Imperialism at the conclusion of Antebellum America: the Philosophy of Manifest Destiny

Subject: American History
Type: Informative Essay
Pages: 11
Word count: 2982
Topics: Civil War, Manifest Destiny

Table of Contents

The Antebellum Period is considered to be the time before the civil war and after the 1812 War in American history; it was the period from the adoption of Constitution in the year 1789 to the start of Civil War. This era was followed by the beginning and steady rise of polarization in the country instigated by the supporters of slavery. At this time, America’s economy started transforming; manufacture of items as the industrial revolution began in the south and the cotton boom continued to make the plantations the heart of the economy. The takeover of new territories and the expansion in the western parts led to the strengthening of the American independence and the philosophy of Manifest Destiny. Americans and all institutions in U.S were becoming more powerful. Accordingly, Americans became more obliged to farther develop these organizations. Imperialism in the American history involved the extension of power through the gaining of territories.  It also included exploitation of the acquired areas, and this is hugely related to colonialism.

It is argued that the idea of America to Manifest Destiny did not depict the rights of the citizens thereof. In fact, the American paradox is what manifested; the citizens were to suffer to perfect America. The dream of America at the period of Antebellum was to perfect the nation with the notion that the expansion to the west was a divine right. Improving the country, meaning expanding it to the west, would make America the imperialist nation. America did not wage the ideal dream in the manifestation of their destiny and somehow adopted the style of colonialism. They did so by conquering the territory using political powers emanating from a different region and establishing through providing the successive maintenance. They also continued to expand boundaries to gain their resources. Jingoism was used in the destiny manifested.

The philosophy of manifest destiny was based on the fact that America was destined for the expansion of the democratic states found in North America. This gave the nation the superior right to govern the parts that expressed antagonist interests to America. Of particular importance in this sense was Texas which had the option of the dictatorship of Mexico. But Texas was not the only one; the philosophy was also applied in territories of Oregon. Britain being democratic but was not its sole reason for Oregon.  In the 19th century, it was becoming a belief that the philosophy of Manifest Destiny was widely held. The growing confidence was due to the fact that there was an increasing number of American settlers in other continents and that they went to spread their traditions and own institutions. Nonetheless, because the settlers engaged in the enlightening of the most ‘primitive’ nations. American settlers then considered the Hispanics and the Indians to be inferior and thus only deserved cultivation practices. Manifest Destiny had a lot of people who suggested America assume roles as the world’s power. James Monroe echoed this plan in the famously known to be Monroe Doctrine and warned Europe and rest of the world to stay out of the Western Hemisphere.

Other Americans also believed that the growth of the American nation was by virtue of God’s plans. Pertinently, God continuously demanded of them to continue with this plan. Since most of them were aware of their racial and cultural advantage, they felt that their destiny was to spread their governance and also explain to the nations that seemed unlucky. The settlers believed strongly in the American virtues and made it a responsibility to inflict their perceived right ways of life on those who acted contrary. This pro-colonialism philosophy remained the best explanation for America’s acquisition of more territories. It was also the main reason for their involvement in wars, for instance, the war with the Mexicans in the early years of the 1840s. In 1845, John O’Sullivan explained that the Manifest Destiny propagated the belief that Americans and their institutions were superior and hence were the morally obliged spread to those laws. This concept already had existed ever since the thirteen colonies had already won freedom from the Great Britain. The belief in the philosophy led a lot of the whites to try and replace the traditional American cultures that were of nomadic nature with another lifestyle that appeared to be more in maintenance with the European-American farming for the communities were used in justifying of increasing demands for other lands in the west.

Manifest Destiny doctrine, to some people, is about the religious influences based on the notion of America having a divine providence. According to this conviction, America was destined for greatness and this right was enshrined by God who would guide the expansion of the nation beyond limits. Leaning on this belief, America’s expansion was viewed as part of the Manifest Destiny of the spirit of God. It was God’s will for Americans to spread over the whole continent and to populate and control all the areas they considered them fit to live. The expansionists also held that God had the power in the sustainment and the guidance of the human destiny. The religious commitment continued to spawn in the second colossal awakening which was created with a different incentive to drive to the west.  The Americans natives were being considered heathens since the expansion was a blessing from the Almighty. Through the Christianization of the tribes, the American missionaries also believed they would save a lot of souls and become among the first group who crossed to the River of Mississippi.

