August 12, 2012 at 2:57 pm #14852
After reading Nullification (Outstanding! Love Abel Upshur!) and listening to some of Dr. Woods’ lectures on the topic, I understand that Jefferson “stretched” his reading of the Constitution in order to justify the Louisiana purchase. Currently, I think it was unconstitutional and should’ve gone the amendment route for approval. However, in light of the Purchase, I am at a loss to understand exactly how the Purchase contributed to the “general welfare,” especially in light of compact theory. How exactly were the sovereign states beneficiaries of the additional lands? Were they each 1/13 owners in the new land? I am unaware of any direct financial benefit accorded directly to each state – that doesn’t mean that there weren’t any, I just don’t know. Some states, New York if I recall correctly, even argued that it would be harmed as a result of the additional land which was feared would result in the future dilution of its influence in an expanded union.
Additional clarification and commentary would be appreciated.
Thanks!August 13, 2012 at 5:46 pm #14853
I do believe that Jefferson struggled with this as well and asked for John Taylor of Caroline to write and clarify why it was constitutional. From what I understand, Taylor showed why it was constitutional. I will look for his response and post it.August 13, 2012 at 5:55 pm #14854
The best I could find is Taylor’s book, A Defense of the Measures of the Administration of Thomas Jefferson.August 14, 2012 at 6:47 pm #14855gutzmankParticipant
In general, the other Republican leaders believed that since treaties to buy and sell land were then common, and since Article II didn’t specify some specific type of treaty that the president could make with the advice and consent of the Senate, the president could constitutionally make treaties to buy and sell territory. So far as I know, Jefferson was the only significant Republican who wasn’t persuaded by this argument.
By the way, John Taylor apparently apparently didn’t write A Defense of the Measures of the Administration of Thomas Jefferson. For more on that, see the Appendix to Shalhope’s Taylor biography.August 14, 2012 at 7:06 pm #14856
I will check into thisAugust 27, 2012 at 6:09 pm #14857tylerboyd49Member
Not to take it off topic Dr. Gutzman, but since the Constitution does not specify what type of treaties can or cannot be made, then does that make foreign aid Constitutional if done through a treaty? (Not that I think it’s good economic or moral policy)….August 27, 2012 at 8:02 pm #14858
Thank you Dr. Gutzman. That makes sense. I assume then that Jefferson received the advice and consent of the senate prior to the purchase?August 29, 2012 at 4:48 pm #14859gutzmankParticipant
Yes, BBinder, by 24-7, and the Federalists howled in Congress over the dilution of their power in Congress likely to result. They imagined a huge South covering the whole Louisiana Territory.
CSA1861, I’ve never thought about that. In any event, it isn’t done that way — perhaps because most of it couldn’t survive such a Senate process.August 29, 2012 at 5:10 pm #14860
Thanks Dr. Gutzman. I’m glad to hear that it at least went an intellectually consistent route.
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