When Napoleon Bonaparte offered to sell 827,000 square miles of land to the United States, it was an offer too good for the young country to refuse. For President Thomas Jefferson, however, the Louisiana Purchase prompted an internal constitutional crisis.

Does executive action not explicitly authorized by the Constitution require an amendment? Was the Louisiana Purchase an example of the president’s power to make treaties? Three scholars explore the limits of executive authority surrounding the largest real estate deal in American history.


As always, the Federalist Society takes no particular legal or public policy positions. All opinions expressed are those of the speakers.



Related Links & Differing Views:

Mises Institute: “The Louisiana Purchase: Jefferson’s Constitutional Crisis that Risked Dissolving the Union”

Lehrman Institute: “The Louisiana Purchase”

Boston University Law Review: “Jefferson and Executive Power”

American Bar Association Journal: “The Constitutional Controversy Over the Louisiana Purchase”

National Constitution Center: “The Louisiana Purchase: Jefferson’s constitutional gamble”


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