While some of the people were being driven by what they referred to as the God’s will, others were seeing Manifest Destiny as a historical certainty of the domination of North America. This was a selfless way to extend the liberty of America to newer realms. The expansion of the North West began with the fur trappers that were in America. Their search for the new beaver reserves blazed a lot of new trials and the mountain passages. They traversed in doing so and also the fertile valleys of the West. They exaggerated their stories and accounted for what they met during their travels and publicized newly regions that were found in the West and this caught the interests of people who contemplated the possibilities in agriculture.

Manifest Destiny was also the critical reason of which interests that were revived in the expansion of territories. During this mission, a lot of people were being tempted using the different tracts and were settled in the sparsely distributed area that lay outside the borders of the country. The growing intentions in developing of trade to the Far East that went towards West eventually opened other routes of trade. There was renewed fear of security in the United States which impaired the foreign interventions in the areas that were across the borders. The more accessible means to manage the concern was conquering the land that was beyond the boundaries and then expands them to the territories in America. Whereas the darkest side for the positive environment and the grand spirit manifestation of destiny had been created, it also led to the dark side of the history of America.

Manifest Destiny is the course of energy and also enthusiasm in the expansion of the territories, the negative sides became the belief that white man had the rights and they could hence make destruction to anything or anyone that got in their way. Through the finding of the course of Manifest, Destiny Westwards highlighted the mass demolition of the organizations of the different tribes, confinement to reservations for the Indians, and the genocide. The darkest part of Manifest Destiny was revealed that the white man belief about the settlement on the lands and the civilization of their native peoples being preordained. Agreements which extended across the borders of the Western territories also had the promise of the American dream which stated that the freedom and the independence of apparent land which was limitless. Having this and being attached to the spirit of the Agrarian produced the attitude which became nothing and stood in the direction of the progress of Manifest Destiny. In the doctrine name, the Americans took every land that they desired because the belief of Manifest Destiny provided them the right and also the power to carry out the expansion of the territories, a lot of people then settled and engaged in planting and farming of the Indian lands.

The economic motives also emerged to be paramount to other people. Fur trade dominated all the European companies of trade in the colonial times. The German immigrants became the first entrepreneur’s and were able to compete with the Europeans, in the process they gained a lot of wealth and status. The need for having a lot of lands had also brought the aspiring homesteaders to this borderline. When the discovery of gold was made in California in the year 1848, increasing number of the migrants continued to be even much more. In the heart of manifest destiny, there was a pervasive belief of the culture of the Americans and the superiority of their race. The Native Americans continued to be regarded as being inferior, and the efforts that were to be made to make them civilized were becoming widespread in those days The Hispanics that ruled Texas and also the lucrative California ports were also regarded to be backward. The expansions of the boundaries in the United States were in different ways leading to the war on culture also. The desires for the southerners in the find for more lands which were suitable for the cultivation of cotton led to the spreading of slavery to these particular regions. The North of Mason Dixon, several people, became more interested in the addition of more of the slave states. Manifest destiny also addressed the issues concerning religion, morality, and race. These then led to the clashes in the years of 1840s and thus yielded the drama of the regional conflicts which began to spread out.

The philosophy which was built in the history of America involved the rationalization of which the expansionists all over the place used it in the justification of the growth of the territories. Some of the people employed Manifest Destiny as a political philosophy through stressing of the tradition and also the social stability, whereas other people used it as the reason for the exploration of the new places. The expansionist also experienced the least interference of the institutions of the governments in the economic activities which were private in the Manifest Destiny having led their way. The movements of the Native Americans onto the reservations in India and the annihilations of the large-scale had reached their peak in the 19th century. The U.S government also planned the destruction of the states that were tribal and then break the Indian reservations that were regarded to be Manifest Destiny progressive doctrine.

Americans also used Manifest Destiny in the proclamation of their superiority and also insisted in the conquests which merely fulfilled their mission on the notion that they were being driven by the forces which stood beyond the standard human control. For this reason, Manifest Destiny became responsible for the creation of the history of America. The American territories emerged to be more significant as the surrounding properties compared to the first settlements since the movement that was responsible for the independence of the American freedom and the expansion. The philosophy of Manifest Destiny ensured that America is made to conquer and also conquer the new lands that would be fit for a lot of years. If mission and God was the way to Manifest Destiny, then imperialism could be the light that was to guide them. In the years of 1800 and the early 1900’s, American businesses then gave out the idea of the International Destiny. The group believed that America was extending their authority over the lands, the influence which could be done either military, economic or by the political ways. Depending on the methods that were being used, imperialism became the main reason that helped in the extension of the interests of America past the Pacific regions.

