For two centuries, Americans had been progressivel

y taking over and establishinga continent. People felt that westward expansion between the 17th century and the 1840s
was golden, but dangerous. People felt it was feasible only through patient work and
timorous calamities. With each year of national growth, the confidence and power of the
people was magnified, and every step forward divulged a broader horizon. Americans
began to feel that the whole continent was to be theirs to do as they please with. It was
theirs to exploit and theirs to make into a great, unified nation. This was a land of
opportunity, a showcase to manifest the goodness of democratic institutions, tangible
proof that the Americans were Gods chosen people. John L. OSullivan, a journalist,
summed Americas new atmosphere up in a sentance in 1845. “The fulffillment of our
manifest destiny to overspread the continent alloted by Providence for the free
development of our yearly multiplying millions”. Manifest destiny was the belief of
nineteenth-century Americans that their nation’s territorial expansion was inevitable and
ultimately a good thing, even for those being conquered. This conviction helped
Americans justify the aggressive acquisition of new territories in the 1840s and later in
the 1890s. Due to manifest destiny, politicl boundaries became insignificant and
expansion was occuring rapidly.