Manifest Destiny and Industrialization

A study of the influence of “Manifest Destiny” and industrialization on America and the rest of the world.

This paper examines how the two most influential events that shaped American history and impacted a good portion of the globe were the advent of industrialization and the spread of “Manifest Destiny,” especially in the late 18th century and throughout the years of the 19th century. It looks at how global industrialization or that associated with the rise, progression, and effect of industry on national governments and societies altered the face of many nations by eliminating the long-held system of agrarianism and replacing it with massive industrial growth. It also discusses how “Manifest Destiny,” usually associated with American policy during the later years of the 19th century and well into the 20th century, allowed expansionism into many regions of the world through the idea that it was America’s God-given right to possess and maintain all those societies that threatened American capitalism and its democratic systems.
In the years prior to the Presidency of Theodore Roosevelt, two of the greatest social/political problems facing America and foreign nations were based on the continuing struggle between the poor and the wealthy classes and the existence of Manifest Destiny, broadly defined as an ostensibly benevolent or necessary policy of imperialistic expansion. Domestically, America was burdened by a financial panic in the 1890’s which upset the lives of the urban poor and made the wealthy even more prosperous. In the cities, people demanded democratic change in many areas, such as the twelve-hour work day, the dangerous conditions in American factories, the exploitation of immigrant laborers, corporate resistance to labor unions, political corruption in local and state governments, child labor laws, inadequate wages and most importantly the on-going concentration of wealth by such Robber Barons as J. P. Morgan and the Vanderbilts.