The powerful personalities of Thomas Jefferson and Napoléon dominate Louisiana Purchase narratives. Such a focus obscures the important institutional, electoral, and partisan dynamics that help explain the transfer of Louisiana to the United States. This article offers new insight into relationships between the Federalists and the Republicans as well as the institutional relationship between Congress and the president. During the purchase, both political parties at times sacrificed the consistency of their issue positions on the altar of electoral politics. The politicians' actions were based not only on their personalities and partisan affiliations but also on their institutional contexts. By additionally considering the partisan and institutional dynamics of the early 1800s, this article provides a more complete understanding of the Louisiana Purchase.


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pp. 293-323
Launched on MUSE
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