The Louisiana Purchase

Front Cover
Wiley, Oct 7, 2003 - History - 192 pages
3 Reviews
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.

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Review: The Louisiana Purchase

User Review  - Eric - Goodreads

Interesting and relatively brief narrative about a pivotal even in American history. It's hard to imagine America today that doesn't include the 800,000-plus square miles acquired in the Louisiana ... Read full review

Review: The Louisiana Purchase

User Review  - Anne - Goodreads

Napoleon really did agree to it out of his bathtub. And then he got into a fight with his brother and splashed water on him. Thats about as exciting as the book gets; even though the revolt on the island of Santo Domingo and the loss of French life there was pretty interesting. Read full review

About the author (2003)

THOMAS FLEMING is the author of more than forty works of history and historical fiction, including Liberty!: The American Revolution; Duel: Alexander Hamilton, Aaron Burr, and the Future of America; and The New Dealersí War: FDR and the War Within World War II. He contributes regularly to American Heritage and many other magazines and is a frequent guest and contributor on NPR, PBS, A&E, and History Channel programs. A Fellow of the Society of American Historians, he has served as chairman of the American Revolution Round Table and as president of the PEN American Center.