The Louisiana Purchase

One of Thomas Jefferson’s greatest achievements while president was making the Louisiana Purchase.  This was a vast amount of territory west of the Mississippi River.  When Jefferson made this purchase for the United States he more than doubled its size. In the beginning Jefferson’s plan was to by just New Orleans.

    Jefferson thought often about the West, especially the vast part called Louisiana.  Most Americans were busy with their lives and did not think too much about the western part of the country except for the Mississippi River. The Mississippi River was a highway that hundreds of settlers used to transport people, products, and goods.  Even the merchants who used the river were not worried about the land on the other side of the river.

    In the beginning Spain owned the property west of the Mississippi. During Jefferson’s first year as president he learned that Spain secretly gave the property to Napoleon of France.  Jefferson wrote a letter to Napoleon.  He asked for the purchase of Louisiana and New Orleans.  

    Congress decided to put aside two million dollars in order to make an offer to buy these pieces of land from France.  Jefferson sent James Monroe to France to help make a deal.  Napoleon was trying to build his military stronger and needed more money so he was interested in the United States’ offer.  Soon arrangements were made and the United States bought Louisiana and New Orleans from France. This large purchase cost the United States fifteen million dollars and the territory became US territory on December 20th, 1803.


The information above was taken and adjusted from page 69 in The Importance of Thomas Jefferson. By Don Nardo 1947 ISBN: 1-56006-037-9



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