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Manifest Destiny

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Wagons arriving in a new town in the American west, circa 1870. (Photo by Kean Collection/Archive Photos/Getty Images)
Kean Collection/Archive Photos/Getty Images
Definition: The imperialistic 19th century view that America was destined to expand across the North American continent. This was also known as westward expansion. The idea of manifest destiny was espoused in newspapers, novels, editorial cartoons, and posters at the time. In fact, it was a newspaper editor named John O'Sullivan who first used the term in print in 1845 when he was talking about the possible annexation of Texas. According to him, it America's “manifest destiny to overspread the continent.” This doctrine was examined by historian Frederick Jackson Turner in "The Significance of the Frontier in American History."
Also Known As: westward expansion

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