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The western horizon would always beckon, and Americans would always follow.After the American Revolution (1775–83), the steady advance of the cotton kingdom in the South matched the lure of the Ohio Country in the North. Thomas Jefferson’s Louisiana Purchase doubled the size of the country with the stroke of a pen.The country separated as many people supported the idea, and many opposed it.
]There were many country-splitting issues that characterized the United States in the 1800s.
A major one of these was Manifest Destiny, the belief that the United States was destined to extend its territory west to the Pacific Ocean.
O’Sullivan was protesting European meddling in American affairs, especially by France and England, which he said were actingfor the avowed object of thwarting our policy and hampering our power, limiting our greatness and checking the fulfillment of our manifest destiny to overspread the continent allotted by Providence for the free development of our yearly multiplying millions.
O’Sullivan’s observation was a complaint rather than a call for aggression, and he referred to demography rather than pugnacity as the solution to the perceived problem of European interference.
It was for them proof that God had chosen the United States to grow and flourish.
Yet in a story as old as ancient Rome’s transformation from republic to empire, not all Americans, like the doubters of Rome, found it encouraging.
The impatient English who colonized North America in the 1600s and 1700s immediately gazed westward and instantly considered ways to venture into the wilderness and tame it.
The cause of that ceaseless wanderlust varied from region to region, but the behaviour became a tradition within one generation.
Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. history, the supposed inevitability of the continued territorial expansion of the boundaries of the United States westward to the Pacific and beyond.
Join Britannica's Publishing Partner Program and our community of experts to gain a global audience for your work! Before the American Civil War (1861–65), the idea of Manifest Destiny was used to validate continental acquisitions in the Oregon Country, Texas, New Mexico, and California.