Student Worksheet #4-1
Manifest Destiny Group Inquiry
John Quincy Adams, sixth president of the United States (1825-1829),
wrote in 1811:
"The whole continent appears to be destined...to be peopled by
one nation. The acquisition of a definite line of boundary to the [Pacific]
forms a great epoch in our history."
In 1845, John O'Sullivan, a New Yorker and editor of the United States
Magazine and Democratic Review, wrote:
"Away, away with all these cobweb tissues of rights of discovery,
exploration, settlement, contiguity, etc. The American claim is by the
right of our manifest destiny to overspread and to possess the whole
of the continent which Providence has given us for the development of the
great experiment of liberty and federative self-government entrusted to
us. It is a right such as that of the tree to the space of air and earth
suitable for the full expansion of its principle and destiny of
growth. ...It is in our future far more than in the past history of Spanish
exploration or French colonial rights, that our True Title is to be found."
Using these quotes as clues, think about what you think the words manifest
and destiny mean.
Now use a dictionary to define these words as they are used in the above
passage, and see how close you came to that meaning.
What do you think Adams and O'Sullivan were saying about the expansion
of the United States to the Pacific Ocean?
Did they agree or not? Why?