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mkoren eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In the early 1800s, the United States became very concerned when we were told by Spain that we couldn’t store products in New Orleans. This was a blow to western farmers who needed to ship their products through New Orleans. When we discovered that Spain secretly transferred New Orleans and the surrounding land to France, we made an offer to France. We offered to buy New Orleans and West Florida for ten million dollars. We wanted to have control of this port and the area around it so we could freely ship items on the Mississippi River through the port of New Orleans.

Little did we know that France had made a decision to get out of North America. Napoleon was planning to go to war in Europe. He no longer needed North America. Plus, he needed cash for the upcoming war in Europe. Thus, Napoleon countered our offer by suggesting he would sell us much more land for fifteen million dollars. This offer included New Orleans and all of the Louisiana Territory. If we agreed, it would double the size of our country. After some hesitation, due to constitutional concerns, President Jefferson agreed to the offer Napoleon made. This is known as the Louisiana Purchase.