Manifest Destiny: God Given Right? Or Greed?
Manifest destiny, a great glorious “movement” in American History... or was is a huge injustice that people used religious beliefs to excuse? The latter is a better definition for it. Manifest destiny was what people thought was a way to “expand” their country, or to, push the boundaries of their country and conquer the continent. The idea that was brought on by John L. O’Sullivan, explained that it was ‘the divine and God given right of the American people’ to have this land. Some people could have simply seen it as an opportunity to raise their families in a better place, but in my personal opinion, it was just greed, the want for more land.
Manifest destiny involved mostly the Americans. This ‘destiny’ was to move westward, straight from the Mississippi all the way to the Pacific (some area’s later on excluded as Indian Reservations). This happened mostly during the 1800’s, and during Jefferson’s term as President. American’s (1801-1809) got this need for more land, so they started to force their way to the West Coast taking out all they had to in the process. It wasn’t always like it though. In the beginning, most American’s didn’t go beyond about thirty miles of the Mississippi River, but soon though, ambition, the need of the economy, and the thought of more land pushed them forward,
Evidence that proves Manifest Destinies existence had its bad points is bountiful. Narrowing it down though to these three major points is enough. First of all, there was the Lewis and Clark expedition. How Jefferson ordered Lewis and Clark to enlist a crew and set off on a mapping voyage into the unchartered west, where the unknown was bound to happen, risk their lives, and sneak through enemy territory where there was nothing to keep them from being sliced into pieces at the point of unfriendly swords. My second example was that of the territories that were claimed, by force and war. They were known at the time as the Louisiana, Texas, and Organ territories. My third, and what I feel is a very important, point is that of the actual people themselves, the ones who were really affected by this whole ‘escapade’, the Mexicans, Native Americans, and the Americans themselves.
Which leads me to my next point, how Manifest Destiny affected the Native Americans. Because the American’s wanted land, they would stop at nothing to get it, including uprooting entire tribes, and forcing them from their buried, their homes, their spiritual places, tearing apart families, killing countless thousands to get their land. The Trail of Tears for example, countless of Cherokee brutally forced to walk thousands of miles out of ‘American territory’ to what we know today as Oklahoma. To walk with bleeding feet, no rest, little food, spreading disease, and broken pride. These once noble people were affected the most. Starting with Jefferson passing the Indian Removal Act, which gave American’s the ‘right’ to move Native Americans from their homes, and ending in bloody trails and wars. A God given right indeed.
How can those people call themselves Americans, land of the free, home of the brave? To me it sounds more like, land of the white and home of the greedy and cowardly. John L. O’Sullivan really played a big part in Manifest Destiny during this time period. The “fake prophet” told people that it was their divine American right to have all this land. He was an ambitious greed fulfilled man who would stop no destruction to get what he wanted. He claimed that the voice of God has spoken to him and that God said he wanted the American’s to have the entire Continent, East to West, North to South. And people believed him. They followed his role, were fooled by the promises of untold riches, massive lands of rolling hills and unchartered territories that allowed the wealth of farms to flow in. Most Americans did believe the fact that God wanted them to have this land, and because of this, they got Manifest Destiny.
Americans had many positives points, many things to be proud of, many ways that gave them the pride to call themselves Americans, but they also had the bad points, and Manifest destiny was one of them. In this case, Americans based their faults, later, on religious beliefs, being self riotous and claiming ‘as God as their witness’ that the Lord in heaven wanted this to be so. Even with that thought slightly subduing their guilt, it was not, is not and can not be an excuse. Manifest destiny is claimed by all, it is a cruel trick fate played upon the human race indulging our lustful, needy side of things.
What is the reason we are in Iraq? What is the reason Iraq attacked us? What are the motives behind terrorist, what is the reason that we do the things we do, the reason we fight, our whole outlook on life? Manifest destiny. It calls up our ambitious rigorous unthinking side and shows us rewards, and only later do we see the damage it can cause. Manifest Destiny, it is God’s will, right? So what’s so bad about it?