Many don’t know that much of our North American lands were controlled by France until about 1780. The Louisiana purchase is what finally enabled us to ‘buy’ these 15 states that range from Mississippi to New Orleans.
Hats off to Thomas Jefferson
We have our third American president, Thomas Jefferson to thank for this treaty. Jefferson was the one who commissioned the Corps of discovery expedition in which Meriwether Lewis and William Clark took part on a pioneering trip to check out these new lands that Jefferson had his eye on in 1804.
Jefferson thought that since the alliance with France and Spain had just been made official, breaking these states off of France would be the best call.
Stealing from France
Up until this point, France had controlled much of Louisiana and even signed a secret treaty w Spain to keep goods in New Orleans. Eventually, it was rumored that France was going through financial hardships. They had tried to perform a slave trade with Haiti that fell through and they were on an impending war with Great Britain according to History.com.
This eventually led to Napoleon Bonaparte to offer up Louisiana to the United States.
The purchase of these states was definitely the most notable accomplishment within Jefferson’s presidency. On April 30, 1812, exactly nine years after the Louisiana Purchase agreement was made, the first state to be carved from the territory–Louisiana–was admitted into the Union as the 18th U.S. state.
This meant that it was here to stay. Realizing the strategic importance of the Mississippi and New Orleans, Thomas Jefferson was willing to go to war to protect US interests but wanted to investigate potential peaceful solutions first. When he sent envoys to speak with Napoleon he never expected to be offered a deal that would in effect double the territory he controlled.
The Louisiana Purchase effectively allowed the US to take its place as one of the leading nations of the world and is, as such, a key part of our history.
At first, the purchase actually included a portion of Canada, but then was broken off to make border management easier.
The purchase may have also, indirectly, led to the start of the civil war. The decision and the political waves it set in motion had long term ramifications as it gave rise to the doctrine of implied federal powers within the constitution, a problem which would become one of the causes of the Civil War.
If you want to learn more about the Lousiana Purchase, then check out the video below!