Essay on “Manifest Destiny”The term “Manifest Destiny” which was first used by journalist John O’Sullivan formed much of the foreign and domestic policy in the mid-nineteenth century. American politicians who were eager for the expansion of the U.S. as well as acquiring votes themselves were set on accumulating more land for America. Although the North, the South, and the West, all had different motives and different property in mind, they were unified in the quest for more land.
In the 1840’s the South was direly afraid of losing a balance in the Senate. They had already lost a balance in the House and feared that with the addition of any new states as free the North would permanently have the majority. They sought land in Caribbean islands namely Cuba to equalize the balance in the Senate. They went so far in fact, they almost began to invade Cuba without even informing the rest of the Country. The North on the contrary, had the upper hand and wanted to turn the remaining territories into free states. The West on the other hand wanted land for its own sake. This led to a domestic policy in which all three sections (North, South, West) fought for themselves, and the party in power did all they could in order to stay in power.The goal of Manifest Destiny at the moment was to acquire California. This was probably the most sought after piece of land in U.S. history and proved to be a unifying factor among Americans. Gaining California woul!
d spread America from coast to coast, allow them to be a major force in the Pacific as well as Atlantic ocean, and permit them to trade with the beloved Orient more easily. The only thing that stood in their way was their neighboring country Mexico.
In the mid-nineteenth century, the United States had no true allies. The majority of the powerful countries such as England, France, and Spain were angry at them for taking land from them. Britain obtained a paltry bit of revenge however by getting 5,000 miles of allegedly U.S. soil in northern Maine. Britain was also interested in an independent Texas, as that would prove to be a barrier in the U.S. expansion southward.This as well as many other factors caused America to formally invited to become the 28th state in the United States. It took nine long years however, before Texas officially became a state. Oregon on the other hand was a territory that could be acquired now. The British and the U.S. had strong claims to Oregon. Both could claim settlement and exploration. To avoid war, the to sides eventually decided to divide the expansive territory at the 49th parallel. This was how many of the trivial land arguments went during the 1840’s. This was primaril!
y because America was preoccupied with the whole Mexico situation and did not want war during a time where it was not economically advisable.
Although this seemed to be a breach in the entire Manifest Destiny idea, America was only looking at the big picture which it rarely did. If they got into a skirmish with a country such as Britain, that would use valuable assets and resources that could be needed for combat with Mexico for beloved California. In 1845, the U.S. offered to buy Mexico and the land to the East for 25 million dollars.Mexico, who was irritated with the U.S. would not even listen to John Slidell, the American envoy. Polk was enraged and wanted to declare war on Mexico. Fatefully, on that night Mexican troops attacked General Taylor’s command and killed sixteen Americans. After a brief war which Polk may have provoked, the U.S. won and acquired California and Mexico. In the end, the United States expended only 18 million dollars and lost a trifle 30,000 soldiers in the effortless war. This was 7 million less than they had offered to pay Mexico to begin with! Although the United States cou!
ld have conceivably seized Mexico as well, they elected not to. The Senate approved signing the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo which officially ended the war. The Senate decided that Mexico would have been a burdensome and expensive piece of land. Although this possibly contradicted the Manifest Destiny principle, it proved to be in the United States best interests.
The idea of Manifest Destiny was nothing new to the civilized world. It was only a catch phrase in a time in which America needed a something to hold it together. It was an idea which represented every man’s quest for more power. This common bond helped make the United States what it is today. Manifest Destiny which was the theme of foreign policy in the nineteenth century; with America fighting to expand its nation as far as possible in every direction, was also the basis of domestic policy. Both the South and the North wanted to tighten their grip and rule the country as it deemed fitting. And although it may have indirectly led to the Civil War, it made America stronger in the end.