Opposing Viewpoints: Jefferson and the Lousiana Purchase Essay

728 Words Nov 17th, 2012 3 Pages
Jefferson Goes Against His Own Philosophy: Louisiana Purchase

The Louisiana Purchase was the acquisition by the United States of America in 1803 of 828,000 square miles of France's claim to the territory of Louisiana. The Louisiana territory encompassed all or part of 15 current U.S. states and two Canadian provinces. At the time, the purchase faced domestic opposition because it was thought to be unconstitutional. Although Thomas Jefferson agreed that the U.S. Constitution did not contain provisions for acquiring territory, he decided to go right ahead with the purchase anyway in order to remove France's presence in the region and to protect both U.S. trade access to the port of New Orleans and free passage on the Mississippi
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In 1803, the United States paid approximately $15 million dollars for over 800,000 square miles of land. The purchase spurred along the beginning of America's fascination with exploring the west. With the purchase of this new territory, the land area of America nearly doubled. This land deal was arguably the greatest achievement of Thomas Jefferson's presidency, but also posed a major philosophical problem for Jefferson. As a strong Republican, Jefferson did not believe in straying from the exact words of the Constitution. With the Louisiana Purchase, Jefferson had clearly not followed his own strict interpretation of the Constitution. Federalist critics howled that the Constitution nowhere permitted the federal government to purchase new land. Jefferson was troubled by the inconsistency, but in the end decided that the Constitution's treaty-making provisions allowed him room to act. As a president, he wisely allowed for his own views to bend in order to better the nation as a whole. Although Jefferson’s view of strict-interpretation did not allow for the purchase, Jefferson’s actions were justified. Waiting for a Constitutional amendment might cause the deal to fall

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