When the new government was accepted, all eyes turned toward George Washington. He was elected again and served out eight years. and had two very important tasks to perform. First, get enough money to pay the old debts of the government. Second, to get governments and people of European countries to treat the United States and its people properly. Washington chose Alexander Hamilton to help him with the money situation. Hamilton exceeded and did just that. Washington chose Thomas Jefferson to help him in dealing with foreign governments, and Jefferson was also successful but not quite as successful as Hamilton had been.
Washington refused to hold the office of President for more than eight years, and so far our other Presidents have followed his example (with the exception of Franklin D. Roosevelt, who won four presidential elections and served as President from 1933 until his death in 1945.)
John Adams was elected to carry on the government when Washington refused to serve a third term.
As long as a foreign country owned the mouth of the Mississippi River, it might keep the American settlers in Kentucky and Tennessee and Ohio from sending their goods down the river to market. In order to get possession of the Mississippi River, our next President Jefferson bought Louisiana from France in 1803. Louisiana meant the whole western part of the Mississippi Valley. That land included not only the state we know today but eight other large states and part of four more. It spread over nearly a million square miles, an area about five times as large as the country of France. By purchasing Louisiana, it moved the boundary of the United States westward to the Rocky Mountains. We literally bought the acre for only a few cents.
President Jefferson wanted very much to find an easy way across the continent to the Pacific Ocean, and he sent Lewis and Clark to explore Louisiana and the country beyond the Rocky Mountains. They went up the Missouri River to its head and then crossed the mountains and went down the Columbia to its mouth. When they returned, they told of the many wild animals that they had seen, and the fur trappers and Indian traders soon began to go far West. They went across to the Pacific Ocean just as Daniel Boone and the early settlers had made their way to the Mississippi. While Lewis and Clark were exploring the Northwest, Lt. Zebulon Pike was exploring the Southwest, which still belonged to Spain. Pike's Peak in Colorado was part of Lt. Pike's exploration and was named after him. Both Colorado and New Mexico belonged to Spain, and the Spanish government feared and didn't trust any of the foreigners coming into their land holdings. Pike was arrested in Santa Fe. At first, Pike tried to tell the Spanish he was a friendly explorer but soon realized they didn't believe him. Later, they changed their minds and set him free. He was allowed to travel through Texas and Arkansas to reach St. Louis, where he wrote out his voyage, and his diaries were published. He had included the maps of the Southwest, just as Lewis and Clark had done for the Northwest. Thomas Jefferson obtained the published works of Lt. Pike.
President James Monroe finished the job of President Jefferson when he purchased Louisiana for Jefferson in 1803. He got Florida from Spain. The United States was quickly becoming a vast territory. Before Thomas Jefferson death, he had the pleasure of knowing the western boundary would soon extend to the Pacific Ocean. Jefferson's dream of the United States was coming true; the United States had spread the rest of the way from sea to shinning sea, from ocean to ocean.
I welcome all inquires, comment, and suggestions at Poinsetthhs@yahoo.com attn: Ms. Sylvia (Next Week: One nation under God: the coming wars).