Manifest Destiny

 

James Knox Polk

Summary and Definition of Manifest Destiny
Definition and Summary: What does Manifest Destiny mean? The phrase encompassed the idea that Westward Expansion, and occupation the North American continent, was a divine right of the American people. It was based on the belief of cultural and racial superiority over other nations and the obligation to bring civilization and enlightenment to other races. The phrase "Manifest Destiny" was coined by the journalist John O'Sullivan in 1845. The phrase "Manifest Destiny" is most frequently associated with the massive territorial expansion of the United States over just fifty years from 1803 to 1853 and its westward expansion to the Pacific Ocean.

Manifest Destiny for kids
James Polk was the 11th American President who served in office from March 4, 1845 to March 4, 1849. One of the important events during his presidency was the idea of the Manifest Destiny of the United States.

Manifest Destiny Painting: "Spirit of the Frontier"
This Manifest Destiny Painting called American Progress "Spirit of the Frontier" was painted in 1872 by John Gast (1842-1893).

Manifest Destiny Painting: Allegory
The painting is an allegory of Manifest Destiny. An allegory is a visible symbol representing an abstract idea. The Manifest Destiny painting conveys the idea of American Progress and Westward expansion using progressive transportation system with people heading westwards who are guided and protected by the quasi-mythical goddess Columbia, as symbol of America. Columbia also represents Progress and Destiny, guiding the nation through a course of events that will inevitably happen in the future. Columbia holds the book of knowledge and enlightenment and also the wires of the telegraph enabling communication across the vast nation. The Manifest Destiny Painting conveys the history of the past, the innovations of the present and a vision of the future.

Manifest Destiny Painting: American Progress
The Manifest Destiny painting graphically portrays American Progress during the 1800's and how different inventions and innovations in transport enabled settlers and pioneers to travel from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west.

Manifest Destiny Picture - American Progress "Spirit of the Frontier"

Manifest Destiny Painting
American Progress "Spirit of the Frontier"

Manifest Destiny Painting: Westward Expansion and the Future of the Nation
The Manifest Destiny painting conveys the ideas of American Progress in terms of transportation technologies and the "Spirit of the Frontier". The Manifest Destiny painting explains how the idea, conviction and belief in the Manifest Destiny, and the westward expansion of the nation, was the fate and inevitable future of the nation. The Manifest Destiny painting depicts the following images, people and events and the inevitability of technological progress:

  • Destiny: The powerful, central figure of Columbia heads westward guiding pioneers and settlers to the new land and conveys the impression that there was some providential purpose and guidance to the settlement of the land.

  • Direction: The expansion and direction of pioneers and settlers from the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west

  • Native American Indians are shown fleeing from progress using the horse and the travois as their only means of transport emphasizing the pervasive belief in American cultural and racial superiority

  • The pioneers, traders and prospectors are then represented in a group of people

  • These are followed by farmers cultivating the field with the use of the plow representing the importance of agriculture to the early economy of the nation, with a log cabin in the distance

  • The horse-drawn stage coach is a historical reminder of one of the early forms of transport

  • The background depicts steamboats on river or canal - refer to Steamboats of the 1800's and the Erie Canal

  • There are three railroad lines - refer to Railroads in the 1800s

  • The covered wagon, or 'prairie schooner reflects the settlers transportation method along the Oregon Trail and the Santa Fe Trail

  • A lone rider in the background, behind the wagon, represents the communication system via the Pony Express

  • The Pony Express was replaced by the First telegraph line and the Morse Code which are represented by the telegraph lines

Manifest Destiny for kids: Divine Obligation
The Manifest Destiny of the United States was believed by many Americans to be providence and God's will. The Manifest Destiny was interpreted as the fusion between God’s will and the nation’s character that indicated divine sanction to the westward expansion of the United States. The Second Great Awakening had revived the religious fervor of many Americans who were receptive to the idea of the Manifest Destiny and believed it was their 'divine obligation' to extend the lands of the United States of America.

Manifest Destiny Map for kids: Westward Expansion
The areas of Westward Expansion can be clearly seen with the Manifest Destiny Map which details the historical treaties made by the United States that increased the nation's lands.

