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First Edition   ©2012

Manifest Destiny and American Territorial Expansion

A Brief History with Documents

Amy S. Greenberg (Pennsylvania State University)

  • ISBN-10: 0-312-60048-8
  • ISBN-13: 978-0-312-60048-8
  • Paper Text , 208 pages

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Manifest Destiny has been one of the most influential ideologies in American history, serving as the justification for the nation’s territorial expansion in the antebellum era. In this compelling collection, Amy Greenberg focuses on the social, cultural and political context that gave rise to Manifest Destiny. She explores how American expansionism evolved from its colonial roots and accompanying notions of exceptionalism to become a fully articulated rationale in the 1840s for expanding the nation’s borders and seizing lands from Native Americans and Mexico and later from Cuba and Central America. Documents — including diary and personal narratives, letters, political speeches, contemporary illustrations, newspaper accounts, essays, appeals, and a song — highlight the origin of the term itself, ideological support and rejection of Manifest Destiny, and the voices of those most painfully affected by American expansion. Headnotes, a chronology and bibliography further support students in their study of this development in American foreign policy.
“This volume is an exceptional window onto the process and ideology of American territorial expansionism. It is thoughtfully conceptualized and provides an impressive blend of conventional and unconventional source material.”
— Robert E. May, Purdue University