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Manifest Destiny Page 1

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    "Every nation should be judged by the best it has been able to produce, not by the worst."

    - James Weldon Johnson


    Manifest Destiny is a concept that guided American's view of westward expansion. The phrase was used to describe the idea of the God-given right for America to expand from the originally settled colonies all the way to the west coast. In 1839, John O'Sullivan, a democratic leader and New York newspaper editor, prophesied "the fulfillment of our Manifest Destiny to overspread the continent allotted by Providence (God) for the free development of our yearly multiplying millions." In other words, the United States had a divine mission to take the whole of North America, by force if necessary, and thus make room for its own rapidly growing people. In so doing, Americans believed they would carry the blessings of democracy to "less favored peoples" who happened to occupy attractive lands nearby.


    Use the web to research "Manifest Destiny." There are exibits on Manifest Destiny on the next page.


    In this assignment you will put American's policy of Manifest Destiny "on trial." Imagine you have been given the task of deciding whether or not America owes the Native Americans reparations, or financial compensation for the consequences of Manifest Destiny.

    • Was America justified in taking over the land of Native Americans through the policy of Manifest Destiny?
    • If so, why was America justified in following this policy?
    • Was America negligent, causing injury to the Native American people?

    You have been given the responsibility to decide this issue.

    Go to the next page to continue assignment.