Manifest Destiny: Westward Expansion (Milestones in American by Shane Mountjoy

By Shane Mountjoy

'Manifest Destiny', a word first utilized in 1839 through journalist John O'Sullivan, embodied the assumption that God had given the us a challenge to unfold a republican democracy around the continent. This booklet indicates how this philosophy formed the USA.

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Additional info for Manifest Destiny: Westward Expansion (Milestones in American History)

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After having exhausted peaceful options, the United States gave a decisive answer when it declared war on Great Britain in ­1812. America’s aims in the War of 1812 have been a source of disagreement ever since the conflict began. The stated purpose of the war was to insure the American right to unmolested trade on the high seas. Once at war, however, the United States spent much of its time and resources waging war on British holdings in Canada and on Spanish holdings in Florida. The United States also fought against various American Indian groups, many of whom had allied themselves with Great Britain.

In 1789, Spain decided to act against British and Russian encroachment. Spanish forces established firm control over Nootka Island and confiscated the property of John Meares. Because of the incident, the possibility of war loomed. Great Britain and Spain wanted to avoid a conflict, however. In the 1790s, they negotiated a series of agreements known as the Nootka Convention. Rather than fight over Oregon, the two powers agreed to allow each other to trade at Nootka Sound. The agreements did not settle the question of ownership, however, and precise boundaries were not determined.

Government surveyed western lands to sell them. The federal government divided these lands into townships, each one six miles by six miles in size. Each township was divided further into sections of 640 acres, or parcels of one square mile. Speculators purchased the 640-acre sections and subdivided them into smaller tracts to resell to ­settlers. A significant feature of this land ordinance was the emphasis that it placed on public education. The government reserved the sixteenth section of each township for the express purpose of funding public schools.

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