The Louisiana Purchase is one of the most remarkable events in American history. The events leading up to the 1803 deal with France, as well as those occurring after, are vital in understanding what was happening in our country. These events also captivate the integrity of our people; the behavior of American citizens, the good, the bad, the ugly, is all very notable. The brave stepped up to explore the new lands, others allowed greed to influence their actions which were detrimental to others. The Louisiana Purchase was a significant event for Native Americans.
Their lives were dramatically different as a result of America purchasing the land they called home. The Louisiana Territory contained either all or parts of 15 modern day United States states, as well as portions Of modern day Canada. The States that came with the purchase include Iowa, Kansas, Arkansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, New Mexico, northern Texas, Colorado, Montana, Wyoming and the portion of Louisiana that was west of the Mississippi River, which coincidentally contained New Orleans.
Immediately prior to the Louisiana Purchase, the United States was not on good terms tit France. These two were the only established republics in the world in 1801, and they had plenty to argue about. America had previously allied with France under George Washington during the American Revolution, but now during the time of their own revolution, Jefferson could no longer keep close and friendly ties with the former allies. Washington had signed a treaty with King Louis XVI, who was beheaded by the French.
Clearly, the France that the united States had partnered With was no more; they were now more violent and ruthless. Now to put the situation into perspective, France expected the united States to support them throughout their qualms with England. Francophone’s grew wild and passionate in America under the leadership of President Jefferson known rival, General Alexander Hamilton. They knew how the French and their militaristic leaders were handling their revolution, and did not want their hands to be soiled by the bloodshed.
President Jefferson right hand man during this whole time was none other than James Madison, who served as his Secretary of State. He also had full control over the nation’s foreign affairs, which made his influence extremely powerful. He ad an idea that would grow further than his imagination right before his eyes. James Hamilton and President Jefferson were close friends, and communicated frequently via letters in the new capital in Washington D. C. They discussed in depth wanting control over the Mississippi River and East and West parts of Florida. How they determined this would happen was to send Robert R.
Livingston, an American ambassador to France living in Paris, and James Monroe, how would be sent to assist him, to France to attempt to establish some sort of treaty that would include permanent ownership of aforementioned areas. What would happen in actuality would surprise not only Jefferson and Hamilton, but the entire world. Contrary to popular belief, the Louisiana Purchase was not as simple as it may have seemed. What America actually purchased was the claim to the land, not the actual land itself. The majority of the belonged to the Native Americans.
They sustained their life from the land that they lived on. They hunted those forests, fed their family off of that land, and made it their home; it was their nation and their country. They treasured every resource the land had to offer and mastered and memorized every detail. After buying the claim, it was the considerably grueling task of Americans to negotiate with the natives for the property, and for a multitude of reasons. They were required to little by little, travel throughout the territory with the goal of taking what they believed was rightfully theirs.
Native Americans, not keen on giving up their homes, were not eager to negotiate or sign treaties. The Native Americans had been through similar issues over land disputes before, but previously it had been with the French. One major chief was Detailed who definitely had his concerns with the new purchase. He fully understood how Americans and French alike viewed the Indians, and he feared for the livelihood of his people. In a speech, he said “If your nation has purchased what the French formerly possessed, you have purchased the country that [Native Americans] occupy, and we regard you in the same light we did them. (Detailed to Collarbone, 5 September 1806, Collarbone Letter books, IV: 4). In other words, the Native American nation did not approve or accept the Louisiana Purchase, and for good reason. Passion on both ends more often than not led to war. Sometimes these encounters were more aggressive than there. Both sides refused to step down, and Native Americans were beaten time and time again. They were terribly ill equipped to fight against advanced weaponry and the well prepared seasoned Americans. Native Americans were stripped of any authority or rights in their land ownership.
America’s purchase from France set them up to fail; they were harshly pushed aside to pave the way for American greed. The deal would prove to lead to the most devastating event for Native Americans. Today, most American and global citizens have a generalized idea of what our country is. There is a reason why certain regions gather more influence from other countries than others. Our melting pot of cultures had started to mold into what it is by colonizers from Europe long before we could claim it as our own.
England and France entered America with the full intent of colonizing and claiming the land. Their purpose was to expand their own countries. It was simple enough. The more land a country could obtain, the bigger, and as a result, more powerful it would become. The appeal to claim and conquer was immense; it happened relatively quickly as soon as the European powers caught on. The United States was then composed Of mainly uncharted territory that other established nations saw as prime opportunity to expand and profit off of.
