This chapter chronicles the circumstances in which the United States acquired Louisiana in 1803. In 1802 and 1803, the Jefferson administration attempted to settle affairs on the Mississippi River in a way that would meet its definition of American security. In the end, however, it was the European powers that determined the fate of Louisiana, and France eventually imposed on the United States a Louisiana Purchase quite different from what the Jefferson administration had wanted. The Louisiana Purchase ratified by the United States in 1803 was very different from that which the federal government had sought as the crucial factor in shaping the relationship between Louisiana and the United States. On subjects both foreign and domestic, people in the United States saw the Louisiana Purchase in a context of expansion that posed numerous dangers.
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