Did Thomas Jefferson Abandon His Ethics for the Lousiana Purchase

1020 Words Jun 21st, 2018 5 Pages
Did Thomas Jefferson give up his deeply held political values in order to purchase the Louisiana Territory from the French (P. 2)? This is the major question that has led to much debate within the early history of America (P. 1). Some historians argue that Thomas Jefferson did, in fact, throw away his commitment to states’ rights and constructionism by the large purchase of Louisiana for the U.S. (P.1). On the other hand, some believe that President Jefferson supported his political beliefs, the fortification of the republican government, with the Louisiana Purchase (P. 1).
David A. Carson argues in “Blank Paper of the Constitution: The Louisiana Purchase Debates” that Thomas Jefferson did abandon his political ideals when purchasing
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13). In “When the Ends Justify the Means,” Barry J. Balleck debates that President Jefferson did not abandon his political ethics by purchasing the Louisiana Territory (P. 14). Balleck states that the Louisiana Purchase was “the greatest achievement of Thomas Jefferson’s presidency” (P. 14). With the addition of the new territory to the United States, President Jefferson secured the nation “for generations, if not centuries to come” (P. 14). Jefferson was confident that purchasing the Louisiana Territory would encourage the development of an upright Republican populace (P. 14). Surprisingly, he had many reservations about his authority to purchase Louisiana, but that did not stop him from laying the treaty before Congress (P. 19). He also knew that, by purchasing Louisiana, the Federalists power might be lost, but he still pushed forward with the treaty (P. 19). Although many historians criticize President Jefferson for giving up his most visible political convictions by purchasing Louisiana, he knew that it would double the size of the United States and ensure much land expansion for the country (P. 20). He strongly believed that the new territory was “essential to national security” (P. 21). In President Jefferson’s mind, purchasing Louisiana secured the “virtues of Republicanism in an ‘Empire of Liberty’” (P. 22). “The Louisiana
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