Written by Ralph E. Shaffer

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Ignoring common sense and the United State constitution, President Thomas Jefferson recently diverted 15 million of your hard-earned tax dollars to buy less than a million square miles of uninhabitable desert, unplowable arid plains and impenetrable mountains twice the size of the existing country. We already had more land than we could possibly settle. Who needs more?

Now the President wants to send a manned expedition to explore this worthless, God-forsaken land. From all indications, if the exploring party is able to complete the journey it will be several years before they return. Who will lead it? Frankly, we'd all be better off if Jefferson led the exploration himself, returning after the next presidential election.

Maybe he could be accompanied by those abolitionists who constantly stir up trouble. Or those folks who want to extend the right to vote. Or all those deadbeats who won't pay their debts. We'd be better off if we could get rid of them.

Why explore the Louisiana Purchase? It's just vast space with not much to offer. And why should we, the people, pay for this adventure? If Tom and his cronies want to know what's out there let them pay for the trip themselves.

The money spent on this worthless trek would be better spent to improve life in the existing United States. Heck, build more debtors' prisons. You know we really need them.

And remember, this is a round trip journey. Not only do we have to pay to get them to the outer limits of the purchase, we have to pay to bring them back. It will probably take two years to reach Oregon - an area that we don't even have clear title to. Who knows what trouble that'll get us into with England. (But maybe Jefferson is counting on causing trouble with the British in hopes of basing his re-election campaign on the threat to national security!)

And if they get to the Pacific, then it'll take another two years to get them home. Back this little expedition comes through the same terrain they just traversed the other direction, seeing the same flora, fauna and Indians they encountered going out. Talk about duplication of effort. What a boondoggle!

How will they survive four years without early American cuisine? Do you think friendly Indians will offer them buffalo burgers? There aren't any taverns or inns along the way for an evening ale or bed. And no friendly Indian woman is going to tell them which plants to eat and to avoid.

Put it in a little more perspective. How do we communicate with the explorers after they've left the existing states? Suppose an emergency develops and they need help or supplies. By the time we get word of their plight it'll be too late. Jefferson might even put the entire area on the market for resale. What then for our little band of trekkers?

This silly project overextends our capabilities and our interest. Is there really any need for another million square miles? It'll be decades before we fill up the land we already have. Who will populate Jefferson's vast wasteland?

There are more urgent problems here at home that ought to be taken care of before we send men marching half way across a continent. Let's take care of the needs of the existing states and the people in them. Instead of sending a prominent army officer off on a wild goose chase send him into the South to put down slave uprisings. How about driving the Indians out of the Ohio Valley instead of buying a chunk of land with who knows how many more savages living there?

We don't need to pay for men to explore Louisiana. If they want to go, let them do it on their own. Better yet, Congress ought to sell the whole region to the Russians. That ought to keep the Russkies busy, bogged down in the Far West for the next century.

Sept. 19, 1803

The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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Topics: Louisiana

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