Essay about A Moral Dilemma Of Thomas Jefferson
HIST 1301-4M3DC, Fall 2016
20 November 2016
A Moral Dilemma
Thomas Jefferson was elected president in 1801, and had no intentions of expanding the United States of America at the time. Little did he know he would be faced with one of the biggest choices ever made in the history of the country. Previous to Jefferson becoming president, Spain ceded the Louisiana territory to France. The territory had the potential to double the size of the United States at the time. Now, Jefferson had sent Robert Livingston and James Monroe into France to discuss acquiring New Orleans, but instead find out that Napoleon Bonaparte, in order to finance his war in Europe, was willing to sell all of the Louisiana territory to Jefferson and the United States for fifteen million dollars. Although this was a deal that seemed like it could not be passed up, Jefferson was always a strict constitutionalist and found it unconstitutional to make the purchase. Leaving him with a dilemma on what he should do.
You see Jefferson had always supported the fact that if it was not in the constitution that you should not be allowed to do it. “He had previously argued against Alexander Hamilton 's loose interpretation of the Presidential powers as found in the Constitution and in regard to the creation of a National Bank” (Handout). So, when the purchase of Louisiana rolled around he was left with a dilemma. “In late 1800 Napoleon Bonaparte had secretly negotiated a treaty transferring…