You are on page 1of 4

AP US History Document Based Question

Directions: The following question requires you to construct an essay that integrates
your interpretation of Documents A-H and your knowledge of the period referred to in
the question. In the essay you should strive to support your assertions both by citing key
pieces of evidence from the documents and by drawing on your knowledge of the period.
To what extent was President Thomas Jeffersons foreign policy the master or
servant of events, 1801-1809?
Document A
British Order in Council, 1807, Documents in American History, Vol. I, ed. by Henry
Steele Commager, Milton Center, p. 200
His Majesty is thereupon pleased, by and with the advice of his privy council, to
order, and it is hereby ordered, that no vessel shall be permitted to trade from one port to
another, both which ports shall belong to or be in the possession of France or her allies,
or shall be so far under their control as that British vessels may not trade freely thereat;
and the commanders of His Majesty's ships of war and privateers shall be, and are
hereby, instructed to warn every neutral vessel coming from any such port, and destined
to another such port, to discontinue her voyage, and not to proceed to any such port; and
any vessel, after being so warned, or any vessel coming from any such port, after a
reasonable time shall have been afforded for receiving information of this His Majesty's
order, which shall be found proceeding to another such port, shall be captured and
brought in, and together with her cargo shall be condemned as lawful prize.
Document B
Berlin Decree of 1806, Documents of American History, Vol. I, ed. Henry Steele
Commager, Milton Center, p. 199.
All commerce and correspondence with the British islands are prohibited. In
consequence, letters or packets, addressed either to England, to an Englishman, or in the
English language, shall not pass through the post-office and shall be seized. All
magazines, merchandise, or property whatsoever, belonging to a subject of England,
shall be declared lawful prize.No vessel coming directly from England, or from the
English colonies, or having been there since the publication of the present decree, shall
be received into any port. Every vessel contravening the above clause, by means of a
false declaration, shall be seized, and the vessel and cargo confiscated, as if they were
English property.

Document C
Alexander Hamilton Lukewarmly Backs Jefferson (1803) "Hamilton on the Louisiana
Purchase: A Newly Identified Editorial from the New York Evening Post," William and
Mary Quarterly, Third Series, vol. 12 (1955), pp. 273-276, passim.
At length the business of New Orleans has terminated favorably to this country.
Instead of being obliged to rely any longer on the force of treaties for a place of deposit,
the jurisdiction of the territory is now transferred to our hands, and in future the
navigation of the Mississippi will be ours unmolested. This, it will be allowed, is an
important acquisition; not, indeed, as territory, but as being essential to the peace and
prosperity of our Western country, and as opening a free and valuable market to our
commercial states.
This purchase has been made during the period of Mr. Jefferson's presidency, and
will, doubtless, give clat to his administration. Every man, however, possessed of the
least candor and reflection will readily acknowledge that the acquisition has been solely
owing to a fortuitous concurrence of unforeseen and unexpected circumstances, and not
to any wise or vigorous measures on the part of the American government.
Document D
"A Federalist (Philip Barton Key) Attacks the Embargo (1808) Annals of Congress, 10th
Congress, 1st session, vol. 2, cols. 2122-2123.
But, Mr. Chairman, let us review this [embargo] law and its effects. In a
commercial point of view, it has annihilated our trade. In an agricultural point of view, it
has paralyzed industry. . . . Our most fertile lands are reduced to sterility, so far as it
respects our surplus product. As a measure of political economics, it will drive (if
continued) our seamen into foreign employ, and our fishermen to foreign sandbanks. In a
financial point of view, it has dried up our revenue, and if continued will close the sales
of Western lands, and the payment of installments of past sales. For unless produce can
be sold, payments cannot be made. As a war measure, the embargo has not been
advocated.
It remains then to consider its effects as a peace measure--a measure inducing
peace. I grant, sir, that if the friends of the embargo had rightly calculated its effects--if it
had brought the belligerents of Europe to a sense of justice and respect for our rights,
through the weakness and dependence of their West India possessions--it would have
been infinitely wise and desirable.... But, sir, the experience of near four months has not
produced that effect....
What man can be weak enough to suppose that a sense of justice can repress or
regulate the conduct of Bonaparte? We need not resort to other nations for examples. Has
he not in a manner as flagrant as flagitious, directly, openly, publicly violated and broken
a solemn treaty [of 1800] entered into with us? Did he not stipulate that our property
should pass free even to enemy ports, and has he not burnt our ships at sea under the most
causeless pretexts?

Document E

Document F
An insinuation had fallen from the gentleman from Tennessee (Mr. Grundy) that
the late massacre of our brethren on the Wabash [at Tippecanoe] had been instigated by
the British government. Has the President given any such information? Has the
gentleman [Grundy] received any such, even informally, from any officer of this
government? Is it so believed by the administration?. Advantage had been taken of the
spirit of the Indians, broken by the war, which ended in the Treaty of Greenville [1795]....
Our people will not submit to be taxed for this war of conquest and dominion. The
government of the United States was not calculated to wage offensive foreign war--it was
instituted for the common defense and general welfare.... Agrarian cupidity, not maritime
right, urges the war. Ever since the [pro-war] report of the Committee on Foreign
Relations came into the House, we have heard but one word--like the whip-poor-will, but
one eternal monotonous tone--Canada! Canada! Canada! Not a syllable about Halifax
[Nova Scotia], which unquestionably should be our great object in a war for maritime
security. It is to acquire a prepondering Northern influence that you are to launch into
war. For purposes of maritime safety, the barren rocks of Bermuda were worth more to us
than all the deserts [of Canada] through which [explorers] Hearne and McKenzie had
pushed their adventurous researches. Annals of Congress, 12th Congress, 1st session,
vol. 1, cols. 445-446, 449-450, 533.

Document G
Thomas Jefferson, Second Inaugural Address, March 4, 1805
In the transaction of your foreign affairs we have endeavored to cultivate the
friendship of all nations, and especially of those with which we have the most important
relations. We have done them justice on all occasions, favored where favor was lawful,
and cherished mutual interests and intercourse on fair and equal terms. We are firmly
convinced, and we act on that conviction, that with nations as with individuals our
interests soundly calculated will ever be found inseparable from our moral duties, and
history bears witness to the fact that a just nation is trusted on its word when recourse is
had to armaments and wars to bridle others.

Document H