Here’s the deal. In 1853 James Gadsden negotiated the purchase of 30,000 square miles of land from Mexico for the low, low, introductory price of ten million dollars. This land is present day southern Arizona and southwestern New Mexico and without it out great nation simply wouldn’t be the same.
Well…I suppose, in all fairness, it would be roughly the same…just Arizona would be a little bit smaller…so, yeah, it would be almost exactly the same. Had we not bought the land, I doubt anyone would be running around nowadays complaining that Arizona simply isn’t big enough. If anything, Arizona could stand to be a little bit smaller. Have you seen the way they shove up against New Mexico and try to squeeze Nevada’s corner? Back up, Arizona. Give the other states some room to breathe.
Yep, if you’re like me not a day goes by where you’re not wandering down the street and you pass someone muttering to themselves, “That damn Gadsden Purchase.”
Seriously, what was the point? According to “historians,” there were “people” who “thought” it would be a good idea to build a southern “route” for a transcontinental “railroad,” and that this little section of “land” would be just “perfect.” Really? Transcontinental railroad? Hello? Ever hear of waiting for cars to be invented?
Look, we’ll never know whether or not they actually built a railroad through this newly acquired territory. And there’s no way, short of walking down to southern Arizona and seeing if we can spot some tracks, to ever know what happened. And do you really think I have time to walk down to Arizona? I’m much too busy writing about how I don’t have time to walk down to Arizona.
But either way it was a tremendous waste of money. President Franklin Pierce authorized the purchase of 30,000 square miles for the equivalent of 260 million in current cash. Okay, let’s back up here. It’s important to establish some basic background on the presidency of Franklin Pierce…And, as it turns out, I don’t know a single thing about the presidency of Franklin Pierce. So, moving on…
Just fifty years prior, Thomas Jefferson had spent the equivalent of 230 million dollars to scoop up 828,000 square miles in the Louisiana Purchase. Granted, Jefferson agreed that this move was unconstitutional but, as he put it, “Screw it. It’s a hell of a deal.” (Little known fact, Jefferson invented the two dollar bill to help sustain his Home Shopping Network addiction).
So…Jefferson bought a third of our country for less than Pierce spent on the corner of Arizona. Then again, history remembers Thomas Jefferson as, “One of the greatest U.S. Presidents.” While history recalls Franklin Pierce as, “One of the U.S. Presidents?”
And I, for one, am now prepared to make a bold proposal. Let’s check the White House and see if we kept the receipt. I say we get a refund. I say we deGadsden. I say we sell it back to Mexico. After all, what do we need more – hundreds of millions of dollars or a slice of Arizona? I’ve never even been to Tucson. In fact, I’m going to walk down to Arizona personally (don’t worry, I’ve got plenty of time to walk down to Arizona) and broker the deal myself. I’ll sell that land back to our neighbors to the south and pocket the proceeds. Sure, it may not be legal…but screw it. It’s a hell of a deal.