Opportunity: The Louisiana purchase
Britain and France threatened American commerce and nation security
1799: Napoleon Bonaparte took control of France and started a series of military conquests. Four years later Britain declared war on them.
After a year of peace, Britain declared war on Spain again. This one lasted twelve years. (started 1803 ended at battle of waterloo in 1815)
Napoleon saw America as a potential battleground with Britain
1800 in a secret treaty France acquired the Louisiana territory and western drainage of Mississippi and Missouri rivers
1802: Spanish commander at New Orleans closed the port to American shippers, disrupting commerce. Jefferson feared this
Federalist in congress wanted to use military action to reopen the port.
Jefferson offered to buy the secret treaty land for 2- 20 million and Napoleon wanted to sell it, since his recent defeat at Santo Domingo(led by Francois Toussaint l'Ouverture), for 15 million.
James Monroe, not following instructions, bought it and American land was doubled overnight.
Jefferson had doubt because the constitution didn't give the president the authority to buy land but he argued that the land was vital to America.
Some argued that the land would disrupt the republican system.
The main issue with the purchase was what to do with the 43000 people already living there. Only 6000 were American and French were the dominant. They often clashed with each other (i.e. 1804 ball)
American representive in New Orleans, William Claiborne, accepted value of French institutions; unlike the Washington officials.
As a result, Louisiana adopted a legal code in 1808 that was based on French civil law instead of English common law, which was very different in ways such as:
Family property (communal ownership)
Inheritance (forced heirship)
Contracts (more strict)
Louisiana admitted into union in 1812.
Texas and the Struggle for...