The Jefferson Era. His Leadership Style & The Louisiana Purchase. Jefferson Takes Office. In 1801, Thomas Jefferson became the first president to be INAUGURATED ( sworn into office ) in the new capital of Washington, D. C. .
His Leadership Style
The Louisiana Purchase
In 1801, Thomas Jefferson became the first president to be INAUGURATED (sworn into office) in the new capital of Washington, D. C.
The city was located in a wilderness area, and traveling there was difficult. Some people complained about its muddy streets, and its unfinished buildings.
Jefferson felt it was a good thing that the young country should carve its capital out of the wilderness.
Washington, D. C.
The Early Years
He did call for an end to the political fighting that had been going on.
He definitely did want some changes.
He wanted to make the government smaller and less powerful by cutting the budget and lowering taxes.
He believed in “LAISSEZ FAIRE” (a term that means government should leave businesses alone).Easing Federalist Fears
As more and more Americans moved west, they depended on the Mississippi River to ship their goods. Sometimes, the Spanish who controlled New Orleans threatened to close the port to the Americans. In the Pinckney Treaty, Spain agreed to let the Americans store goods in New Orleans.
By the early 1800s, France is back in control of Louisiana. President Jefferson is worried that Napoleon wants a North American empire. In fact, Napoleon did have some plans for the region, but a revolt in the Caribbean colony of Haiti foiled those plans, and weakened Napoleon’s interests in North America.
At about the same time that the Haitian revolt is successful, Thomas Jefferson sent two men, Robert Livingston and James Monroe, to try and buy the port city of New Orleans. They were supposed to offer $2 million for the city, but were authorized to pay up to $10 million for this very important port city.
At first the French are not interested, but after the defeat in Haiti, their dream of empire in North America was hurt. Plus, France needed money for its wars in Europe. They offer the Americans the chance to buy all of Louisiana. At first we offer $4 million, but they said that was too low. How will America respond???
Livingston and Monroe debate about what to do. They know Jefferson wants New Orleans, but they don’t know if they have permission to buy all of the extra territory. In the end, we ended up buying all of the Louisiana Territory for $15 million. Overnight, the nation doubles in size. It is one of the greatest land bargains in history.
Jefferson was pleased with the purchase, but he wasn’t sure he had the authority to do what he did. He finally decided that because the Constitution said he could make treaties, he would make the purchase a treaty and the Senate could approve it. They did so quickly.Was the Purchase Constitutional?
Congress approves funds for an exploration.
To lead the trip, Jefferson chooses his personal secretary, a man named Meriwether Lewis. Lewis also asks his friend William Clark to go.
A total of about 50 men go.The Lewis and Clark Expedition
In May of 1804, “The Corps of Discovery” leaves St. Louis and travels up the Missouri River. At first they travel slowly, because they are fighting the river’s current. Along the way, they trade with Natives. They had brought items such as medals, beads, knives, blankets, needles, and fishhooks.
As winter approached, the explorers stayed with the Mandan Indians in modern-day North Dakota. Luckily, they met a young Shoshone Indian girl named Sacagawea. She was from the Rockies and knew the region well. She agreed to act as a guide and an interpreter. Her husband and small child also went.
An even greater fact, is that she was from the area that is now Idaho!!!
Sacagawea was very helpful in identifying natural vegetables that could be eaten and herbs that could be used for medicine.The Expedition Continues
As a child, Sacagawea had been kidnapped from her people. One day as they met some Shoshone Indians, she recognized one of the chiefs as her brother. She helped convince the Shoshones to aid the party over the mountains.
Rivers, Lewis and Clark
reached the Columbia
River, and from there the
explorers floated all the
way to the ocean.
The explorers reached the Pacific Ocean in November of 1805. They built a fort called Fort Clatsop (named after the local Indians), and stayed the winter there.
It was a cold, wet, dreary winter with only a few days of sunshine. The men were very anxious to return home the following Spring, so they left in March.
The “Corps of Discovery” got back to St. Louis, in the fall of 1806 and were celebrated as heroes. President Jefferson was thrilled by the information and artifacts they brought back with them. During their 2 ½ year journey, they hardly had any Indian troubles. Only one party member died, most likely from a burst appendix.
Sergeant Floyd is the only member of the expedition to die – on August 20, 1804.
Historically, Lewis & Clark have received a lot of attention for the tremendous journey they went on. There was also another adventurer who was not as successful, but explored parts of the Louisiana territory. His name was Zebulon Pike.
In 1805-1806, Zebulon Pike was the leader of a group who explored the upper Mississippi River. They were sent to meet with local natives, and to try and identify the source of the river. They also tried to warn the British it was time to leave the area now that the region was in U.S. hands.
The following year, Pike was sent to explore some of the southern parts of the Louisiana Purchase. His group was to explore both the Arkansas and Red Rivers and to try and find their sources. Some historians have argued that Pike may have been a spy sent to scope out Spanish land.
He and his group explored parts of what are now the states of Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado, New Mexico, and Texas. In February 1807, they were captured by the Spanish and first taken to Santa Fe, and further into Spanish Mexico to the town of Chihuahua.