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  • Have you heard the one about Thomas Jefferson

  • and the Louisiana Territory?

  • Thomas Jefferson, author of The Declaration of Independence,

  • was not a fan of the new constitution presented in 1787.

  • He was very worried

  • that The Constitution gave too much power

  • to the new, national government,

  • and not enough power to the states,

  • an issue known as "big government".

  • Jefferson only reluctantly agreed to support it

  • when his friend, James Madison,

  • promised to propose a bill of rights after it was ratified.

  • But Jefferson's fears about big government did not go away.

  • For example, Secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton,

  • proposed a national bank in 1790,

  • and Jefferson knew there was no provision in The Constitution

  • to permit such a thing.

  • Hamilton claimed some sort of implied powers mumbo-jumbo.

  • Sure, it wasn't written in The Constitution,

  • but The Constitution implied that it could be done.

  • But, Jefferson wasn't buying it.

  • Nonetheless, the bank was established

  • by Hamilton and President Washington.

  • When Jefferson was sworn in as President in 1801,

  • he pledged to reduce the size and scope

  • of the national government.

  • But, of course, things didn't go exactly as he had planned.

  • Spain secretly transferred the Louisiana Territory to France

  • right beneath Jefferson's nose.

  • When Congress found out,

  • they quickly began discussions with France

  • to buy a piece of the territory

  • along the Mississippi River for about $2 million.

  • But, there was one little problem:

  • Jefferson knew there was no provision

  • in The Constitution to buy foreign territory.

  • So what was a strict constructionist to do?

  • First, he tried to get an amendment to The Constitution passed

  • that would expressly permit the purchase,

  • but Congress wasn't willing to do it.

  • Then, without permission, the U.S. negotiators in France

  • cut a deal for all of the territory

  • for a cool $15 million dollars.

  • That new land doubled the size of the nation!

  • Now Jefferson was really stuck.

  • He knew that the territory would be a great acquisition for the country,

  • providing lots of new land for farmers and other settlers,

  • but how could he constitutionally justify it?

  • In the end, Jefferson turned to the argument

  • used by his old foe Alexander Hamilton.

  • He claimed that the power to purchase the territory

  • is implied in The Constitution's treaty-making power.

  • This was the exact argument

  • that he had mocked openly a decade before,

  • so it must have crushed his pride to have to use it.

  • But more importantly,

  • he may have committed the biggest big government play ever!

  • How ironic is it

  • that one of the biggest opponents of big government

  • doubled the size of the young country

  • and did so while openly questioning its constitutionality?

  • At $15 million,

  • which is about three cents an acre,

  • it has been called by many

  • the greatest real estate deal

  • in the history of the United States.

Have you heard the one about Thomas Jefferson

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TED-ED】ルイジアナ購入の歴史的大胆さ-ジュディ・ウォルトン (【TED-Ed】The historical audacity of the Louisiana Purchase - Judy Walton)

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    稲葉白兎 に公開 2021 年 01 月 14 日
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