England’s settlement of Virginia served as a money maker through the cash crop tobacco. The bulk of French profit came from the thick pelts of fur-bearing animals in their Canadian providence, as well as from the areas surrounding the Great Lakes. They were presented with an incredible amount of land that they felt they could walk on, claim, and it would be there’s to do with whatever they pleased. England, France, and Spain rushed the New World to “take dibs” on where hey wanted to be, and formed small settlements that were populated by a variety of people from their respective countries.
These settlements, with the exception of the Massachusetts Bay Area, did not expand much in terms of population. It was a difficult task to build a colony, and most were not willing to take on the physical labor that came with it. Inhabiting ‘Wild” land came with far too many risks that the Europeans were not prepared to battle. The settlers were forced to simultaneously protect themselves from unfriendly and defensive Indians, fend off serious health epidemics, and produce enough food to sustain themselves. Foreign to the land and environment, most saw failure to be imminent and not very appealing.
They were simply unfamiliar to their surroundings and had little to no knowledge On how to survive in a setting that wasn’t their own. The French that were brave enough to travel the rivers to trap furs became very wealthy off of their trade only because they were few, and mastered supply and demand. They were able to flourish on the vast availability of the furs, and the extremely desire for fur goods prominently in Europe. This was also a great opportunity for the French to expand. Farmers were eventually able to utilize the ideal climates for cash crops like tobacco and cotton to bring in money.
The English rapidly took over the northern shores that would be familiar to employ their fishing skills. One way or another, the Europeans found a way to flourish, even if getting there was not exactly peaceful. France and Spain held their claim on Louisiana for nearly 90 years, but at the time it was land that was nothing more than undesirable wilderness. The most successful effort to inhabit any part of the entire territory came with the colonization of Louisiana. The original colony started somewhere near odder day Mobile, Alabama, but made a gradual migration west near the Mississippi River.
This eventual location is what made it such a coveted colony to uphold. It was so coveted because “Its location along the Mississippi about one hundred miles from the Gulf made it nexus between the internal, revering trade of a vast, fertile watershed and the external, oceanic trade of the Atlantic world. ” (Lewis, 41). The English generally gravitated towards bodies of water, primarily oceans; the Gulf Coast colony was something they would naturally pine for. They would make use of the ports to fish, as well as trade.
Their hungry desire to control the seas possessed them. Most of the issues between Great Britain and France in the 18th century can be attributed to disputes over territory in America, and Louisiana was no exception. Both had invalid reasons as to why the land should be theirs. Multiple quarrels of similar nature turned the 18th century into what is known as the “hundred years’ war” between the two nations. In this period of rapid claiming of land and thirst for colonization and empire expansion, reckless violent fighting over prime land was not uncommon.
The French and Spanish Bourbon monarchs soon became allies, making a “Family Compact” in 1761 promising to protect each other’s interests as far as colonizing, and otherwise. In the Treaty of Fontainebleau of 1762, Louisiana was split in two; one section was designated for Spain and the other went to France. Because the French and Spanish were allies, the Spanish considered themselves as allies with America after the French signed the Treaty of Alliance in 1 778, which in turn put them at odds with Great Britain.
The ultimate goal was to push the British out of America and all the colonies, so the new allies formed a united front to accomplish their new objective. The United States became an independent nation in 1783 with the signing of the Treaty of Paris. Spain did not feel as if their colonies would be threatened by this; they felt as if the area they inhabited was too far west to expect any rapid expansion by the Americans. Soon enough, though, Americans settled into the Ohio River Valley, establishing farmsteads and stepping on the toes of Spanish colonists.
Spanish officials that were in Madrid, New Orleans, and Mexico City planned a joint economic warfare against the young ambitious settlers in an attempt to force them to secede from the area. They attempted to encourage them quietly in secret. The Spanish paid off many frontier leaders to guide them to other areas, persuading them that this was both geographically and economically beneficial for them. They were more aggressive later by denying Americans use of the Mississippi River and the warehouses located at the port of New Orleans.
They believed that doing this would ruin any chance that Americans had for commerce in the trans- Appalachian West. John Jay was appointed by the U. S Congress to dispute this with the Spanish, who were represented by Don Diego De Guardian. The exulting negotiations began in 1 784 and lasted for two years, but still resulted in both sides receiving unsatisfactory outcomes. The Confederation Congress refused to ratify the negotiations and conflict continued for ten more years.
