Thomas Jefferson and the Louisiana Purchase

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President Thomas Jefferson expanded the bounds of his time as president and betrayed his republican tendencies by favoring desired results over executive self-control. Those that showed this viewpoint often brag their claim by pointing to Jefferson’s own look on the matter, which held that the Louisiana Purchase was not allowed short of an amendment in the Constitution. But was the Louisiana Purchase truly going against something in the constitution? In 1803, Jefferson sent two very important figures, Robert Livingston and James Monroe to France to talk with them about the purchase of New Orleans.

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New Orleans was most desirable because it would allow easy ways to travel up the Mississippi River and the opportunity to expand in the west. This mission was so important to Jefferson that he said to Monroe All eyes, all hopes, are now fixed on you, for on the event of this mission depends the future destinies of this republic.

        Jefferson’s management was shocked when Napoleon Bonaparte offered all of the land of Louisiana to the U.S rather than New Orleans. Seeing the area as wrong and meaningless in comparison to France’s war with Britian, Napoleon’s offer would give up Louisiana for 15 million dollars. After agreeing to terms with Napoleon, Charles Maurice de Talleyrand, the peacekeepers sent word of this amazing deal they just struck to the White House. Receiving Louisiana for such a low price seemed like a miracle gift for the U.S. Jefferson didn’t think it was constitutional. Jefferson very firmly maintained the government didn’t have the power to buy foreign territory even though he wanted to buy it.

        However, he admitted that there was a fix available to legalize the Louisiana Purchase by way of adding a constitutional amendment. Jefferson sent a change to the congress that said: Louisiana, as given up by France to the United States is now the United States territory. Its white residents will be citizens and stand, as to their rights and duties, on the same footing with other citizens of the U.S in the same situations. Saved as only a portion of it lying north of an east and west line drawn through the Arkansas River, no state will be established or make money off the land other than Indians in exchange for equal amounts of land occupied by them, until authorized by further change to the Constitution will be made for these purposes.

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