Why Is The Louisiana Purchase Unconstitutional

1223 Words5 Pages

The Louisiana Purchase set a dangerous precedent as the President of the United States, Thomas Jefferson, and Congress ignored the constitution when agreeing to purchase the territory. This purchase of land violated the limitations that Thomas Jefferson and Republicans had fought for while the Federalist party was in control of the Presidency and Congress. However, the political climate of France, Spain and the United States set the stage for Jefferson to violate his strict constructionist beliefs, which allowed the Louisiana Purchase. The Louisiana Purchase was the agreement to purchase the land west of the Mississippi River but east of the Rocky Mountains, and from the Canada Lake of the Woods in the north to the Gulf of Mexico in the …show more content…

The Federalists had beaten Jefferson in the prior election by only 3 votes in the Electoral College. France tried to bribe American representatives while they were negotiating the relations between the two countries. This caused the Federalists to be in an undeclared war with France. The Federalists passed the Alien and Sedition Acts which curbed Republican power, consolidated power in the Federalist party, and prevented a revolution in the United States. The Alien Act restricted the rights and political influence of immigrants by not allowing citizenship via naturalization for 14 years, when it was previously 5 years. The Federalists did this since most immigrants joined the Republican party. The Sedition Act made it a crime to criticize Federalist policies. Most of the fines and prison terms were served by Republicans for violating this act. In secret, Jefferson and Madison helped Virginia and Kentucky to draft resolutions which condemned the Federalists for creating a larger federal government beyond the constitutional limits. Jefferson and Madison demanded a strict construction of the Constitution, arguing that states had the right to decide if the federal government’s acts were constitutional. They wanted a small and limited federal government. The two acts became the downfall of the Federalist party. In 1801, …show more content…

A representative, Robert Livingston, was sent to France to purchase the land, or at least convince Napoleon to not occupy the Louisiana Territory or New Orleans. In reality, Jefferson and Livingston wanted all of the Louisiana Territory, including the port of New Orleans. When Napoleon was approached by the US diplomat he agreed to sell the territory to the US. In the treaty created, besides agreeing to pay money for the territory, Jefferson agreed to in direct violation of the Constitution, that the French and Spanish traders would have special lower tariffs than other countries’ tariffs. Having fought Alexander Hamilton’s attempt to interpret the Constitution broadly, Jefferson knew that the Constitution did not allow him to take New Orleans, as nothing allowed the federal government to annex or govern new territories. Yet, Levi Lincoln advised that the sale should be designed so that the lands were an extension of the Mississippi Territory or an extension of the state of Georgia. This advice helped to set in motion the new regulations of The United States’s right to acquire territory, if the land is acquired by treaty, the President and Senate have a right to sanction the treaty, and when the territory is acquired, Congress shall have the power of admitting it as a new a state, adding it to a current

Show More
Open Document