The Louisiana Territory, a territory of France, created a hassle for 828,000,000 square miles of territory between the United States and France. This article includes the important achievements of Thomas Jefferson, the 3rd U.S. president, with the land deal of America.

During the early 17th century, France explored the Mississippi River valley and established scattered settlements there. By the 18th century, France controlled more of the present-day United States than any other European power from New Orleans to Montana. With one shrewd business deal, Thomas Jefferson doubled the United States of America: he made the U. S. pay 60 million francs to cancel its debts from France, which reached 78 million francs. Today that would be worth about $220 million, an excellent sale price for 828,800 square miles. During the French and Indian War, France ceded French Louisiana to Spain, and in 1763, she transferred nearly all of its remaining North American holdings to Great Britain. No longer a dominant European power, Spain did little to develop Louisiana during the next three decades. In 1796, Spain allied with France, leading Britain to use its powerful navy to remove Spain from America. In 1801, Spain signed a secret treaty with France to return Louisiana to France. Reports of the retrocession caused considerable uneasiness in the United States.

Since the late 1780s, Americans had been moving westward into the Ohio River and Tennessee River valleys, and these settlers were highly dependent on free access to the Mississippi River and the strategic port of New Orleans. U.S. officials feared that France, resurgent under the leadership of Napoleon Bonaparte, would soon seek to dominate the Mississippi River and access the Gulf of Mexico. Today that area comprises some 15 states, including Oklahoma, Nebraska, Iowa, Arkansas, Kansas and Missouri. Jefferson could not pass up a deal. It notes that France’s illustrious leader at the time, Napoleon Bonaparte, made this deal mainly for the money and to give “England a maritime rival that will sooner or later humble her pride.” Not that America ever did conquer Britain on the high seas, but Napoleon thought it would take a small amount of the oceanic strain off his aspirations for global conquest. Jefferson immediately ordered the territory explored and commissioned Meriwether Lewis and William Clark for the job. His purpose was multifold, with scientific and commercial goals, especially “to find direct and practicable water communication across this continent, for commerce with Asia.” At the time, no one on Earth, except for the thousand or so tribes of Indians, knew what sort of environs Lewis and Clark were to go through. They were still looking for the Northwest Passage, but the Pacific Ocean said, “No.” This single business transaction left only about a third of the modern United States to explore, acquire and be founded.

During the Louisiana Purchase, France had negotiations about such details. France was slow in taking control of Louisiana, but in 1802 Spanish authorities, apparently acting under French orders, revoked a U.S.-Spanish treaty that granted Americans the right to store foods in New Orleans. In response, Thomas Jefferson sent future U.S. President James Monroe to Paris to aid Livingston in the New Orleans purchase talks. In mid-April 1803, shortly before Monroe’s arrival, the French asked a surprised Livingston if the United States was interested in purchasing all of Louisiana Territory. It is believed that the failure of France to put down a slave revolution in Haiti, the impending war with Great Britain and probably the British naval blockade of France, and financial difficulties may all have prompted Napoleon to offer Louisiana for sale to the United States. Negotiations moved swiftly, and at the end of April, the U.S. envoys agreed to pay $11,250,000 and assume claims of American citizens against France for $3,750,000. In exchange, the United States acquired the vast domain of Louisiana Territory, some 828,000 square miles of land. The treaty was dated April 30 and signed on May 2. In October, the U.S. Senate ratified the purchase, and in December 1803, France transferred authority over the region to the United States. The aftermath of the Louisiana Purchase, the acquisition of the Louisiana Territory for the bargain price of fewer than three cents an acre, was among Jefferson’s most notable achievements as President. American expansion westward into the new lands began immediately, and in 1804 a territorial government was established. On April 30, 1812, nine years after the Louisiana Purchase agreement, the first state to carve from the territory–Louisiana–was admitted into the Union as the 18th U.S. state.

Written by Byounghyun (Kevin) Lee


(Monticello, “The Louisiana Purchase”, 1st JAN 1682)

(, “Louisiana Purchase”, 2nd DEC 2009)

(Mental Floss, “Adams vs. Jefferson: The Birth of Negative Campaigning in the U.S.”, 10th SEP 2012)

(, “Did John Adams Out Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings?”, 1st NOV 2016)

(Investopedia, “3 of the Biggest Land Deals in History”, 29th JAN 2018)


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