Manifest Destiny And Imperialism

1773 Words 8 Pages
The idea of Manifest Destiny emerged during the time of the Mexican-American War as a term coined for how America was obliged or destined to spread its influence across the entire continent based off a divine will (Manifest). Rather than call it American Imperialism, the term Manifest Destiny emerged to mask the real intentions behind American expansionism in the 19th century. Comparable to how the term “Manifest Destiny” originated, through the acquisition of new land post-Mexican-American War, which directly resulted in the Compromise of 1850 and further caused problems with slavery and inevitably fueled a Civil War, is Ahab and his greed/madness which has drove him to seek vengeance on a force which is incapable of being controlled in …show more content…
Unsurprisingly, the next quarter of a century was the period that saw the greatest extent of expansion in our country’s history with a near 60% increase in land area (Haynes). The drive west was dominated by a sense of racial and cultural superiority held by Americans that resulted in the idea that they were benefitting the lands that were newly conquered by implementing American democratic ideals on them (Manifest Destiny). The reasoning held by advocates of Manifest Destiny shared a similar mindset to that of Ahab’s cause, who felt morally obliged to seek revenge on Moby Dick and took it upon himself to be the man to kill the mighty whale. Americans felt as if they were destined by Providence to spread cultural ideals and fulfill a purpose, similarly to how Ahab felt destined to fulfill his intended …show more content…
The novel Moby Dick foresaw these consequences through the use of characters such as Ahab and Ishmael. Ahab, having already suffered the loss of a leg, is still destined and inevitably bound to drive his crew into a fate worse than what he previously suffered. Reminiscent to the bloodshed that resulted from American expansion and the later problems this expansion would cause, Ahab will stop at nothing to acquire his intended goal of seeking vengeance on Moby Dick without consciously realizing what consequences this will bring. Furthermore, America’s subjugation of not only southern slaves but also the Native Americans, whose lands were conquered as a result of the US’ devotion to Manifest Destiny, are symbolized in Moby Dick by the class system on the ship and how Ahab and his madness dictate the ship’s fate. The treatment of Native Americans furthers proves that Manifest Destiny in reality was American Imperialism in a mask in order to gain followers for the movement. The controversial mindset of politics during the time leading up to the Civil War also are represented in the novel by the differing opinions among the characters regarding the true meaning of the whale. Even though America most likely is better off having claimed all the surrounding land, the methods employed in the process were questionable and it shows

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