“Manifest Destiny” is a uniquely American idea. The phrase captured the sense of inevitability—and entitlement—many citizens still feel. But in the 19th century this idea consumed American’s thought and identity.
In the minds of white settlers moving westward, expansion was key to protecting American democracy.
But white settlers weren’t equipped for the wild, harsh, and desolate newly-American landscape they found. Those who did make it to California had Mexican governance to deal with - and they would deal with it however they saw fit to make California part of the United States. More war and bloodshed haunted the 1840s, and officially fulfilled Jackson’s autocratic legacy. We hope you enjoyed this arc on American History Tellers. We’ll be back with a brand new series soon.
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