Destiny is an important part of American history. It is what brought us to
where we are today. Whether it was religious, economic, or even political, the
reasons for expansions all reflected the changes that were coming in the
American peoples’ lives. The Mexican American war and the Compromise of 1850
were only some of the major consequences of westward expansion. The nation’s
future would be drastically changed after the course of these events.
the major consequences of westward expansion was the Mexican American war in
1847. Since the US annexed Texas in 1845, most of that land belonged to the US.
However, there was a conflict on where that territory ended. The US claimed it
was the Rio Grande and Mexico claimed it was the Nueces River. The US gained
500,000 square miles from the Rio Grande up until the Pacific Ocean. Mexico’s
loss only helped promote more westward expansion. Another consequence was a
disruption in the way of life of both the Native Americans and the people who
moved west. The Native Americans had constant invasion of their lands and most
of their food sources would get scared off by the constant flow of wagon
trains. As for the families that would move west, many didn’t know how to run a
farm or grow crops. This drastic change in their lives meant no future for
some. No profit would be made from their farm and they would be forced back to
where they came from. The Compromise of 1850 was yet another consequence of westward
expansion. The compromise consisted of 5 things: the admission of California as
free state, the organization of southwest territories without regards to
slavery, adjustment of border with Texas and New Mexico, abolish the slave
trade in DC, and a tougher Fugitive Slave Law. The most important part is, of
course, the Fugitive Slave Law. The changes made to it allowed slaveowners to
more easily get their slaves back. So in regards to abolishing slavery, this
was a step back, even though without it, American history would have been very
main motivations of Manifest Destiny were religious, economic, and political.
Because religion was a huge part of American life, it was believed that “a
quasi-religious call to spread democracy… would save the world” (American
Yawp). Many believed that it was their God-given right to move west and that God
dictated that that was the right thing to do for the future. Along with
religion, many people wanted to move west for economic reasons as well. There
was plenty of land for the taking which meant that there was ample opportunity.
Many took their families for hope that there would be a better future. This was
also a chance to grow the country and the national government. Increasing the
amount of land had its political value as well. The larger America got, the
closer it got to its goal of being regarded as a global empire. However, this
global empire did come without consequences.
expansion is better known as Manifest Destiny. This major idea and the events
following were major in paving the course of the nation’s future. Motivations
for westward expansion were religious, economic, and political and some of the
consequences include the Mexican American War, a disrupted way of life, and the
Compromise of 1850.
All in all, there were many
arguments for the proslavery argument such as the Mudsill theory, the Bible,
false science and paternalism. These allowed for the justification of slavery
in many slaveholder’s eyes. Even those who were less okay with it found ways to
justify that their actions were humane.
Paternalism was a way that slavery
could be shown as a positive for those slaveowners who were more doubtful than
the rest. Paternalism is the idea that slavery had a family-like structure,
where the slaveowner was the head of that family and the slaves were his
dependents. The slaves were thought not to be able to take care of themselves
on their own so this was a very kind and nice way to help them out. In exchange
for safety, security, and care, the slaveowners or fathers expected their
dependents to behave. By keeping the African Americans off the streets, slavery
was thought to be a good Samaritan act.
false science can also be called scientific racism. Essentially, scientific
racism is a way to explain social inequalities. During this time period, that
race was African. It said that slaves had lesser mental faculties than whites,
that slaves were capable of less understanding, that slaves were made to be
controlled. Sentiments like these got passed on verbally and were also printed.
Many people heard or read these ideas and agreed with them, furthering their
belief that slavery was right. Along with this scientific racism, we also see a
somewhat emotional response towards slavery.
argument for proslavery was the Bible. The story of Ham was the main basis. Ham
was cursed for having sinned and for many years, this was taken as the reason
that some had black skin. Since religion was very important in Southern
society, this theory had caught on. Many figured that if all the persons with
black skin had sinned, then there was no redemption for them and slavery was
their fate forever. Everyone and everything sinful needed to be banished and
rid from this earth, according to them. However, it was figured that slavery
was just fine for sinners like the African Americans. No one ever thought to
question that African Americans were people too, capable both physically and
mentally. Mostly it was due to the false science spread about the African
Mudsill Theory states that there must be a lower class for the upper classes to
rest on. Since most slaveowners were at least middle class, this theory proved
that there had to be a class below them. Slaves were then put into this class.
Nobody would have stood up for them and they most definitely were unable to have
stood up for themselves. The need by the elites for this class was one of the
arguments for pro-slavery.
southerners found any and all explanations as to why slavery should be kept.
Some did it purely because their livelihood depended on it while others
actually believed the lies. Some of the ideas used to form the proslavery
ideology were the Mudsill Theory, biblical proofs, false science, and
The change from anti-slavery to
abolition probably saved the movement. New beliefs like immediatism governed
the new movement and they found new ways to influence people. William Lloyd
Garrison were only a few of the sparks to ignite the flame that became the
Originally, the anti-slavery
movement opted for gradualism. This method was practiced popularly as trying to
show slaveowners that what they were doing was not right. According to the
gradualist thought, this should have made the slaveowners release their slaves
immediately, however that’s not how it was. Around the 1830s is when the
anti-colonization movement started, which harbored the idea that colonization
was a racist project. People like William Lloyd Garrison harbored this belief.
Garrison started fighting slavery at a young age in the 1820s, starting with
the gradualism state of mind. According to the American Yawp, after reading
works by David Walker, a black abolitionist in the north, Garrison became a
firm believer in immediatism. From more and more people like Garrison, we see
the rise of the abolitionist movement. However, Nat Turner’s rebellion almost
put an end to the abolitionist movement. A slave uprising, the rebellion was
believed to be the doing of the abolitionists. Violence against abolitionists
increased and almost led to its demise. However, a new idea trickled through
the community that the new way to go about abolition is through politics. The
belief that the Constitution was an anti-slavery document gave physical proof
and new meaning to the movement.
Starting in the 1830s, the
anti-slavery movement had started to change into the abolitionist movement. The
realization that their slow progress was lending them no advancements started
the change in tactic. An anti-colonization mindset led to the change in the
movement, along with people like William Lloyd Garrison and Nat Turner.