Purpose and Focus of the Paper:

Using the Greenberg reader (Manifest Destiny and American Territorial Expansion), write a 3-4 page analytical paper that examines any theme associated with Manifest Destiny and/ or the causes of American territorial expansion from the time period that is under study in this course. In this analysis, you should explore and discuss a minimum of three primary documents from the Greenberg reader. Please be sure to also read the introduction to the book (pages 1-39) to gather relevant historical context your sources pertain to. Synthesize the findings from these documents into a central claim that illustrates your understanding of your selected theme.

Please note, all documents are located in part two of the Greenberg reader. The vignette proceeding each primary document has italicized font and is a description authored by Amy Greenberg, and it is there to put the primary document/ source into its context.

If you need additional clarification on how to distinguish between a primary and secondary document, then please refer to the Canvas module titled “Readings for Class Discussions.”

Lastly, below are some examples of possible themes to examine in your paper. You are NOT required to use a theme from below.





Questions to consider: How did various ethnic/racial, political, or religious groups relate to the topic of expansion?

Did they believe it was in their interest to expand?

Did they relate that migration or expansion of other (outside groups) might undermine their abilities to survive successfully?

What factors drove expansion in various periods of American history?


Did particular regions in the U.S. support expansion as a means to further their political or economic goals?

Were conflicts with foreign nations motivated by sectional concerns?


What ideas supported the desire for territorial expansion? Did these ideas transcend different political/ religious/ ethnic/ cultural/ economic beliefs or principles?

What is Manifest Destiny? And what are its ideological origins?

What were some of the religious implications tied to Manifest Destiny?

How does the notion of American exceptionalism shape the nation’s discourse surrounding the idea of Manifest Destiny?

Indigenous Americans (American Indians or Native Americans)

What were the consequences of territorial expansion to the people who were displaced by it?

According to the sources, did native peoples devise new means of survival and resistance when faced with white expansion?

How did the different understandings of land ownership (native people vs. whites) shape the contest for Indian land in North America?

Some other themes you might want to consider: Population Growth, National Security, Economic Interests, Slavery, etc.

Works Cited Page: As English 101 is not a prerequisite for this course, I will not require that you include a formal MLA- style works cited page (Honor’ students are required to include a work cited list using either MLA or Chicago style format). Instead, include a list of sources used and the page numbers where the sources were found. Please do not include information from non-academic or not- accredited websites. For instance, your website domains should end in either .gov or .edu. Please consult with the instructor, for prior approval, if you would like to use a website with a different web domain. The works cited page is not included in the 3-4 pages requirement.

Final Notes:

Format: Do not provide a cover pager. Include your last name and page number on each page (header), and include your full name, course, and date on the first page (in the far left corner of the page). 1” margins only, double-spaced, use academic fonts, and 12-point font.

Editing: Be sure to proofread and edit. Additionally, if you have your paper reviewed by a writing center tutor, you will receive 2.5% extra credit; please attach proof of writing center visit.

Turn in: You will upload your paper into Canvas. Your originality report should state that at least 80% of your paper is unique; papers with 20% or higher plagiarism reports will not be accepted.

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