- Entries A-Z
- Subject Index
Manifest Destiny is a belief emphasizing the inevitability of continental expansion of the United States. Contemporaries often used the concept as a convenient rationale to justify the annexation of Texas, Oregon, California, and New Mexico in the 1840s.
John L. O'Sullivan, Democratic politician and publicist, coined the phrase Manifest Destiny in the United States Democratic Review (1845). In an article titled “Annexation,” he argued that other nations were attempting to block “the fulfillment of our manifest destiny to overspread the continent allotted by Providence for the free development of our yearly multiplying millions.” The main purpose of his usage of the phrase was to criticize other nations’ possible interference with the United States, whose population, he believed, would expand outward in ever-increasing numbers without violence.
The belief ...