American Progress Westward the Course of Destiny

The Decade of Manifest Destiny

In the 1840s Americans believe they are destined to dominate the North American continent—Manifest Destiny. The United States experiences extraordinary growth in the 1840s acquiring the land that will include today's western states of New Mexico, Arizona, California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado and Texas.

Technological advances including steamboats and railroads make it possible for Americans to travel from the East to the undeveloped, but promising West. In 1844 the telegraph ushers in modern communication making the distance from east to west coasts even shorter.

Horace Greely, a newspaper editor, popularizes the idea of Manifest Destiny. His use of the phrase "Go west, young man" and Manifest Destiny contribute to the American belief of California as the "Golden State" of opportunity and reinvention.