In 1794, the United States and Great Britain signed Jays Treaty which made them allies, and ultimately would eliminate any existing occupancies Spain had in America. In response to this, Spain and the United States negotiated the Treaty of San Lorenz, also known as Pinkness Treaty, in 1795. The treaty resolved some, but not all of the issues that remained room the Jay-Guardian failed negotiations. Louisiana was decidedly now the property of France, thus making all past negotiations in regards to commerce and the Mississippi River irrelevant.
When the Louisiana Territory was retrenched to France from Spain in 1801, it put a serious hit on America’s commercial independence. It meant that the Treaty of San Lorenz no longer held any validity, therefore complicating matters for the United States. Weary of the fact that every time the territory had a new owner, new negotiations had to be made, President Thomas Jefferson knew he had to do something more permanent. President Jefferson, along with his friend and Secretary of State, James Madison, made it an obvious priority to purchase the territory and gain all legal rights to its resources.
This was especially important because of the location of the Mississippi River and its subsequent mouth that was home to warehouse goods. Their original notion was to attempt to acquire the Isle of Orleans and sections of East and West Florida. At the time, this was French territory also, and Madison advised the United States minister to France, Robert Livingston, to threaten alliance with Great Britain, among other things, if they refused. James Monroe was called on by the president and James Madison to assist Livingston. Madison wanted to ignite some sort of change in Europe, and this was his way of attempting that.
He wrote a long detailed letter giving as specific instructions as he could have penned, and left the unknown details to be figured out by Livingston and Monroe on the spot. James Madison wrote, “These instructions, thou as full as they could be conveniently made, will necessarily leave much to your discretion. ” (James Madison to Robert R. Livingston and James Monroe, 2 March 1803, PAS-ASS, 364-78). Madison knew hat he would not be able to completely expect the exact events that would occur, so he put his faith in these appointed men to decide what to do on behalf of America.
What would transpire in the end could have never been predicted by any of the parties that were aware of the encounter. What Napoleon offered them in turn came as a complete and unexpected surprise that they most certainly were not in the least bit prepared for. In the spring of 1803, Napoleon Bonaparte offered the united States a chance to purchase the claim to the entire Louisiana Territory. Napoleon’s “foreign minister, De Talleyrand, floated an idea past Livingston: if France wanted to sell Louisiana, would the United States be interested? (Castor, 59). Livingston originally said know and assumed this was some sort of joke or test the French were playing on the Americans. The offer proved to be a serious one; Napoleon recognized that due to the slave revolt in the French colony Saint-Dominion, Haiti, the timing was ideal. Though shaken by the deal, Monroe and Livingston recognized they had to reply with an offer as fast as possible. Livingston and Monroe saw a marvelous opportunity, but a vast amount of Americans, including Jefferson and Madison would not see it that way.
The sheer magnitude of this exchange was realized by both men, but they also recognized what would happen politically in association with the purchase. The Elicited States paid a sum total of close to 15 million dollars, coming to less than 3 cents per acre, for the entire Louisiana territory. With the purchase came a great deal Of immediate controversy. Many citizens thought it was unconstitutional. The Constitution was not clear at the time in regards to acquiring territory, but President Jefferson saw it necessary to remove France from the Elicited States.
France came with complications. Napoleon Bonaparte was a militaristic leader, and that was a high risk for America. President Jefferson predicted what would happen if his influence and his presence was so close to the united States. The outcome would definitely not have been good for the country rather it happened sooner or later, it was obvious that war was inevitable. Thousands of people were affected by the exchange, and a few were vocal about their feelings towards the Louisiana Purchase.
Some significant people during that time wrote letters or gave speeches, but different viewpoints of the same situation were Leary exhibited. A few months after the documents were signed, Jefferson commissioned William C. C. Collarbone to supervise the transfer of the Louisiana Territory in its entirety to America. He moved himself and his family into the heart of Louisiana, and wrote Jefferson of his observations. Collarbone wrote that the “present government of Louisiana is Deposits, partly Civil, partly Military, and in some degree ecclesiastical. ” (William C. C.
Collarbone to Thomas Jefferson, 29 September 1803, Jefferson Papers, Reel 47). Communication Was slow compared to today, but they did their best to figure out how to smoothly keep in contact. Collarbone served as an informant to the Capitol, being their reporter of news in the territory from on the scene. He was actively at the front lines, and was a known face to many of the people inhabiting the territory; Native Americans, former slaves, and struggling Americans alike. Chief Detailed saw him as having a major influence on post Louisiana Purchase affairs, and somewhat directed his words towards him.
