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Louisiana Purchase and the Move West

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History of Louisiana Purchase and the Move West

The US has a strong history of progressive leadership that has enacted everlasting change, from the Declaration of Independence to the American Revolution. The Louisiana Purchase is also among these changes that have impacted the US landscape. Once establish, the new country became stronger and the leaders began to explore the idea of westward expansion. To the west of the United States was an area known as the Louisiana Territory. This area was settled as a French colony in the late 1600s and, in 1762, came under Spanish rule. The Spanish controlled the area until 1802, when the French once again gained control of the territory.

In 1803, President Thomas Jefferson viewed this territory to be an important area for a port for the lower Mississippi River and, at the prospect of allowing the French to regain control of the area and how that might hamper US use of the Mississippi River, he took action to intercede and obtain control of the territory for the US. Under his direction he instructed Robert Livingston and James Monroe to begin the negotiations with France to acquire this land. Livingston and Monroe helped the broker the deal that not only acquired the land for the port, but also an area that stretched from the Mississippi to the Rocky Mountains, totaling 827,000 sq. miles. This expanse of land, essentially doubling the size of the United States, was purchased from France for $15 million dollars.

With the new land under the control of the United States, the country embarked on a massive plan for westward expansion. Over the next half century, settlers began to move into the new territory to begin settlements. This was vital for the eventual expansion to the Pacific Ocean, manifest destiny, which helped form the current United States.

Historians feel that the Louisiana Purchase was one of the most important events in the history of the United States. Plus, for $15 million dollars, it is also believed to be one of the best land deals ever made, due to the amount of land acquired in the purchase.

To learn more about the history of the Louisiana Territory and the purchase of the land, review the following resources:

  • French Colonial Louisiana - Helpful article which chronicles the history of Louisiana back to 1682.
  • Louisiana as a French Colony - Information on the settlement of Louisiana as a French colony.
  • Spanish Louisiana - Article which discusses how the territory ran under Spanish rule.
  • Louisiana Timeline - Chronological listing of major events in the history of Louisiana.
  • Territory Information - Useful article which describes the area of the Louisiana Purchase.
  • Louisiana Purchase - Page which describes the land and states that are covered by the purchase from France.
  • Louisiana Purchase Treaty - Historical document which can be viewed outlining the territory purchase.
  • Purchase Documents - Informative web page which contains information and resources on the Louisiana Purchase.
  • Louisiana Purchase Facts - Overview of the events before and after the purchase of the Louisiana Territory.
  • Louisiana Purchase Negotiations - Useful page with information and essays on the negotiations surrounding the purchase.
  • Negotiating the Louisiana Purchase - Excerpt of the publication on the negotiations surrounding the Louisiana Territory purchase.
  • Overview - Informative page with information on the background and future of the country as a result of the Louisiana Purchase.
  • Westward Expansion - Useful article with information on the westward expansion of the United States following the purchase.
  • Expansion - Educational page with information and an interactive map showing future expansion routes.
  • Expansion West - Historical account of the events that transpired as a result of the purchase of the Louisiana Territory.
  • Louisiana Purchase Treaty - Helpful page from PBS about westward expansion and how the treaty with France helped pave the way.
  • Overview of the Purchase - Useful page which provides a look at the events surrounding the Louisiana Purchase.

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