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What does Manifest Destiny mean?

What are the Origins of the Term Manifest Destiny?

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What is Manifest Destiny?

• A concept in the 1800s which was used by the American policy during that period of time.
• It was advertised in posters, newspapers and other forms of media during that era.
• It is not a policy by the government but it paved way to the manifestation of the Homestead Act.
• It was the reason for United States quick expansion from East to West.
• It is used by several historians to describe America at its height of territorial expansion.


• John O'Sullivan who was a newspaper editor in the United States in 1845 first applied the words in his article about the annexation of Texas (proposal}.
• The exact phrase that he used was “It is America's manifest destiny to overspread the continent.”
• Expansion was suggested to America as its instrument to increase its social and political influence all over the world through the article.
• According to O'Sullivan, United States is the only country that is capable of doing such.
• The term lost its popularity during the early 2000’s but it has truly left its mark in the American history.
• In fact, it still influenced the country’s foreign policy during that time in spreading democracy around the world.

The Origins of the Actual Westward Expansion

• Actually, the Purchase of Louisiana in 1803 started America’s Westward expansion not Manifest Destiny.
• In this purchase, America was able to acquire 23 percent of its current land.
• From then on, it has started to acquire more and more land to increase its political power.
• An official government policy in the country was even implemented for it to actively pursue more land.

So, what was Manifest Destiny’s role in all of this?

• O'Sullivan's phrase simply encouraged the “fire to burn more.
• It drove United States to come up with programs that led more people to transfer to the West.
• Discovered minerals and gold in the country also lead United States to form an alliance with more Easterners in its course of acquiring more land.

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