Analyze the way that the Louisiana Purchase represented a shift in the ideals of Jeffersonian democracy.

1 Answer

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

To the extent that the Louisiana Purchase represented a shift in Jeffersonian Democracy, it was because it departed from the Jeffersonians' ideal of strict limitations on the power of the federal government.

The Jeffersonians believed in a very limited federal government that stuck strictly to the powers that were given to it in the Constitution.  The power to buy territory from a foreign country is not specifically given to the president in the Constitution and so it was not at all clear that it was Constitutional for Jefferson to make the purchase.  However, he did so even though it represented something of a break from the ideals that he and his party espoused.