The question, however, still remains, was the Louisiana Purchase a necessity for the young growing nation, or was the purchase an unconstitutional act done by President Thomas Jefferson himself? At the end of the French and the Indian War France had given up its claims to lands west of the Mississippi to Spain. However, when Napoleon came to power he took back the Louisiana lands from Spain. The news of this transaction reached the United States government. This alarmed the president and the rest of the republicans, for they feared the French control of the western lands.
France is documented to have held the land from 1699 to 1762 when it gave the territory up to Spain who was an ally at the time. However, under Napoleon Bonaparte’s reign, France recaptured it in an effort to create a global empire. Jefferson, however, realized the potential of the land west of the Mississippi and additionally the area of New Orleans. He arranged a settlement with Napoleon to fund France $15 million on their home front in return for the land of the purchase, which the French leader agreed to. Jefferson identified Napoleon’s desperate need for capital at the time, as the war versus Britain in Europe was on the brink of occurring as well as a French slave revolt in Haiti during the early 1800’s.
Spain originally claimed this territory but it was also claimed by France who owned it from 1699 to 1762 until they gave it to Spain. Spain, who defeated France in the Seven Years War, took control of the territory west of the Mississippi river. Then, in 1800 France took it back under Napoleon’s rule in the hope of building a new empire in the United States. Extremely skeptical about buying the extra territory, Thomas Jefferson saw it to be unconstitutional. He decided to go through with the purchase to rid France from the region and protect United States trade access to the port of New Orleans and free passage on the Mississippi River.2 Thomas Jefferson also called it “an ample provision for our posterity and a widespread field for the blessings of freedom.”3 The United States only wanted New Orleans because of its exports, but a man named James Madison, Secretary of State, originally paid for the Louisiana Purchase.
The Louisiana Purchase of 1803 was a American acquirement from France of the formerly Spanish region Louisiana. When the secret agreement of 1801 was revealed , where Spain went back to Louisiana to France, excited the uneasiness in the United States both because Napoleon France was an aggressive power and because western settlers depended on the Mississippi River for commerce. In a letter to the American minister to France Robert R. Livingston, President stated that “The day that France takes possession of New Orleans...we must marry ourselves to the British fleet and the nation.” Late in 1802 the right of deposit at New Orleans, granted to Americans by the Pinckney Treaty of 1795, was withdrawn by the Spanish intending (Louisiana was still under Spanish control). Although Spain soon restored the right of deposit, the acquisition of New Orleans became of paramount national interest. Jefferson instructed Livingston to attempt to purchase the “Isle of Orleans” and West Florida from France.
After my research on the subject, I find that it was whispered that Napoleon wanted to construct a sugar plant in the Americas. Napoleon’s definitive plan was to recapture the precious sugar colony of St. Domingue from a slave uprising, and then he would go on to use America as the granary for his empire. Once France acquired Louisiana from Spain in 1800 and took possession in 1802, they sent a large French army to St. Domingue and Napoleon was preparing to dispatch another to New Orleans for potential protecting. The smaller American empire was as expected afraid of the more-powerful French winning control of New Orleans. America’s trading and expanding future was on the line and the president knew he had to do something about
President Jefferson was alert to the dangers of a powerful nation controlling the mouth of the Mississippi. He instructed the American minister to France, Robert R. Livingston, to open negotiations to buy New Orleans and some territory east of the city. A treaty would have to satisfy the financial claims that some United States citizens had against the French government. Finally the French continued to claim that the province still belonged to Spain. Jefferson sent James Monroe to help with the negotiations, and authorized him to spend no more than $10,000,000.
The Louisiana Purchase of 1803 was a large expansion to the United States. With the country nearly doubled in size, the Louisiana Purchase brought up many debates on constitutionality, questions of what was in the new land, as well as questions about the existence of slavery within the newly acquired land. The look of the United States changed forever with this large amount of land, both geographically and politically. The Louisiana Territory was originally claimed for France by the explorer Rene- Robert Cavelier La Salle in 1682 (Nelson). French King Louis XV gave the territory to his cousin Charles III of Spain in 1762 after the defeat of the French in the French and Indian War.
In the 18th century, France owned more parts of the United States than any other European power. However, after the French and Indian war, France relinquished their Louisiana land to Spain. In 1801, Spain created a secret treaty with France, which would return the Louisiana territory. This instilled fear for the Americans because many of them depended on free access to the Mississippi River and New Orleans ports. Officials feared that Napoleon Bonaparte would blockade the river and the Gulf of Mexico in response to show his dominance.
The Louisiana Purchase was negotiated at a time when France, was in dire need of funds for the Napoleonic Wars in Europe. The United States wished to own New Orleans for trading. Jefferson sent James Madison, Jefferson’s Secretary of State and Robert Livingston, the U.S. minister to France to offer $2 million for the port of New Orleans. After negotiating, Napoleon countered their offer with $15 million for all of the Louisiana territory and previous debts to be paid. Without waiting for congressional approval, Livingston quickly conducted the transaction with France.
All the nations mentioned own a part of the United States but the real question was who wanted it more? The Louisiana Purchase was a purchase to expand the United States by Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson was worried about the future of New Orleans. Currently at the time New Orleans was owned by Spain. A treaty was installed so that Americans could trade along the Mississippippi and the main port of New Orleans.