America In the Early 19th Century

Topic: The Louisiana Purchase: Jefferson's Bold Move

Table of Contents
Vocabulary Terms and Identifications
Important Maps
Biographies of Key Historical Figures


Overview: The Louisiana Purchase was the most important thing Thomas Jefferson did during his term as president.  He bought the Louisiana Territory in 1803 from France for about $15 million.  In those days, that was considered a good deal.  He bought so that the United States of America could expand from the east to the west coast.  That plan was called Manifest Destiny.
    The United States bought the Louisiana Territory because it contained the Mississippi River and that was a good source to trade upon.  The Louisiana Territory is 827,987 miles square.  It stretches from the Mississippi River to the Rocky Mountains.  It also ranges from the Canadian border to the Mexican border.  The Louisiana Territory was the biggest land mass ever bought by the United States.  It would double the size of the United States.
    The Louisiana Territory was also unexplored.  To fix this problem, the government sent explorers.  The most famous pair of explorers were Lewis and Clark who brought back priceless information.  They also sent the not-so-famous Zebulon Pike who brought back tales of southern territory.

Vocabulary and Identifications

Territory - A large piece of land owned by someone.

Napoleon - French ruler who bullied Spain into giving Louisiana back to France.

$15 million - cost of Louisiana to the United States from France.

Louisiana - immense region of central North America that was first claimed by Spain and then France.

Pinckney’s Treaty with Spain - Americans could freely use the Mississippi River and the port of New Orleans to ship their crops to market.

Lewis and Clark - explorers who discovered the size of the Louisiana Territory and its treasures; they also explored rivers for a route to the Pacific Ocean, open trade with Indians and collected information.

Important Maps

The Louisiana Purchase

The Louisiana Purchase 1803

Biographies of Important People
William Clark

William Clark was probably best known for being part of the Lewis and Clark Expedition.  The Lewis and Clark Expedition was from 1804-1806.  The expedition was the first overland exploration of the American west and the Pacific northwest. 

In June 1803, Lewis asked Clark to join him as a co-leader on a government sponsored expedition through the Louisiana Territory to the Pacific Ocean.  Clark was promised a captain's commission to match Lewis' rank.  But bureaucratic confusion made him lieutenant

As commanding officers on the Lewis and Clark Expedition, Lewis and Clark informally decided leadership responsibilities.  The expedition through the Louisiana Territory to the Pacific Ocean made William Clark both influential and famous. 

 This page is part of a web project developed by Mr. Cassutto's 7th grade US History class. 

Student authors:

Michelle C.
Laura F.
Rebecca G.

Check OutTo Project Main Page

George Cassutto's Cyberlearning World

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