John Louis O’Sullivan believed that it was the “God-given mission of the United States to lead the world in the peaceful transition to democracy” (American Yawp). This ambiguous belief which was named manifest destiny dated back to the establishment of the United states. The central idea being that, it was Americans destiny to progress economically and politically and spread democracy encouraging many to move westward of the Mississippi river. Religion and opportunity were some motivations for Americans migration and like every action there were consequences.
The idea that Americans believe it was their destiny to expand westward shows the religious aspect that motivated them, their religious motivation allowed justification in their “moral claim to hemispheric leadership.” (American Yawp) Along with religion was land and opportunity. Texas annexation which had been ignored since 1836 was reignited which threatened war with Mexico. But the need for that lad to fulfil expansion led to war and a treaty that was signed in 1848. Two years after the war started. The U.S. desire for good fertile farmland as well as opportunity to be rich contributed greatly to their move. In 1829, Gold was found in Georgia which only strengthened Americans resolved and was further fortified during the California Gold rush. The disclosure of Gold heartened many western settlers to own land in the west and get rich. According to the American yawp, “…San Francisco whose population grew from about 500 in 1848 to almost 50,000 by 1853.”
The westward expansion of the United States benefited them and also brought about various consequences. One of the notable consequences was the Mexican-American war. The war gave United states a portion of Mexico’s territory and allowed the path for the U.S to become a world power. The acquisition of these territories brought about the question of slavery and whether or not it should be extended to the new territories that have been acquired. The compromise of 1850 was created as an effort to avoid the slavery crisis but this politicized Slavery more. Finally, Manifest destiny disrupted the traditional ways of life of both the migrants and the natives. Native Americans were moved out of their land and forced on a journey (the trail of tears) which killed many of the natives.
The United states westward expansion benefitted them but also uncovered the shortcomings of the American system. The Mexican American war, Native Americans suffering and exploitation, as well as growing disputes and tension over slavery within the U.S were all consequences of the Manifest Destiny. An idea for domination motivated by possible opportunities to be rich as well as religion.