Manifest Destiny Map

Manifest Destiny Map

Manifest Destiny Map

  
The 1783 Treaty of Paris ended the American Revolutionary War and established the early U.S. boundaries
The 1803 Louisiana Purchase extended US lands from the Mississippi River to the Rocky Mountains between the Gulf of Mexico and the Canadian border
The 1818 Convention and Treaty established the border with Canada at the 49th Parallel
The 1819 Florida Treaty aka the Adams Onis Treaty set out a boundary between the United States and New Spain (now Mexico)
The Oregon Treaty was signed in 1846
The Webster-Ashburton Treaty resolved disputes concerning the Maine / New Brunswick boundary
The 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo saw the Mexican cession of lands
1853 saw the Gadsden Purchase acquiring territory in  Arizona and New Mexico

Manifest Destiny for kids: John O'Sullivan
Who initiated the phrase Manifest Destiny? The man credited with initiating the phrase 'Manifest Destiny' was John O’Sullivan an influential writer and newspaper editor. In 1845 John O'Sullivan wrote two articles advocating the annexation of Texas and Oregon. In his first article John O'Sullivan he urged the United States to:

"Annex the Republic of Texas, not only because Texas desired this, but because it was our manifest destiny to overspread the continent allotted by Providence for the free development of our yearly multiplying millions."

John O'Sullivan used the phrase 'Manifest Destiny' again in his newspaper, the New York Morning News, December 27, 1845 stating that the United States had the right to claim:

"...the whole of Oregon. And that claim is by the right of our manifest destiny to overspread and to possess the whole of the continent which Providence has given us for the development of the great experiment of liberty and federated self-government entrusted to us."

Manifest Destiny for kids
The info about the Manifest Destiny provides interesting facts and important information about this important event that occured during the presidency of the 11th President of the United States of America.

 

Presidential Seal

 

Manifest Destiny Timeline and Facts for kids
Interesting Manifest Destiny Facts and Timeline for kids are detailed below together with details of Westward expansion. The history of Manifest Destiny and the Westward expansion of the United States is told in a factual timeline sequence consisting of a series of short facts providing a simple method of relating the relevant, significant events that lead to the idea of the Manifest Destiny of the United States of America.

Manifest Destiny Timeline and Facts for kids

 
Manifest Destiny Timeline Fact 1:1775–1783: Victory in the American War of Independence (1775–1783) saw the U.S. acquisition of  first 13 colonies in the east from the British
 
Manifest Destiny Timeline Fact 2:1783: The Treaty of Paris ends the American Revolutionary War and establishes the early U.S. boundaries
 
Manifest Destiny Timeline Fact 3:1800: The religious revival movement called the Second Great Awakening reignites the religious fervor of Americans
 
Manifest Destiny Timeline Fact 4:1803: The Louisiana Purchase of lands from France extends US lands from the Mississippi River to the Rocky Mountains between the Gulf of Mexico and the Canadian border
 
Manifest Destiny Timeline Fact 5:1804: The Lewis and Clark Expedition explore and maps the US lands obtained in the 1803 Louisiana Purchase
 
Manifest Destiny Timeline Fact 6:1807: The Steamboats of the 1800's started to appear on western rivers
 
Manifest Destiny Timeline Fact 7:1811: The Construction of the Cumberland Road began in Maryland stretching 600 miles to the Northwest Territory. The era of road building began including the Turnpikes (Toll Roads)
 
Manifest Destiny Timeline Fact 8:1812: The War of 1812 resulted in a stalemate but the ability of the US to engage in warfare with Great Britain resulted in the people of America to think of itself as a unified and strong nation.
 
Manifest Destiny Timeline Fact 9:1813: The Creek War (1813–1814) resulted in U.S. victory over Creek Native  Indians resulting in the vast cession of their lands in Alabama and Georgia
 
Manifest Destiny Timeline Fact 10:1817: The economic plan advocated by Henry Clay, called the American System, was established creating a subsidized transportation infrastructure of new roads and canals
 
Manifest Destiny Timeline Fact 11:1817: Construction on the 363 mile Erie Canal begins allowing the passage of boats inland carrying produce and passengers from Atlantic Ocean to Lake Erie
 
Manifest Destiny Timeline Fact 12:1818: The 1818 Convention and Treaty with the British establishes the border with Canada at the 49th Parallel
 
Manifest Destiny Timeline Fact 13:1819: The Florida Treaty aka the Adams Onis Treaty sets out the boundary between the US and New Spain (now Mexico)
 
Manifest Destiny Timeline Fact 14:1820: The Land Act of 1820 led to the future confiscation of land from Native Americans and lower cost lands for settlers in the west
 
Manifest Destiny Timeline Fact 15:1821: The 900 mile Santa Fe Trail, one of America's great trade routes, opened running from Independence, Missouri, to Santa Fe (now New Mexico).
 
