Manifest Destiny and Foreign Policy Essay

1119 Words Jun 18th, 2013 5 Pages
Manifest Destiny and Foreign Policy The term "Manifest Destiny," which American writer John L. O'Sullivan first used in the New York Democratic Review in 1845. , describes what most 19th-Century Americans believed was their God-given mission to expand westward, occupy a continental nation, and extend U.S. constitutional government to unenlightened peoples. The idea was the driving force behind the rapid expansion of America into the West from the East, and it was heavily promoted in newspapers, posters, and through other mediums. While the Manifest Destiny was not itself an official government policy, it had a critical impact on the foreign policy of the U.S. and encouraged Westward colonization, territorial acquisition, and American …show more content…
through Polk appointing John Slidell of Louisiana as minister to Mexico, and instructing him to offer up 30 million dollars to settle the disputed claims and purchase California and New Mexico—the territory between Texas and California. Like Polk many Americans during the 1840s-1850s were motivated by the spirit of the Manifest Destiny. Specifically, "Oregon Fever" seized thousands of western Americans hit hard by the economic depression (known as the Panic of 1837)—triggered largely by an over-speculation in federal lands. Missouri was the starting point of the 2,000 mile Overland Trail, traveled by Jedediah Smith, Jim Bridger, and other mountain men. Commonly referred to as the "Oregon Trail," the route ran along the Missouri and Platte Rivers, across the Great Plains, and through the South Pass of the Rocky Mountains. By, Americans moving that far west in Oregon only further supports that the Manifest Destiny impacted American thought and Westward colonization. Lastly, President James Polk used the cry of “Manifest Destiny” during his 1844 election, calling for the annexation of “All of Oregon”, and “Fifty Four Forty or Fight”, both popular rallying cries supporting annexation. James K. Polk’s used the Presidential bully pulpit and the cry of “Manifest Destiny” at different times, first with the British in attempts to gain Oregon and a couple years later to force Mexico to settle in 1848 and compromise, selling California and New

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