Manifest Destiny was a belief that started in the 1840’s. This belief was the expansion of the United States “from sea to shining sea.” John O'Sullivan, a democratic leader, named the movement in 1845. Manifest destiny was just a phrase to help justify what they were doing. People in the early United States needed an excuse that what they were doing was right in order to help them feel better about what they did. As stated by Kinley Brauer, “Manifest Destiny is an emotive, quasi-religious concept that twice arose suddenly, flourished briefly, and then vanished.1” Although it only flourished briefly Manifest Destiny had a very big impact on different races, cultures, technological advancements, and the economy. Manifest Destiny affected the Americans, Native Americans, and Mexicans. It also paved the way for many technological advancements such as the steamboat and the transcontinental railroad.
“If unsettled and sparsely scattered tribes of hunters and fishermen show no disposition or capacity to emerge from the savage to the agricultural and civilized state of man, their right to keep some of the fairest portions of the earth a mere wilderness, filled with wild beasts, for the sake of hunting, becomes utterly inconsistent with the civilization and moral improvement of mankind.2” The Native Americans were affected in 5 ways. They lost land, their buffalo supply were soon depleted by over hunting, they were forced west on the Trail of Tears, diseases were spread by the 'White Men," and many were beaten to death for no reason at all by soldiers sent to "protect" them. Stated by the Merks, “the principle (Manifest Destiny) held that the freedom, democracy, and religion of the United States was ordained of God to spread to and liberate other peoples.3” That doesn’t seem like that’s what they were doing here. The Trail of Tears is possibly the saddest stories in American history. Native Americans were forced to leave their land and travel the 800-mile journey west to find new land and a new home. Nearly one quarter the population did not survive that journey, they died of broken bones, snake bites, disease, and just sheer exhaustion. The Trail of Tears is not the only time that we force the Native Americans to pick up and leave their land and homes either. In the end the Native Americans ended up on small reservations as opposed to the entire country that they had before.
The Mexican-American War was the first American military conflict fought entirely on foreign soil and the first to be closely reported by the press. The war ended with American victory and a treaty that increased the nation's size by more than half a million square miles. This rapid expansion of the nation's land area, with dramatic military successes and developments in transportation (the railroad) and communication (the telegraph and the postal system), fueled theories of Anglo-Saxon supremacy that fused with national pride to produce Manifest Destiny, America's rapid acquisition of the old Mexican Southwest and the Oregon Territory seemed to mark the spectacular fulfillment of President James K. Polk's expansionistic campaign promises. Did Manifest Destiny rhetoric expose a basic malevolence in the American mission or, as Frederick Merk has argued, was it merely partisan propaganda that distorted the true meaning of the American mission?4 From the end of Polk's administration until the Civil War, a series of controversial compromises would follow, as the nation struggled to organize its newly acquired lands without upsetting the partisans of slavery or abolition.
Steamboats were invented in the early 1800's, but they weren’t common until the 1820s. Their popularity increased in the 1840s because they allowed for so much trade. Mechanical reaper, for farming, was also developed in 1831. This allowed more farming in the west on the prairies. The Trans-continental railroad was started in 1862, even though other trains were already running