Discuss the major obstacles Jefferson faced in acquiring the Louisiana Purchase.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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There were several obstacles being faced in acquiring the Louisiana Territory.  One was simply financial.  Fifteen million dollars was a great deal of money, and while the new nation possessed it, there was significant question as to what was being purchased.  Within this, another objection would be the awkwardness of granting immediate citizenship to people who were not seen as Americans.  On a domestic level, there was a certain amount of apprehension in conferring instant citizenship to people who were not "American," whatever this was seen to mean at the time.  The largest objection, though, was a philosophical one.  Jefferson and his Republican supporters were followers of a strict interpretation of the Constitution.  They did not see the President's role as one that could facilitate such a large negotiation without Congressional approval.  Firm believers in restraint, many of Jefferson's fellow Republicans could not embrace the idea that the President was able to fully negotiate and ratify a deal that would almost double the size of the United States without any sort of Congressional check.  At the same time, the Federalists were not supportive of an  emerging relationship with Napoleon, for they preferred bolstering ties with England.  In this, the largest obstacles to the Purchase presented themselves.  While this was futile, for the land was purchased, these were the obstacles Jefferson faced.

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