Jasmine Spiller Frank
Final: Manifest Destiny
Manifest Destiny has played a vital role in the growth of American governments, power, and for sure land acquisitions in western territories. Events such as the colonial influence, the acts of war, the Mexican war, and the aftermaths of Manifest Destiny has helped shape American into what we know of it now.
All throughout the history of the development of the so-called “New World to present day America was grounded on religious viewpoints. Although the phrase Manifest destiny started in the nineteenth century, the Puritans shipped to America in the early seventeenth century played a significant role in the beginning of the sole idea. The slogan “Shining City upon a hill,” was stated by a Puritan by the name of John Winthrop, who was also the governor of the Massachusetts Bay, while on his way to America. Puritans believed that their survival in the Americas would be a sign of God’s approval of their decisions and that it was their sole duty to spread their religion and knowledge to those who they deemed less befitting, I am referring to the Indians who they saw as inhumane savages. During the period of Manifest Destiny in 1830, the American people also like the early Puritans believed that it was their god given right to share their culture and ways of government to get rid of tyranny governments. Although their main goal was to obtain land from the east coast all the way to the west coast, which is present-day California. The Puritans and any other new coming settlers came to America not only looking for religious freedom, but also in the ability to prosper in land and riches. Like the early English settlers, the present-day citizens also wanted land that spread across the entire continent and the fortune that came along including the gold in California and the vast amount of agricultural land especially found in Texas. This belief that dated back to the original settlers made Manifest destiny a religious tool in justifying the fact that America was now going to do everything in its power to fulfill this responsibility no matter who or what was in their way.
Manifest destiny was not accomplished peacefully. Given American history of starting wars in times of disagreement, their attempt in achieving their goals in this situation was just about the same. In order to achieve the amount of land needed the Americans had to find a way to obtain lands such as Texas, Oregon, and California. John Q. Adams and Andrew Jackson attempted to buy Tejas (present-day Texas) from the Mexican government, but instead the Mexican government decided that they would allow the assimilation of American citizens on certain terms. Soon after the assimilation the American people began to ignore the rules and overpopulate the area causing the Mexican government to decide to ban any further immigration of American citizens in 1830. The Mexican government soon had an issue arise by the name of Antonio de Santa Ana de Lopez. Antonio de Santa Ana de Lopez took over the Mexican government and became the dictator of Mexico. The American Tejas (Americans living in Tejas) did not like this and soon found themselves demanding independence. The Tejas did not receive independence from the rule of Antonio until after a series of short wars from the Alamo to The Goliad Massacre. This giving reason that the only way to be heard is to fight for what you want. The Mexican dictator was soon forced to recognize Texas’ independence in 1836 and withdraw his forces. After that Texas decided that they wanted to join the United States, but both Mexico and antislavery forces in the North of the United States opposed its entry into the Union. For almost a decade, Texas was an independent republic until 1845 when Texas joined the Union as the 28th state starting great debates. Soon after in 1884 a man named James Polk became the 11th president and used the American citizens love for bullying and expansion with his key slogan “54.40 or fight” (54.40 parallel marked the northern border of Oregon Territory). His slogan made it clear to the Americans that he would fight for what the people wanted. Although he decided behind closed doors a simple compromise would not hurt, upsetting many Americans in the Oregon Treaty, which only gave the US the 49th when they clearly decided in 54.40.
The final showdown towards reaching the goals of Manifest Destiny lied with the Mexican American War. After Texas gained its independence from Mexico in 1836 war was practically inevitable. The Mexican government warned that any attempt in the annexation of Texas would result in war. With Polk’s interest, already being in the expansion in California and New Mexico, he decided to start an altercation by going into land owned by Mexico, somewhere between the Rio Grande and Nueces River. After getting denied a meeting to purchase the land and getting attack by Mexican soldiers, Polk had no other choice but to declare war on Mexico. The Rio de Grande was quickly overpowered. Meanwhile, the Americans in California used the war as an excuse to rebel against Mexican rule. By 1847 Mexico lost control of California and The Mexican War officially ended with the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo, which was signed in February 1848. Although Polk wanted more land, Nicholas Trist developed a treaty that would be favorable to the Mexicans known as the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo. Luckily in 1853, with the Gadsden Purchase (the southernmost part of Arizona and New Mexico), the southern continental border of the United States was established and Manifest Destiny was complete.
The results of Manifest Destiny were not worth the collateral damage suffered by non- Americans.
In the end, the United States was able to reach their goal of expanding westwards as planned, but the external damage was too great to see this as a success. The American government fought so many battles just to continue a war with itself once they ran out of enemies to fight. Manifest Destiny did inherit America more land and fortune but it also brought more conflict in the end. Instead of coinciding and living in peace America greed will make it its own downfall. During the Mexican American war, a group of military school cadets decided that committing suicide was better than surrendering. Slaves in their same situations and Indians were already forced out their lands. The deaths of the Mexicans were bad but the civilians’ numbers were in the thousands.
Colonial ideas of freedom, wealth, and land fueled Manifest destiny alongside the American citizens demanding wants for a system free of government tyrannical rule. Colonial influences were soon resurfacing and twisted in a way that promoted the actions of westward expansion. In times of progress also come great sacrifices that needed to be made and wars that needed to be fought. Although what seemed to be a triumph was only a grace period before more conflict occurred.