The Louisiana Purchase

The Louisiana Purchase

Book - 2003
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From The Louisiana Purchase

Like many other major events in world history, the Louisiana Purchase is a fascinating mix of destiny and individual energy and creativity. . . . Thomas Jefferson would have been less than human had he not claimed a major share of the credit. In a private letter . . . the president, reviving a favorite metaphor, said he ""very early saw"" Louisiana was a ""speck"" that could turn into a ""tornado."" He added that the public never knew how near ""this catastrophe was."" But he decided to calm the hotheads of the west and ""endure"" Napoleon's aggression, betting that a war with England would force Bonaparte to sell. This policy ""saved us from the storm."" Omitted almost entirely from this account is the melodrama of the purchase, so crowded with ""what ifs"" that might have changed the outcome-and the history of the world.

The reports of the Lewis and Clark expedition . . . electrified the nation with their descriptions of a region of broad rivers and rich soil, of immense herds of buffalo and other game, of grassy prairies seemingly as illimitable as the ocean. . . . From the Louisiana Purchase would come, in future decades, the states of Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota, and large portions of what is now North Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, Minnesota, Colorado, and Louisiana. For the immediate future, the purchase, by doubling the size of the United States, transformed it from a minor to a major world power. The emboldened Americans soon absorbed West and East Florida and fought mighty England to a bloody stalemate in the War of 1812. Looking westward, the orators of the 1840s who preached the ""Manifest Destiny"" of the United States to preside from sea to shining sea based their oratorical logic on the Louisiana Purchase.

TURNING POINTS features preeminent writers offering fresh, personal perspectives on the defining events of our time.
Publisher: Hoboken, N.J. : John Wiley & Sons, c2003.
ISBN: 9780471267386
Branch Call Number: La 973.46 Fle
Characteristics: vi, 186 p. ; 21 cm.


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Feb 07, 2015

This is a very well written book.
The Publisher Weekly review and the publisher's descriptions do an excellent job of giving an overview of this amazing story. I was surprised at how much I did not know about one of the most important purchases in history.
They do not however mention the significant role of Haiti! I wonder if this is do to subtle racism? The Publisher Weekly review does briefly mention the yellow fever in Santo Domingo (which was part of Haiti at the time) as the reason the arrival of French troops were delayed. But this doesn't paint an accurate picture of what was going on.
The only successful slave rebellion in history had just taken place on Haiti and the Haitian fight for Independence from France by black freedom fighters was the primary reason that Napoleon did not have the military might in the Americas he needed to hold onto the Louisiana Territory. So thanks to Haiti Neapolitan gave up his dream of a new French colony in America and offered it for sale to the United States at a bargain price to quickly raise funds to try to hold together his European Empire. Fortunately for the people of Europe that failed.
The United States is remiss in it's failure to acknowledge the debt it owes to this tiny impoverished nation. Though the yellow fever carrying Haitian mosquitoes killed far more French solders than the ex-slave black freedom fighters if not for the Haitian slave rebellion and the Haitian fight for Independence the Louisiana Territory might well be to this day a French colony.
There are a few problems mainly some of the French words and terms are not translated into English and the big problem is THERE ARE NO MAPS . The lack of maps makes it hard to follow all the geographical references so you will want an Atlas at your side when you read it.


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