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Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the United States of America, mostly focused on expansion of the American territory and access to international markets. But his aims were interrupted when French leader, Napoleon Bonaparte, took control of Louisiana, and warned the…
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Trends Trends Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the United s of America, mostly focused on expansion of the American territory and access to international markets. But his aims were interrupted when French leader, Napoleon Bonaparte, took control of Louisiana, and warned the American government that he will block America’s access to the valuable ports of New Orleans and Mississippi River. This proved to be a great hazard for the President Jefferson, and he went as far as signing an anti-French alliance with Britain. Along with this, various diplomats were sent to France to discuss the blockage of the ports, and the British government was also asked for help to work out other options. The chief diplomat handling the situation in Paris, was given the go-ahead to negotiate a purchase deal with the French, somewhere between two and ten million dollars. To everyone’s surprise, Napoleon agreed to this deal but demanded a lot more. He wanted to continue his expansionary aims and for that he needed money, therefore, he offered the American government the whole territory of Louisiana for fifteen million dollars. Jefferson agreed to this and the deal was finalized in April 1803. Although Jefferson considered it to be a great diplomatic and political achievement, the deal was met with a lot of controversy. (Westward Expansion: The Louisiana Purchase, n. d.)
By signing a deal with Napoleon, Jefferson was forced to ignore his limitations that were set by the Constitution. This deal was a defiance of the principles set up in the Constitution, and he also could not wait for a constitutional amendment, as that would have resulted in the failure of the deal. Although, it was not a very wise political move, the President still managed to gain support of the masses. America also did not have enough money to make the full payment; therefore, it was forced to take loans from the British government at six percent interest. Some people saw this purchase as a decrease in the political power of the United States. Also, the act of undermining the constitution to some extent set an example for future presidents, to stretch the constitution a little further, without making amendments to it. This was a poor example set by President Jefferson (Kelly, n. d.).
The purchase of the Louisiana territory did add a considerable amount of land to America; it was met by various views. Some politicians thought that this act proved that the Congress could defy the constitution, if the majority of people in the Congress voted for the decision to be passed. This act was criticized by the more conservative politicians and they declared that the Constitution can just not be ignored in such situations. Also they declared that it lead to the disturbance of power between the North and South. Another harmful consequence of this act was that many people began to rise in the area of Mississippi, and tried to take the land under their control. Furthermore, the leaders of New England felt threatened by this move, because they thought that their power and authority was damaged by the purchase of Louisiana. (Davis, n. d.)
References
Westward Expansion: The Louisiana Purchase (n.d.). Ushistory.org. Retrieved from http://www.ushistory.org/us/20c.asp
Kelly, M. (n.d.). Thomas Jefferson and the Louisiana purchase. American history from about. Retrieved from http://americanhistory.about.com/od/thomasjefferson/a/tj_lapurchase.htm
Davis, S. (n. d.). Some of the consequences of the Louisiana purchase. (n.d.). Internet archive: Digital library of free books, movies, music & wayback machine. Retrieved from http://archive.org/stream/someofconsequenc00davi#page/n1/mode/2up Read More
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