March 26, 1804 — Congress ordered the removal of Indians east of Mississippi to Louisiana in order to organize the the Territory of Orleans as part of the Louisiana Purchase.
The 1803 land deal between the United States and France enabled the U.S. to acquire approximately 827,000 square miles of land west of the Mississippi River for $15 million.
The Louisiana territory included land from two Canadian provinces (Alberta and Saskatchewan) and 15 present U.S. states — Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Nebraska; the portion of Minnesota west of the Mississippi River; a large portion of North Dakota; a large portion of South Dakota; the northeastern section of New Mexico; the northern portion of Texas; the area of Montana, Wyoming, and Colorado east of the Continental Divide; Louisiana west of the Mississippi River (plus New Orleans).
From 1699-1762: The Kingdom of France controlled the Louisiana territory until it was ceded to Spain. In 1800, Napoleon hoped to re-establish an empire in North America, and regained ownership of Louisiana. President Thomas Jefferson originally sought to purchase only the port city of New Orleans and its adjacent coastal lands, but quickly accepted the bargain.
Before the purchase was finalized, the decision faced Federalist Party opposition; they argued that it was unconstitutional to acquire any territory. Jefferson agreed that the U.S. Constitution did not contain explicit provisions for acquiring territory, but he did have full treaty power and that was enough.
Words of Wisdom for March 26, 2017
“[T]his little event, of France possessing herself of Louisiana, … is the embryo of a tornado which will burst on the countries on both shores of the Atlantic and involve in it’s effects their highest destinies.”
— President Thomas Jefferson wrote this prediction in an April 1802 letter to Pierre Samuel du Pont amid reports that Spain would retrocede to France the vast territory of Louisiana. As the United States had expanded westward, navigation of the Mississippi River and access to the port of New Orleans had become critical to American commerce, so this transfer of authority was cause for concern. Within a week of his letter to du Pont, Jefferson wrote U.S. Minister to France Robert Livingston: "every eye in the US. is now fixed on this affair of Louisiana. perhaps nothing since the revolutionary war has produced more uneasy sensations through the body of the nation."