Lesson Plan

In this lesson, students get an introduction to the concept of Manifest Destiny. Even before the phrase “Manifest Destiny” was first used in 1845, many Americans believed the U.S. was destined to grow. Students learn what this philosophy looked and sounded like in the 19th century and preview United States expansion. This lesson is intended to serve as an introduction to further study of American expansion.


  • Define Manifest Destiny and explain the ideals behind its ideology
  • Analyze primary sources that illustrate Manifest Destiny and related American values
  • Illustrate America’s territorial expansion across the continent
  • Describe the effect of U.S. expansion on Native Americans
  • Explain how white Americans in the early 19th century viewed Native Americans