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Shaping the Nation and the Presidency
1803 The Louisiana Purchase

1803
The Louisiana Purchase

1838-1839
The Trail of Tears

1850
The Fugitive Slave Law

1863
Gettysburg Address &
Emancipation Proclamation

1933
18th Amendment Repealed

1960
First Televised Presidential
Debate

1964
Civil Rights Act

1991
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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