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 Territory828,000 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 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 at the National Archives.
The Louisiana Purchase of 1803
"Let the Land rejoice, for you have bought Louisiana for a Song."
Gen. Horatio Gates to President Thomas Jefferson, July 18, 1803
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. The volume shown above is the French exchange copy of the convention providing for the settlement of an earlier debt owed by France to the United States. The first image shows the volume closed; the second shows the volume open to the page bearing Napoleon Bonaparte's signature.
Note: The three documents below are the treaty of cession and two conventions, one for the payment of 60 million francs ($11,250,000), the other for claims American citizens had made against France for 20 million francs ($3,750,000).
- Treaty Between the United States of America and the French Republic
- 1st Convention Between the United States of America and the French Republic
- 2nd Convention Between the United States of America and the French Republic
Source: National Archives and Records Administration