National Development

30 January 1787

Jefferson declares that “a little rebellion now and then is a good thing” but stresses the importance of maintaining a unity of interests between the eastern and western parts of the United States.

29 December 1802

Jefferson outlines policies for a consolidation of settlement along the Mississippi River that will require some Indians to live within greatly reduced borders and some to relinquish claims to land east of the river.

18 January 1803

Jefferson solicits congressional support for extending external commerce, especially by funding an exploration of the Missouri River and the territory beyond it. He suggests an appropriation of $2,500 to advance "the geographical knowledge of our own continent" and to find a route to the Pacific Ocean.

4 July 1803

Jefferson gives Meriwether Lewis a letter of credit authorizing him to draw on the U.S. government for whatever funds or resources may be needed for a westward exploratory expedition.

3 September 1803

After conversing with Jefferson and considering Article 4, Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution, Nicholas argues that no amendment is necessary for the acquisition of Louisiana. He advises the president against issuing a public opinion that an amendment is needed.

7 September 1803

Although Jefferson maintains that a “safe & precise” interpretation would require amending the Constitution before adding new territory to the union, he gives up his insistence on an amendment for Louisiana.

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