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        Louisiana Purchase

        This gallery includes resources including a map, background essay, and classroom activity on the 1803 Louisiana Purchase Treaty. The Treaty, signed on April 30, 1803, allowed the the United States to purchase 828,000 square miles of land west of the Mississippi River for $15 million.

        Map of the Louisiana Purchase Territory

        This map of the United States highlights in red the territory included in the Louisiana Purchase. Bought from France in 1803, the 820,000 square miles would be split eventually among the 16 states whose borders are outlined in black.

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        Louisiana Purchase Treaty (1803)

        This document includes an image of the 1803 Louisiana Purchase Treaty. In this transaction with France, signed on April 30, 1803, the United States purchased 828,000 square miles of land west of the Mississippi River for $15 million. For roughly 4 cents an acre, the United States doubled its size, expanding the nation westward.

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        Activity: Lewis & Clark’s Expedition to the Complex West

        Click the image above to access this activity from the National Archives. This activity can be used as an introduction or for a closer study of the Lewis & Clark Expedition. Students will learn that the United States purchased the Louisiana Territory in 1803 and President Thomas Jefferson sent Lewis and Clark to explore west of the Mississippi River in 1804, though the land was already inhabited and politically complicated. Students will analyze primary sources demonstrating various political interests in the West, including the Spanish, French, British, and those of several Native American groups, and place them on a historic map of the West (created for the centennial of the Louisiana Purchase). Students will explore and understand that disparate parties were involved in the exploration and settling of the United States west of the Mississippi River.

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        Agreement to Pay France for the Louisiana Purchase

        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. This item is the French exchange copy of the agreement providing for the payment of 60 million francs by the United States to France. It was signed by the future Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte and his Foreign Minister, Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Perigord.

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