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United States territory

By Levi Clancy for Student Reader on

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Louisiana Purchase

Livingston and James Monroe, whom Jefferson had sent to Paris to assist in the negotiations ... signed an agreement with Napoleon on April 30, 1803. By the terms of the treaty, the United States was to pay a total of 80 million francs ($15 million) to the French government. The United States was also to grant certain exclusive commercial privileges to France in the port of New Orleans and to incorporate the residents of Louisiana [page 180 begins] into the Union with the same rights and privileges as other citizens. The boundaries of the purchase were not clearly defined. In Washington, the president ... was pleased with the terms of the bargain; but he was uncertain about his authority to accept it, since the Constitution said nothing about the acquisition of new territory. But Jefferson's advisers persuaded him that his treaty-making power under the Constitution would justify the purchase, and Congress promptly approved the treaty. Finally, in 1803, General James Wilkinson, a commissioner of the United States, took formal control of the territory. Before long, the Louisiana Territory was organized on the general pattern of the Northwest Territory, with the assumption that it would be divided eventually into states. The first of these was admitted to the Union as the state of Louisiana in 1812. Brinkley, p 179 - 180