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Shaping the Nation and the Presidency
1803 The Louisiana Purchase

The Louisiana Purchase

The Trail of Tears

The Fugitive Slave Law

Gettysburg Address &
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18th Amendment Repealed

First Televised Presidential

Civil Rights Act

Persian Gulf

Make the connection between President Thomas Jefferson and the Louisiana Purchase.

Thomas Jefferson
from American Presidents

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In 1803 President Thomas Jefferson sent James Monroe to Paris to help the American minister there negotiate access to a port on the French-controlled Mississippi. Because Napoleon was eager for cash to finance wars on other fronts, he sold the entire Louisiana territory to the United States for $15 million dollars (or four cents an acre!) Some in Congress argued that American law did not allow for such a transaction. Jefferson, who was normally a strict constructionist, pushed the Senate to approve the purchase. What artifact from the Lewis and Clark expedition hangs in the front hall at Monticello?

Lewis & Clark
from American Writers

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President Thomas Jefferson had both a scientist's interest in the natural world and a president's interest in the success of the young republic. After the Louisiana Purchase, and in response to growing British interest in a trade route to the Pacific, he planned an exploration of the lands west of the Mississippi. Jefferson chose Meriwether Lewis, his private secretary and a captain in the army, to command the expedition and trained him in botany, geography, mineralogy, astronomy, and ethnology.

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