Americas Purchase of Louisiana - Essay Sample

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Boston College
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In 1803, the United States, under the leadership of Thomas Jefferson, purchased approximately eight hundred and twenty-eight thousand square miles of land from France (Fradin, 2009). During the French-Indian War, France dedicated the French Louisiana state to Spain which was no longer a European superpower at the time (Fradin, 2009). As such, it was easy buying the land from the French due to the various failures by Spain. One factor that led to the purchase Louisiana was that the Spanish administration spent the royal funds on buying lavish gifts for the native tribes to establish good relations with them rather than developing the territory. Furthermore, the white creoles in New Orleans wanted to maintain their social sovereignty and therefore, they mounted a series of attacks and challenges against the Spanish rulers during the 1768 insurrection (Fradin, 2009). Besides, the financial crisis, the failure to subdue the Haiti salve revolt, and the impending war between France and the Great Britain are other major events that contributed to the purchase of Louisiana. However, in 1801, Spain tried to enter into a secret deal with France to return Louisiana under its control but failed (Fradin, 2009). The then U.S minister to France, Robert Livingstone, was sent to deliberate with the French minister, Charles Maurice, about the possibility of selling Louisiana to the United States government. Since the transfer of Louisiana from Spain to France was not complete and there was threat of war between France and the Great Britain, the Americans perceived that Napoleon Bonaparte would withdraw the offer for selling Louisiana. As a result, the Americans feared they would lose New Orleans and as such, they assented and signed the Louisiana Purchase agreement in 1803.

The major significance of the Louisiana Purchase is that it led to the enlargement of the United States since it would later be subdivided into fifteen states. However, despite such a progress for the United States, the purchase also had significant impacts on slavery. First, many slaveholders were also present in the area and feared the revolting of slaves in the new territory. Therefore, they pressured the U.S government to let them retain their slaves and take them to the newly acquired Louisiana territory (Fradin, 2009). Furthermore, slavery was institutionalized in Louisiana which would later contribute to the Civil War five decades later. States like Missouri opted to be listed as slave states despite being in the northern territory where the practice was prohibited. The latter is what would later be referred to as the Missouri Compromise of 1820 (Fradin, 2009). Eventually, in the 1860s, the American Civil War broke out as a fierce battle between Northern and Southern states as a result of significant misunderstandings in the Congress regarding slavery.


Fradin, D. B. (2009). The Louisiana Purchase. Marshall Cavendish.

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