Public Response to the Louisiana Purchase: A survey of American Press and Pamphlets 1801-1804
Deen, Isabelle, Department of History, University of Virginia
Ellis, Richard E., Corcoran Department of History, University of Virginia
It is the contention of this essay that an incident of such significance should provide a key to an understanding of the period, and that this key can be defined in terms of the public response. This assumption in itself is a topic for a doctoral dissertation. Newspapers, pamphlets, congressional debates, the discussions in state legislatures, the letters and writings of private citizens as well as public administrators all should be considered to provide a complete picture of public reaction. This paper attempts to review only two of these sources: newspapers and pamphlets. Information provided in papers and pamphlets will be used to define contemporary concepts of slavery and the position of the Indian in American society, of the United States• economic identity, ideals of nationalism and the role of the United States in world politics, and of the current popular impressions of the West.
The first section of this paper contains a review of the circumstances leading up to the Purchase and a discussion of the initial public response, The second section of the essay is devoted to a discussion of each of the themes mentioned above.
MA (Master of Arts)
Abstract from the Introduction
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