The Louisiana Purchase

The Louisiana Purchase

President: Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson became President of the United States in 1801 and remained in that office until 1809. During that time, the settlers who had gone into the Ohio River Valley were trying to find ways to get their products to market. Some of these products were grain which had been grown, lumber which came from the forests, and furs and skins from the wild animals. Some of the pioneers made flat boats and rafts and floated their goods down the Ohio River, then into the Mississippi River, and down to New Orleans at the river’s mouth.

However, the French owned the land west of the Mississippi River and this often caused problems. At this time in France, the French had their own revolution and the King and Queen of France were no longer in power. Instead a man named Napoleon Bonaparte was ruler of France. He had forced Spain to give him this territory, and he did not wish to sell it. Thomas Jefferson was very concerned because Napoleon was very warlike and had already conquered most of Europe. Jefferson did not care to have an ambitious ruler such as Napoleon in control of New Orleans and the mouth of the Mississippi.


Why do you think it is good that the United States includes all the land between the two coasts?