History Essay

Jacqui Smith
Professor Wilkerson
History 16
2 June, 2014
Midterm Essay: Constitutionality of the Louisiana Purchase (1803)
The Louisiana Purchase resulted from the fear that the United States would lose its free trade rights in the Louisiana territory. America had an agreement with Spain for free trade rights that resulted from Pickney's treaty of 1795 which granted American farmers the right to ship cargoes without paying tolls. Spain granted American merchants the right to transport goods from New Orleans to Atlantic ports without paying export duties. Since trading the Louisiana territory to France for land in Europe, Spain no longer controlled the area there for it voided all agreements for the free trade of America in the Louisiana area. With the fear of losing these rights weighing heavily on the shoulders of the Americans, president Thomas Jefferson sent James Monroe to Europe to try to persuade the British to accept a military alliance should the Americans need help in the event of war with France over their trade rights. He also sent American minister Robert Livingston to France; he gave Livingston permission to spend as much as two million dollars to obtain as much of the Louisiana territory as he could. Though Livingston was only granted two million for this project he spent fifteen million, but he acquired the entire Louisiana territory for that price. When he returned to report the deal to President Jefferson, he was overjoyed at the progress that Livingston had reported to him. The Louisiana Purchase did three things, first of all it eliminated a European power from the continent, and it also prevented Jefferson from having to form a military alliance with Britain. The purchase also secured tthe Mississippi River for free use to transport goods to markets. Finally the Louisiana Purchase literally doubled the size of the United States. There was opposition to the purchase from certain individuals that said that the purchase was unconstitutional,...