Under the leadership of President Thomas Jefferson, the United States purchased 827,987 square miles of territory from France on May 2, 1803 for $15 million. It was a momentous event that doubled the size of the new country, and greatly increased its economic power. Learn more at the following sites.
"President Thomas Jefferson wrote to a fellow scientist in late January, 1804, that â€˜I confess I look to the duplication of area for extending a government so free and economical as ours, as a great achievement to the mass of happiness which is to ensue.'" Professor Pierce Mullen of Montana State University contributed this Louisiana Purchase essay to the Discovering Lewis & Clark project. It offers detailed insight into the Purchase, presented in a engaging format. Don't skip Side Lights, which offers a timeline and a gallery of important players.
The Louisiana State Museum brings us a virtual exhibit about the Cabildo, the site of the Louisiana Purchase ceremonies in 1803. Along the way, with its focus on the varied people of Louisiana (the native Indians, the French settlement, and the European rulers) it offers a unique insight into the times. There is a Louisiana Purchase page but I decided to link to the front page of the exhibit, instead of directly to this one page, because I found the background it provides fascinating.
This one-page overview of the Louisiana Purchase includes several maps, and is an excellent resource for school reports. Students will also want to find the teacher's section, because it contains a useful Playbill (that introduces all the key people) and a Glossary with Pronunciation Guide. To find the Lewis & Clark Curriculum Guide, click on Activities & Kids (on the top nav) then follow Teachers (on the left nav) and you'll finally see Lewis & Clark Curriculum Guide. The stuff you are looking for is filed under Louisiana Purchase.
Montecillo.org is a project of The Thomas Jefferson Foundation, which owns and operates the estate that Jefferson designed and built near Charlottesville, Virginia. This Louisiana Purchase page is part of the site's Jefferson's West section, which also covers Jefferson's role in sending Lewis and Clark on their famous expedition. This is another one perfect for school reports, especially those with a focus on Thomas Jefferson's leadership in dealing with the Spanish and the French for control of the Louisiana territories.
Visit this National Archives site for an overview of the Louisiana Purchase, pictures of the original document and its ornate cover, and a transcript of the Louisiana Purchase Treaty. Follow the View Related Documents link for an introduction to the three-language public notice (called a broadside) that was written in December of 1803 to announce the Louisiana Purchase, and to clarify citizenship status for the residents of New Orleans.