Manifest Destiny



13 Colonies
French and Indian War
Colonial Territory
Louisiana Purchase
Lewis and Clark
Adams-Onis Treaty
Erie Canal
Indian Wars/Removal
Texas Independence
Manifest Destiny
Mexican-American War
Gold Rush!
Westward Trails
Oregon Territory
Alaska Purchase
49th Parallel
Gadsden Purchase
Annexation of Hawaii


Expansion Interactive
Westward Expansion Printable Activities
Westward Expansion Online Activites
Manifest Destiny
American Progress, by John Gast

Manifest Destiny Activities on

Manifest Destiny Complete Lesson Plan – This is a complete ninety minutelesson plan for teaching Manifest Destiny with materials. It includes background information, suggestions for discussion, important vocbulary and connections, script for teaching, the maps labeled below (with answer sheet), and the informational text sheet.
Oh Columbia! This activity requires students to analyze the iconic painting above and to find examples of how the symbols within portray the values of Manifest Destiny
Mr. Polk’s War and Manifest Destiny – This activity requires students to stage a fictional conversation between James K. Polk and a certain famous Congressman about their disagreements over the real reasons for the Mexican-American War.
America in 1848 Label-me Map This activity requires users to label the states and territories of the United States as it was in 1848.
America in 1848 Outline Map – This is a blank outline map of America in 1848.

Manifest Destiny


Following the War of 1812, American entered a period of history known as the Era of Good Feeling. During this time, America articulated its first foreign policy through the Monroe Doctrine and a growing sense of nationalism gripped the population. Americans started believing that they were morally and culturally superior to their Native, Mexican, and British neighbors and that it was God’s will and the people’s duty to spread American virtues from "sea to shining sea."

In 1845, newspaper editor John O’ Sullivan first coined the term "Manifest Destiny," to describe the mindset of American expansion. The idea of Manifest Destiny was reflected in the 19th century by the mass migration of Americans from the eastern United States to the west through the great emigrant trails such as the Oregon, California, Santa Fe, and Mormon Trails. It was used to justify the corrupt treaties and wars that resulted in the removal of Native Americans from their ancestral land. It was also used to justify the Mexican-American War, resulting in the annexation of 1.2 million square miles of land in the American West.

Manifest Destiny also accelerated the onset of the Civil War as it touched off intense sectional dramas between southern states hoping to expand slavery into new territories and northern states hoping to prevent the spread of slavery.



EXPANSION – Click on a region below to learn more