The Louisiana Purchase: Significant In American History Essay

The United States has a long history of crucial decision after crucial decision, each one with significant impact on the country and the world. While these decisions do hold great importance, the Louisiana Purchase was especially significant in American history. Jefferson dealt with different options, faced consequences, as well as created a huge impact across time when he signed the “Treaty of Cession. ” Jefferson made the single most famous purchase in United States history in 1803.

He started by simply sending Robert Livingston to Paris as a U. S. inister after he received word that France would be purchasing Louisiana from Spain. This was a catastrophe as far as Jefferson and Livingston were concerned because at this point in time that would mean Napoleon had control of the Mississippi River outlet. America had already struggled with Spain having control and Napoleon was known for being even more difficult to work with, today’s history books describe him as “power hungry. ” Jefferson wrote to Livingston to tell him they would be forced to ally themselves with the British if France gained control of New Orleans.

Jefferson was left to decide between convincing Napoleon to sell Louisiana to him or to join forces with Britain and fight for it. Napoleon had choices to make on his end to though, would his country’s best interest lie with holding onto power over New Orleans or letting it go and saving themselves a battle? If this purchase had occurred at any other time, Napoleon probably would have refused to sell. However, his military had recently suffered greatly in Haiti between a plague of yellow fever and a slave revolt. In total, 374,000 lives were lost. 24,000 of those were French soldiers.

Not only would another war be costly, the French military did not want to lose more lives knowing they could need to go to war in Europe in the coming years. After so much loss in the Americas, Napoleon was quick to realize France was better off keeping its focus on Europe. France quickly offered a proposition to Livingston, $15 million for 875,000 square miles. The greatest deal the United States has seen to date in purchase of land. Jefferson immediately faced an issue after his purchase. He was quick to realize his hunger for an empire had clouded his thought process.

The purchase of new territory was covered nowhere in the Constitution. Despite his consistent position defending the right of the state and the Constitution’s structure, Jefferson stood by his decision along with many other members of the Republican party. His reasons for doing so were very clear as he was quoted saying the purchase was in the best interest of citizens who were pioneers of the west and it would create a barrier protecting the U. S. from other countries by removing French involvement from the continental landmass. There was also hope to slice through the racial tensions in the East by opening space for freed slaves.

Federalists did not take long to develop an opposing opinion. Not only did they believe the growth of civilized living in the West would make Eastern real estate lose value, they believed it would take jobs away from the seaboard. They were also in fear of slaveholders becoming the ones to settle the majority of the west. Jefferson had to face the arguments of the Federalists, but there was not much he could do having made the purchase already. When it came down to it, Senate voted 26 to 6 and ratified the Treaty of Cession, doubling the size of the United States.

Because of this deal in history, the U. S. gained the full land of 6 future states as well as parts of 9 future states. While Jefferson initially faced some dilemma with the Louisiana Purchase because of its failure to align with the Constitution, the decision was clearly wise. The United States would not be the country it is today without gaining that land and it would have failed in future battles without the development of these states. It gave the country more fertile land to grow crops and appropriate weather conditions for different kinds of crops.

It created a completely different culture in Louisiana, a mixture of southern and French characteristics that can still be recognized today. It is difficult, impossible even to imagine a country so small ever existed under the title “United States of America,” but it did. It existed, thrived, grew, adapted. The people of today’s America would not be quite the same without the pieces of land and culture gained with a mere sacrifice of $15 million. Regardless of the dilemmas and consequences President Jefferson faced, he would surely stand by everything if he could see what it grew into.