It was common practice not to treat American Indians kindly, and in the next coming years, Americans would stoop to an all-time low. In Europe, no county saw the sale of the Louisiana Territory legitimate. Spain had major objections; they protested that France had no right to the territory nor to sell it. Other world powers did not believe that America would make it as a country regardless. They thought that a country so vast and with so many resources would naturally secede into separate countries, much how all of the other continents are broken up into many countries.
They could not fathom the fact that the entire nation could be united and function as a whole under the same government. Their concerns were not unrealistic. At the time, when countries were relatively new, the governments were not as organized ND efficient as they are today. Disputes within small countries, including France, erupted into civil wars. It would later be known that their concerns were in fact realized during America’s own civil war. A country so vast that contained a variety and multitude of people from drastically different backgrounds and religions is bound to have big problems.
It came to no surprise that many European nations did not even recognize the Louisiana Territory as a valid part Of the United States until the Final Act of the Congress of Vienna was signed in 1815. That was twelve years after the deal was made and signed with France. Even United States citizens were intimidated by the size of the territory for some time after the signing. It was an ambitious gesture that many thought would be the undoing of the county. The Federalist party was not thrilled by the purchase because each new Western state that was added weakened the power that they had.
It was an anxious time trying to keep the balance of states. There was an obvious separation between the North and the South that was mostly concerning the issue of slavery, so the eventual adding of western states little by little tilted the scale in favor of one of the two sides depending on which one they collectively greed with. The Louisiana Purchase was a precursor to the American Civil War in 1861. One of the greatest tasks that the new owners of the Louisiana Territory had was to explore what they had acquired.
In 1803, Jefferson commissioned his personal secretary, Meriwether Lewis, as well as a competent crew of scientists and naturalists to explore the land. Lewis quickly contacted William Clark to join him as co-leader. The two of them served in the army together, and would lead this expedition. Lewis and Clark along with their crew came to be known as the Corps of Discovery. They departed SST. Louis via the Mississippi River on May 14 in 1804. They would continue on for 28 months, during which time they explored land that no other Anglo-Americans have touched before.
All of this territory was well known by the Indian tribes who inhabited it. Many of these tribes had never seen Americans before because they were so far out into what was previously wilderness. This early expedition hinted at Manifest Destiny. This ambition to explore could also predict that America would be a country that would span from ocean to ocean, a very different concept from the one that the Europeans had. To Lewis and Clark, the new territory meant something much different from what many other Americans felt.
They saw it as a fantastic opportunity, and they were extremely eager to discover new natural resources and other treasures they were sure to find. Lewis and Clack’s “purpose was to search out a land route to the Pacific, to strengthen American claims to Oregon territory, and to gather information about the indigenous inhabitants and the country of the Far West. Before the long march was begun, the Louisiana Purchase was made, increasing the need for a survey of the West. ” (“Lewis ND Clark expedition. ” The Columbia Encyclopedia. New York: Columbia University Press, 2013. Credo Reference. Web. 8 June 2013. ) What was necessary was sufficient mapping of the territories. If Americans wanted to be able to travel west any time soon, they would need guidelines to keep them out of trouble, and also on a path that would be best for any brave enough for the adventure. Most people did not think they would survive, let alone successfully carry out the tasks they were sent to do. There was absolutely so much ahead of them that Lewis and Clark could not have imagined or repaired for. Naturally, they needed the assistance of someone who knew the land well, which is where Sewage played a large roll. Their Shoshone guide, the remarkable woman Causeway, helped to obtain horses for them to continue across the high Rockies,” (Correspondence. Com, Lewis and Clark Expedition) without which they certainly would not have survived. Throughout their journey, the members of the expedition kept very detailed notes and maps that would serve them well when reporting back to President Jefferson on their return in 1806. They did everything they possibly could have to ensure their efficiency and success, and the Corps of Discovery members returned as heroes.
The Louisiana Purchase meant many things then and now to the United States. Then, it represented fear, the unknown, opportunity, controversy, hope, and more. Now, in the land of the free, we are welcome roam to our beautiful land and cities ocean to ocean. Because of the Louisiana Purchase we can enjoy all of the natural resources that sustain us and provide for ourselves largely within the nation. We have so many opportunities thanks to the quick deal. What cannot be forgotten, however, is how these events impacted the Native Americans.
Their people were devastated and treated as animals in these unlawful times. They were given no rights and pushed to small bare corners of our country. They have been reduced to a small struggling version of what their population formerly was, and are still not recovered today. Though opportunity can bring out ugliness in the world, it does not mean that greed can’t be reversed into generosity. The Native Americans were served bitterly with great injustice. They say that history repeats itself, and all that we can do is learn from the dark mistakes of our forefathers.