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American expansion to the Pacific was introduced to the people of the country by several different means. The reasons for expansion did not exclude Politics, economy, nor society. Primarily the contributions that that the rise of expansion can be attributed to include Manifest Destiny, land hunger, suspicion of British intentions as well as trade opportunities. Each was valuable, some more than others, to impel the wheels of expansionism to begin. The most important contributor to American expansion is Manifest Destiny. This term, developed by an American journalist basically state that America had a divine (god-given) right to extend its power and civilization across the width of the North American continent.
Perhaps it was the scattered missionaries in the Northwest, along with the introduction of Manifest Destiny made the idea of traveling thousands of miles, was, in fact worthwhile. Manifest Destiny was so important of an issue that the election and campaign of 1844. The Democrats were swayed by the idea and part of their campaign was that they should uplift their ennobling democratic institutions over the expanse of North America. The idea of God giving the population the right to expand their society could be accepted by God-fearing Christians, of which, most of the population was. They all could understand the idea of Manifest Destiny because it dealt with God, not property, wealth or social standing. It was an issue that could allow people of all backgrounds to prosper.
Land hunger was the second most important contributor to expansion. The land out in this wide open, western unknown was free! People wanted land because at this time land equaled wealth, and people who were not wealthy, could not buy land. This first come, first serve style allowed the people who were hungry for land to obtain it, even if they did not have the means by which to buy any land back east. This way they could even make a profit off of the deal. The greedy American stereotype was obtained during this period.
Although crop failures and natural disasters cause some of the people to travel west for land, it was primarily a basic concept of human nature that is weaker than nothing except the fear, and adoration of God, who was the impetus for the only reason for expansion that developed in a stronger fashion than land hunger. A third reason for American expansion was the suspicion of British intentions. The British were always nipping on the heels of the Americans as it can be seen with the Carolina incident, the Aroostook War as well as the Webster-Ashburton Treaty. It was no doubt that the British would continue their actions along to the Western Coast. They had shown great interest in Mexico, and were faithful comrades of Canada, so who was to doubt the idea that they would attempt to make the land along the coast their own as well. Fear of the British however was not nearly as influential as Manifest Destiny nor greed and land hunger.
Trade opportunities were perhaps the least important contributor to American expansion. The ports along the eastern seaboard were prospering wonderfully with trade to European countries. There was really no need open up new trade routes to Asia and Europe, although it would not hurt the economy of the United States. The trade opportunities that were present could not compare to the trade system that had been developing and firmly cemented in the waters of the Chesapeake and along the New England Coast. Each of the many contributors to the rise of American expansionism had its own strengths as well as weaknesses. Manifest Destiny proved to be the most powerful owing its strength to the religious inferences, and human nature proved to be a close second with land hunger being a much stronger catalyst than either trade opportunities or suspicion of British intentions.
Expansionism developed in the country to not only reach the west coast, but also in future times spread to Pacific Ocean islands as well as the land in Mexico. The United States became one of the leaders in expansion, topping the long leading British for the role. Bibliography:
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