THIS AFFAIR OF LOUISIANA: An Exploration into the Origins of American Expansionism by Alexander DeConde

THIS AFFAIR OF LOUISIANA: An Exploration into the Origins of American Expansionism

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

This books takes the oversimplified and unoriginal thesis that Americans have always been imperially minded and applies it to the explorations, migrations, diplomacy, and policy debates that preceded the Louisiana Purchase. DeConde locates the ""origins of American expansionism"" in the Revolution itself, which he sees as motivated by desire for Canada and the West, then emphasizes the aggressiveness and disregard for Indian rights of the settlers who poured into the Mississippi basin. Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and Alexander Hamilton were all expansionists, the book records disapprovingly, and Thomas Jefferson himself coveted Louisiana on economic grounds before 1800. Various American proclamations of the period are projected as harbingers of Manifest Destiny and illegitimate US quests for dominion. But in condemning a Jeffersonian diplomat's pledge that the Purchase ""will change vast solitudes into flourishing districts,"" DeConde identifies agricultural and industrial development with colonial-style exploitation. Routine revisionism altogether.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1976
Publisher: Scribners