Louisiana Purchase: Significance in US History

Discuss the factors that led to the Louisiana Purchase. What was Jefferson reluctant to agree to the purchase? Why did he ultimately agree to it? Why was the purchase significant? On April 30, 1803 the nation of France sold 828,000 square miles of land west of the Mississippi River to an adolescent United States in what came to be known as the Louisiana Purchase. President Thomas Jefferson, in one of his greatest achievements, more than doubled the size of the United States at a time when the nation’s population was quickly growing.

The Louisiana Purchase was an incredible deal for the United States, the final cost totaling less than five cents per acre at $15 million; France’s land was mainly unexplored wilderness, and so the fertile soils and other valuable natural resources we know are present today might not have been factored into the incredibly low cost.

The Louisiana Purchase included land from the Mississippi River to the Rocky Mountains. Present states that were included in part or whole of the Louisiana Purchase were: Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, and Wyoming.

The deal doubled the size of the United States and probably got Jefferson his own coin. Jefferson made the deal as part of the American’s want to conquer the whole of North America, not to mention the land was incredibly inexpensive. The American purchase of the Louisiana territory was not accomplished without resistance. Jefferson’s moral consistency was being challenged because of his strict interpretation of the Constitution.

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The Federalists strongly opposed the purchase, favoring close relations with Britain over closer ties to Napoleon, and were concerned that the United States had paid a large sum of money just to declare war on Spain. Both Federalists and Jeffersonians were concerned about the morality of the purchase; was it unconstitutional? Many members of the United States House of Representatives opposed the purchase.

The House put it to a vote and nearly overturned it, being two votes shy at 59–57. In the end the purchase was put through and the land acquired. Coming about the purchase involved a bit of negotiating, and a lot of luck. The Mississippi River became extremely significant for trade among the states it which had access to it, the American government became greatly interested in purchasing New Orleans, an important port city and mouth of the river. Beginning in 1801, Thomas Jefferson sent envoys to France to negotiate the small purchase of New Orleans.

Napoleon Bonaparte had every intention of proclaiming his presence in the region of Louisiana for France, but unfortunately for him, there were several reasons why selling the land was all but necessary: A prominent French commander recently lost a fierce battle in Haiti which cut off the connection to the ports of North America’s southern coast and the supply line to New Orleans. France did not have the nave necessary to protect a land so far away Europe. The strongest reason being Napoleon wanted to conquer England. He felt he lacked the troops and materials to wage an effective war, by selling France’s land it helped to raise money. Napoleon rejected America’s proposal and countered with the whole of their land in North America. Led by U.S. Secretary of State James Madison, American negotiators took advantage of the deal, back in the United States the treaty was approved in Congress.


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Louisiana Purchase: Significance in US History. (2021, Dec 16). Retrieved from https://paperap.com/the-events-leading-to-the-louisiana-purchase-and-its-significance-in-american-history/

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