The Louisiana Purchase (French: Vente de la Louisiane "Louisiana Sale") was the acquisition by the United States of America of 828,800 square miles (2,147,000 km2) of the French territory Louisiane in 1803. The U.S. paid 60 million francs ($11,250,000) plus cancellation of debts worth 18 million francs ($3,750,000), a total cost of $15,000,000 for the Louisiana territory.
The Louisiana Purchase encompassed portions of 14 current U.S. states and 2 Canadian Provinces. The land purchased contained all of present-day Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, parts of Minnesota that were west of the Mississippi River, most of North Dakota, nearly all of South Dakota, northeastern New Mexico, the portions of Montana, Wyoming, and Colorado east of the Continental Divide, and Louisiana west of the Mississippi River, including the city of New Orleans. (The Oklahoma Panhandle, and southwestern portions of Kansas and Louisiana were still claimed by Spain at the time of the Purchase.) In addition, the Purchase contained small portions of land that would eventually become part of the Canadian provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan. The land included in the purchase comprises around 23% of the territory of the United States today.
The purchase was a vital moment in the presidency of Thomas Jefferson. At the time, it faced domestic opposition as being possibly unconstitutional. Although he felt that the US Constitution did not contain any provisions for acquiring territory, Jefferson decided to purchase Louisiana because he felt uneasy about France and Spain having the power to block American trade access to the port of New Orleans.
Napoleon Bonaparte, upon completion of the agreement, stated, "This accession of territory affirms forever the power of the United States, and I have given England a maritime rival who sooner or later will humble her pride."
- The American Pageant by David M. Dennedy, Lizabeth Cohen, and Thomas A. Bailey
- Table 1.1 Acquisition of the Public Domain 1781-1867
- Godlewski, Guy; Napoléon et Les-États-Amis, P.320, La Nouvelle Revue Des Deux Mondes, July-September, 1977.