History Note for Kids
Thomas Jefferson was the 3rd US President. He served as
president from 1801-1809. It was a time of exploration and trade.
Fulton's Steamboat made its first trip on the Hudson River. Louis
and Clark left on a voyage of exploration from St Louis toward the
At this time in history, France owned the port of New
Orleans. Napoleon decided to block the US from using the French port. He
knew the United States needed access to a big port for shipping and trade.
And Napoleon needed money. England and France were at war. Napoleon needed
a big chunk of money fast to fight the war.
As Napoleon expected, President Jefferson sent a
representative to France to attempt to buy a piece of New Orleans.
Instead, the United States government was able to buy much more land than
they had expected, and for very little money per acre.
In 1803, the
United States bought 500,000,000 acres of land at approximately 3 cents an
acre! That piece of land was known as the Louisiana Purchase. The
land purchased included the entire city of New Orleans.
With this one purchase, Napoleon gained the money he
needed to fight a war with England, and the United States gained enough
land to double in size. Even today, the Louisiana Purchase (in 1803)
still ranks as one of the best real estate deals in history.
Louisiana Purchase for Kids