Jefferson's Dilemma In The Louisiana Purchase

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Jefferson’s dilemma in the Louisiana Purchase

In April of 1803 Thomas Jefferson was faced with many moral dilemmas in the process of buying the Louisiana territory. Though the price for the territory was beyond generous, Jefferson felt that by purchasing the territory he would be going against his beliefs that the constitution should be followed word for word. The constitution said nothing of the president having the power to purchase land from another government, or to use money of the states for the same purpose (“the moral dilemma”). Another problem was once the land was purchased, there was a fear that it could have been a waste since they had no way to know the layout of the land, and what it would be useful for. What's more
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After the Treaty of Paris in 1763, which ended the Seven Years War between the French and the British as well as all of their allies, the French lost claim to all of their land. The English being the winners of the war claimed the majority, and what they did not seize was given to the Spanish for their support and help in the war. In 1802 France and Spain signed a secret treaty called The Treaty Of Ildefonso. Once the treaty was fulfilled, Spain gave the Louisiana territory back to France (“Background”). Napoleon had interest in Louisiana for the purpose mainly to ship supplies to the French colonies in the Caribbean islands but also as a source of food and trade. New Orleans being a port city, it was a good passage for trade. Despite this, a rebellion in Haiti had shifted his focus off of the territory. Now that the land held no benefit to him, and was a large mass just taking up space, he decided his best option was to sell the land and gain the money for France (“Background”). Jefferson's only concern was securing the waterway into the Gulf of Mexico. He offered a sum of two million dollars for the port city alone. France came back with the counter offer of the whole Louisiana territory for a little more than a nickle a square mile (“background”). This was an offer that would be very beneficial to capitalize on, yet it went against Thomas Jefferson’s beliefs in the
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