American History 1785 - 1849

United States History The Louisiana Purchase

After the Northwest Ordinance was written Tennessee and Kentucky asked to join the United States even though they were not part of the Northwest Territory. Congress began using the Northwest Ordinance rules for other territories. Tennessee became a state in 1796 and Kentucky in 1792.

In 1796 John Adams was elected the second President of the United States. In 1803 Ohio became the 17th state. Thomas Jefferson was elected the third president.

The Louisiana Purchase

From the Northwest Territory farmers were sending furs, grains, whiskey, and tobacco down the Mississippi to trade in Europe. New Orleans was a main link of transportation. At this point New Orleans did not belong to the United States.

Spain had taken New Orleans from France in 1762. In 1800 Spain secretly sold the land back to France.

Napoleon wanted the land for a French empire in the Americas. Jefferson heard about the secret sale. Jefferson knew Napoleon needed money because he was ready for another war in Europe. By this time Napoleon no longer wanted the land in America.

Jefferson sent three men to ask Napoleon to sell New Orleans. Napoleon wanted to sell all French land west of the Mississippi and New Orleans for $15 million. Jefferson asked Congress if he could buy the land. At first Jefferson was afraid the President couldn't buy the land because it was not in the Constitution that he could. Congress approved the sale in October of 1803. The land was called the Louisiana Purchase. Americans took over the land in December 1803. This land totaled over 500 million acres. The cost per acre was about three cents.