Manifest Destiny was an idea that captured the spirit of westward expansion in the United States.

What is Manifest Destiny?





Examine the documents carefully. You and your team should find answers to these questions:


  1. What do the words Manifest Destiny mean?

  2. What did people think the Manifest Destiny of the United States was?

  3. How did the idea of Manifest Destiny motivate thousands of people to leave their homes and head west?

  4. Why might some people disagree with the goals of Manifest Destiny?



The American realizes that 'Progress is God.' The destiny of the American people is to subdue the continent -- to rush over this vast field to the Pacific Ocean... to change darkness into light and confirm the destiny of the human race... Divine task! Immortal mission! The pioneer army perpetually strikes to the front. Empire plants itself upon the trails.

William Gilpin



O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

O beautiful for pilgrim feet
Whose stern, impassioned stress
A thoroughfare for freedom beat
Across the wilderness!
America! America!
God mend thine every flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law!

From "America the Beautiful" by Katharine Lee Bates




America is symbolized by the woman in white.
She wears the "Star of Empire" on her head, and carries a schoolbook in her hand.



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