Manifest Destiny One Word Summary & Explanation   Carolyn Fulk   7th hour

Photo caption:  The medicine man taken at the Battle of Wounded Knee, S.D. On reverse: Medicine man who incited the firing at Wounded Knee Dec. 29, 1890. Snow had fallen since the battle.  Source:  Otis Historical Archives Flickr account

While Westward Expansion meant many things to the Americans, for those already living in the West, it meant nothing more than destruction.  The people and animals who lived there were negatively affected by the coming of the white man.  For the Indians, manifest destiny and westward expansion brought Americans west who felt that taking over the land was their God-given right.  These newcomers set out to destroy the Indian's way of life.  They even took Indian children away from their families in order to get them to live like the white people.  (Dawes Act 1887).  These plans failed and only served to make the Indians less trusting of the US representatives, soldiers and civilians. In 1890 a horrible massacre took place at Wounded Knee where dozens of Sioux men, women and children were killed by US soldiers.  In addition to the slaughter of people, the bison suffered with the arrival of the American settlers.  The Army, railroad, and settlers nearly wiped them out entirely. Some in the American government believed that eliminating the bison would be a way to get the Indians to stop fighting the white settlers. In the coming decades, the land would also be forever changed by those headed west on trails or building new towns on the once open prairie.  While many might see the positive side of westward expansion for our country, the natural inhabitants would likely have viewed it as destructive.

Photograph from the mid-1870s of a pile of American bison skulls waiting to be ground for fertilizer.  Source: