Manifest Destiny and the Environmental impacts of Westward Expansion
Even before the founding of the Republic, Americans desired to expand Westward taking with them their unique civilization across the continent. By the 1840s this idea of the United States extending its boundaries was encompassed by the phrase Manifest Destiny. Americans not only considered Westward expansion a desirable objective but an endowment from God through which they could take their democratic republicanism across North America. The purpose of this article is to explore American interpretations of Manifest Destiny in the 1840s and 1850s and its environmental impacts on the Western territories, specifically the role which democratic society, Christianity, and capitalism played in transforming the land, nature, and relationships with Native peoples.