Manifest destiny means expanding the territory of the United States Westward.
It affected America greatly as the idea of promoting and defending democracy and becoming an example for the world is still prevalent today. Getting to that point though, was no picnic, so to speak, for the Native Americans who were pushed around and moved by force off of their lands and into places unknown to them. As such there was a lot of warring and an overlying sense of inhospitality in the western lands for quite some time. There was no sense of complete peace or of being safe in one’s own abode and a lot of tension and racial discrimination came to the surface because of this concept. Manifest destiny also created unrest among the people of the land as some were in favor of it and did consider it our destiny from a divine force and others thought it just a very bad idea, for many reasons, one of which was the fear that slaves would become an integral part of the newly expanded western areas and thwart the progress of slave laws that were at that time taking place. Another change to America is that it went from a land of working hard to move ahead to one where luck and zeal to move ahead became prominent. The fear of moral decline that existed among some people of the time was not an unfounded one as people looked for the ‘get rich quick’ scheme that would land them their fortunes.
The election of 1848 was important because it echoed America’s wanting for westward expansion, which was formalized by the annexation of Texas. It also is important because the decisions from this time led to the Mexican-American War and a treaty that divided Oregon. The Democratic nominee was James Polk, the Whig Party’s candidate was Henry Clay, and the Liberty Party had James Birney running. Polk won the election with his outspoken speeches advocating expansion to the West.
The election of 1848 was important because it was the first time political candidates chose to take ambiguous paths in their campaigns. In order to avoid offending potential voters from choosing them as their candidate they avoided heated issues or spoke of them in vague and noncommittal terms. The three candidates were Michigan’s Lewis Cass for the Democratic Party, the Whig party had General Zachary Taylor running, and the third candidate was Free-Soil Party’s former Democrat Martin Van Buren. The winner was Taylor.
The annexation of Texas as mentioned above, led to the Mexican-American War. Mexico did not recognize the treaty making Texas independent and as such initiated the war. Public support of the war was linked with a firm belief in Manifest Destiny. One very important consequence, or victory as some could claim was the acquirement of New Mexico and California by the United States as an outcome of the war.
The election of 1852 had General Winfield Scott as its nominated candidate, Franklin Pierce ran for the Democratic Party. The two parties had very similar opinions on the issues at hand and as such the Whigs became discouraged and the eventual outcome was the breakup of the Whig Party, who never again had a candidate nominated to run for the presidency. Pierce won the election by a landslide and the country now had a dominant two-party election system in place (with others welcome but hardly major competition, instead playing the role of being somewhat of a spoiler).
The election of 1856 was far more heated with the candidates running having extremely different opinions on the issues at hand. The Republicans were anti-slave power and the Democrats thought it should be a state-by-state decision. James Buchanan was the Democratic candidate, John Charles Fremont; the Republican candidate, and Millard Fillmore the American candidate. Buchanan was the victor. The importance of this election and how it affected Americans was that it drove home the point that the North and South were very firm in their opinions on the issue of slavery and it was becoming more and more inevitable that a war was going to result.
The election of 1860s was very controversial with a very high voter turnout. The issue of slavery was still dividing the nation greatly and during this time it all came to a head, the end result being the American Civil War. The Republican nominee was Abraham Lincoln, The Constitutional nominee; John Bell, and the newly broken in two Democratic party had: John Cabell Breckinridge running on the Southern Democratic ticket and John Bell running on the Northern Democratic ticket. The winner was Lincoln, by far.
The rise of Abraham Lincoln and the Republican Party in the mid-19th Century had Lincoln taking a firm stand against slavery, most especially in the territories and doing everything he could to prevent military involvement. His message was one of unity and his main goal was to keep peace and a family spirit of being one in the nation. His goals of ending slavery and keeping the Union intact were successful and his legacy as an honest and good man and a strong leader who was true to the American nation and their people still resounds today.