A Steal of a Deal
At the start of the 1800s 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 having 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 Lorenzo. The New Orleans’s port was used regularly by American shippers until 1802, 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 1802 Napoleon had invaded Spain, forcing the Spanish King Charles IV to...
Cited: Foner, Eric. Give Me Liberty!: An American History. 3rd ed. Vol. One. New York: W.W. Norton &, 2008. Print.
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