The Louisiana Purchase

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Such were the words written by a newspaper contributor describing a monumental event that would impact the history of America forever: the Louisiana Purchase.

The history of the Louisiana Territory was mostly that of ownership transfers between Spain and France. It was originally claimed by Spain during the exploration of the New World. However, Spain lost the territory to French setters, who called the area New France. After the 7 Year’s War Spain regained Louisiana. During this time, the port city of New Orleans grew to become a major trade center in North America. Through Pinckney’s Treaty in 1795, the United States gained permission to use New Orleans for trade as well as navigate the Mississppi River, which was crucial to westward expansion. By the year 1800, America’s South and frontier fairly depended on the use of New Orleans for successful trade. Changes came about with The Treaty of San Idelfonso in 1800, in which Spain transferred the Louisiana Territory back to France. Napoleon, in 1801, sent troops to secure New Orleans, which sent a slight panic into the U.S.. President Jefferson already knew the need for America to secure New Orleans as its own and saw his opportunity to not only ensure American trade but also to establish his dream of an Empire of Liberty, essentially an expanding America.

Between 1801 and 1802, Jefferson dispatched Robert Livingston and James Monroe to Paris with the mission of acquiring the port of New Orleans and its environs. Instead of offering to sell New Orleans, the French offered America the entire Louisiana Territory, a tempting proposal since the price tag was a mere $5 million more than what the U.S. had been prepared to give for just New Orleans. Here we encounter the variou...

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...ark’s expedition helped chart the Louisiana Purchase and helped provide valuable information which led to the later acquisition of the Oregon Territory. In short, Lewis and Clark helped open the West.

Were it not for Jefferson’s daring purchase of the Louisiana Territory, the United States of America would have never become the most blessed and powerful nation on the face of the earth. Jefferson’s vision of an expanding America resulted in one the most influential events in American history. Lewis and Clark’s expedition played a crucial role in the opening of this new and vast western frontier. The Louisiana Purchase and the events that followed were truly monumental, although not many knew it at the time. As Fisher Ames wrote after the Louisiana Purchase, “Now by adding this unmeasured world beyond [the Mississippi], we rush like a comet into infinite space!”
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