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Manifest Destiny

James Polk

Manifest Destiny: James Polk was the 11th American President who served in office from March 4, 1845 to March 4, 1849. One of the important events during his presidency was the idea of the Manifest Destiny of the United States.

Definition and Summary of the Manifest Destiny

Summary and definition: What does Manifest Destiny mean? The phrase encompassed the idea that Westward Expansion, and occupation the North American continent, was a divine right of the American people.

It was based on the belief of cultural and racial superiority over other nations and the obligation to bring civilization and enlightenment to other races. The phrase "Manifest Destiny" was coined by the journalist John O'Sullivan in 1845. The phrase "Manifest Destiny" is most frequently associated with the massive territorial expansion of the United States over just fifty years from 1803 to 1853 and its westward expansion to the Pacific Ocean.

Manifest Destiny for kids: Divine Obligation
The Manifest Destiny of the United States was believed by many Americans to be providence and God's will. The Manifest Destiny was interpreted as the fusion between God’s will and the nation’s character that indicated divine sanction to the westward expansion of the United States. The Second Great Awakening had revived the religious fervor of many Americans who were receptive to the idea of the Manifest Destiny and believed it was their 'divine obligation' to extend the lands of the United States of America.

Manifest Destiny for kids: John O'Sullivan
Who initiated the phrase Manifest Destiny? The man credited with initiating the phrase 'Manifest Destiny' was John O’Sullivan an influential writer and newspaper editor. In 1845 John O'Sullivan wrote two articles advocating the annexation of Texas and Oregon. In his first article John O'Sullivan he urged the United States to:
"Annex the Republic of Texas, not only because Texas desired this, but because it was our manifest destiny to overspread the continent allotted by Providence for the free development of our yearly multiplying millions."

John O'Sullivan used the phrase 'Manifest Destiny' again in his newspaper, the New York Morning News, December 27, 1845 stating that the United States had the right to claim: "...the whole of Oregon. And that claim is by the right of our manifest destiny to overspread and to possess the whole of the continent which Providence has given us for the development of the great experiment of liberty and federated self-government entrusted to us."

Manifest Destiny Timeline and Facts for kids
Interesting Manifest Destiny Facts and Timeline for kids are detailed below together with details of Westward expansion. The history of Manifest Destiny and the Westward expansion of the United States is told in a factual timeline sequence consisting of a series of short facts providing a simple method of relating the relevant, significant events that lead to the idea of the Manifest Destiny of the United States of America.

1775–1783: Victory in the American War of Independence (1775–1783) saw the U.S. acquisition of  first 13 colonies in the east from the British

1783: The Treaty of Paris ends the American Revolutionary War and establishes the early U.S. boundaries

1800: The religious revival movement called the Second Great Awakening reignites the religious fervor of Americans

1803: The Louisiana Purchase of lands from France extends US lands from the Mississippi River to the Rocky Mountains between the Gulf of Mexico and the Canadian border

1804: The Lewis and Clark Expedition explore and maps the US lands obtained in the 1803 Louisiana Purchase

1807: The Steamboats of the 1800's started to appear on western rivers

1811: The Construction of the Cumberland Road began in Maryland stretching 600 miles to the Northwest Territory. The era of road building began including the Turnpikes (Toll Roads)

1812: The War of 1812 resulted in a stalemate but the ability of the US to engage in warfare with Great Britain resulted in the people of America to think of itself as a unified and strong nation.

1813: The Creek War (1813–1814) resulted in U.S. victory over Creek Native  Indians resulting in the vast cession of their lands in Alabama and Georgia

1817: The economic plan advocated by Henry Clay, called the American System, was established creating a subsidized transportation infrastructure of new roads and canals

1817: Construction on the 363 mile Erie Canal begins allowing the passage of boats inland carrying produce and passengers from Atlantic Ocean to Lake Erie

1818: The 1818 Convention and Treaty with the British establishes the border with Canada at the 49th Parallel

1819: The Florida Treaty aka the Adams Onis Treaty sets out the boundary between the US and New Spain (now Mexico)

1820: The Land Act of 1820 led to the future confiscation of land from Native Americans and lower cost lands for settlers in the west

1821: The 900 mile Santa Fe Trail, one of America's great trade routes, opened running from Independence, Missouri, to Santa Fe (now New Mexico).

1828: The Stourbridge Lion was the first operational locomotive on an American railroad - refer to Railroads in the 1800s 

1830: The 1830 Indian Removal Act led to the forced migration of approximately 60,000 Native Americans between 1830 to 1840, including the journey on the infamous Trail of Tears.

1843: The first Important migration of settlers traveled together along the 2000 mile Oregon Trail in Wagon trains

1844: First telegraph line and the Morse Code is sent by Samuel Morse from Washington to Baltimore

1845:  Congress passed a "Joint Resolution for Annexing Texas to the United States" refer to Texas Annexation

1845: John O’Sullivan initiates the phrase 'Manifest Destiny'

1846: The Oregon Treaty settled the lands south of the 49th parallel as a United States possession

1848: The Mexican American War including the California Republic and the Bear Flag Revolt ended with the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo and the Mexican cession of lands

1849: The first conflicts of the Apache Wars (1849 -1924) erupted in the Southwest

1853: The Gadsden Purchase acquires territory in  Arizona and New Mexico

1854: The Sioux Wars (1854 - 1890) break out in South Dakota, Minnesota and Wyoming. Their leaders include Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull

1860: The Pony Express was a mail-delivery system and the most direct means of east–west communication before the telegraph was established

1862: The Homestead Act of 1862 encouraged 600,000 families to travel westwards by giving them land (usually 160 acres) almost free

1867: Alaska was purchased from Russia in 1867 for $7.2 million refer to the Purchase of Alaska

1869: The Transcontinental Railroad was completed joining the eastern and western halves of the United States

1872: The Manifest Destiny Painting called American Progress "Spirit of the Frontier" was painted  by John Gast

1876: The Battle of Little Bighorn when General George Custer and the 7th Cavalry were defeated by Native American warriors led by Chief Sitting Bull

1898: The Annexation of Hawaii ends the Manifest Destiny Timeline but the idea was rooted in the nation and led to the rise in Nativism in America

US American History
1841-1850: Westward Expansion

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