Share
Explore BrainMass

The conventions leading to the Louisiana Purchase in 1803

The Louisiana Purchase in 1803 was considered as one of the most significant events in the history of the westward expansion. The event signified the intentions of French Emperor Napoleon to establish a Western empire in the new world. It was a time when France lost all its hopes of a colonial empire, when they lost French and Indian war in 1763. When United States won independence from Great Britain, they needed access to the Mississippi river. In 1795, United States negotiated the Pinckney Treaty with Spain which gave the US the right to navigate the Mississippi river and deposit the goods at the port of New Orleans. The treaty was to remain for three years. When the United States was conducting trade via Mississippi river, the Spain was concerned over the proximity of the US settlement near their territory. In 1762, France had ceded Louisiana to Spain, but the secret of treaty of San Ildefonso (1800), provided France again the ownership of Louisiana in exchange for a Spanish kingdom in Italy. Napoleon Bonaparte was a great visionary aimed to establish an empire based on Caribbean sugar trade. He decided to use Mississippi valley as a base to provide supplies to Hispaniola. When Thomas Jefferson understood about the ambitious plans of Napoleon, he was annoyed. During this period, Great Britain by the Treaty of Amiens in 1800, gave back France the ownership of the islands of Martinique and Guadaloupe. Napoleon tried to take control of the Hispaniola where Touissant L'Overture grabbed power. In 1802, he sent a large army to suppress the Haitian rebellion. During the war, French lost thousands of its soldiers due to Yellow fever. Napoleon understood that Hispaniola must be abandoned. Now Louisiana was useless to Napoleon without the sugar islands. He needed money to defend his territories in Europe against Great Britain. Napoleon had also considered the rising tempo in the United States against France and their possible alliance with Great Britain. When the United States was struggling over the Louisiana, Napoleon directed his ministers to offer entire Louisiana territories to the Unites States. President Thomas Jefferson had already sent James Monroe and Robert R. Livingston to Paris to negotiate the purchase of the Louisiana territory. Jefferson was extremely happy, as United States would get a large tract of land which could double its size. They were also free open settlement and navigation through the Mississippi river. Now the problem facing Jefferson was that the Constitution did not empower him to buy a new territory. Jefferson concluded that if at all the constitution was violated; practically the territory was a gain to the United States. The opposition opposed the purchase of the new tract of land. What worried them most was the newly carved states would strengthen western and southern interests in the congress. Inspite of the opposition from the Federalists, the senate voted for ratification on October 20, 1803. The Louisiana territory was purchased for 5 cents an acre.
The purchase of Louisiana territory doubled the size of the Unites States and opened up further expansion of United States in the Pacific. In the long run, it raised the status of the United States as a world power.

Terms of the Treaty

Three treaties were signed to complete the agreement. The first convention of the treaty was related with the financial aspects of the treaty. In total, there were ten articles. The key aspects of the treaty were found in the first three articles. The Article 1 stipulates the amount US had to transfer to France for the territory. Article 2 was explains how the US would fund the amount and the time frame. It fixed the value of US dollars to five francs. Article 3 speaks about the ratification. It says that the ratification of the treaty must take place within six months from the signing of the convention.
The Second convention of the treaty also dealt with the financial matters of the treaty. It established deadlines for the payments and included the provisions that no more than 20 million francs of interest could accumulate on repayments. The convention decided to treat fairly the citizens of the Louisiana in regard to trade. Claims were to be inherited by the US on the purchase, but US should have right to verify the claims. If the US rejects the claim, she would be exempted from the payment and the French would take the final decision. The claims could take place only within the period of ratification and it should take place within six months from the signing of the convention. France was at liberty to follow the claims of the citizens in the above mentioned period.

Third Convention: The third convention was the most important one. The granting of Louisiana territory to United States was based upon the French completion of the terms of the Treaty of San Ildefonso. All the property within the Louisiana territory was ceded to the United States including her citizens. An envoy or commissary from France would be sent to United States to transfer the land to the appointed agent of America. All the military posts and personals would be withdrawn within three months of ratification. US had to respect all the treaties signed by either France or Spain with the Native American Indians. US had to establish trade equality with France for a period of time. Equal rights should be given to Spanish vessels for twelve years in the US ports after ratification. French ships should be treated based on most favoured nation in the ports beyond the expiration of the twelve years mentioned in the convention. The first and second conventions had to be ratified and it should take place within the six months of the signing of the Treaty of France.

Solution Preview

The Louisiana Purchase

The Louisiana Purchase in 1803 was considered as one of the most significant events in the history of the westward expansion. The event signified the intentions of French Emperor Napoleon to establish a Western empire in the new world. It was a time when France lost all its hopes of a colonial empire, when they lost French and Indian war in 1763. When United States won independence from Great Britain, they needed access to the Mississippi river. In 1795, United States negotiated the Pinckney Treaty with Spain which gave the US the right to navigate the Mississippi river and deposit the goods at the port of New Orleans. The treaty was to remain for three years. When the United States was conducting trade via Mississippi river, the Spain was concerned over the proximity of the US settlement near their territory. In 1762, France had ceded Louisiana to Spain, but the secret of treaty of San Ildefonso (1800), provided France again the ownership of Louisiana in exchange for a Spanish kingdom in Italy. Napoleon Bonaparte was a great visionary aimed to establish an empire based on Caribbean sugar trade. He decided to use Mississippi valley as a base to provide supplies to Hispaniola. When Thomas Jefferson understood about the ambitious plans of Napoleon, he was annoyed. During this period, Great Britain by the Treaty of Amiens in 1800, gave back France the ownership of the islands of Martinique and Guadaloupe. Napoleon tried to take ...

Solution Summary

This solution explains about the events prior to the purchase of Louisiana territory in 1803 and terms of the treaty

$2.19