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These beliefs and the resulting actions were often disastrous to anyone in the way of American expansion.
The new religion of American democracy spread on the feet and in the wagons of those who moved west, imbued with the hope that their success would be the nation’s success.
Go west, before you are fitted for no life but that of the factory.” often argued that American exceptionalism required the United States to benevolently conquer the continent as the prime means of spreading American capitalism and American democracy. American Indians controlled much of the land east of the Mississippi River and almost all the West.
Expansion hinged on a federal policy of Indian removal.
Although called into name in 1845, manifest destiny was a widely held but vaguely defined belief that dated back to the founding of the nation.
John Louis O’Sullivan O’Sullivan and many others viewed expansion as necessary to achieve America’s destiny and to protect American interests.
The quasi-religious call to spread democracy coupled with the reality of thousands of settlers pressing westward.
For opponents of manifest destiny, the lofty rhetoric of the Young Americans was nothing other than a kind of imperialism that the American Revolution was supposed to have repudiated.
Many members of the Whig Party (and later the Republican Party) argued that the United States’ mission was to lead by example, not by conquest.