What Does Manifest Destiny Mean

Learn about the historical concept of Manifest Destiny and its impact on American history and indigenous peoples. Explore examples, case studies, and statistics in this informative article.

Definition of Manifest Destiny

Manifest Destiny is a term that originated in the 19th century in the United States. It refers to the belief that it was the destiny or fate of the American people to expand their territory across North America from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean.

Origins of Manifest Destiny

The term was first coined by journalist John L. O’Sullivan in 1845. He believed that it was America’s mission to spread democracy and freedom across the continent, claiming that it was their God-given right to do so.

Examples of Manifest Destiny

  • One of the most notable examples of Manifest Destiny was the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, where the United States acquired a vast territory from France, doubling its size overnight.

  • Another example is the Mexican-American War from 1846 to 1848, where the U.S. fought to annex Texas and California, furthering its territorial expansion.

Impact of Manifest Destiny

Manifest Destiny had profound effects on the indigenous peoples of North America, leading to displacement, conflict, and loss of land and culture. It also contributed to the growth of the United States as a world power.

Case Studies

One case study of Manifest Destiny is the Trail of Tears, where thousands of Native Americans were forcibly removed from their homelands and relocated to reservations as part of the U.S. government’s policy of westward expansion.


By the mid-19th century, the United States had expanded its territory to the Pacific Ocean, fulfilling the vision of Manifest Destiny. This period of expansionism helped shape the country into what it is today.

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