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What is Manifest Destiny? Page 4

<strong><em>Chinese Labor on Trans-Continental Railroad</em><br /></strong>

Chinese Labor on Trans-Continental Railroad

The Chinese were a crucial component of the labor force during the California Gold Rush, and the building of the Trans-Continental Railroad. These were two important historical events that had much to do with expansion. But the idea of Manifest Destiny encouraged the exploitation and the abandonment of them. In 1882, the Chinese Exclusion Act, which prohibited the immigration of all Chinese, became a federal law.[6]

<em><strong>The Ideal American Family</strong></em>

The Ideal American Family

From the Anglo-American perspective, westward expansion, and its justification in the ideal of Manifest Destiny, was successful beyond anyone’s imagination. The United States realized its dream of spreading across the continent, coast to coast. It certainly helped to create a large country with the resources to carry the United States into the Industrial Age, as well as gain political power world-wide. But it also continued a practice that was evident since the first European set foot in the Americas, and that was to create a society that would have its foundation in white supremacy.


[1] John L. O’Sullivan, “Annexation,” United States and Democratic Review, 17, no. 1, (July-August 1845), 5-10.

[2] Frederick Merk, Manifest Destiny and Mission in American History, New York: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. 1963. 24.

[3] Amy S. Greenburg, Manifest Manhood and the Antebellum American Empire, New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005, 20.

[4] Amy S. Greenburg, “A Wicked War,” Pritzker Military Museum  and Library, December 7, 2012, found at minute-mark 45:34,

[5] Ulysses S. Grant, Mary Drake McFeely, ed., Personal Memoirs of U.S. Grant: Selected Letters, 1839-1865 (New York: Literary Classics of the United States, Inc., 1990) 41.

[6] Harvard University Library, “Chinese Exclusion Act,” accessed May 7, 2014,