The Louisiana Purchase

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Why did Napoleon want Louisiana, and why did he change his mind?

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France had controlled the Louisiana Territory from 1699 until 1762, when it ceded the territory to Spain as part of the French and Indian War. Before it relinquished the territory, France controlled more of the territory that is now the United States than any other European power. When Spain controlled the territory, it did not develop its new lands. In 1800, Spain, France's ally, gave the territory to France as part of a covert treaty, as Napoleon sought to reestablish France's presence in North America.

However, by 1803, Napoleon offered the United States under Jefferson the opportunity to purchase the Louisiana...

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