The Louisiana Purchase
The Louisiana Purchase was arguably the greatest achievement any US President has ever made. It did many things that were advantageous to America. It made America huge, with ports we needed. The purchase prevented a possible war with France. It prevented France from taking over the west, which many were worried would happen. ADD/FIX PARAGRAPH
Thomas Jefferson was given a $2 million budget from congress to purchase New Orleans from France, as it had direct access from the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico. France needed money at the time because they were in war with Britain. So Jefferson sent two of his most trusted men, James Monroe and Robert Livingston, to France to negotiate with Napoleon. They were offered the deal of a lifetime. The entire Louisiana territory for $15 million. This would double the size of the US, and it was at a very cheap price of less than $0.03 per acre.
The decision was made shortly after. This caused some problems for America. People were upset because they argued the Constitution did not allow the federal government to purchase land. After putting the decision to vote, the Senate was in favor of the purchase with a vote of 26 to 6. This was a dramatic gain for America, as it doubled the size of the size of America. Eventually even the ones who were against it could see the benefits the purchase led to.
This purchase also prevented a war between America and France. America had promised to come to France’s aid when they needed it in exchange for their help during the Revolutionary War. America was not ready to side with the French in their war with the British due to them still recovering from their war, so by buying the Louisiana Purchase, it supplied France with the money they needed to continue their war efforts and avoided France taking action against America for not keeping their promise. It also got rid of future conflict. America wanted that land, and they would do anything to get it. They were worried the French were going to take over America, but these fears were assuaged now that the land belonged to America.
They now were the proud owners of a huge chunk of unexplored land, that contains the states today of Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, and parts of Minnesota, Louisiana, Texas, North Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, and Colorado. They had no idea what the land was like, which led to Thomas Jefferson’s decision to have Lewis and Clark lead an expedition following the Mississippi to map out the land and find “the most direct and practicable water communication across this continent, for the purposes of commerce” (Thomas Jefferson). This was his way of saying since the Northwest Passage did not exist, he wanted them to find the next best thing. He wanted them to find a water route that linked the Missouri River to the Pacific. They set out in May of 1804, with 33 people. They traveled from the Missouri to the Clearwater River, to the Snake River, to the Columbia, to finally the Pacific. They made a fort (Fort Clatsop) for the winter of 1805, and left for the journey home in March of 1806. They were unsuccessful in finding a continuous waterway from the Missouri to the Pacific Ocean, but still accomplished a lot, with the help of a Shoshone Indian Sacajawea.
Their accomplishments included being able to get an understanding of the land and providing the first accurate maps of the area they traveled. They collected specimens of plants and other resources that were unknown to the Americans at the time. The purchase was extremely important, and it is a great thing Thomas Jefferson made the decision to purchase the land.