Jefferson’s Contribution to American History
“Man of the People”, “Sage of Monticello”, Tomas Jefferson, the third President of the United States (1801-1809), was marked in history under such nicknames (“American”). One of the greatest developments of his presidency was making the Louisiana Purchase, a land deal between the United States and France in 1803. The Louisiana Territory was acquired at a price of $15 million for over 800,000 square miles of land (Kelly). This transaction not only doubled the size of the country, but put a basis for its further prosperity.
The acquirement of Louisiana was a serious dilemma for President Jefferson. The Federalist Party split over the issue. Opposing the purchase of Louisiana, prominent New England Federalists had several reasons for gross concern. First, the Constitution did not grant the government the power to buy lands, so the deal would be unconstitutional. Second, it would make a conflict with Great Britain and Spain. Third, the price, paid to France, was considered to be too large. President Jefferson had to make a serious decision. He realized the potential threat to the national interests, caused by the secret treat between Spain and France. The change of ownership of New Orleans would result in closing the vital transportation system to Americans and would lead to economic collapse of the U.S. Therefore, to get free navigation of the Mississippi River, Jefferson sent a delegation to negotiate with France for sale New Orleans. Unpredictably, Napoleon offered to buy the entire Louisiana Territory. The President’s actions were supported by the nation: the major part of the Federalists and the Republicans accepted the Louisiana deal, the Senate and Congress approved the purchase of the territory, too. As for the Native Americans, nobody asked their opinion. Later, they were paid some compensation for their land and were removed into reservations.
To sum up, the Louisiana Purchase is truly considered to be the major point in the history of the United States. Completing the transaction, Jefferson faced a dilemma: protecting the national interests, he had either to overstep his own belief and principles or to let the country go down into economic collapse. Jefferson acted without hesitation and got people’s support. Providing the further prosperity of the nation, the Louisiana Purchase’s has become the greatest achievement of Jefferson’s presidency.