John L. O'Sullivan and His Times – Assignment Example

The paper "John L. O'Sullivan and His Times" is a wonderful example of a history assignment. John L. O'Sullivan was the first person to coin the term "Manifest Destiny" when speaking of the westward expansion of the United s. Manifest Destiny implies the belief that the United States was destined to control all of the lands of North America from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean (Sampson 2003). This belief, when coupled with the geographic, economic and technological realities of the mid-19th century through the beginning of the 20th century led to the rapid westward expansion of the United States. The changing geography of the United States was a factor in westward expansion. The amount of land the United States owned tripled in a one-hundred-year span. This fact, coupled with a rapidly increasing population in the eastern states, encouraged people to relocate in these newly acquired western lands. Changing economic realities also contribute to westward expansion. Wages for many in the east had grown stagnant. The discovery of gold and new fertile lands was seen as an opportunity for a better life. Economics coupled with a belief in Manifest Destiny proved to establish a great pioneering spirit in many during this time. But getting to these western lands was difficult and expensive. Improvements in transportation technology overcame this last hurdle. Some feel that innovation in transportation technologies such as steamboats, canals, and railroads did more than anything else to encourage the westward growth of the United States (University 2008). Other innovations such as the cotton gin, the steam-powered steel plow and the automatic reaper allowed those moving to the west to more fully utilize the land, thus encouraging even more western migration.