The Louisiana Purchase
This video discusses the Louisiana Purchase. From the Haitian Revolution that led to it to the Civil War it led to, the Louisiana Purchase played a bigger role in the formation of America today than many people think. Don’t even get us started on its effect on the question of slavery in early 19th century America. What did this purchase cost, anyway?
Ok, so you may ask, "What does an island nation in the Caribbean...
have to do with the history of the United States?"
Not exactly center material for the Lakers.
In fact, Napoleon Bonaparte was the so-called Emperor of France.
He controlled the Louisiana Territory of North America.
This territory consisted of some or all of
15 present-day U.S. states.
The Louisiana Territory and Haiti were part of Napoleon's plans for world domination
by establishing a French Empire in North America.
He had a Pinky and the Brain issue.
Unfortunately for Napoleon, he ran out of cash.
And when the British declared war on the French,
they had to go from playing offense to defense.
The straw that broke the camel's back for Napoleon was...
yes, the Haitian Revolution.
Nice money if you can get comfy, uh... looking the other way.
Nice money if you can get comfy, uh… looking the other way.
C’est la vie, right?
The Haitian people fiercely resisted Napoleon’s forces, even though they had a smaller military
and less sophisticated weaponry.
With iron will -- And the help of some good old- fashioned yellow fever
Haiti defeated France in the Battle of Vertieres
Without the Haitian colony, on which Napoleon relied on for sugar cane...
he found himself in an even stickier financial situation.
And the president of the United States...
hated the idea of the French owning land so close to his country.
To deal with this problem, Jefferson sent some of his posse to France to negotiate
buying the Louisiana Territory, which included the port of New Orleans.
Can we say "mardi gras"?
So Napoleon put a big, fat FOR SALE sign on 820 THOUSAND square miles for 15 million dollars.
It was on move.com.
And President TJ jumped on the opportunity. He whipped out his checkbook and bam
the good ol' US DOUBLED in size!
If we adjusted the inflation for the fifteen million
dollars paid in 1803,
America paid about $233 million in total for the Louisiana Purchase.
The price came to less than half a scoop of Thrifty's Ice Cream for every acre.
Pretty good deal, huh?
The acquisition of all this new land raised a lot of questions for the United States.
Like, which states would be free and which states would have slaves?
The issue of slavery was at the core of the American Civil War,
and with all this new land up for grabs, Americans disagreed
quite a bit on whether this new territory should allow slavery.
So the big question:
Do you think that the Louisiana Purchase would have eventually occurred without the Haitian Revolution?
Do you think the American Civil War would have occurred without the Louisiana Purchase?
Let us know. Shmoop amongst yourselves.