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U.S Manifest Destiny

Updated on June 17, 2018



U.S Manifest Destiny

The United States was growing in the early 1800s. Many people were moving to the United States from other countries. These people wanted a better life. American leaders wanted more land for these people. In 1803, the United States purchased the Louisiana Territory from France. A territory is land that is owned by another country. The land that was part of the Louisiana Territory was enormous, or very big. It made the United States much larger. It expanded the country to the west. The United States now ended near the Rocky Mountains.

The Battle for Texas

During this time, Texas was not part of the United States. Texas was part of Mexico. Mexico also owned the states of California, Nevada, Utah, and New Mexico. Then in 1836, Texas won its freedom from Mexico. The people of Texas did not have to obey, or listen to, Mexico's leaders anymore. Texas now wanted to be part of the United States. Mexico's leaders did not want Texas to join the United States. They thought the United States would then try to take other states near Texas. They did not want Mexico to lose so much land. British leaders also did not want the United States to have Texas. Great Britain and the United States shared the Oregon Territory. This included the states of Oregon, Washington, and Idaho. The British thought the United States would try to take more land if it had power over Texas.

Moving West

James K. Polk became president of the United States in 1844. He believed in Manifest Destiny. He wanted to the United States to expand. He wanted Texas to become a state. Texas finally joined the United States in 1845. The U.S. government now had to protect, or guard, Texas's boundaries, or borders. Texas's leaders said they owned the land near a river called the Rio Grande. Mexico's leaders said this land was part of Mexico. The United States and Mexico went to war over this land. The Mexican-American War started in 1846. The fighting lasted for two years. The United States won the war. At the end of the war, Mexico and the United States signed the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. A treaty is an agreement between two or more countries. The agreement gave the United States control of, or power over, the Southwest. This included the states of California, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and parts of Colorado and Wyoming.

Treaty with the British

President Polk also argued with British leaders during the Mexican-American War. Polk did not want to share the Oregon Territory with the British anymore. He believed the United States should own this land. The British did not want to fight the United States. The British signed a treaty, or an agreement, with the United States. The United States now had control of, or power over, what are now the states of Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and parts of Montana and Wyoming. The United States gave the British control of what is now Canada.

How manifest Destiny Changed America

Manifest Destiny caused many problems. It caused the United States to fight with Mexico and Great Britain. It also caused problems with Native Americans. More people came to the United States from other countries. U.S. leaders made the Native Americans move off their land to make room for these people. These leaders did not think the Native Americans should be allowed to own land. The Native Americans lost most of the land they had lived and hunted on for many years. Manifest Destiny made the United States much larger. Many Americans believed in Manifest Destiny because they wanted more land. Manifest Destiny ended when Americans started fighting each other during the Civil War.

The Mexican-American War

From 1846 to 1848, the United States and Mexico fought a war. This war is called the Mexican-American War. The U.S. and Mexico fought over the state of Texas. The United States wanted Texas to be part of its country. Mexico believed that Texas was part of its country. After the United States won the war, Texas, New Mexico, and the northern part of California all became part of the United States. Texas and Mexico: Texas was not always part of the United States. It was once a part of Mexico. In 1836, Texas fought to become independent, or free, from Mexico. For nine years, Texas was free from Mexico. During this time, it was called the Republic of Texas. However, Mexican leaders did not think Texas was free. They believed Texas was still part of Mexico. In 1845, the people of Texas voted to become part of the United States of America. Mexico said it would start a war if Texas tried to leave Mexico. The War begins James K. Polk was the President of the United States in 1846. The president is the leader of the country. In March, President Polk sent 4,000 soldiers, or fighters in the U.S. Army, to protect the new state of Texas. Zachary S. Taylor was the leader of these soldiers. The soldiers stopped at the Rio Grande River. On April 24, 1846, Mexican soldiers crossed the river. They started to fight with the American soldiers. President Polk talked to Congress (the other leaders in the U.S. government). Congress declared war, or said the United States could go to war against Mexico. The Americans won early battles, or fights, in Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma. Mexico City. President Polk sent another army leader, General Winfield Scott, to try to take control of Mexico City. In March of 1847, General Scott got control of the city of Veracruz, which is on the east coast of Mexico. The American soldiers marched across Mexico. They were just outside Mexico City by September 1847. The Americans and Mexicans fought outside Mexico City. The Americans won, and the Mexicans surrendered, or gave up. California and New Mexico While General Scott was fighting in Mexico City, General Stephen Kearny was marching to New Mexico and California. In 1846, this land belonged to Mexico. Soon the United States also had control of New Mexico and California.

Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo : In 1848, a peace treaty, or agreement to stop fighting, was signed in Mexico City. It was called the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. In the treaty, Mexico agreed to sell a lot of its land to the United States. For about 15 million dollars, the United States got the land that now includes parts of California, New Mexico, Nevada, Colorado, Utah, and Arizona. Mexico also agreed that Texas was a U.S. state. The Mexican-American War was over. The Missouri Compromise helped Missouri become a state. Missouri became a state during the time of slavery in the United States. Slavery: In the 1800s, there were slaves in the United States. A slave is a person who is owned by another person. At this time, some states let people have slaves. Other states did not. The northern states did not want slavery. These states were called free states. The southern states wanted slavery. These states were called slave states. In 1819, there were 22 total states in the United States. There were 11 slave states and 11 free states. Missouri wanted to become a U.S. state. It wanted to become a slave state. This was a problem. The people in the North wanted Missouri to be a free state. The people in the South wanted Missouri to be a slave state. In the 1830s, the United States government forced Native Americans to leave their land in the southern U.S. and move west. They were forced to move to an area called Indian Territory, now the state of Oklahoma. During the trip west, many Native Americans died. This was called the Trail of Tears.


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