Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate November 2001

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Although many people did not concur with Thomas Jefferson's decision to purchase Louisiana Territory, in the end it became one of the most important events in American history as it opened wide the gates to the western frontier. With the stroke of a quill pen, the Louisiana Purchase went into effect, birthing a new pioneer attitude in an entire generation of American citizens and supplying a whole new realm of prospects for expanding profitable trade and commerce. The Louisiana Purchase provided not only a vast area of uncharted territory, but huge economic resources such as New Orleans and the Mississippi River. Thus, this historic transaction furthered our country's growth in land, power, and economic strength in ways that, at the time, Jefferson could not even imagine.

In 1763, Spain gained control of Louisiana Territory when the land was given to them by France after the Seven-Year War. France granted Spain this vast area of land both to compensate for Spanish losses during the war and to keep the land out of England's possession.

(Tallent 23) With this valuable acquisition, Spain gained the rights of New Orleans and the Mississippi River.

In 1795, the United States concluded the Treaty of San Lorenzo, which provided the U.S. with the rights of deposit and full access to the Mississippi River and to New Orleans. However, in October 1800, France (the strongest world power at the time) purchased the land back from Spain. Then in 1802, France terminated the United States' right of deposit and access to this economically vital area. America became very suspicious and anxious about France's actions because Napoleon Bonaparte, the leader of France, had a well-known dream of conquering the world. It was common knowledge that Napoleon envisioned building a great empire in the Caribbean and the Gulf of...