Who opposed Napoleon during the Louisiana Purchase?

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mkoren | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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When Napoleon offered to sell us all of Louisiana for $15 million, he received opposition from an unlikely source. That source was Thomas Jefferson.

Thomas Jefferson wanted to buy New Orleans and a small strip of land that in those days was called West Florida for $10 million. However, because of the loss Napoleon suffered in Hispaniola, the land in the Louisiana Territory was not as valuable or useful to him. Plus, Napoleon was planning on launching a war in Europe, so any additional cash would have helped him in fighting that war. Therefore, Napoleon made this offer to us.

Thomas Jefferson didn’t know how to respond. Jefferson believed in a strict interpretation of the Constitution. He felt purchasing this large amount of land was illegal because the Constitution didn’t specifically say the President could buy land. Jefferson had to be persuaded to make this deal. He was told this was too good of an offer to decline. Eventually, Jefferson agreed to make the purchase.

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