Manifest Destiny Activities

Instructor: Heather Jenkins

Heather has a bachelor's degree in elementary education and a master's degree in special education. She was a public school teacher and administrator for 11 years.

If your class studying westward expansion, then it's important for your students to understand the concept of Manifest Destiny. Use these activities to help students define and identify the impact of Manifest Destiny.

Go West, Young Man!

Westward ho! Between the War of 1812 and the American Civil War, many Americans were gripped by the spirit of Manifest Destiny as the borders of the United States continued to expand, especially to the west. When students learn about Manifest Destiny, they can understand a contributing factor to the growth of the United States. Additionally, they can examine Manifest Destiny from different perspectives.

Let's look at some activities to help students learn about Manifest Destiny.

Social Media Post

Have students create a social media post to explain the definition of Manifest Destiny.


  • Copies of The Great Nation of Futurity (1839) by John O'Sullivan
  • Copies of Annexation (1845) by John O'Sullivan
  • Chart paper
  • Markers

Teacher Directions

  • Define the concept of Manifest Destiny for the class.
  • Provide students with copies of The Great Nation of Futurity and 'Annexation. Read through the articles as a class and discuss how these articles were instrumental in defining Manifest Destiny.
  • Divide the class into pairs and provide each pair with chart paper and markers.
  • Tell students that just like John O'Sullivan's articles helped define Manifest Destiny, they will create a 140-character-or-less social media post that defines Manifest Destiny in their own words. Students should write their post on their chart paper.
  • When students are finished, have them share their posts with the class.

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