Was Manifest Destiny Fair?

By Camden Czech

Was Manifest Destiny Fair to Native Americans and Mexicans?

Manifest Destiny. What do you think when you hear those words? Do you think about yourself, and what your life was meant for? Do you think about your family and the legacy you will leave behind when you pass away? We all have these thoughts. Our Founding Fathers and their descendants had the same thoughts. They had to think about our Nation as a whole, and they had to think about what the nation would become in the future. In the mid-1800s, Americans became fixed on this idea, proposed by James K. Polk, called Manifest Destiny. John O’Sullivan gave it its name. He meant “Manifest” to mean clear or obvious, and he meant “Destiny” to mean bound to happen. It called for America to stretch from the Atlantic Ocean all the way to the Pacific Ocean. Americans eventually succeeded with this idea, but they had to deal with some obstacles along the way. Was it okay to push the Mexicans and the Native Americans out of territory that we thought we were destined to have?

I think that it was okay to follow the American Dream that was Manifest Destiny. It kept all Americans unified and ready to defend their nation with their lives. Americans were ready to give up their lives for this purpose, and the government made it its policy. The concept of Manifest Destiny shaped how the government reacted to certain obstacles, such as the border line of the Republic of Texas. Mexico wanted the border of the Republic to be at the Nueces River, but Texas wanted it at the Rio Grande River. Both Nations stationed troops outside the banks of the Rio Grande, and a border scuffle broke out, shots were fired, and the war between the US and Mexico began.

The War with Mexico was all about gaining territory in the west for America. Texas had already applied for statehood in America, but America turned it down for avoiding the risk of having war with Mexico, which they did anyways. Mexico controlled all of California, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, and parts of Colorado, Utah, and Nebraska. Americans wanted all of that land, especially after just getting modern day Idaho, Oregon, and Washington. Americans, with some trouble, succeeded in beating Mexicans down in Mexico itself, and then sending another force to capture all of California, leading to the Mexican Cession. The Mexican Cession gave the United States Arizona, New Mexico, Nebraska, Utah, Nevada, and the Southern half of California. Five years later, the US made the Gadsden Purchase from Mexico, getting the Southern part of Arizona, and almost completing the modern day border we have today.

People will start asking,” Why did Americans just push Mexicans and Natives out of their rightful land?” It wasn’t right for the US to just move other rightful citizens out of their rightful lands. That is just not true. The US moved Native Americans to another part of the country, not out of the country. When Mexico gave the Southwest to the US, they left eighty thousand Mexicans in the care of the US. The US promised to take care of them and they also paid fifteen million dollars to Mexico for the Mexican Cession. In all, only some people were even moved, or chose to move themselves. Most citizens were cared for by the US government, and they didn’t want to move, because they already had it good, with a house and all of the basic needs a person needs at their disposal.

In conclusion, America was right to carry out their dream of, “Owning land from sea to shining sea,” or their dream of Manifest Destiny. The Republic of Texas and the Republic of California both joined the United States during/after the war. Americans had finally achieved their goal, and they were happy to be united. For the first time, all the modern states (besides Hawaii and Alaska) came together and actually became the “United States.” Although the US had been a little ruthless with the Native Americans, they came through with their new Mexican population. The Mexican population soon grew and became a beautiful new culture among the hundreds that were already among every American’s daily life. As John O’Sullivan says, “It is our Manifest Destiny to possess the whole of the continent, from sea to shining sea,” and Americans really did a great job on nailing that point home and achieving their dreams then, so we can reach for our dreams for generations to come.