Thomas Jefferson & The Louisiana Purchase

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by jneagle
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Thomas Jefferson & The Louisiana Purchase

The Louisiana Purchase

There are many conflicts between what Jefferson said and his actions. One is the Louisiana Purchase. Jefferson wrestled with the decision to make the purchase. He believed the constitution should be followed strictly, which meant the Senate would have to approve any treaty such as the one making the Louisiana Purchase.

Thomas Jefferson & The Louisiana Purchase

Jefferson said that the Constitution did not say anything specifically about adding territory to the United States. However, he believed that it was necessary to make the deal to protect access to the Mississippi River and the port of New Orleans for the farmers and tradesmen in the western part of the United States. He ultimately went against his own beliefs to ensure this protection. This could be considered the first 'Executive Order' which is used by all Presidents today.

Despite his belief that the federal government should have limited power and his actions to reduce the size of government while serving as President, Thomas Jefferson made the decision to purchase the Louisiana Territory from France for 15 million dollars. Does this decision conflict with Jefferson's stated beliefs on limited federal government powers? Can we compare this to anything Presidents do today?

Third President of the United States

The Treaty between Napoleon (France) and Jefferson (U.S.) that ceded the Louisiana Purchase.

Rembrandt Peale [Public domain]


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