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Manifest Destiny means the belief that the expansion of the United States throughout the American continent was justified and inevitable. It is a widely held American cultural belief that the American settlers were destined to expand across North America. The phrase Manifest Destiny was coined in 1845, it means that the US is designed by God, it advocates believed, to expand their domain and spread democracy and capitalism across the North American continent. The idea that led to the growth of the Western United States. The idea arose in response to the prospect of US annexation of Texas. With its triumph in the Mexican-American war the US believed it had a manifest destiny by gaining an immense domain of 525,000 miles including present-day Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas and Utah. Many settlers believed that God himself blessed the growth of the American nation. The native Americans were considered uncultured and heathens. Others had economic motives for their journey across the West. The heart of manifest destiny was the belief in American cultural and racial superiority. Native Americans had long been perceived as inferior and efforts to "civilize" them have been widespread in the early days of America.
Westward expansion began with the Louisiana purchase, the gold rush, the Oregon Trail and a belief in manifest destiny. Pioneers and immigrants built the Overland trails to the American Old West throughout the 19th century beginning around 1829 until 1870 as an alternative to railroad transportation. Immigrants colonized much of North America west of the Great Plains in mass migrations in the mid-19th century. There are many motives for this treacherous journey including religious persecution, inexpensive land and the gold rush. The history of these trails and colonizers who traveled them have become embedded in American culture and folklore. The Oregon Trail, the California Trail, Old Spanish Trail, Santa Fe Trail, Southern Emigrant Trail and the Mormon Trail still have signs along the highways that today's modern travelers can follow. The most common vehicle for Oregon and California colonizers were covered wagons pulled by oxes or mules.10% of the migrants who attempted to cross the United States died during the trip.
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