IOWA BOUGHT BY UNCLE SAM
Iowa is part of a large territory that was
bought from France by representatives of the United States.
This purchase of Louisiana was almost an accident. The men
who bought it for the United Stares had no authority to buy th
eland and when they set out had no intention of buying it.
They bought it, as many things are bought today, because it
THE LOWER MISSISSIPPI
By owning both banks of the lower Mississippi,
Spain could control all the business on the river. She used
this control to get money by charging taxes on all boars on
the river. She also tried to turn the settlers and
backwoodsmen that lived on American land against the United
States Government. She thought she could do this because our
country was young and weak at that time. But American
citizens in the upper Mississippi Valley said they should have
the right to send their goods down the river without being
taxed. They asked the United States Government to help them.
The backwoodsmen said they would take their rifles and
capture New Orleans. The Spanish governor was afraid of these
men and it looked like war.
In 1795, Thomas Pickney, then American
Minister to Spain, succeeded in getting that country to agree
to a treaty. Under the new agreement the citizens of the
United States were given free use of the Mississippi River.
The treaty encouraged settlers to come to the "Northwest
Shortly after the treaty of 1795, Napoleon
Bonaparte, a young French soldier, became ruler of France. He
wanted to establish a strong colony in America. Because of
his great power in Europe, Spain feared him and secretly gave
Louisiana territory back to France in 1800. The United States
did not want France, under so powerful a ruler as Napolean,
for a neighbor in North America. The settlers were afraid
that the French would not allow them the free use of the
Mississippi River as the Spaniards had done.
JEFFERSON TRIES TO BUY NEW ORLEANS
Robert Livingston was United States Minister
to France. Jefferson wrote to him and said, "There is on the
globe one single spot, the possessor of which is our natural
and habitual enemy. It is New Orleans, through which the
produce of three eighths of our territory must pass to market,
and from its fertility this area will ere long yield more than
half of our produce and contain more than half of our
inhabitants. France, placing herself at that door, assumes to
us the attitude of hostility.
President Jefferson sent James Monroe as a
special representative to help Livingston buy from France the
island of New Orleans and the east bank of the Mississippi.
But Napoleon did not want to sell. The American
representatives worked with him for weeks without success.
Suddenly Napoleon changed his mind. He was
about to go to war with England and feared that because of her
large navy England would be able to take Louisiana away from
him. Furthermore he needed money. So one day he surprised
the American representatives by offering to sell them all of
Louisiana. But Monroe and Livingston had not been given the
right to buy so much land. President Jefferson had told them
to offer two million dollars for th eland he wanted. When
Napoleon offered to sell all of Louisiana they did not at
first know what to do. But they decided to accept Napoleon's
proposition and buy it. After Livingston had signed his name
to the papers he said to Monroe, "We have lived long, but this
is the noblest work of our lives."
TROUBLE OVER THE PURCHASE
Much trouble was caused by the agreement that
was made between Napoleon's agents and Livingston and Monroe.
France had agreed not to sell Louisiana without Spain's
consent. Now Spain objected to the sale but Napoleon was so
strong that he paid no attention to what Spain said. The
French government was also supposed to vote on such a sale,
and many leading Frenchmen were opposed to selling Louisiana.
Napoleon, however, sold it without their consent.
In this country Jefferson did not know whether
he had the right to buy land. He wanted the Constitution
changed so as to give him that power. His friends who wanted
the land told him that it would take several years to make
such a change and that Napoleon might not want to sell by that
time. So Jefferson signed the treaty. Some people said the
land was no good and that we paid too much. Others were
fearful that new states created in the future out of this
territory would give the people of the Mississippi Valley more
power in the nation than the people of the original states now
had. But Jefferson's party was in control of Congress at this
time and favored the purchase.
Congress agreed to the treaty on October 19,
1803. On December 20 of the same year Governor William C.
Claiborne who had been appointed by President Jefferson, took
over the government of New Orleans. Since that time Iowa has
always been a part of the United States.