The Louisiana Purchase was a land deal between the United States and France in 1803. For $15 million, the United States purchased almost 828,000 square miles of land. The purchase of Louisiana is important because it gave the United States power of the Mississippi River and the port city of New Orleans. Both of these locations were used by farmers to ship and pay for their crops. The 15 states were eventually created from the land deal, which is considered one of Thomas Jefferson’s greatest attainments.
Jefferson took a stern, verbatim view of the constitutional powers, which meant that the Constitution has to define powers reserved for the President and the Executive Branch. The ability to purchase the property from foreign governments was not amid these powers recorded in Article IV of the Constitution – a fact that his political opponents, the Federalists, were keen to point out the President. Alternatively, Jefferson regarded a constitutional amendment as the only way to conclude the agreement with France.
In 1803, he wrote to John Dickinson: “The General Government has no powers but such as the Constitution gives it.” “It has not given it the power of holding foreign territory, and still less of incorporating it into the Union. An amendment of the Constitution seems necessary for this.”
There were many advantages and disadvantages of the Louisiana Purchase. The advantages were that it enlarged the size of the United States, increasing the size of the U.S. to other countries. The U.S. gained control of more land for agriculture and natural resources.
The disadvantages are that the United States had to guard and shield a nation twice as large as before. They also had to better ways of proceeding into the new territory.
Many people either oppose or support the Louisiana Purchase. Personally, I think it was a good idea – I support it. First, it guaranteed Western Expansion, which was pivotal to Jefferson’s vision of the country. Second, it would ensure Americans’ space to expand socially and economically without needing to wage war against European powers to do so. Finally, it united many people and states.
Even though I support it, there are a few reasons people may oppose it. The first one is that New England Federalists had their political power reduced. Second, it did not follow a strict interpretation at the Constitution – which even Jefferson subscribed to. The last reason is that the move contradicted Jefferson’s commitment to reduce the national debt. These are a few reasons some may oppose the purchase of Louisiana.
The U.S. wanted Louisiana because American settlements depended upon river transport to get their goods to market since overland trade to the east was expensive and impractical. The U.S. had many great benefits when purchasing Louisiana. The greatest benefit for the U.S. in purchasing Louisiana was expanding the country’s borders. This allowed for more land to be used for economic benefit and population expansion. This also allowed access to the port of New Orleans for the economic benefits of trade.