Manifest Destiny and Its Legacy
Big ideas matter. Here are the most important themes for this chapter.
The over-arching theme of chapter 17 is that the United States chose to pursue a national policy of expansion called “Manifest Destiny.” The U.S. chose to expand it’s borders, and then did it.
- A boundary dispute with England over Maine was settled peacably. In the long run, the U.S. likely got the better end of the deal.
- Texas finally joined the U.S. Since the Texas revolution, it’d been hanging in the balance. American lawmakers finally decided it was too good of a prize to let slip by, so it was annexed in 1845
- Oregon was next on the list of lands to seal up. It was shared land, mainly between the U.S. and England. After some negotiating over the border, the 49th parallel was agreed upon. Again, the U.S. likely got the better.
- The election of 1844 saw James K. Polk run on a Manifest Destiny platform. Americans liked the idea, voted him in, and he went after California.
- When the Mexican-American war was over, the prize of California that Polk had wanted, was obtained. So was all of the modern American Southwest.