Sunday, November 15, 2020

good morning jacob


Thomas Jefferson has a bee in his bonnet.


It's about this vast stretch of riches out west.

And it all belongs to Spain.
Poor, feeble Spain.
Once it knew greatness.
Now it hasn't the muscle to prevent
its lands from being plucked.


How long before the British make New Orleans theirs?

You won't find a nastier gang 

waiting to kick in your back door

...if you want to know Jefferson's

way of thinking.


An even bigger nightmare 

is Napoleon finding a new appreciation

for the wealth waiting to be harvested

in the New World.


Caribbean French sugar plantations 

have been a surprising

treasure trove for Napoleon's coffers. 

And this is just the beginning.

Handwriting on the wall

Spain swaps Louisiana to France 

for a plot of European turf.

Along comes a modern day Spartacus,
Toussaint L'Ouverture,
leading an uprising of slaves 
on the island of Saint Domingue.


Napoleon dispatches his brother-in-law,

General Charles Leclerc,

with an army of forty thousand

to put an end to this slave rebellion.

The French expedition meets disaster.

General Leclerc, along with most of his army, 

die of yellow fever or battle wounds.

Only two thousand answer the final reveille

when Napoleon decides to call it quits. 

The French Emperor realizes the vulnerability

in his plans for the New World.

He hasn't the navy needed to fend off 

the fleet of his British enemy.

Of what use is New Orleans if he can't reach it?

Jefferson wants to buy Napoleon out.

He'll pay up to $7.5 million for New Orleans

and keep the French army off America's shores.

Napoleon needs quick revenue to finance

his newly planned European wars.

He offers all of Louisiana for $15 million.

That's three cents an acre.

Jefferson is thrilled at his luck.

He snaps up the deal even though

he doesn't have the money.

He simply borrows what he needs.

Just as Hamilton would have done.

It's Lewis and Clark

taking the new territory for a test drive.

They'll let you know what they found

when they get back in a couple of years.

If all goes well.



©  Tom Taylor


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