John L. O’Sullivan, in his newspaper the New York Morning News, argued that the United States had the right to claim the entire Oregon Country “by the right of our manifest destiny”, popularizing the term’s use.
Manifest destiny was a widely held cultural belief in the 19th-century United States that American settlers were destined to expand across North America. There are three basic themes to manifest destiny:
- The special virtues of the American people and their institutions
- The mission of the United States is to redeem and remake the west in the image of the agrarian East
- An irresistible destiny to accomplish this essential duty
Historian Frederick Merk says this concept was born out of “a sense of mission to redeem the Old World by high example … generated by the potentialities of a new earth for building a new heaven”.
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