Louisiana Purchase Outline

479 Words2 Pages
The Louisiana Purchase was the largest acquisition of public domain in United States history. It was acquired via a treaty in 1803 through tense negotiations with France. With interest, the United States paid $27,262,662 for 828,000 square miles west of the Mississippi River, and the all-important port-city, New Orleans. However, the boundaries of the Southwest and West Florida were unclear. Robert Livingston, the United States Minister at Paris, was instructed by President Thomas Jefferson to secure New Orleans and the Floridas from France because the possessor of that territory—especially New Orleans—is, according to Jefferson, our “habitual enemy.” The reason the possessor would be our enemy was because three-eighths of the goods our nation produced at the time was shipped out of New Orleans. A foreign power holding the city and territory can have a large amount of leverage on our nation. Despite there being an overwhelming demand for the territory, France did not want to give it up. Charles Maurice de Talleyrand, the skilled diplomat representing France in the negotiations denied that France had even acquired Louisiana at all. Eventually, situations arose where it would benefit France to sell the territory to America despite violating the French and Spanish treaty that forbad allowing a third party to own it. These situations included the failing to quell the rebellion on Santo Domingo and a large need for money by the French treasury. The situation begs one to ask the question if Louisiana actually fell on to the lap of U.S. diplomats. Thomas Jefferson, a strict constitutionalist, was then presented with another problem. Nothing in the United States Constitution allowed the country to buy land. Jefferson even drafted the amendments to the Constitution, but dropped them because the situation required alacrity. Instead he used a

More about Louisiana Purchase Outline

Open Document