Page:Henry Adams' History of the United States Vol. 3.djvu/92

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Chapter 4: Between France and England

President Jefferson's decision, in October, 1805, to retrace his steps and reverse a policy which had been publicly and repeatedly proclaimed, was the turning-point of his second Administration. No one can say what might have happened if in August, 1805, Jefferson had ordered his troops to cross the Sabine and occupy Texas to the Rio Bravo, as Armstrong and Monroe advised. Such an act would probably have been supported, as the purchase of Louisiana had been approved, by the whole country, without regard to Constitutional theories; and indeed if Jefferson succeeded to the rights of Napoleon in Louisiana, such a step required no defence. Spain might then have declared war; but had Godoy taken this extreme measure, he could have had no other motive than to embarrass Napoleon by dragging France into a war with the United States, and had this policy succeeded, President Jefferson's difficulties would have vanished in an instant. He might then have seized Florida; his controversies with England about neutral trade, blockade, and impressment would have fallen to the ground; and had war with France continued two years, until Spain