Manifest Destiny had also become a disputed philosophy to some people. There were different views that American people had. The Manifest Destiny doctrine encompassed a lot of various components that served in a variety of ways. It reflected on the pride of which were characterized by the Nationalism of America in the 19th century and also idealistic visions of the perfection of the social interactions through church and God giving much reforms and energy. However, the components also created the diverse views on how to get the new land. They exemplified together the ideological requirement for the Americans that was to dominate from one pole to another. The settlers also ensured that the United States had the most significant possible ways that they used to organize the country, and thus feeling the need to restructure the world in their way and the image for their own country. One way they used was the techniques they used in thinking and attribute imperialism in the determination of some sort, for instance, the race instincts, Darwinism laws, economic forces and the hand of God. However, a lot of Americans were deemed to surrender willing entirely to the policies of the imperialist and a few admitted they got involved since there was the need.

Even though there was plenty of lands that was all over the world of which applied to the Manifest Destiny philosophy, the acquisition of other areas in the sides that are opposite in the globe needed different methods since it was not going to be much more comfortable like the building of roads and the displacement of the little American Indians. Imperialism led the US in taking control of Philippines, Puerto Rico and Guam through the war of Americans and the Spanish. Controlling the possession of the colony in a thousand miles away needed the commitment of the military. The US then steamed expansion of the overseas during the commissioning of the Federal Government about the numerous battleships and battleships that were between the years 1883 to 1890’s. It became much more apparent for the US about the countries which had control over the seas required the destiny of their own. Yellow Journalism also acted as being the means which were significant in finding the Americans in the order they could join the movement of the Manifest Destiny. The field journalism about the exaggerations of the events, reporting of the graphic details of atrocities that were being carried out by the Spanish and, sensationalism led to the creation of the new forms of journalism. This also assisted in arousing of the popular sentiments of the people of America. Yellow Journalism also made public rally behind Cuba and the involvement of America and thus when the president asked for the affirmation of war against Spain had the backing of majority American public.

Manifest Destiny was also involved in the promotion of the philosophy that was known to be the White Man’s Burden which was made famous by Rudyard Kipling in his poem. The ethos urged the United States that they were to follow the ways of the Great Britain. It stated that the US had to ensure they helped the lesser disadvantaged individuals in the world so to change to Christianity. It also gave a warning to the United States that it could be the difficult task of taking over the roles of being the world leader and the rewards were to outweigh the troubles that were caused. Also, President McKinley took the belief of the philosophy of the burden of the White Man in the protection of the American presence in the Philippines and stated that duty always determines the destiny of a particular country. In the months which followed the war between the Americans and the Spanish, this concept of Manifest Destiny continued to become much stronger in the United States. The legislators and the Congress called for the takeover of the territories in Spain, and some of the newspapers suggested the acquisition of Spain. The expansionists for instance captain Mahan and Roosevelt argued the creation of the empire in America. However, some that included Grover Cleveland and Mark Twain opposed the ideas.


Manifest Destiny has been seen to be an enigma, but it is the philosophy of which the American history was made. Manifest Destiny, however, has been used in the explaining of how America emerged to be today’s America. Manifest Destiny philosophy is the center of the argument for most people on how it began and ended. The advances in technology and social and religious movements in the Antebellum Period had a philosophical impact on the history of America which included the expansion towards the west and the expansion towards the Pacific region. The shift of population from the farming areas to industrial centers and the division’s sections which ended in the civil war and the slavery abolition and also the growth of the feminists and movements of temperance.

After conquering the land which spans from Atlantic to Pacific, it’s clear that Manifest Destiny Doctrine became complete. The nation was having definite and its limit, there was the amount of area which was required to be conquered for America to complete Manifest Destiny. Having achieved this success by the year 1890, this led to the end of Manifest Destiny. Some people believe that Manifest Destiny dismissed essential factors which proved immortality in the philosophy whereas there are some other individuals honestly think that the view of Manifest Destiny based on the fact that America contained the divine destiny which was helped by God in the expansion of its borders.  Other people find their argument that America only had the mission and selfless right in extending its liberty to other realms.

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