Uploaded by Erin Bodine

The Louisiana Purchase Assignment

The Louisiana Purchase
EQ: Was the Louisiana Purchase constitutional?
LOUISIANA – land where
Mississippi and
People were moving
Rivers flowed, including the
Indiana Territory depended
Port of _______
on the rivers to
____________started taxing and
____________was getting too close
American History
Unit 4: Expanding the Nation
Due Date: _______________ Period: ____
The Louisiana Purchase
• Jefferson sent ministers to France with instructions to offer up to $10 million for New Orleans and a strip
of land from the port eastward to Florida
• Napoleon’s ministers offered to sell the entire Louisiana territory for $15 million and the American
ministers agreed.
(France was on the brink of war with Great Britain and needed money.)
• Jefferson was committed to a strict interpretation of the Constitution and nothing in the Constitution was
written that flat out gave the President power to purchase foreign land
• Eventually Jefferson determined it Necessary and Proper was for the country’s good and submitted the
agreement to the Senate, ratification.
• Doubled the size of the U.S.
• Removed a foreign presence from the nation’s borders
• Guaranteed U.S. expansion past the Mississippi River
Increased the popularity of the Democratic-Republican Party
American History
Unit 4: Expanding the Nation
Due Date: _______________ Period: ____
EQ: Was the Louisiana Purchase constitutional?
Directions: While many people had a positive opinion of the Louisiana Purchase, many Federalists did not. Read the following
documents that provide both viewpoints on the Louisiana Purchase. You will use the documents to determine if the Louisiana
Purchase was constitutional.
Document 1: Alexander Hamilton was the leader of the Federalists. He wrote this editorial called “Purchase of Louisiana” for
the New York Evening Post, July 1803.
The Louisiana purchase will probably make it seem like Mr.
Jefferson is brilliant. Any man, however, who possesses any
amount of intelligence [anyone who is smart], will easily see that
the purchase is the result of lucky coincidences [something that
happens by accident] and unexpected circumstances and not the
result of any wise or thoughtful actions on the part of Jefferson’s
1. Why did the Louisiana Purchase occur?
As to the vast [large] region west of the Mississippi, it is a
2. According to Hamilton, why will Americans not move
wilderness with numerous tribes of Indians. And when we consider to the new territory?
the present territory of the United States, and that not one-sixteenth
is yet under occupation, the possibility that this new purchase will
be a place of actual settlement seems unlikely. If our own citizens
do eventually settle this new land [move out west], it would weaken
our country and central government. On the whole, we can honestly
say that this purchase is at best extremely problematic.
Document 2: Rufus King was a Federalist Senator from New York. He wrote this letter to a colleague on November 4, 1803
Thomas Jefferson claims to be for the Constitution, but
according to the Constitution, only Congress may admit new
territory [add land to the country]not the President. But Jefferson
now signs a treaty forcing Congress to do so? According to the
Louisiana Treaty, the territory must be formed into states and
admitted into the Union.
1. Why is the Louisiana Purchase not constitutional?
Will Congress be allowed to set any rules for their admission?
2. What problems will the new territory create for the US?
Since slavery is legal and exists in Louisiana, and the treaty states
that we must protect the property of the inhabitants, won’t we be
forced to admit the new states as slave states? Doing so will worsen
the problem of unequal representation [number of representatives in
Congress] between slave and free states.
Document 3: John Quincy Adams to the U.S. Senate, 3 November 1803
It has been argued that the bill [to purchase Louisiana] ought not to 1. Why should the Louisiana Purchase not happen?
pass, because the treaty itself is an unconstitutional. The third article
of the constitution, and more especially the seventh, contain
engagements placing us in a dilemma, from which I see no possible
way of extricating ourselves [freeing ourselves with difficulty] but by
an amendment, or rather an addition to the Constitution.
But what is this more than saying that the President and Senate have 2. What actions do ministers normally take?
bound the nation to engagements which require the cooperation of
more extensive powers than theirs to carry them into execution?
Nothing is more common, in the negotiations between nation and
nation, than for a minister to agree to and sign articles beyond the
extent of his powers. This is what your Ministers, in the very case
before you, have confessedly done.
It is well know that their powers did not authorize them to conclude 3. Does Adams support the Louisiana Purchase? Why?
this treaty; but they acted for the benefit of their country, and this
House by a large majority has advised to the ratification [approval]
of their proceedings…such is the public favor attending the
transaction [deal] which commenced [started] by the negotiation of
this treaty, and which, I hope, will terminate in our full, undisturbed,
and undisputed possession of the Louisiana territory.
Answer: Using the information, you just read do you feel the Louisiana Purchase was constitutional and why? Use “evidence” to
support your opinion. You may complete on the lines below or submit online to Canvas.