Manifest Destiny Timeline Fact 16:1828: The Stourbridge Lion was the first operational locomotive on an American railroad - refer to Railroads in the 1800s 
 
Manifest Destiny Timeline Fact 17:1830: The 1830 Indian Removal Act led to the forced migration of approximately 60,000 Native Americans between 1830 to 1840, including the journey on the infamous Trail of Tears.
 
Manifest Destiny Timeline Fact 18:1843: The first Important migration of settlers traveled together along the 2000 mile Oregon Trail in Wagon trains
 
Manifest Destiny Timeline Fact 19:1844: First telegraph line and the Morse Code is sent by Samuel Morse from Washington to Baltimore
 
Manifest Destiny Timeline Fact 20:1845:  Congress passed a "Joint Resolution for Annexing Texas to the United States" refer to Texas Annexation
 
Manifest Destiny Timeline Fact 21:1845: John O’Sullivan initiates the phrase 'Manifest Destiny'
 
Manifest Destiny Timeline Fact 22:1846: The Oregon Treaty settled the lands south of the 49th parallel as a United States possession
 
Manifest Destiny Timeline Fact 23:1848: The Mexican American War including the California Republic and the Bear Flag Revolt ended with the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo and the Mexican cession of lands
 
Manifest Destiny Timeline Fact 24:1849: The first conflicts of the Apache Wars (1849 -1924) erupted in the Southwest
 
Manifest Destiny Timeline Fact 25:1853: The Gadsden Purchase acquires territory in  Arizona and New Mexico
 
Manifest Destiny Timeline Fact 26:1854: The Sioux Wars (1854 - 1890) break out in South Dakota, Minnesota and Wyoming. Their leaders include Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull
 
Manifest Destiny Timeline Fact 27:1860: The Pony Express was a mail-delivery system and the most direct means of east–west communication before the telegraph was established
 
Manifest Destiny Timeline Fact 28:1862: The Homestead Act of 1862 encouraged 600,000 families to travel westwards by giving them land (usually 160 acres) almost free
 
Manifest Destiny Timeline Fact 29:1867: Alaska was purchased from Russia in 1867 for $7.2 million refer to the Purchase of Alaska
 
Manifest Destiny Timeline Fact 30:1869: The Transcontinental Railroad was completed joining the eastern and western halves of the United States
 
Manifest Destiny Timeline Fact 30:1872: The Manifest Destiny Painting called American Progress "Spirit of the Frontier" was painted  by John Gast
 
Manifest Destiny Timeline Fact 31:1876: The Battle of Little Bighorn when General George Custer and the 7th Cavalry were defeated by Native American warriors led by Chief Sitting Bull
 
Manifest Destiny Timeline Fact 32:1898: The Annexation of Hawaii ends the Manifest Destiny Timeline but the idea was rooted in the nation and led to the rise in Nativism in America

Manifest Destiny Timeline and Facts for kids

Manifest Destiny - President James K Polk Video
The article on the Manifest Destiny provides an overview of one of the Important ideas of his presidential term in office. The following James K Polk video will give you additional important facts and dates about the political events experienced by the 11th American President whose presidency spanned from March 4, 1845 to March 4, 1849.

 

 

 

Manifest Destiny
 
Facts and Manifest timeline for kids and schools
Definition of the Manifest Destiny in US history
Facts about the Manifest Destiny
James K Polk Presidency from March 4, 1845 to March 4, 1849
Fast, fun, Manifest Destiny about Important events in his presidency
Manifest Destiny Painting and Timeline
James K Polk Presidency and the Manifest Destiny for schools, homework, kids and children

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