Why was the Louisiana Purchase important to the United States?

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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.

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Why is the Louisiana Purchase so important?

The Louisiana Purchase was very important to the early history of the United States. The western farmers depended on using the port of New Orleans to ship their goods to market. They also needed to store their goods there until they could be shipped. When France cut off our right to use the port of New Orleans and to store goods there, the western farmers were very concerned.

The Louisiana Purchase accomplished several things. First, we were able to double the size of our country for $15 million. This helped our country grow and develop. Second, the Louisiana Purchase allowed our farmers to again use the port of New Orleans. This agreement sent a message to our people and to other countries that we would stand up for ourselves if another country tried to push us around. Third, the Louisiana Purchase sent a message to the people of the West that the government cared about them. Since many of these people lived in remote areas, it would have been easy for the government to ignore them and their needs. By working on their behalf to meet their needs, it showed them that the government cared Americans, no matter where they lived. This, in turn, helped the people in these regions remain loyal to our government.

The Louisiana Purchase was very important to our country for many reasons.

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Why was the Louisiana Purchase made?  

The Louisiana Purchase was made on France's part because the country needed the money; the United States wanted the territory owned by France because it was a vast area between the Mississippi River and the Rocky Mountains that could be obtained for only a few cents an acre. This purchase also included the important port of New Orleans.

In 1803 President Thomas Jefferson was offered the opportunity to double the size of the United States with one stroke of a pen. Because of the tremendous costs of the Napoleonic Wars (1799-1815), France was in need of money. So, it offered one of its North American territories to the United States. When Jefferson learned that he could acquire approximately 827,000 square miles of land west of the Mississippi River for $15 million, he eagerly agreed, then asked Congress for approval. Congress gave its approval and the United States redrew its borders.

President Jefferson was eager to gain this property for the United States because the country was expanding westward, and navigation of the Mississippi River and having access to the port of New Orleans was crucial to American commerce.

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Why was the Louisiana Purchase important to the United States?

The Louisiana Purchase was very important to the United States. The United States was concerned that policies other countries developed impacted the ability of people to trade in the West. This was especially true for farmers. Our use of the Mississippi River was restricted, and we weren’t allowed to store products at New Orleans.

The United States decided to offer France $10 million for New Orleans and West Florida. Napoleon, who was planning a major war in Europe, decided to sell us all of the Louisiana Territory for $15 million. This land purchase would double the size of our country. It would also show the people who lived in the West that our government cared about them. We would be able to use the Mississippi River without restrictions, and we could use the port at New Orleans. After some hesitation due to constitutional concerns, President Jefferson agreed to make the Louisiana Purchase.

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