Origins of the Purchase
Napoleon Bonaparte, the ambitious, empirical leader of the French Empire, dreamed of expanding the French domain into America. Thomas Jefferson and Robert Livingston, the current president and secretary of
A 1770 plan of the city of New Orleans
A 1770 plan of the city of New Orleans
state, respectively, supported French dealings, as opposed to the pro-British John Adams . When Spain threatened to close the port of New Orleans to American vessels, a right previously guaranteed in Pinckney's Treaty, Livingston was sent to Paris to try to buy the land New Orleans was in from the French; France still controlled the territory, despite Spain controlling the city. In a surprisingly efficient result, Livingston came back from Paris with the gigantic chunk of land west of the Mississippi, which he had purchased for $15 million. Though the Constitution was devoid of articles governing the acquisition of territory, the power to make treaties was guaranteed; therefore the Congress was justified in making the purchase.

Exploring the Territory
Though he had planned on exploring the territory of Louisiana even before formally acquiring it, Jefferson continued with his previous plan and organized expeditions to venture to the Pacific Ocean. He chose two experienced Indian fighters and frontiersman, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark , to explore the new territory. The explorers, with a large company with
Lewis, Clark, and the Shoshone Indian guide Sacagawea
Lewis, Clark, and the Shoshone Indian guide Sacagawea
them, traveled to the Pacific Coast up through Idaho and Montana and returned in 1806, a little more than two years after they left from St. Louis, now known as the “Gateway to the West.” Zebulon Pike , a diminutive lieutenant who bore an odd resemblance to George Washington, led two relatively unsuccessful expeditions around the upper and lower Mississippi River valleys. Lewis and Clark, due to their thorough records of the trip and the successful nature of it, are more fondly remembered as explorers of the west.






Works Cited
"BBC - History - Historic Figures: Napoleon Bonaparte (1769 - 1821)." BBC - Homepage. Web. 20 May 2010. <http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/historic_figures/bonaparte_napoleon.shtml>.Bielinski, Stefan. "Robert Livingston." New York State Museum, Albany, New York. Web. 20 May 2010. <http://www.nysm.nysed.gov/albany/bios/l/rlivingston94.html>.Brinkley, Alan. "The Jeffersonian Era." American History: A Survey. 12th ed. New York: McGraw Hill, 2007. Print."Pinckney's Treaty (United States-Spain [1795]) -- Britannica Online Encyclopedia." Encyclopedia - Britannica Online Encyclopedia. Web. 20 May 2010. <http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/460847/Pinckneys-Treaty>."THE WEST - Meriwether Lewis." PBS. Web. 20 May 2010. <http://www.pbs.org/weta/thewest/people/i_r/lewis.htm>."THE WEST - William Clark." PBS. Web. 20 May 2010. <http://www.pbs.org/weta/thewest/people/a_c/clark.htm>."Zebulon Pike." U.S. National Park Service - Experience Your America. Web. 29 May 2010. <http://www.nps.gov/archive/jeff/lewisclark2/circa1804/westwardexpansion/earlyexplorers/zebulonpike.htm>.