The Louisiana Purchase
Most of the land around the thirteen colonies was owned by England , France and Spain . Some Americans Leaders were afraid that this land might fill up with settlers from these other countries and later the people would cause trouble for them.
The American leaders wanted their country to own more land. Thomas Jefferson , who wrote the Declaration of Independence , hoped that the United States of America would someday stretch from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean. When he became President of the United States , he asked the government to buy a huge chunk of land from the French.
The French were having financial troubles and they desperately needed the money . The Americans were able to buy the land from them. This new chunk of land was called the Louisiana Territory . A territory was any land owned by the United States that had not yet become a state.
Jefferson sent out to explorers , Lewis and Clark , to find out what the land was like . The trip was dangerous and after travelling a few months, the team of forty – five people reached the Rocky Mountains .
The Shoshone Indians knew about secret path to cross the mountains , but they would not tell everyone. One of the team members was from this tribe of Indians . She showed them the way and the explorers soon the reached the Pacific Ocean.
The trip to the Pacific and back took two years. Lewis and Clark documented their trip and made maps of the land , showing the path they took. They told the President that he got the best land buy there ever was. The price for the Louisiana Territory , which later made up eight states, only cost 4 cent an acre. This land was rich with forests , rivers , mountains, animals and good farm land.