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19 the Louisiana Purchase

france, united, spain, orleans, jefferson and ceded

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19. THE LOUISIANA PURCHASE. The vast province of Louisiana was ceded by France to the United States 30 April 1803, the purchase price being $15,000,000. Originally belonging to France, Louisiana was ceded to Spain by the Treaty of Paris in 1763, and was retroceded to France for the purpose of colonization 1 Oct. 1800, with the understanding that if it was ever again ceded away it should revert to Spain. It was shortly after President Jefferson's installation that information con cerning the retrocession of Louisiana to France reached America. Though the act was believed to be hostile to the interests of the United States, yet Jefferson hoped to maintain the friendly relations with the French government so recently restored by the so-called Treaty of Morfontaine. But when the Spanish intendant, Don Juan Ventura Morales, closed the port of New Orleans to American trade, Jefferson be gan to see the purpose of the first consul in securing the retrocession of Louisiana and to experience a foretaste of Bonaparte's aggressive policy. Morales' act in closing the right of entrepot at New Orleans, as the right of de posit was called, was regarded throughout the United States with feelings of strong disap proval. Excitement ran high, especially in Ten nessee and in Kentucky, in which States the people were eager for war. The Western set tlers looked upon the summary closing of the port as the initial step in Bonaparte's aggressive policy, which contemplated not only the arrest of American trade development, but also of any farther expansion toward the Mississippi. The Western traders had chafed greatly under Spanish authority along the banks of the Mis sissippi. Spain blocked the way to farther ex pansion on the west and held control of all the waterways leading to the Gulf of Mexico, since the entire seaboard along that gulf was under Spanish dominion. Moreover, the whole val ley of the Ohio as far as Pittsburgh was the permission of the king of Spain for an outlet to the Gulf for its rapidly increasing trade with the outside world. This

permission the king granted, and by the treaty of 1795, which Godoy executed 15y way of off setting Jay's Treaty, Spain gave the United States special privileges along the Mississippi, as the right of deposit at New Orleans with only a nominal charge. Still the Western trad ers were subjected to much annoyance under Spanish rule, and a growing desire manifested itself to expel Spain from that region and to annex her rich territory to the United States.

After Charles IV ceded Louisiana to France and Spain retired from the Mississippi, condi tions were not improved, but rather aggravated, since the Western States feared Napoleon's grasping ambition quite as much as they had despised King Charles' authority. When, there fore, the port of New Orleans was summarily closed, preparatory to the transfer of that region to France, there was such an 6utburst of popular feeling throughout the United States that President Jefferson was constrained, de spite his strong desire for peace, to open nego tiations immediately for the purchase of West Florida and New Orleans, as affording an out let to the sea. Accordingly, he instructed his Ambassadors at Madrid and Paris, if possible, to obtain from their respective governments the cession of West Florida and New Orleans. Congress was fully alive to the demands of the people, and on 12 Jan. 1803 appropriated $2,000,000 with a view to purchasing the de sired territory. Jefferson appointed James Monroe as Minister Extraordinary to France to aid Chancellor Livingston, United States Ambassador at Paris, to effect the purchase of New Orleans and West Florida. When Monroe set sail for France, on 8 March 1803, Jefferson was not at all confident that Monroe's mission would be successful. He admitted that he sent him largely to conciliate the people and to re store political quiet throughout the country, then much worked up over the situation.

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