U.S. Before 1865 President Thomas Essay

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President Thomas Jefferson offered Napoleon the emperor of France $2 million dollars for the region around the mouth of the Mississippi River, which included the port of and city of New Orleans. Ohio Valley farmers relied heavily on admittance to New Orleans, and President Thomas Jefferson wanted to guard these farmers, because they sent their crops down the Mississippi River to New Orleans, from which ships took the products to cities along the Atlantic coast of the United States (Landy & Milikas, 159). However, this brought about horror in the Americans that the French might obstruct with their trade by imposing elevated taxes on products and ships moving through New Orleans. Even worse, "the Americans feared the French might shut down the ports to the Americans" ( Morris). If the port where shut down, this would bring to an end all shipping in and out of the United States.

President Thomas Jefferson was astonished by Napoleon offer to purchase the entire Louisiana Territory, and not just the region around New Orleans. The price seemed high for the United Stated but not out of means for the United States to pay it. President Thomas Jefferson wanted to purchase Louisiana, but he was cautious to stretch too far the constitutional powers of the federal government ( Morgan). President Thomas Jefferson explains that the powers of the federal government should be limited to those explicitly granted in the Constitution. By President Thomas Jefferson's own standards, the Louisiana Purchase was clearly unconstitutional. When he received word of the purchase from his emissaries in Paris, President Thomas Jefferson initial response was to draft a proposed constitutional amendment that would have legitimized his actions by authorizing the president to purchase new land, in a new territory ( Morris; Landy & Milikas).

However, President Thomas Jefferson was afraid the amendment would not pass in time to ratify the treaty; President Thomas Jefferson swiftly abandoned his plans for amending the Constitution's clause of treaty-making. constructionist interpretation of the Constitution, President Thomas Jefferson could not purchase Louisiana because no part of the supreme law, the Constitution, "granted this power to the government" ( Morris). However, despite his reservations about the Constitution President Thomas Jefferson went ahead and purchased Louisiana. The Senate ratified his decision, and the Congress appropriated the money to carry out this order. President Thomas Jefferson justified his decision with these words, " Is it not better that the opposite land of the Mississippi should be settled by our own brethren and children than by strangers of another family"

( Morris 1973, 57) . In 1828, the United States Supreme Court affirmed the constitutionality of President Thomas Jefferson's decision to purchase Louisiana . In American Insurance Company V. Carter, the court ruled that the federal government could acquire new territory under the treaty-making clause of the Constitution (Morris 1973, 57) .

Thomas Jefferson decision to purchase Louisiana was one of his most important decisions during his presidential term . With the purchase of Louisiana it added great dimension and wealth to the United States . The impact of the Louisiana Purchase was the Mississippi River became a major transportation and commercial link in the area, connecting east, and west with north, and south. It opened up areas for ranchers, farmers, miners, and businessmen . It provided the United States claim to the Northwest Territories ( Morris) . It was the largest real estate transaction in history," a staggering 828, 000 square miles" ( Landy & Milikas, 158). Thomas Jefferson contributed substantially, though reluctantly, to the precedent that, when necessary to serve the public good, the Constitution may be interpreted broadly . But constitutional niceties were overlooked so the southwest could make room for the generations of farmers yet unborn, strengthening the rural and therefore the democratic character of the republic .


Elazar, D. American…

Sources Used in Document:


Elazar, D. American federalism: A view from the states, (3rd) . New York: Harper Collins, 1984.

Landy, M . & Milikas, S. American government: Balancing democracy and rights. New York: NY: McGraw, 2004, 150-188.

McDonald, F. States' rights and the union: Imperium in Imperio, 1771-1876. Lawrence Univesity Press of Kansas, 2000.

Morris, Richard Brandon. Great presidential decisions: State papers that changed the course of history . New York: Harper & Row, 1973.

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