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The Louisiana Purchase

By Babylily1 Apr 30, 2013 1126 Words
Lorraine Escalante
Hist 310
E. Hashima
21 April 2013
1. The historical context of this assignment is relatively clear. It tells about the acquisition of Louisiana by the United States, and the controversies and complications of assimilating this newly acquired territory in our country. The President was Thomas Jefferson. He purchased Louisiana because it was a well coveted territory, mostly by the U.S. Not only was it a huge piece of land that could grow Americas size immensely, but commerce was huge there. Also tensions were high with France, who was seemed to be constantly at war. Jefferson purchased Louisiana to keep France from acquiring any territory in the US. The people of Louisiana were described as gentle, amiable people. They were easy going and relatively free people and one of the few places that has almost as many colored people as white.

Perhaps the most relative of events during this time was not so much the purchase of Louisiana, but how to govern them. Louisiana was a French territory, so English was rarely spoken there. This was a problem because the lingua franca of the US was in fact English and there was quite a bit of controversy over how they could be expected to follow rules of and support a government they literally could not understand. It was argued that the other states were part of an agreement or partnership to attain life, liberty and the other fruits of being free men and were treated equally, but Louisiana was not. It was a purchased territory that had not agreed to nor did they ask to be a part of the United States. Another argument was Article 3 of the Treaty Ceding Louisiana, October 30, 1803 where it states that “the inhabitants of the ceded territory shall be incorporated in the union of the United States and admitted as soon as possible, according to the principles of the Federal Constitution, to the enjoyment of all the rights, advantages, and immunities, of the citizens of the united states; and, in the mean time they shall be maintained and protected in the free enjoyment of their liberty, property, and the religion which they profess”. When it came time to make good on these words, there were several issues to consider. Congressman Roger Griswold argued the above mentioned point that Louisiana was not a partner, but a piece of territory purchased. That the people were being unfairly forced to join a country they did not ask for, which was in direct contradiction to the constitution. Congressman Samuel Latham disagreed by stating that if the people did not want to be a part of the US, no one was forcing them to. They could leave if they wanted, that simply purchasing the territory did not force American citizenship among them. It was also argued that considering the people did not understand the language their government was in, as well as their current lack of a decent educational system; they were not fit to govern themselves. It was recommended that a governor and various other political bodies be put into place by the president until the territory was adjusted enough and fit to elect their own members. This was also argued to be unconstitutional because it was each states right to govern themselves. Jefferson made the executive decision and made offers to several people to step up and help get Louisiana on their feet, but many of them declined. This was also discouraging to Louisianans, who trusted the US government to care for them and make appropriate decisions to get them on their feet. There were also concerns with slaves entering in Louisiana. It was argued that slaves were a necessity because white men couldn’t cultivate the land in Louisiana, to which Mr. John smith pointed out that he had traveled the land there and white men could cultivate it just fine and that doing so would be better for the territory so as not to have another St Domingue disaster.

2. Source 1: seems fair to me. Like a pretty good general guideline for newly acquired states. It guarantees them the basics of the many freedoms of the country until all the details are worked out. Feels like a good blanket….

Source 3: things seem good. The report is good. Morale is high, people are calm and it is time for celebrating, being part of the US adds to that. Sad that people are seemingly ignorant. Dude is concerned that when the thrill of being a US citizen wears off, the people will be frustrated. Clairborne wishes to share government but is worried the people won’t understand it

Source 6: love this. Talking about how they are too ignorant to govern themselves, whether or not to allow slaves, who can cultivate the land, whether the acquisition is Tyrannical, talk of how to establish a government

Source 9: More talk of establishing government appropriately, seems like the same arguments (super important, but redundant) What I like most about this section is the forward thinking of breaking the cycle of ignorance by the proposal to establish and education system. Children are the future and need to be educated so that they can truly enjoy the fruits of their country

Source 12: tells of the many hours and long discussions to set up the government in the best interest of the people. Addresses issues put forth by petitioners, repealing the act of splitting up LA, that the President elect a governor and other officials (all of whom reside there) and that they speak both English and French, that all government records be also kept in both languages, to allow slavery and to have general peace and equality 3. It seems that Americans, above all else, want to be treated with respect and equality. That the things written in the constitution be honored. That is should be comprehensible to all that are protected under it. The president was put in charge of setting the Government officials because of the circumstances. People were not only uneducated at the time that Louisiana was purchased, but also did not speak the same language as the other states. Because of these circumstances, it was necessary for the leader of their new country to step forward and act for them on behalf of their rights as citizens. The Louisiana Purchase paved the way for how to deal with newly acquired territories under the same circumstances. Previously owned or governed by a foreign country, where American customs and languages are foreign. Where people may not be educated enough or understand how to run their own government. It taught us how to handle such matters, and we’ve repeated the same basic process since.

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