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Westward expansion was one of the key periods in the history of the United States of America. It meant significant economic and agricultural growth for white people but it was not the only reason for the expansion; the United States was experiencing certain increase in population and it was getting harder for people to find a job with a decent salary. Thus, moving to the West became a dream for the most ambitious Americans and their desire to achieve it was stronger than any difficulties that frontiersmen were facing. Due to that ambitiousness, the westward expansion was hard to be called a slow process. What is more, not all Americans saw expansion as an advancement. “As Americans poured West, expansion became a source of national political controversy” (Oakes et al. 370).
Unfair Idea of the Manifest Destiny
Manifest destiny was a very popular belief in the 19th century; according to that, it was an essential destiny of the people from the United States to settle both developed and undeveloped areas of North America. The idea could not be called fair or at least fact-based; according to the manifest destiny, the westward expansion was seen as a naturally determined process conforming both state and moral law. Manifest destiny involved the idea of special virtues and mission of the colonists and it definitely was a powerful weapon of the government.
With help of this idea, it was able to make people believe in a natural necessity of the United States to expand its boundaries. Supporters of the westward expansion believed it to be able to “strengthen it [the country], providing unlimited economic opportunities for future generations” (Haynes par. 4). Moreover, expansionists also used a religion as an instrument as the right to colonize other territories was believed to be given to Americans by God (Oakes et al. 362). When all is said and done, the manifest destiny does not seem to be reasonable as we know what it means to state a superiority of a particular nation over other ones.
Were there Other Options?
Manifest destiny was proclaiming Americans to be God’s favored people who had to perform their mission by means of expansion. In spite of other opinions on the rights and mission of the United States, this idea was successfully incorporated into the vision of the common goal for all Americans. If the United States had not conducted its policy in accordance with the manifest destiny, it might have experienced a certain economic decline caused by a resource scarcity; a swell in population might have yielded to heavy mortality due to the increased fights for the limited resources and the spate of criminal activities caused by high unemployment.
The discussed historical period could be characterized by strong opposition of the colonialists, Mexicans and Native Americans. Thus, it would be interesting for many people to know if there was a way to prevent the conflict, or it was absolutely inevitable. As for the armed conflict between Mexico and the United States, it was caused by strong turf battle after the annexation of Texas that took place in 1845. The conflict was hard to prevent as both aggrieved parties believed to possess priority of territorial supremacy and they saw no solution of the conflict but war. As for the conflict between colonialists and Native Americans, it was likely to be inevitable as the policy of the US government was conducted in accordance with the manifest destiny that supposed invasion to be feasible for performing the mission of the United States.
To conclude, the idea of manifest destiny has played an important role in preparing the country for the westward expansion. As for the latter, it was the way to avoid possible economic decline of the United States and this is why the conflict was inevitable.
Haynes, Sam Walter. Manifest Destiny. PBS. 2006, Web.
Oakes, James, et al. Of the People: A History of the United States, Volume 1: To 1877. Oxford University Press, 2012.