The phrase ‘manifest destiny’ to define the inevitability of American western expansion was not coined until the 1840s but was prefigured by Jefferson’s ‘empire of liberty’ as early as 1780. The Treaty of Paris (1783), through force of arms, and the Louisiana Purchase (1803), through Napoleon’s impecuniousness, were great strides in the realization of that destiny, each doubling the size of the embryonic republic. Not all citizens totally bought into the vision: Vermont (1777–84) and the ‘overmountain’ frontiersmen of Carolina (1784–89) both seceded, briefly. However, a robust performance against the British in the War of 1812 (1812–15) reinforced American assertiveness; rapid settlement led to the incorporation of five new trans-Appalachian states (1812–19) plus the acquisition of Florida from another cash-strapped colonial power, Spain (1819). An Oregon condominium with Britain was established (1818), but the Maine border remained disputed. Andrew Jackson’s Removal Act (1830) ensured Indian ancestral land rights would not impede destiny’s further manifestation.
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