Even when the United States was still smoothing out the wrinkles in its constitution it had an incredible tendency of getting itself involved in European affairs. This involvement helped to shape the country to become the way it is today. It united and divided the people of the United States, both economically and politically. The Louisiana Purchase, the Chesapeake Affair, the Embargo Act of 1807, the Napoleonic Wars, and the War of 1812 were all contributing factors to the early foreign policy in America.
In 1802, Jefferson received word that the Louisiana Territory had been transferred from Spain to France due to the Treaty of San Ildefonso. Jefferson did not like having the French occupy the vast territory to the West, and in fact he proclaimed that whoever occupied New Orleans was "our natural and habitual enemy". After the revolt in Haiti, led by Toussaint L"Overture, convinced Napoleon that an empire in North America wasn't worth the trouble, he offered to sell the Louisiana Territory to the United States for $15 million; an offer that was readily accepted. The Louisiana Purchase was widely embraced by the Americans since it began to close off the British threat from Canada and had more than doubled the size of the nation. Merchants were especially glad because of their new unchallenged control over the Mississippi, since their products could now reach the Gulf of Mexico much more quickly than before. However, the American mercantile fleet wasn't sailing in this expanded market for long when the European powers, particularly Britain, started to interfere with our neutral fleet and provoked an angry reaction from President Jefferson and Congress.
The British Navy was often called the "floating hell" by many of its sailors - whenever they had enough. Many sailors deserted the Navy at every chance they got; many joined the American mercantilist fleet to escape. Britain thought that it would only be just if they stopped and boarded American ships so it could re-impress its sailors, but they often were indiscriminate about who they took: Natural-born Americans, British, and the ships" cargoes alike.