Manifest Destiny: Expansion, Impact, and Legacy

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About this sample

About this sample


Words: 709 |

Pages: 2|

4 min read

Published: Jan 31, 2024

Words: 709|Pages: 2|4 min read

Published: Jan 31, 2024

Table of contents

  1. Overview of Manifest Destiny
  2. Expansion of American borders
  3. Impact on Native American populations
  4. Controversies and criticism of Manifest Destiny
  5. Legacy of Manifest Destiny
  6. Conclusion
  7. References

Manifest Destiny was a widely held belief in the United States during the 19th century that the country's expansion across North America was both justified and inevitable. It was a driving force behind the westward expansion of the United States and had significant implications for American foreign policy, Native American populations, and the overall development of the nation.

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Overview of Manifest Destiny

Manifest Destiny originated in the 1840s and was fueled by a combination of national pride, population growth, and the belief in American exceptionalism. Advocates of Manifest Destiny believed that it was the nation's destiny to expand its territory from coast to coast. This expansion, in their view, was not only justified but also inevitable due to the country's unique virtues and mission.

Key beliefs included the idea that American expansion would bring progress, democracy, and civilization to the lands it acquired. This notion was used to justify the acquisition of new territories and the displacement of the indigenous populations who already inhabited them.

Manifest Destiny also had a significant impact on American foreign policy, leading the country to assert its dominance and influence in the Western Hemisphere through annexations, treaties, and military actions.

Expansion of American borders

The expansionist fervor of Manifest Destiny led to the acquisition of large swathes of territory, including the Louisiana Territory, which was purchased from France in 1803. This doubled the size of the United States and provided valuable resources and agricultural land.

The annexation of Texas in 1845 further extended American borders, leading to the Mexican-American War and the subsequent acquisition of Mexican territories, including present-day California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico. The Oregon Treaty of 1846 settled the border dispute with Britain, securing the Northwest for American settlement.

Impact on Native American populations

The expansion of American borders had devastating consequences for Native American populations. The forced removal and displacement of indigenous tribes from their ancestral lands led to the creation of Indian reservations, where they were confined and subjected to often deplorable living conditions.

Manifest Destiny also had a profound impact on Native American cultures and traditional ways of life. The loss of their lands, hunting grounds, and autonomy had long-lasting effects on their communities and identities.

Controversies and criticism of Manifest Destiny

Manifest Destiny was not without its critics. Anti-expansionist groups and politicians opposed the aggressive territorial policies, arguing that they were morally and ethically questionable.

Furthermore, the perspectives of Native Americans themselves provide a crucial and often overlooked critique of Manifest Destiny. From their point of view, it was a violent and unjust process that resulted in the loss of their sovereignty and the destruction of their communities.

Legacy of Manifest Destiny

The legacy of Manifest Destiny is complex and multifaceted. On one hand, it contributed to the expansion of American influence and power across the continent, shaping the nation into a continental power with diverse resources and opportunities.

However, it also left a legacy of displacement, marginalization, and trauma for indigenous populations, whose communities and cultures continue to grapple with the effects of Manifest Destiny. Moreover, it set the stage for later American policies and ideologies, including the notion of American exceptionalism and the country's role in international affairs.


In conclusion, Manifest Destiny had far-reaching implications for the expansion of American borders and the nation's development. It was a driving force behind the acquisition of new territories and the displacement of indigenous populations, shaping the country's geography, policies, and ideology.

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While it contributed to the growth and influence of the United States, it also had deep and lasting impacts on Native American communities and their cultures. As we reflect on this historical period, it's important to consider the complexities and consequences of Manifest Destiny and its role in shaping the nation we know today.


  1. Stephanson, A. (1995). Manifest Destiny: American Expansion and the Empire of Right. Hill and Wang.
  2. West, D. A. (1994). The Mexican War and the American Conquest of the Southwest. University of Oklahoma Press.
  3. Churchill, W. (1997). A Little Matter of Genocide: Holocaust and Denial in the Americas, 1492 to the Present. City Lights Publishers.
  4. Calloway, C. G. (2020). First Peoples: A Documentary Survey of American Indian History. Bedford/St. Martin's.
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Cite this Essay

Manifest Destiny: Expansion, Impact, and Legacy. (2024, January 31). GradesFixer. Retrieved April 14, 2024, from
“Manifest Destiny: Expansion, Impact, and Legacy.” GradesFixer, 31 Jan. 2024,
Manifest Destiny: Expansion, Impact, and Legacy. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 14 Apr. 2024].
Manifest Destiny: Expansion, Impact, and Legacy [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2024 Jan 31 [cited 2024 Apr 14]. Available from:
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