As ruler of France, Napoleon Bonaparte engaged his country in his desire for empire. So, when Spain signed a secret treaty in 1801 returning the Louisiana territory to France, many of the American settlers going West became worried that the Mississippi River and the strategic port of New Orleans at the mouth of the Mississippi might be closed to them. In addition, officials of the United States were concerned about Bonaparte, and how he might seek to dominate the port at the Gulf of Mexico and access to the Mississippi. Consequently, President Thomas Jefferson worried that America could only defend itself if it were aligned with Great Britain.
Not wishing to again be under the influence by the British, Jefferson sent future president James Monroe to France, to aid U.S. minister Robert Livingston. Surprisingly, in mid-April 1803, France not only offered to sell the port of New Orleans, but also all their territory in America. It is suspected that the heavy financial toll on France of empire-building, quelling a slave revolution in Haiti, and impending war with Great Britain led to France's offer to sell all their American holdings for the ridiculous price of only 5 cents per acre:
The U.S. paid 50 million francs ($11,250,000) plus cancellation of debts worth 18 million francs ($3,750,000), for a total sum of 15 million dollars (around 4 cents per acre) for the Louisiana territory ($236 million in 2013 dollars, less than 42 cents per acre).
With this purchase, the United States now had full possession of both the Mississippi River and the Port of New Orleans, and the middle of the country now belonged entirely to the United States. In fact, 15 states were formed from this great tract of land.
The Louisiana Purchase was important to the United States because it not only gave the United States about 827,000 square miles of land for such a small price, but it also allowed the United States to become a much larger territory which would soon turn into new states. The land was very rich in valuable materials and this purchase could allow for the United States to create an even higher wealth than they imagined. This also gave them a lot more land and forests to farm and build houses and settlements onto.
The Louisiana Purchase was so important to the US because it could give them a more efficient way of trading to foreign countries as well as different parts of the US. The Louisiana Purchase also doubled the countries size and made it possible to keep going West and expand the nation.
The Louisiana Purchase was a huge step for the United States. Considering the fact that the purchase was made in the only the third presidency that the United States had, it was quite and achievement by any standard; many other, older countries where very impressed that the United States could purchase such a large amount of land so soon after gaining its independence. In other words, it put the United States on the map and made them a force to be reckoned with.
The Louisiana Purchase is important to the United States because it helped us expand across the continent. We bought this large piece of land for $15 million and doubled the size of the US. We got to explore new land and work towards achieving Manifest Destiny, the idea that the US should expand across the continent. It also led to us finding Texas, California, New Mexico, etc.