The Spirit Of Manifest Destiny

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During the first half of the nineteenth century, America's size grew by 70%. This massive and rapid growth was due to the fervor of Manifest Destiny that was spreading throughout the country during this time. Manifest Destiny may be seen as a social idea, but the federal government was leading to the charge to expand the United States across the country. Whether it was declaring war, purchasing new territories, or settling court cases that allowed the federal government more control over infrastructure, the government of the United States was always fighting for westward expansion. The public may have been the ones out on the frontier, heading west to test their luck in new territories, but would they have new territories to discover if the …show more content…

The War of 1812 was largely fought due to America's anger over Britain's lack of respect of their shipping rights. However, many of the young new members of government, known as the war hawks, also felt that the United States could come out of the war with new territory. Even in this early stage of the century, members of government were looking for ways to gain more land for the United States, even if it meant going to war with a European superpower. The main war for territory occurred a few decades later, under President James K. Polk. Polk, who was known as the Manifest Destiny President, wanted to expand the country as much as possible. Polk stated during his inaugural address, "I shall ... endeavor by all ... means to consummate the expressed will of the people and Government of the United States by the reannexation of Texas to our Union at the earliest practicable period" (Document I). Some feel that he was guilty of aggravating tensions with Mexico by sending troops into territory debated between the United States and Mexico. This incident, in which Mexico retaliated violently to Polk's troops, was considered one of the main causes of the Mexican American War, which was also called "Mr. Polk's War" . However, by the end of the war Polk had achieved what he set out to do and …show more content…

In New York, the state could issue permits to certain steamboat owners so that only they could operate their boats on state waters. The man holding the permit was Ogden. Gibbons was caught with his boat on the water, and Ogden sued him. However, Gibbons decided to take his case to the Supreme Court. The court examined the Constitution and decided to expand the meaning of commerce to include the transportation of goods. In the Constitution, commerce is clearly defined as a matter for the federal government to control. Therefore, New York could not interfere with commerce on state waters. This case opened up the ability of the federal government to build infrastructure in order to make westward expansion easier. Canals, roads, and railroads could now be built and regulated federally without the states being able to oppose

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