United States and American History: 1803 and the Louisiana Purchase

About the history of the United States in 1803, John Randolph biography, Paine goes to the White House, Jefferson makes the Louisiana Purchase.


-John Randolph of Virginia, Jefferson's leader in the House of Representatives, set tongues to wagging with his announcement that he had fathered an illegitimate child. This was all the more unusual because of Randolph's unique personality. His beardless face and shrill soprano voice, the result of a childhood disease, brought unending taunts which had forced him into numerous duels. Unmatched for his cutting remarks, he once shot back at someone who had ridiculed him on his so-called lack of virility: "You pride yourself upon an animal faculty in respect to which the Negro is your equal and the jackass infinitely your superior!" It was he who characterized Edward Livingstone, his political enemy thus: "He shines and stinks like rotten mackerel by moonlight!"

-Many flinched again when Tom Paine spent 2 weeks at the White House at the invitation of President Jefferson. Most had forgotten the service this old hero of the Revolution had rendered his country by writing Common Sense and The American Crisis. Ever since he had taken part in the French Revolution and had written what many considered an atheistic tract, The Age of Reason, he had been persona non grata in America. And now that atheist, that drunkard, that unwashed revolutionary was actually dining in the White House!

-The 1st tax-supported public library was founded in Salisbury, Conn., the gift of Caleb Bingham, Boston publisher.

-Ezekial Case started glove manufacturing in Gloversville, N. Y., which inevitably became famous as a glove-making center.

-Sign of the times: Immigration into the U. S. increased so rapidly that Britain decreed that her ships crossing to America must allow 43' of space for each passenger-there were fears that if the crowding continued, bunks would soon have to be stood on end!

Apr. John James Audubon, famous ornithologist-to-be, arrived from France, and almost immediately began banding phoebes, the 1st time this had been done in the U. S. for scientific reasons. Later he operated a general store in Louisville, Ky. Had this store not gone bankrupt in 1819, Audubon might never have traveled down the Mississippi, painting wild birds enroute.

Apr. 30 President Jefferson "breaks the law." Jefferson purchased the Louisiana Territory from Napoleon. Since the Constitution did not specifically give the President authorization to buy land, Jefferson was at 1st reluctant to finalize the purchase. Thus the largest real estate deal in U. S. history-one doubling the size of the country-almost went down the drain. Jefferson's practical mind prevailed, however, and he bought over 800,000 sq. mi. for a mere $15 million!

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