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The Louisiana Purchase was a treaty enacted in 1803 between the United States and France. It gave the United States ownership of 828,000 square miles of territory that was known as the Louisiana Territory; this area eventually was divided and became part or all of the states of Louisiana, Arkansas,...

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The Louisiana Purchase was a treaty enacted in 1803 between the United States and France. It gave the United States ownership of 828,000 square miles of territory that was known as the Louisiana Territory; this area eventually was divided and became part or all of the states of Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Colorado, Wyoming, and Montana.

France sold this territory to the United States for the amount of $15 million to win the friendship of the United States and forestall an alliance between the United States and Great Britian in the war that Napoleon feared France would soon be fighting against Great Britian. President Thomas Jefferson authorized James Monroe and Robert Livingston to negotiate on behalf of the United States to establish the terms of the agreement.

President Jefferson was unsure if the Constitution authorized Congress to purchase land for the still-new United States, but determined that, as president, he had the authority to conclude a treaty with a foreign country for such a purpose. The proposed purchase was presented to the Senate as a treaty to be ratified by them; the ratification vote took place on October 20, 1803 and the United States took possession of the Louisiana Territory on December 20, 1803.

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