Manifest Destiny Expansion to the West

Manifest Destiny
Expansion to the West
The Westward Drive
• Westward migration motivated by relatively
cheap land, growth of Northeastern cities
due to migration wave, and exhaustion of
land due to tobacco/cotton agriculture
Inspired by the “democratic impulse”:
1. John Louis O’Sullivan coins the phrase "manifest
destiny” in the Democratic Review (1839) –
expansion as an American right
2. Horace Greeley, publisher of the New York Tribune
advised, “Go West, young man, go West!” –
expansion as a “safety valve” for easing social
3. National Reform Association campaigned for free
land with the slogan “vote yourself a farm!” – led to
the free-soil movement and the Homestead Act of
• Technology advances made expansion/settlement
– Samuel F.B. Morse’s telegraph (1832)
– Cyrus McCormick’s mechanical reaper (1834)
– Samuel Colt’s revolver (1836)
– Expansion of the railway network (1830s-on)
II. Territorial Expansion
• Movement of settlers westward predated
territorial expansion
– Santa Fe Trail connected America with Southwest
– growing attraction of California – access to the
– Brigham Young led the Mormons to the Salt Lake
basin in the 1840s to escape persecution back
– Oregon Trail started in the 1830s; settlers traveled
by Conestoga wagon to the Willamette Valley
Texas Independence & Annexation
• Mexico offered land grants to Americans in the 1820s;
Stephen Austin was the most successful impresario (land
• tensions grew between Texans and Mexicans over cultural
differences and slavery
• Pres. Santa Anna imposed taxes, rejected petitions for selfgovernment, and sought to crush open rebellion in 1835
• Texas War of Independence (1835-36) produced and
independent Republic of Texas with Sam Houston as
• Annexation delayed by concerns over reopening slavery
• Pres. Tyler and Polk work in 1844-45 to annex Texas –
sought to expand Southern influence and protect slavery’s
existence in the southwest
Polk’s Presidency (1845-49)
• Negotiated peacefully with Britain in 1846 to secure Oregon
Country below the 49th parallel after some American leaders had
pressed for “Fifty-four Forty or Fight!” (British Columbia
remained part of Canada and war was avoided
• Mexican-American War (1846-48) prompted by Polk’s desire to
annex Texas and acquire Cali.; started when General Taylor’s
forces crossed the Nueces River into disputed territories taken in
the war
• War with Mexico raised political concerns at home- northerners
saw the war as an attempt to expand slave territory and
Southern power; William Proviso (1846) called on the president
to not allow slavery’s expansion into any new territories taken in
the war
• General Winfield Scott led American forces to occupy Mexico
City by 1847; Treaty of Guadalupe Hildalgo (1848) forced Mexico
to cede one third of its territory in exchange for $15million