The prompt for this essay was: "Compare the foreign policies of Presidents Thomas Jefferson and James K. Polk. To what extent did their policies strengthen the United State?"
Here is my essay. I will glady take any sort of criticism as this essay is very important to my grade.
Presidents Thomas Jefferson and James K. Polk both strengthened the United States as a result of their expansionist foreign policies. Jefferson’s foreign policy reflected his feelings for France and resulted in the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. Throughout the 1840’s Polk pushed for the annexation of Texas, the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo and the establishment of the Oregon Territory. While not of all of these policies and treaties had immediate effects, almost of all of them had a long term effect on the United States. These expansionist policies and actions by Thomas Jefferson and James K. Polk strengthened the United States economically and in regard to domestic and foreign issues.
The expansion of the United States made the nation much stronger economically. The Louisiana Purchase, negotiated by Jefferson, opened up many new economic opportunities for the United States. New Orleans was part of the territory, and as a result the Mississippi River was opened up for trade indefinitely. This alleviated fears that New Orleans would be closed for Americans and thus blocking the Mississippi River from the ocean. The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo negotiated by Polk greatly improved economic conditions of the United States by making California part of the US. Gold was found in California in 1848 and more importantly, it was found after the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was completed. If the treaty had not existed, then the gold would belong to Mexico. The push for the annexation of Texas by Polk is also very important to the strengthening the economy of the United States. Today Texas is the 3rd highest state in terms of the gross state product contributing $764 billion. Had Texas remained an independent country and not been annexed, this sum of money would not be contributing to the economy of the United States. Economically, these expansions of the United States provided new economic opportunities as well as setting up opportunities for future economic success.
The expansionist policies of James K. Polk and Thomas Jefferson strengthened the United States domestically. The biggest contribution these policies have to the domestic condition of the United States is increasing the physical size of the United States. The Louisiana Territory and land granted from the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo consist of 23 percent and 14 percent of the modern-day continental United States. This fulfilled the dream of Manifest Destiny and opened up a large piece of land to provide opportunities for Americans. This land would later allow for expansion of every kind. It allowed for the US to have a larger population, more land for agriculture, more land for development of railroads and big business. This large span of land attracted many immigrants, who were the foundation of many businesses. The Louisiana Purchase also satisfied some of the worries of the American people at the time. Americans feared that Spain would close New Orleans, but the Louisiana Purchase solidified the status of the port city. All in all, the expansionist policies of Jefferson and Polk helped secure the future of the United States.
The expansionist policies of Thomas Jefferson and James K. Polk strengthened the United States on an international level. Primarily the new lands granted from the Louisiana Purchase and Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo provided a cushion between the US and foreign countries. This is especially true with the Louisiana Purchase as it removed some European power from the Americas. Removing European power and countries from the Americas would make it much easier for the United States to remain neutral in affairs across the ocean. The Treaty of Oregon, negotiated by Polk, also helped in this by removing some of Britain’s influence from the Americas. Because the French did not clearly specify all of the borders of the Louisiana Purchase, there were conflicts with Spain over where the borders were located. The US would not concede land in these negotiations and made it known worldwide that the US would expand for any reason. Overall these expansionist policies helped define how the rest of the world would view the United States and its role in the western world.
The expansionist policies of Thomas Jefferson and James K Polk successfully strengthened the United State economically, domestically and internationally. Although the effects of these policies may not have become apparent within the first couple years following, they have definitely shown how they strengthen the country over time. These expansions of the United States set up the foundation for the future of this country, as well as providing opportunities to many. Without Thomas Jefferson’s and James K. Polk’s expansionist policies, our country would not be where it is today.