Lesson 3  - The Louisiana Purchase


American History Pages
  Native Americans
  Colonial America
  American Revolution
  The Constitution
  Our Nation Grows
  Civil War
  Industrial Nation
America (1785-1849)
The Northwest Ordinance
Life in the Northwest Territory
Louisiana Purchase
Explorers - Lewis and Clark & Pike
The Events leading up to the War of 1812
The War of 1812
The Star Spangled Banner
Life in the North
Life in the South
The Northwest Territory and Andrew Jackson
Americans Push West - The Trail of Tears
Frontiersmen/Settlements in the West
Mountain Men/Folklore - Paul Bunyan
The Fight for Texas
Seneca Falls - Women's Rights
The Gold Rush

"Hoisting of American Colors over Louisiana". Painting depicting first raising of the USA flag with the Louisiana Purchase, in main plaza (now Jackson Square), New Orleans. Ceremony was March 10, 1804

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.

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.

The modern United States, with Louisiana Purchase overlay (in green)
Map Credit


Return to Our Growing Nation