Definition of manifest destiny noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary


manifest destiny

; NAmE
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a phrase much used in 19th-century America to mean the right of the US to own and occupy land across the continent to the Pacific Ocean. It was first used in 1845 by John L O'Sullivan, editor of the United States Magazine and Democratic Review. He wrote that the US should 'overspread the continent allotted by Providence for the free development of our yearly multiplying millions'. The idea of manifest destiny involved taking a lot of land belonging to Native Americans, especially in Oregon, and taking California and Texas from Mexico, which led to the Mexican War.