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Manifest Destinies: America's Westward Expansion and the Road to the Civil War
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Manifest Destinies: America's Westward Expansion and the Road to the Civil War

4.02 of 5 stars 4.02  ·  rating details  ·  45 ratings  ·  11 reviews
A sweeping history of the 1840s, Manifest Destinies captures the enormous sense of possibility that inspired America’s growth and shows how the acquisition of western territories forced the nation to come to grips with the deep fault line that would bring war in the near future.

Steven E. Woodworth gives us a portrait of America at its most vibrant and expansive. It was a d
Hardcover, 432 pages
Published November 2nd 2010 by Knopf (first published January 1st 2010)
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Jay Perkins
A great book on the 1840s. Much happened in this era that is little known of. Yet what happened in this decade is what set up the controversies of the 1850s culminating in the Civil War.

Woodworth covers the little known campaigns and presidencies of Harrison, Tyler, Polk, and Taylor. A section is devoted to the development and battles of the Mexican War as well as American's move west. Briefly covered is the California gold rush and the population explosion in that state.

All of this had to do
Amazing, very readable history of American expansion to the West Coast. There are separate chapters on the Mexican War, the Mormon movement west, the Compromise of 1850...full of anecdotes about the age and its people with a touch of snarky kind of book! I learned a lot and really enjoyed reading this book; Woodworth's style is easy to comprehend without sacrificing historical accuracy. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in the time period or the Civil War; it helps show ...more
Shawn Minihan
I was looking for a book about the westward movement of people across the U.S. This book is more about the annexation of Texas and California, with some Oregon and Californian Trail thrown in. But still a really interesting book.
Great historical exploration of Manifest Destiny. Excessive details of Mexican War battle scenes and not enough explanation of macro-economic drivers and consequences of Manifest Destiny, but just the right amount describing the politics of the 1830s & 40s. Makes our current congress seem almost sane.
Tim Brown
I finished this book yesterday (7-9-13) with its last chapter on the presidency of Zachary Taylor, who coincidentally died in office on that date in 1850. Woodworth presents detailed but lively portraits of leaders from the 1840s, even Millard Fillmore, a name you rarely hear or read.
This book turns out to be mostly a military history of the battle to annex
Texas and the southwest from Mexico. I'm not interested in reading battle details.
Some of the political stuff was interesting.

Woodworth seemed to go a bit overboard with military details, but nonetheless his work is a welcome addition to the growing field of Manifest Destiny studies.
Dec 27, 2010 Eric marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
This won't leap over DeVoto's 1846: Year of Decision on my to-read list, but Woodworth on the Mexican War will be amazing.
A very detailed overview of the period. A do not agree with all of his analysis, he doesn't like Henry Clay!.
Nice survey of pre-civil war politics, religion and west-ward expansion.
Ed Broyhill
Sep 12, 2011 Ed Broyhill added it
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