President Thomas Jefferson, American Diplomacy and the Louisiana Purchase

Authored by: Joseph C. Heim

The Routledge Handbook of American Military and Diplomatic History

Print publication date:  August  2014
Online publication date:  September  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415533805
eBook ISBN: 9781315817347
Adobe ISBN: 9781317813354


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Sitting at his desk in the study of Monticello a short time after leaving the presidency in 1808, Thomas Jefferson marveled that his time in office marked the beginning of America’s peaceful expansion into the West, a still unfolding accomplishment that was such “an empire for liberty [as the world] has never surveyed since the creation.” 1 These famous words, contained in a letter to James Madison, soon entered into American lexicon and memory, and “empire of liberty” is seen as the classic expression of not only Jeffersonian diplomacy, but the meaning of American national purpose in the early decades of the nineteenth century. 2

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