• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

A manual offering information on the most important laws and treaties approved by Congress in more than 200 years since the first session in 1789. Each Congress is covered in a separate chapter introduced by a historical essay setting the actions of the legislators in the context of their times.

Eighth Congress: March 4, 1803, to March 3, 1805
Eighth Congress: March 4, 1803, to March 3, 1805
  • First session—October 17, 1803, to March 27, 1804
  • Second session—November 5, 1804, to March 3, 1805
  • (First administration of Thomas Jefferson, 1801–1805)
Historical Background

Although President Thomas Jefferson initially believed that he lacked the authority to acquire foreign territory because the U.S. Constitution contained no provision for such action, he ultimately arranged, without legislative sanction, the purchase of the Louisiana Territory from the French government in 1803 for $15 million, $3.75 million of which went to France's American creditors. Some have characterized this acquisition as the “greatest real estate deal in history.” The Louisiana Purchase removed the threat of another nation establishing a colonial empire west of the Mississippi River, doubled the ...

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