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Lecture 17

HIST 2110Y Lecture Notes - Lecture 17: Treaty Of Guadalupe Hidalgo, Defensively Equipped Merchant Ship, Personal Liberty Laws

Course Code
HIST 2110Y
Jeremy Milloy

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HIST-2110Y February 5, 2014
Manifest Destiny: Texas, California, and Oregon
General Winifred Scott’s Army enters Mexico City
During the last few weeks we have been exploring how the societies of North and
South began developing along increasingly different lines, and often clashing,
especially over slavery
During the 1840s, though, there was also a vigorous spirit of American
nationalism and expansionism
This was the era of MANIFEST DESTINY, a belief that it was the USAs historic
mission to bring the land of North America, and possibly beyond, under its
Manifest Destiny, as we’ll explore this week, represented another expression of
In this decade, the US added over one million square miles to its territory, its
biggest expansion since the Louisiana Purchase
By the end of the decade, the US occupied basically all of the areas it does today,
save Hawaii, Alaska, and a few border regions
But the expansion did not provide the desired outlet for sectional tensions
Just the opposite, as North and South began to clash over just what sort of
societies the new acquisitions would be
Major Topics
Manifest Destiny
Texas and Oregon
Going West
President James K. Polk, the Napoleon of the Stump
The new sectional crisis
Manifest Destiny
MANIFEST DESTINY contained elements of some of the other ideas shaping
American life at mid-century, including the strong sense of patriotic nationalism,
and also the perfectionist, reforming impulse that animated the activist
movements we looked at in Week 14
Also reflected American Exceptionalism’s conviction that America was a “city on
a hill” with a special mission bequeathed to it by history and God
In this case, it was to extend American dominion westward; some said north and
south to Canada and Mexico; some believed America should encompass most of
the world
The idea of Manifest Destiny was taken up and expounded by nationalist
politicians looking for a popular issue to appear patriotic and win votes
Some wiser political heads, like Henry Clay, tried to dampen the spirit, rightly
fearing new territory would reawaken the slavery issue
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