Theses Bachelor's

A Star Shall Fall: Young America and the Politics of Manifest Destiny, 1844-1861

Reuter, Tim

This paper explores the interplay between politics and ideology within the context of American expansion in the Late Jacksonian Era (1840s and 1850s). This paper seeks to understand the role of a younger generation of Democrats in changing the Democratic Party and the Second Party System as the United States expanded territorially and, unbeknownst to them, careened towards disunion and civil war. Of particular importance is the conception of a term which is synonymous with American expansion, Manifest Destiny. Rather than rehashing prior arguments about Manifest Destiny's ideological importance, this thesis goes an alternate route. It reframes Manifest Destiny as a paradoxical idea: simultaneously it served as a vague nationalism espoused by younger Democrats as a tool to achieve party unity on expansion and as the progenitor of the sectional conflict which culminated in secession and the Civil War.

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Thesis Advisors
Ngai, Mae
B.A., Columbia University
Published Here
May 6, 2011