The Moral Dilemma Thomas Jefferson Faced Over The Purchase Of Louisiana From France Thesis
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The thesis titled “The Moral Dilemma Thomas Jefferson Faced over the Purchase of Louisiana from France” includes such parts as the expanded introduction, the main body and the conclusion. The introduction tells about the fact that the Louisiana Purchase became the reason for the emergence of a string of moral dilemmas for Thomas Jefferson. Among these dilemmas were two main ones that lied in the discrepancy between Jefferson’s strict constructionist ideas on the occasion of Constitution which considered the acquisition of the territory as an unconstitutional process and, the strong disputes between supporters of Jefferson’s policy and Federalists. The main body includes the information concerning the policy conducted by Thomas Jefferson as the president of the USA. First of all, Jefferson was known as the person with the democratic opinions; he was the adherent of republicanism doctrines and accepted the rights of the individual taking into account the worldwide influence. The conclusion introduces the fact that Thomas Jefferson is thought out to be the important figure in the history of American democracy. Everything he made during his political career, he made for his country and its citizens. Jefferson’s contribution into the development of the USA cannot be overestimated due to his prominent achievements in the given sphere. Thomas Jefferson always understood that without the necessary changes in the policy of the country it was impossible to reach the adequate level of life for every American citizen.
Key words: the Louisiana Purchase, Thomas Jefferson, the USA, moral dilemma.
The Louisiana Purchase was witnessed as the acquisition of the territory of Louisiana by the United States government, headed by Thomas Jefferson, from France in the year 1803. Those days, the territory of Louisiana consisted of such present-day states as Oklahoma, Nebraska, Kansas, Arkansas, Iowa, Missouri; some west part of Minnesota; considerable parts of North Dakota and South Dakota; a northeastern part of New Mexico; the parts of states Colorado, Montana, Wyoming which were situated on the east from Continental Divide; and two provinces which, nowadays, belong to Canada (“Monticello. The Louisiana Purchase”). The Louisiana Purchase was very important step for Thomas Jefferson; it meant the future growth of the United States and, as a result, its progressive development and blossoming. Despite all these absolutely convincing advantages for the future of the country, the Louisiana Purchase became the reason for the emergence of a string of moral dilemmas for Thomas Jefferson. Among these dilemmas were two main ones which lied in the discrepancy between Jefferson’s strict constructionist ideas on the occasion of Constitution which considered the acquisition of the territory as an unconstitutional process and, the strong disputes between supporters of Jefferson’s policy and Federalists (“Primary Documents in American History: Louisiana Purchase”).
Yet long before his presidency, Jefferson took interest in the development of his own country, being eager to discover the land located on the western side of the Mississippi River. After that, Robert Gray had determined the geographical coordinates of the unexplored earlier land, Jefferson offered to the American Philosophical Society to collect money for the expedition in order to find the most comfortable way of junction between the Pacific Ocean and the United States. At the beginning of the year 1793, the above-mentioned society collected enough sum of money and hired the French botanist, Andre Michaux, to undertake the expedition (“Thomas Jefferson and the Louisiana Territory”). Unfortunately, Michaux turned out to be the secret agent for France and then, after demand of Jefferson, was recalled by the French government. All these details witness that Thomas Jefferson made efforts all the time to help his country to become prosperous and well-provided with all possible accessible public weal and, at the same time, blessings of the world. The third president of the United States wanted to see his country and its citizens happy and successful; that is why moral dilemma appeared to take place when it had become known about the contradiction between his plans connected with the acquisition of Louisiana and the attitude of Constitution towards this issue.
One more dilemma for the Louisiana Purchase consisted in the fact, that Jefferson didn’t want the USA to become allies with the Great Britain and also, he didn’t want to be in the state of war with France the revolution of which was strongly supported by him (“Louisiana Purchase, 1803”). As the territory of Louisiana was the property of France, the president had to avoid these risks. Being the patriot of his own country, Jefferson tried every possible way for the peaceful disposal of the question (“Louisiana Purchase”). Although, the purchase of Louisiana didn’t demand the war conflict, because of Napoleon’s unsuccessful plans concerning the reestablishment of the French empire in the USA with Louisiana as its central jigsaw puzzle.
