A Steal of a Deal At the start of the sass the United States was only a shadow of its present self. The United States did not develop geographically into the nation known today until the end of 1803 when the current president, Thomas Jefferson, negotiated one of the most successful real estate purchases in United States history. This land purchase with France became known as the Louisiana Purchase, and is acknowledged as an enormous accomplishment for President Jefferson.
The Louisiana Purchase is a significant event in United States history, not only by doubling the size of the United States, but by paving a considerable effect on the young nation’s foreign and domestic affairs. First, to understand the effects of the Louisiana Purchase it is necessary to understand the events leading to it. Around 1762, after the Seven Years’ War, as part of the reshuffling of colonial possessions, France had ceded Its holdings in western Northern America to Spain.
This Louisiana Territory, as it was known, stretched from the Gulf of Mexico to Canada and from the Mississippi River to the Rocky Mountains. In total the land was “approximately 827,000 square miles double the size of the United States” (The Louisiana Purchase 2). Perhaps the most vital components of the entire land ordinance were the city of New Orleans and the Mississippi River since they were trade- ways for Spanish and American commerce.
Even though the Spanish held the city of New Orleans and the Mississippi River, the United States was still given shipping privileges through the cities’ port by the Treaty of San Lorenz. The New Orleans port was used regularly by American shippers until 1 802, when France reacquired the Louisiana Territory and halted United States traffic through the port. At the time the ruler of France was the notorious Napoleon Bonaparte, who was building France into an unstoppable super-power.
In October 1 802 Napoleon had invaded Spain, forcing the Spanish King Charles IV to sign a decree transferring the Louisiana territory from Spain to France. This transfer in land occurred abruptly and secretly resulting in a panic for American shippers who relied on New Orleans port. President Jefferson realizing the importance of the port immediately sent envoys to France to discuss negotiations for purchasing the city of New Orleans, but when the American envoys arrived at Paris in April 12, 1803, Napoleon had an entirely different offer for them.
Initially, Napoleon had dreams of a vast empire in Europe and North America, but had second thoughts after a slave rebellion and yellow fever had defeated one of his French armies in the colony of Saint Dominion. This colony in present day Haiti was a vital trade center due to its production of the valuable resource sugar, but with the slaves rebelling Napoleon believed the colony was useless. Also, Napoleon was involved with expensive European wars and could not possibly spare anymore time or sources to the colony of Saint Dominion or even the Louisiana territory.
This rebellion and the desperate need for money resulted in Napoleon to abandon his dream and to offer the American envoys not only New Orleans, but the entire Louisiana territory. The envoys negotiated until the end of April until they finally agreed to purchase the Louisiana territory for $1 5 million or around $25 million today. The land was purchased for about a couple cents an acre, when at the time an acre was sold for around three dollars. Washington D. C. Received an official message July 4, 1 803 declaring the arches, and after several months the agreement was ratified October 20th by the Senate.
When the final formal transfer took place December 20, 1 803, and the United States flag was raised over New Orleans, the nation had begun a new chapter in its history. The Louisiana Purchase had an great effect on the United States European foreign policy before the territory exchange and after. Although, Britain and France were not at war during the time of the purchase, war between the two was inevitable and the result over the Louisiana Purchase directly influenced he United States to not side with Great Britain in the conflict.
President Jefferson was convinced that when France first occupied the Louisiana territory that the United States would be forced to fight to Obtain New Orleans, possibly even allying with Britain. According to Jefferson “the day that France takes possession of New Orleans, we must marry ourselves to the British fleet and nation” (Louisiana Purchase 1). This quote by Jefferson not only displays the importance of the New Orleans’ port but shows how the United States was considering allying with Britain. It is almost certain that if
Napoleon and the united States did not agree on the Louisiana Purchase, that the United States would have assisted Britain in defeating Napoleon, improving the relations between the United States and Britain. Also, if the united States and Britain allied, then the future trade blockade on Europe by the British Royal Navy to hinder France would never increase tensions between Britain and the Elicited States. Since this blockade was a major cause for the united States and Britain to go to war during the War of 181 2, it is almost certain that the United States and Britain could have avoided the inflict.
The War of 1812 is known as the Elicited States second war for independence and without the bloody war American history would be completely different Without a doubt the Louisiana Purchase had an effect on the united State’s European foreign policy. Not only did the Louisiana Purchase have an effect on the United State’s foreign policy, but also resulted in several issues to arrive domestically. One major issue was incorporating the huge territory into the United States. Most of the territory had not been explored or surveyed and “the only part of the
Louisiana Purchase with a significant non-landing population in 1 803 was the region around New Orleans” (Fonder 305). When Jefferson endorsed the expedition Of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark to survey the unexplored land, the explorers found the purchased land heavily populated with Native American tribes. Also, the Native Americans currently living on the territory were already accustomed to trading with Europeans, and were extremely comfortable in their surroundings. Almost all of the Native Americans inhabited in the territory were not aware that the United States, let alone
France or Spain, had “claims” to their land. This posed an enormous dilemma for Jefferson and the federal government since soon a decision would have to be made regarding the natives. Originally Jefferson had a view of assimilating the Native Americans, or literally “reeducating” Native Americans to accept western culture and beliefs. Jefferson believed that Native Americans were merely just a less civilized culture and with the correct educating they could effectively participate in the United States government. Few tribes would agree but for “Indian tribes who refused to cooperate in civilizing themselves .
Jefferson had favored [their] removal beyond the Mississippi River” (Fonder 309). Some tribes agreed to assimilation or to sell their land, but mainly the Louisiana Purchase would influence decades of conflict been Native Americans and the united States until the United States literally forced tribes to relocate west. Military force was commonly used against tribes who refused to relocate and the last of the resistance by Indians came in 1 832 when the Auk lead Black Hawk had attempted to reclaim some of this tribes lost land. After this resistance the majority of tribes were forced to relocate est..
In conclusion the Louisiana Purchase was the greatest real estate purchase in American history and influenced the United States foreign and domestic policies immensely. Today six states were formed in their entirety from the territory including: Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, and Oklahoma. Also, the area included most of the states of Colorado, Louisiana, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming and sections of New Mexico and Texas. Without the purchase with France, the united States would not only be half the size, but possibly could have avoided AR with Britain or started a war with France.
The united States now possessed double the amount of natural resources and farmland, and had control over the vital Mississippi River and the New Orleans’ port, allowing the young nation to grow economically. The purchase not only influenced the future of the United States, but also the Native Americans whose land was purchased without their permission, forcing the tribes to relocate. Although the Louisiana Purchase is not studied nearly as much as it should be in American history, it undoubtedly shaped the present United States both satirically and geographically.