Manifest Destiny

Manifest Destiny
Elbow Room
Early Exploration: The Lewis and
Clark Expedition, 1804-1806
In 1803, President Jefferson secretly
asked Congress to commission an
exploratory expedition across the
western United States.
The Corps of Discovery, led by
Meriwether Lewis and William Clark,
was the first overland expedition to the
Pacific coast and back.
Jefferson's vision was of expanding the
"empire of liberty" and populating it
with self-sufficient families and
After Lewis and Clark, a number of
other government-sponsored
expeditions were initiated to ascertain
the wild territories of the West.
Lewis and Clark’s Route
Manifest Destiny: The Ideology of
Americans grappled with the question
of what to do with the Mexican and
Native American people to be displaced
by migration.
The US risked conflict with nations that
had claim to land in North America.
Some desired the capacity for expanded
trade with Asia, others were compelled
to spread "civilization" and Christianity.
Southern Democrats supported the
addition of agrarian territories, while
Northern Whigs feared the expansion of
The belief that it was the nation’s Godgiven right to expand according to its
needs was encompassed in the slogan,
"Manifest Destiny.”
Manifest Destiny
President Polk and Westward
During the presidential campaign of
1844, Democratic nominee James K.
Polk called for American expansion
He interpreted his election, though he
only won by a narrow margin, as an
endorsement of his expansionist
In his inaugural address (1845), he
spent considerable time defending U.S.
expansion as a means of creating and
preserving a more powerful Union.
The Overland Trails
Wagon ruts from the Oregon Trail,
visible today in Idaho
The seven month, 2,000 mile
journey from Missouri to the coast
was expensive and hazardous.
Though many travelers were
anxious about the possibility of
conflict with Native Americans, the
most deadly hazards to travelers
were accidents and disease.
Life on the trail was tedious, with
each wagon moving at a pace of
about 15 miles per day.
Oregon was the major destination
of migrants until 1848, when the
discovery of gold in California
diverted the stream of settlers
The Overland Trails
The U.S. expanded rapidly in the nineteenth
A Stop Along the Trail
Oregon Country
Beginning in 1818, Britain and the United States jointly occupied Oregon Country.
Oregon's population of British, French, Native American, and Hawaiian trappers and
entrepreneurs frequently formed mixed-race families until the 1840's.
When "Oregon fever" swept thousand of white Americans into the Willamette Valley,
the new settlers adopted polices that excluded non-white emigrants.
The Oregon Treaty of 1846 established the border between Canada and the U.S. at the
forty-ninth parallel, despite President Polk's 1844 campaign slogan, "Fifty-four Forty,
or Fight!"
Oregon became a state in 1859.
California: The Golden State
The U.S. acquired California from
Mexico in 1848 with the Treaty of
Guadalupe Hidalgo.
California attracted people from all
over the U.S. and the world with the
discovery of gold later that year.
Merchants who came to outfit, house,
feed and entertain the exploding
population had a better chance of
profiting than those who came to pan
the streams and rivers.
Most miners were young men. The
transitory mining camps were often rife
with crime.
California became a state in 1850.
Chinese Immigration During the
Gold Rush
Thousands of Chinese workers immigrated to California during the gold rush.
Though it was one of the most ethnically diverse regions of the country, the Chinese
were subject to discrimination.
They were relegated to doing the most menial labor.
In 1852, they became subject to a tax on foreign miners.
In 1882, Chinese immigration was outlawed with the Chinese Exclusion Act.
The California Gold Rush
Territorial Expansion, 1830-1860
Territorial Expansion, 1830-1860
Territorial Expansion, 1830-1860