There were two presidents that did a great deal for our country in the area of expansion. These two
presidents are Thomas Jefferson and James K. Polk. Though they had completely different policies on
expansion and foreign affairs, both of them vastly expanded the country.
Jefferson was a believer in the Monroe Doctrine which basically said we will mind our own busi
ness. He was also a very firm believer in a strict interpretation of the constitution. He did not look to vastly
expand our country and when the opportunity presented itself he had a hard time making the right decision.
The United States was surrounded by European owned areas: England had Canada, Spain had Florida,
and France had Louisiana. Fearing a possible war Jefferson strengthened the army especially by Louisiana.
This act scared Napoleon, he was in a war with England and didn't even need the Louisiana Territory, so
fearing a war with the U.S. and needing money for his war with England he offered to sell the whole Louisi
ana Territory to us for very cheap. Jefferson not sure if the constitution justified the act of making this
purchase struggled with the decision. He decided he didn't have much of a choice and accepted Napoleons
offer. On the other hand, James K. Polk was a firm believer in Manifest Destiny, which was the belief that
the United States was predestined to control all of North America. When Polk ran in the 1844 election his
campaign slogan was 54-40 or fight. Though he never got that boundary he did get a lot more in different
parts of the country. After Texas revolted from Mexico Polk was easy to convince that the U.S. should
step in and take Texas from Mexico. Though he wanted Texas he felt that the greatest prize would be
California. After Mexico repeatedly declined Polk's offers to buy Mexico and California Polk sent an army
to the Rio Grande. This action led to the Mexican War. Polk pushed and pushed for Texas...
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