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Articles and Essays
- The Exploration and Legacy of the Louisiana Territory American Exploration of Louisiana Acquisition and exploration of American lands throughout the first decade of the 19th century began and ended with President Thomas Jefferson. Whether involved in purchasing the Louisiana Territory; promoting national interests or nurturing his own curiosity by obtaining scientific, cultural, and geographic knowledge; or, organizing expeditions by choosing their leaders; planning their goals; and raising public and private funds for...
- Louisiana as a Spanish Colony Diplomacy of the French Cession The impetus to cede the French colony of Louisiana to the Spanish was the long, expensive conflict of the French and Indian War, also known as the Seven Year's War, between France and Great Britain. Initially, France offered Louisiana to Spain in order to bring Spain into the conflict on the French side. Spain declined. Spanish officials were uncertain...
- The Cartographic Setting Evolving European and American Conceptions of Louisiana to 1803 Until 1803 the exploration and mapping of the territory acquired by the United States in the Louisiana Purchase was undertaken by the major colonial powers for a variety of reasons. Chief among them was the occupation of the lower Mississippi Valley, as well as the attempted possession of the Great Plains, the Missouri Basin, and...
- The Louisiana Purchase Napoleonic France Acquires Louisiana On October 1, 1800, within 24 hours of signing a peace settlement with the United States, First Consul of the Republic of France Napoleon Bonaparte, acquired Louisiana from Spain by the secret Treaty of San Ildefonso. To the distress of the United States, Napoleon held title to the Mississippi River and the port of New Orleans.
- Louisiana as a French Colony Difficult Early Years of the Colony From its inception Louisiana faced an inauspicious existence. Its fate was bound to the French economy during the last years of the reign of Louis XIV. Already a vast empire, the French government and its highly centralized bureaucracy disfavored policies that would have nurtured the economic independence of its colonies. Further, the French treasury, depleted by wars in...
- A Question of Boundaries French and American representatives faced a vexing issue when they met in Paris in April 1803 to negotiate a treaty by which the United States would purchase the province of Louisiana from France. Since most of the territory to be exchanged had never been explored, surveyed, or mapped by any European nation or the United States, the negotiators were unable to include within the...
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The Peculiarities about the Louisiana Purchase
The Louisiana Purchase is considered to be the most prominent and biggest territory purchase made by the United States in history. Louisiana land was subject to territorial claims of Spain, France and Great Britain. In 1802 Napoleon sent his armed forces to Louisiana and Dominicana to calm the rebellion. All the US privileges on these territories, which were the big trading location with the port of New Orleans, were revoked, which was treated as a hostile act by Thomas Jefferson. After the difficult and lengthy negotiations between France and the US, Napoleon agreed to sell the territory. The purchasing of the Louisiana territory was a complicated deal for the President Thomas Jefferson. The issue was very complex, and historical analytics tend to divide the whole process into three parts: Jefferson’s dilemma, Jefferson’s decision, and the emerging consequences of the deal. Each part was important for the process and requires separate discussion.
The biggest dilemma for Jefferson was that on the one hand, he understood the direct benefits of the purchase. On the other hand, he lacked constitutional power and rights to make the purchase. The solution to the dilemma was the offered constitutional amendment that would have allowed the president to buy territories. However, it took another three months to push the amendment while Napoleon was tentative and could change his mind at any time. Thus, President Jefferson had to find the optimal solution that would allow acting quickly and constitutionally.
Jefferson finally made a decision to make a purchase. Obviously, to act within the legal field Jefferson still needed the two thirds of the Senate and the majority of the House supporters to pass the treaty. Jefferson’s decision was quick and imperative. He demanded that Congress approve the decision without any discussions. The Senate ratified the treaty in 24 votes, and Jefferson was awarded a constitutional right to buy the Louisiana territory from France for $15 million. As a result, Spain (that had claims on the territory) officially transferred the land to the US in December 1803.
The consequences of Louisiana Purchase were controversial. The purchase of the land was indeed the biggest US territory purchase at one time in the US history. However, this agreement did not bring projected prominence and numerous benefits to the US. Moreover, as later appeared, governing the territory was more complicated than acquiring it as it was the region of Europeans from different states. Later on, the territory was in war with Great Britain. Nevertheless, purchasing Louisiana was one of the greatest achievements of President Jefferson that allowed the US further expanding to the South.
In conclusion, it is significant to mention that Louisiana Purchase was one of the biggest land purchases for the US ever. The complexity of the project which is called Jefferson’s dilemma was in lack of constitutional power to push the purchase agreement. The US-French deal allowed the US to expand territories to the South, and use the New Orleans’s port location.