Debates Over American National Identity Essay

1075 Words Sep 7th, 2015 5 Pages
Debates over American national identity
“[The American claim] is by the right of our manifest destiny to overspread to possess the whole of the continent which Providence has given us for the development of the great experiment of liberty.” This was said by John L. Sullivan and he triggered the widespread term of Manifest Destiny. That, territorial expansion, the Civil War and industrialization impacted prominent beliefs about the progress and the national identity of the U.S. in the 19th century. Americans had an overwhelming idea to gain more land through the concept of Manifest Destiny even though not everyone was united behind the idea of expansionism. The rapid growth of the America through territorial expansion allowed for Americans to believe that certain pieces of land should be part of the U.S. and that America should continue to be aggressive in their approach. The Civil War changed the ideals of America because it was believed that the issues of union, slavery, and post war reconstruction overshadowed the drive to acquire new territory but manifest destiny still stayed prominent through the Civil War and after. Industrialization impacted popular beliefs by reinforcing the idea of Manifest Destiny.

Americans were fixed on the idea to expand the United States. After John O’Sullivan wrote about manifest destiny, the term was spread across the land like wildfire. In the mid-19th century, expansionists had ideas of extending the U.S. more westward and southward to…

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