How Is The Louisiana Purchase Justified

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Eshan Srivastav Mr. McLaughlin IB History of the Americas HL Juniors 5 May 2023 The Justification of Jefferson’s Louisiana Purchase During the early days of the United States of America there were many debates over what was considered was constitutional and what was not. One of these debates was on the issue of The Louisiana Purchase of 1803. Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the United States, wanted to purchase the city of New Orleans in order to have access to Mississippi River trade. However, Napoleon, the emperor of France, offered the U.S. foreign ministers the entire Louisiana territory for $15 million dollars. Jefferson’s Purchase of Louisiana seemed hypocritical at the time as he was a strict constructionist and believed that …show more content…

The Louisiana Purchase did not go against the constitution and it eventually set the precedent for future administrations. The Purchase seemed unconstitutional as there was no precedent set by any President before Jefferson. No President had ever before tried to purchase land from a foreign power and it was therefore up for debate as to whether the President seemed to have these powers. Jefferson went against his principles by going through with the Purchase, but he understood that if the United States waited too long to make a decision, Napoleon would sell the land to another country. Furthermore, it can be argued that the Louisiana Purchase was the result of pre-existent negotiations between the U.S. and France. At the time, the United States was already going to buy land from France before Napoleon offered the entirety of the Louisiana territory: “In early 1803, Jefferson appointed James Monroe as a special envoy to France. Monroe and Minister to France Robert Livingston would try to buy land east of the Mississippi or in New Orleans itself, or, if all else failed, to secure U.S. access to the river. Jefferson authorized them to negotiate up to $10 million” (“Jefferson and the Louisiana Purchase”). The Louisiana Purchase was not anything out of the ordinary. The Jefferson Administration was already planning to buy the city of New Orleans from Napoleon, but the Foreign Ministers were …show more content…

Jefferson had to go against principles in order to do what was best for the United States at the time. In a letter to John Dickinson, Jefferson wrote: “It has not given it power of holding foreign territory, and still less of incorporating it into the Union. An amendment of the Constitution seems necessary for this…In the meantime we must ratify and pay our money, as we have treated, for a thing beyond the Constitution, and rely on the nation to sanction an act done for its greater good” (NCC Staff). The Louisiana Purchase was necessary for the United States because the benefits of the Purchase largely outweighed the detriments. Farmers were clamoring for Westward Expansion as they needed more land to grow their crops. Additionally, the resources found within the territory would be worth more than the $15 million paid for the land itself. Furthermore, Napoleon was known for his expansionist tendencies and by letting France control the land, it could become a threat to the United States. Moreover, Napoleon was desperate for money and could sell the Louisiana Territory to another country if the Administration waited too long to buy the land. The entry of a new foreign power into North America could severely damage trade and enhance tensions between the United States and foreign powers. Overall, the Louisiana Purchase was necessary as it was beneficial to the greater good of the United

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