew apprehensive about the growing numbers of slaves running to the swamps and American Indian controlled areas of Florida. American slave owners pressured the U. Southern slave owners refused to quietly accept the continued presence of armed blacks in Florida.

During the War of 1812, a ragtag assortment of Georgia slave owners joined by a plethora of armed opportunists seized Fernandina and raided Spanish and British-owned plantations along the St.

These private citizens received U. Americans also held that Creek and Seminole Indians, occupying the area from the Apalachicola River to the wet prairies and hammock islands of central Florida, were dangers in their own right. Envious eyes looked upon these lands. After bitter conflict that often pitted Americans against a collection of Native Americans and former slaves, Spain eventually agreed to transfer an investigation on the factors that influenced manifest destiny and americas westward expansion territory to the U.

However, the influx of settlers into the Florida territory was temporarily halted in the mid-1830s by the outbreak of the Second Seminole War 1835-1842. Free-blacks and escaped slaves also occupied the Seminole district; a situation that deeply troubled slave owners and constituted one of the major causes of the three Seminole Wars, between 1817 and 1858.

Presidents, since at least Thomas Jefferson, had long discussed removal, but President Andrew Jackson an investigation on the factors that influenced manifest destiny and americas westward expansion the most dramatic action. Congress passed the Indian Removal Act in 1830, thereby granting the president authority to begin treaty negotiations that would give American Indians land in the West for their lands east of the Mississippi.

Jackson emphasized this paternalism—the belief that the government was acting in the best interest of Native peoples— in his 1830 State of the Union Address. Despite many tribal members adopting some Euro-American ways, including intensified agriculture, slave ownership, and Christianity; state and federal governments pressured the Choctaw, Chickasaw, Creek, and Cherokee nations to sign treaties and surrender land. Many of these tribal nations used the law in hopes of preventing the seizing of their lands.

Beginning in 1826, Georgian officials asked the federal government to negotiate with the Cherokee to secure lucrative lands. Georgia grew impatient with the process of negotiation and abolished existing state agreements with the Cherokee that had guaranteed rights of movement and jurisdiction of tribal law.

Andrew Jackson penned a letter soon after taking office that encouraged the Cherokee, among others, to voluntarily relocate to the West. The discovery of gold in Georgia in the fall of 1829 further antagonized the situation. The Cherokee appealed to the Supreme Court against Georgia to prevent dispossession.

Regardless of these rulings, the state government ignored the Supreme Court and did little to prevent conflict between settlers and the Cherokee. Jackson wanted a solution that might preserve peace and his reputation. These negotiations opened a rift within the Cherokee nation that pitted John Ridge and his treaty-supporting faction against another Cherokee official, John Ross, and his Cherokee national faction — a group supportive of peace but refusing any removal treaty.

The Jackson administration refused any deal that fell short of large-scale removal of the Cherokee from Georgia, thereby fueling a devastating and violent intra-tribal battle between the two factions. Eventually tensions grew to the point that several treaty advocates were assassinated by members of the national faction.

In 1835, a portion of the Cherokee Nation hoping to prevent further tribal bloodshed signed the Treaty of New Echota, ceding lands in Georgia for five million dollars and, the signatories hoped, limiting future conflicts between the Cherokee and white settlers.

However, most of the tribe refused to adhere to the terms, viewing the treaty as illegitimately negotiated and signed by John Ridge. In response, John Ross pointed out the U. We did so—you asked us to form a republican government: Adopting your own as our model. You asked us to cultivate the earth, and learn the mechanic arts.

You asked us to learn to read. You asked us to cast away our idols and worship your god. Now you demand we cede to you our lands. That we will not do. Sixteen thousand Cherokee began the journey, but harsh weather, poor planning, and difficult travel resulted in between 3,000-4,000 deaths on what became known as the Trail of Tears. Not every instance was as treacherous as the Cherokee example and some tribes resisted removal. But over 60,000 Indians were forced west by the opening of the Civil War.

Indian removal also took place to a lesser degree in northern lands; the allure of manifest destiny encouraged expansion regardless of terrain or locale. In the Old Northwest, Odawa and Ojibwe communities in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota, resisted removal as many lived on land north of desirable farming land.

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Moreover, some Ojibwe and Odawa individuals purchased land independently. They formed successful alliances with missionaries to help advocate against removal, as well as some traders and merchants who depended on trade with Native peoples. Despite the disaster of removal, tribal nations slowly rebuilt their cultures and in some cases even achieved prosperity in Indian Territory.

Tribal nations blended traditional cultural practices, including common land systems, with western practices including constitutional governments, common school systems, and an elite slaveholding class.

How did the idea of Manifest Destiny influence America's western migration?

The forced-migration of American Indian nations to the near West and ongoing conflicts between white settlers and those newly arrived migrants was not the only contest for power between indigenous populations and easterners. Beginning in the late eighteenth-century, the Comanche rose to power in the Southern Plains region of what is now the southwestern United States. By quickly adapting to horse culture first introduced by the Spanish, the Comanche transitioned from a foraging economy into a mixed hunting and pastoral society.

While the new Mexican nation-state, after 1821, claimed the region as part of the Northern Mexican frontier, they had little control. Instead, the Comanche controlled the power and economy of the Southern Plains. A flexible political structure allowed the Comanche to dominate other Indian groups as well as Mexican and American settlers. In the 1830s, the Comanche launched raids into northern Mexico, ending what had been an unprofitable but peaceful diplomatic relationship with Mexico.

At the same time, they forged new trading relationships with Anglo-American traders in Texas. Throughout this period, the Comanche and several other independent Native groups, particularly the Kiowa, Apache, and Navajo engaged in thousands of violent encounters with Northern Mexicans. Collectively, these encounters comprised an ongoing war during the 1830s and 1840s as tribal nations vied for power and wealth.

By the 1840s, Comanche power peaked with an empire that controlled a vast territory in the trans-Mississippi west known as Comancheria. By trading in Texas and raiding in Northern Mexico, the Comanche controlled the flow of commodities, including captives, livestock, and trade goods. They practiced a fluid system of captivity and captive trading, rather than a rigid chattel system.

Manifest Destiny and America’s Westward Expansion

The Comanche used captives for economic exploitation but also adopted captives into kinship networks. This allowed for the assimilation of diverse peoples in the region into the empire. The ongoing conflict in the region had sweeping consequences on both Mexican and American politics. In the Great Basin region, Mexican Independence also escalated patterns of violence. This region, on the periphery of the Spanish empire, was nonetheless integrated in the vast commercial trading network of the West.

New forms of violence spread into the homelands of the Paiute and Western Shoshone as traders, settlers, and Mormon religious refugees, aided by U. This expansion of the American state into the Great Basin region meant groups such as the Ute, Cheyenne and Arapahoe had to compete over land, resources, captives, and trade relations with Anglo-Americans.

Eventually, white incursion and ongoing Indian Wars resulted in traumatic dispossession of land and struggle for subsistence. The federal government attempted more than relocation of Americans Indians. However, providing schooling for American Indians under the auspices of the Civilization program also allowed the federal government to further justify taking more land. Removal and Americanization reinforced Americans sense of cultural dominance.

After removal in the 1830s, the Cherokee, Choctaw, and Chickasaw began to collaborate with missionaries to build school systems of their own.