National Archives and Records Administration


American Originals Exhibit

Expansion and Reform (1801-1861)

"Let the Land rejoice, for you have bought Louisiana for a Song."
Gen. Horatio Gates to
President Thomas Jefferson,
July 18, 1803
In 1803 the young republic nearly doubles in size with the Louisiana Purchase.

The Louisiana Purchase has been described as the greatest real estate deal in history. In 1803 the United States paid France $15 million for the Louisiana Territory—828,000 square miles of land west of the Mississippi River. The lands acquired stretched from the Mississippi River to the Rocky Mountains and from the Gulf of Mexico to the Canadian border. Thirteen of the United States were carved from the Louisiana Territory. The Louisiana Purchase nearly doubled the size of the United States, making it one of the largest nations in the world.

U.S. treaties with foreign powers are preserved in the National Archives of the United States. 4.6 Louisiana Purchase Treaty, April 30, 1803 The Louisiana Purchase consists of three separate agreements between the United States and France: a treaty of cession and two agreements providing for the exchange of monies in the transaction. [DECEMBER 1995-JUNE 1996] Shown here is the French exchange copy of the convention providing for the settlement of an earlier debt owed by France to the United States. It was signed by the future Emperor Napoleon and his Foreign Minister, Charles Maurice de Talleyrand. National Archives, General Records of the U.S. Government [JUNE 1996-DECEMBER 1996/JUNE 1997?] Shown here is the volume containing the French exchange copy of the convention providing for the settlement of an earlier debt owed by France to the United States. Beside it is a reproduction of the signature page from the volume; it was signed by the future Emperor Napoleon and his Foreign Minister, Charles Maurice de Talleyrand. National Archives, General Records of the U.S. Government [DECEMBER 1996-DECEMBER 1997] 5.196 Louisiana Purchase Treaty, April 30, 1803 The Louisiana Purchase consists of three separate agreements between the United States and France: a treaty of cession and two agreements providing for the exchange of monies in the transaction. Shown here is the French exchange copy of the Treaty of Cession. It was signed by the future Emperor Napoleon and his Foreign Minister, Charles Maurice de Talleyrand. National Archives, General Records of the U.S. GovernmentCASE 6
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Civil War and Reconstruction (1850-1877)
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Colonization and Settlement (1585-1763)
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American Originals 2



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Last updated: July 1, 1998