The attitude of the USA government opposition towards the issue was one of the main moral dilemmas for Thomas Jefferson. The purchase of Louisiana was not committed without the participation of the domestic opposition in this crucial transaction between two countries: France and the United States of America.
The opposition called the consistency of Jefferson into question, because of his persistent and strict adherence of rules and laws fixed in the Constitution. The majority of the US people thought Thomas Jefferson and his supporters – Jeffersonians to be hypocritical in conformity with everything linked with the purchase of Louisiana. The Federalists, who wanted close relationships with the government of Great Britain through the mediation of ties to the head of France – Napoleon, deprecated the purchase of Louisiana with the great vehemence. They were also disquieted by the large sum of money paid for Louisiana land (“Thomas Jefferson faced a moral dilemma over the purchase of Louisiana from France”).
Both parties, Jeffersonians and Federalists, were anxious whether the acquisition of Louisiana land was constitutional or not. The bigger part of members from the House of Representatives was against that purchase. The House, headed by John Randolph, even made several attempts to disaffirm the request concerning Louisiana Purchase, but they failed to do it owing to the lack of two votes. The Federalists also made an attempt to declare that Louisiana had belonged not to France, but to Spain; though the present reliable records demonstrated that Louisiana was the property of France before the sale of the territory to the United States (“Primary Documents in American History: Louisiana Purchase”).
Time showed that the purchase of Louisiana was well-taken and warrantable, but Thomas Jefferson had to stand up for his patriotic attempts to introduce new territories for the country, in such a way, expanding its boundaries and giving the country a file of possibilities to be developed not only thanks to the amount of new lands, but also owing to the additional resources which could be found at the territory of those new lands.
Despite all moral dilemmas, which emerged to be quite difficult for the third US president, Jefferson made the right choice in his attempts to introduce his own priceless contribution to the development of the country and its history.
The main driving force, which caused the presence of the moral dilemmas for Thomas Jefferson, was his philosophy in policy and views concerning the national administration. Jefferson’s ideals in policy were formed and greatly affected by the written works of such worldwide known persons and authors as Isaac Newton, John Locke and Francis Bacon. The third president of the USA saw the ideal of a person as an independent individual; he also was always for the decentralization of the power. Jefferson thought that all misfortunes, which occurred earlier in Europe, were caused by the corruptibility and lack of restraint of a wide range of political establishments and monarchies (“Thomas Jefferson and the Louisiana Territory”).
Jefferson believed that every person should have rights. Speaking about the proper and well-organized government according to the view of Thomas Jefferson, it can be said that the president thought it to be the entity where governmental officials were needed not only to prove their own interests, but to collaborate with one another in order to establish the lawful system for all citizens. While being the president of the United States, Thomas Jefferson made efforts to fix the balance between the governments of federal and state importance as it was stated in the Articles of Confederation (“Thomas Jefferson and the Louisiana Territory”).
Thomas Jefferson is thought out to be the important figure in the history of American democracy. Everything he made during his political career, he made for his country and its citizens. Jefferson’s contribution into the development of the USA cannot be overestimated due to his prominent achievements in the given sphere. Thomas Jefferson always understood that without the necessary changes in the policy of the country it was impossible to reach the adequate level of life for every American citizen.
Louisiana Purchase, 1803. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://history.state.gov/milestones/1801-1829/louisiana-purchase
Louisiana Purchase. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.history.com/topics/louisiana-purchase#
Primary Documents in American History: Louisiana Purchase. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.loc.gov/rr/program/bib/ourdocs/Louisiana.html
Thomas Jefferson faced a moral dilemma over the purchase of Louisiana from France. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.enotes.com/homework-help/thomas-jefferson-faced-moral-dilemma-over-purchase-472882
Thomas Jefferson and the Louisiana Territory. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.whha.org/whha_classroom/classroom_9-12-visionary-jefferson.html
Monticello. The Louisiana Purchase. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.monticello.org/site/jefferson/louisiana-purchase
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