Thomas Jefferson’s Hypocrisy Regarding the Louisiana Purchase

Better Essays
Thomas Jefferson proved his hypocrisy through his ever changing views of the Constitution throughout his presidency. At the beginning of his presidency, Jefferson took a strict interpretation of the Constitution. He did not believe the Implied Powers were valid. Later in his presidency, Jefferson changed from his strict views to a loose interpretation of the Constitution using the Implied Powers as his reason. Jefferson proved his hypocrisy through his changing interpretation of the Constitution and his policies regarding the Louisiana Purchase did not cohere with his previously strict views.
Although Jefferson did not originally agree with presidents having power to expand the nation by purchasing land, he did end up expanding west with the purchase of the Louisiana Territory. The Purchase showed Jefferson at his most hypocritical. Bothered by the extra Constitutional nature of what he had done, he considered authorizing an amendment until Treasury secretary Albert Gallatin and others persuaded him that the power to acquire territory was implied by the power to make treaties (Kauffman). Because the Constitution does not allow the president the power to purchase foreign territory, Jefferson initially recommended that the administration propose a constitutional amendment that would allow him to obtain Louisiana while still maintaining his strict constructionist principles (Kauffman). Even though creating this amendment would make it seem as if he were not changing is views of the Constitution, it also represents how he would be taking advantage of his power in order to change the Constitution of his own benefit. If this amendment were passed, Jefferson could make the purchase without changing his strict interpretation of ...

... middle of paper ...

... 1789-1803." The Arkansas Historical Quarterly 62.4 (2003): 370-85. ProQuest. Web. 17 Jan. 2014.
Kauffman, Bill. "Purchase Louisiana? no Thanks!" The American Enterprise 03 2004: 44. ProQuest. Web. 17 Jan. 2014 .
Kukla, Jon. "A Whole Country in Commotion: The Louisiana Purchase and the American Southwest." The Journal of American History 93.1 (2006): 199. ProQuest. Web. 17 Jan. 2014.
Malone, Dumas. Jefferson and the Ordeal of Liberty. Boston: Little, Brown, 1962. Print.
Newbold, Stephanie P. "Statesmanship and Ethics: The Case of Thomas Jefferson's Dirty Hands." Public administration review 65.6 (2005): 669-77. ProQuest. Web. 16 Jan. 2014.
Peterson, Merrill D. The Jefferson Image in the American Mind. London: Oxford UP, 1960. Print.
Wilentz, Sean. "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Thomas Jefferson." The New Republic Mar 10 1997: 32-42. ProQuest. Web. 17 Jan. 2014 .
Get Access