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159. Book Review | Jefferson’s Great Gamble by Charles Cerami [A look at the Louisiana Purchase]

One president and two future presidents worked together on the Louisiana Purchase. This book dives into the story of how they did that, and what it took to coordinate the deal with Napoleon Bonaparte’s France. If you don’t know this story, I recommend you listen to this book review. So, listen below to learn why you need to know this story.

Thomas Jefferson (pictured) was the president during the Louisiana Purchase.
Thomas Jefferson, President during the Louisiana Purchase

Problems of the Louisiana Purchase

The purchase of the Louisiana Territory was no small feat. Nor was there a clear deal to be made. In fact, Napoleon and his forces were planning on occupying the territory at first, squeezing the western Americans out of their best seaport. But, what started as peace negotiations from a point of weakness soon turned into a much different conversation as time went on.

Grab your copy of Jefferson’s Great Gamble

Here’s the size of the Louisiana Territory:

Here's the size of the territory bought in Louisiana Purchase.

“The happy Union of these States is a wonder; their Constitution a miracle; their example the hope of Liberty throughout the world.”

James Madison

Fallout of the Louisiana Purchase

The Monroe doctrine is one of the major developments that came from this deal. This is the idea that America would push any major powers out of our hemisphere. Instead of allowing European and Asian powers to meddle in politics on the Americas, the Monroe Doctrine insists that the United States would lead.

Furthermore, this deal more than doubled the size of America, posing new problems. How will America fill this vast, new expanse? How much land did they actually buy? What’s out there? All these questions and more were dealt with throughout the 19th century. And, the answers were crucial in the shaping of the America we know today.

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211. Elitism and Prideful Disdain | A Nasty Story by Fyordor Dostoevsky Conversation of Our Generation

In Dostoevsky's Nasty Story, we follow the dreadful evening of a prideful bureaucrat. The story follows Ivan Ilyich Pralinsky, as he decides to crash his subordinate's wedding reception. His reason for doing so, whether he admits it or not, is his pride. And, that's what I want to discuss today: how elitism leads people to pride and a disdain for "common people." What is Elitism? Basically, elitism is the idea that a group of wealthy, powerful people deserve their wealth and power. Even if the elites are born into it, they still feel deserving. And, if they're deserving, then the common people they look down on did something to be undeserving. So, it turns out to create a sort of social, political, and financial caste system. The problem is, the self-proclaimed elites aren't always deserving of the praise they seek. So, it can go wrong for them. Humbling the Elites In the past, I've reviewed Dostoevsky's work, and discussed the neuroticism of his characters. Ivan Ilyich Pralinsky is no exception. Throughout this story, he has this inner dialogue where he'll be held up as a hero of the people. But, the story doesn't go the way he planned it. In the end, he is humbled terribly and it shows that the higher one holds himself up, the further he can fall. Pralinsky's elitist attitude blinded him from reality just as our elites are today. If you want to read it, you can find it for free here. For more book reviews and discussions like these, check out my library. For more on this, click here for the full episode and show notes to Elitism and Prideful Disdain. Subscribe to my podcast, wherever you listen, here>> — Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/conofourgen/message Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/conofourgen/support
  1. 211. Elitism and Prideful Disdain | A Nasty Story by Fyordor Dostoevsky
  2. 210. Political Action and the Call to "Do Something"
  3. 209. Breaking the Rules of Philosophy
  4. 208. Failures of Modernity and Rationality
  5. 207. Was Lincoln a Good President?

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