Triumphs and Travails of the Jeffersonian Republic
Big ideas matter. Here are the most important themes for this chapter.
The over-arching theme of chapter 11 is that although Jefferson floundered a bit with foreign affairs, the fantastic Louisiana Purchase seemed to make up for everything.
- Jefferson’s election was considered a “revolution” because he represented the common people for the first time.
- Troubles in North Africa and between England and France emerged. Jefferson’s actions were sluggish.
- Trying to again avoid war with England or France, Jefferson bumbled around with an embargo. His theory was that the only way to avoid war was to stop interaction between U.S. ships and Europe. The overall effect was to kill U.S. trade and enrage the merchants and businessmen up North.
- The Louisiana Purchase came as a complete surprise and quickly doubled the size of the U.S.
- James Madison picked up where Jefferson left off with the embargo in trying to avoid war. But, young western Congressmen wanted war to possibly gain new land, to squelch Indian troubles, and defend the “free seas.” They declared the War of 1812 with England.