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Manifest Destiny CommonLit Answers

Assessment Questions & Answers

Q.1. PART A: In paragraph 3, the author describes manifest destiny as a “self-deluding hypocrisy.” In this context, what does the term “self-deluding” mean?Fooling oneself into believing something that is untrue.
Q.2. PART B: Which of the following quotes best supports the answer to Part A?“They thought was their ‘duty’ to shoulder all over the globe.” (Paragraph 2)
Q.3. Which statement best describes how the author views the idea of manifest destiny?The author believes manifest destiny was used to justify dishonorable acts as necessary and righteous.
Q.4. PART A: In the conclusion of the article, the author repeats the phrase “it was” at the beginning of paragraphs 26-28. How does this structure help the author make his point?It emphasizes the many escalating events influenced by American exceptionalism.
Q.5. PART B: Which of the following quotes best supports the answer to Part A?“Any judgment of “The Manifest Destiny” and American exceptionalism must include the fact that they helped create a United States” (Paragraph 29)
Q.6. How did the Louisiana Purchase impact America’s relations with Native Americans?It worsened existing tensions with Native Americans by granting white settlers access to Native-occupied land.
Q.7. How does the idea of American exceptionalism relate to the concept of manifest destiny in the text?Both manifest destiny and American exceptionalism assume that America has a unique authority bestowed by its values and practices.
Q.8. In paragraph 15, the author quotes Alexis de Tocqueville. How does this passage contribute to the central idea of the text?The passage contributes to the central ideas in order to depict or show the manifest destiny perspectives. Both the American and the Indian side perspectives are presented. The author quotes Alexis de Tocqueville’s observation that Americans of his day were prone to extreme religious practices and beliefs.
Q.9. Why is John O’Sullivan’s mention of “Providence” (Paragraph 18) significant to the author’s argument regarding manifest destiny?John O’Sullivan’s mention of “Providence” in Paragraph 18 is significant to the author’s argument regarding manifest destiny because it suggests that the expansion of the United States is not just a result of human actions, but is also guided by a higher power or divine intervention. This aligns with the belief held by many Americans during the time of manifest destiny that it was their God-given right to expand and settle the continent. By invoking the concept of Providence, O’Sullivan is adding a religious and moral dimension to the argument, reinforcing the idea that the expansion of the United States is not only justified but also ordained by a higher authority.

Discussion Questions & Answers

Q.1. What recent events can you think of that relate to or reflect American ideas about “manifest destiny”? Do you think the way citizens and politicians view these principles now is different from how they were viewed in the 19th and early 20th centuries?

Answer: Manifest destiny was a belief held by many Americans in the 19th and early 20th centuries that the expansion of the United States across the American continents was inevitable and justified. It was seen as a divine mission to spread American values, democracy, and civilization to new territories. This belief led to the acquisition of vast territories, such as the Louisiana Purchase, the annexation of Texas, and the Mexican-American War.

About recent events, the mention of the coronavirus as an example of manifest destiny reflects the idea that the spread of the virus across America is seen as inevitable. Just as manifest destiny was believed to be an unstoppable force driving the expansion of the United States, the coronavirus is spreading across the country despite efforts to contain it.

This comparison suggests that the virus is seen as a force that cannot be stopped or controlled, similar to the expansion of the United States in the past.

Q.2. Do you believe there is any truth in the idea of American exceptionalism? What aspects about America’s values and culture make it unique? In your opinion, do those things also make American exceptional?

Answer: Yes there is some truth to American exceptionalism. What makes us unique is that our culture isn’t designated for one race or one group, it’s made for everyone in our country no matter what you are which I believe makes America exceptional.

American exceptionalism refers to the belief that the United States is unique and distinct from other nations regarding its values, culture, and historical development. It suggests that America has a special role and responsibility in the world.

One aspect that makes America unique is its cultural diversity. Unlike many other countries, America is known as a melting pot, where people from various ethnic, religious, and cultural backgrounds come together. This diversity is reflected in the values and traditions of the country, making it a multicultural society. This inclusivity and acceptance of different cultures and backgrounds contribute to the idea of American exceptionalism.

Q.3. Picture yourself as an early American leader. How would you have addressed the conflict between Americans’ desire to settle new lands and Native peoples’ historical claim to them?

Answer: As an early American leader, it would have been important to recognize and address the conflict between Americans’ desire to settle new lands and Native peoples’ historical claim to them. One approach to resolving this conflict would be to initiate a truce or agreement between the two parties. This would involve organizing a meeting where both sides could openly discuss their differences and concerns.

By engaging in dialogue and negotiation, it would be possible to reach a mutually acceptable agreement on which Americans should settle lands and which lands should be respected as the historical territory of Native peoples. This approach would aim to find a balance between the expansion of American settlements and the preservation of Native peoples’ rights and heritage.

Q.4. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, conflict erupted between American settlers and Native Americans over territory. Americans believed it was their duty to expand westward, while Native Americans felt they were being stripped of their homeland. In the context of this article, what makes people do bad things? Given what you know from history, literature, and art, what happens when both sides in a conflict believe they are right?

Answer: In the context of this article, the question asks what makes people do bad things. The suggested answer mentions determination as a possible factor. This means that people in the 19th and early 20th centuries were determined to fulfill America’s destiny of westward expansion, which led to conflict with Native Americans over territory.

When both sides in a conflict believe they are right, it often leads to either finding a resolution or escalating the conflict into war. History, literature, and art can provide examples of both outcomes. Sometimes, conflicting parties can negotiate and find a compromise that satisfies both sides. However, in other cases, the belief in their own righteousness can lead to a refusal to compromise, resulting in violent conflict and war.

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