Lesson on Manifest Destiny

Lesson 2

Google Document

Google Powerpoint

Manifest Destiny

Learning Essential Question  

How did Manifest Destiny affect American expansion to the west?

Reading Material

Manifest Destiny

As a result of the Louisiana Purchase the United States instantly doubled in size.  Now, with territory up to the Mississippi River claimed and settled as result of the Louisiana Purchase explored, Americans headed west in droves.

The idea of expanding American “civilization” to the “WILD AND UNTAMED” wilderness became very popular during this time period.  That idea eventually turned into a belief.

Newspaper editor JOHN O'SULLIVAN coined the term "MANIFEST DESTINY" in 1845 to describe the essence of this belief.  MANIFEST DESTINY was the belief that “God” destined the people of the United States to settle and expand from the east coast the west coast. It further stated that it was preordained that America would bring “CIVILIZATION” to those Native American tribes that were “deprived” of it.

 In the song “America The Beautiful”  captures this belief  “AND CROWN THY GOOD WITH BROTHERHOOD FROM SEA TO SHINING SEA” (Figurative language which meant from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean.  Proponents of Manifest Destiny used the belief to encourage the expansion of the country.  However there were people who opposed the ideals of Manifest Destiny.  The opponents argued that American Expansion would lead to the destruction of the way of “the way of life” of  many Native American tribes.  

The ideas of  Manifest Destiny were captured in many of the artwork of the mid 1800’s.  One of the most famous artworks is illustrated below

.... Student Educator Interpretation of the art

Connecting Activity


(Think, Pair, Share)  

In a collaborative discussion create arguments that support or oppose Manifest Destiny.

Support Manifest Destiny

Against Manifest Destiny


Art Challenge

This artwork was designed to promote support for American Expansion to the West.  Create a drawing that either supports or opposes the principles behind Manifest Destiny.

Include in that poster a detailed explanation as to why your poster supports or denounces the principles  behind Manifest Destiny.






1) If you were a member of a Native American tribe living in the Midwest how would you feel about the "pioneers" moving into and settling in your hunting lands?

2) How would you feel about the philosophy behind Manifest Destiny?  

3) Would you view the settlers as saviors who are bringing "civilization" to the your lands or rather an evil invading force?

4) Would   the United States involvement  in places like  Afghanistan and Iraq be considered an  example of  an EXTENSION of  Manifest  Destiny?


Students will take on the persona of the groups connected to the Westward Expansion time period. This includes the Native American,a pioneer or settler, an immigrant working on the 
Transcontinental Railroad etc...
 Write a fictional series of journal entries describing, from a child's view, some of the events, hardships and adventures of pioneers traveling west, the Native Americans, and the immigrants 

working on the railroads. (You can choose another writing style .)
In a series of political cartoons with a connecting  newsletters showcase the treatment of the immigrants working on the railroads, particularly the Chinese immigrants who were often taken advantage of by the railroad companies, showcase the conflict between the Native Americans and the pioneers and gold miners when it came to the issue of land, the Buffalo and reservations 
You are a reporter who is interviewing a member of the Native American tribes that are being displaced as a result of Westward Expansion.  In a (Q) and (A) secession indicate how you would feel if your way of life was being threatened by the pioneers.

Create a technology  presentation in which you showcase the timeline of the major events connected to Westward Expansion, the timeline will include the Louisiana Purchase, The Trial of Tears, the 1st wave of pioneers (prior to the Transcontinental Railroad), the 2nd wave of settlers after the completion of the railroad, The Wounded Knee Massacre (include information about the Ghost Dance) etc... 



Manifest Destiny

The Expansion of the United States


gemps michelot,
Oct 12, 2011, 9:37 PM