Chapter 6: Jeffersonian Democracy
* In April 1802 Jefferson urged Minister Livingston to attempt the purchase of New Orleans and Florida or, as an alternative, to buy a tract of land near the mouth of the Mississippi River where a new port could be constructed * Jefferson appointed his friend nd disciple James Monroe minister plenipotentiary and sent him to Paris with instructions to offer up to $10 million for New Orleans and Florida. * For 60 million francs- about $15 million- the United States was to have all of Louisiana. * Jefferson didn’t believe that the government had the power under the constitution to add new territory or to grant American citizenship to the 50,000 residents of Louisiana by executive act, as the treaty required. * The Louisiana Purchase was as much Hamilton’s doing as Jefferson’s. * Napoleon accepted payment in United States bonds- promises to pay the national debt- which he promptly sold to European investors. * It was ironic- and a man as perceptive as Hamilton must surely have recognized the irony- that the acquisition of Louisiana ensured Jefferson’s reelection and further contributed to the downfall of the federalists. * The Republican triumph seem that a handful of diehard Federalists in New England began to think of secession. Led by former secretary of state Timothy Pickering, sour implacable conservative, a group known as the Essex Junto organized in 1804 a scheme to break away from the Union and establish a “northern confederacy” * Pickering and his friends pushed ahead, drafting a plan whereby, having captured political control of New York, they would take the entire Northeast out of the Union. * Burr was overwhelmed by the regular Republican. The junto’s scheme collapsed. * Hamilton had campaigned against Burr, whom he considered an “embryo Caesar” * The 2 met with pistols on July 11, 1804 at Weehawken, New Jersey. Hamilton made no effort to hit the challenger but Burr took careful aim. Hamilton fell wounded, he died the next day. * Early in 1803 Jefferson got $2,500 from Congress and obtained the permission of the French to send his exploring party across Louisiana. * Scientific matters were inextricably intertwined with practical ones, such as the fur trade, for in his nature studies Jefferson concentrated on “useful” plants and animals. * After the consummation of the Louisiana Purchase, he instructed Lewis to trey to establish official relations with the Indians in the Spanish territories beyond. * Lewis and Clark had established friendly relations with a great many Indian tribes to whom they presented gifts, medals, American flags, and a sales talk designed to promote peace and the fur trade. * By 1808 fur traders based at St. Louis were beginning to invade the Rockies, and by 1812 there were 75,000 people in the southern section of the new territory which was admitted to the Union that year as the state of Louisiana. * While still vice president, Burr began to flirt with treason. He approached Anthony Merry, the British minister in Washington, and offerd to “effect a separation of the Western part of the United States.” His price was £110,000 and the support of a British fleet off the mouth of the Mississippi. * The British didn’t fall in with his scheme, but Burr went ahead nonetheless. Exactly what he had in mind has long been in dispute. * He joined forces with General James Wilkinson whom Jeferson had appointed Governor of the Louisiana territory and was secretly in the pay of Spain. * In 1806 Burr and Wilkinson had no difficulty raising a small force at a place called Blennerhassett Island in the Ohio River. Some six dozen men began to move downriver toward New Orleans under Burr’s command. * Wilkinson betrayed Burr to Jefferson at the last moment. Burr tried to escape to Spanish Florida but was captured in February 1807, brought to Richmond Virginia under guard and was charged with high treason. *...
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