Historiography of the Purchase of Louisiana

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Historiography of the purchase of Louisiana

        The purchase of the Louisiana is one of the mega land deals in the history of the United States of America. The purchase of this land was a great achievement of Thomas Jefferson's presidency in the year 1803. Purchasing the land reflected a great accomplishment in his reign of the presidency. However, the purchase was accompanied by a great dilemma for President Thomas Jefferson. This is because the advantages of purchasing Louisianan were as great as the disadvantages.  The purchase would enable him to achieve his dream of possessing the port of New Orleans but on the other side, there were equal disadvantages. 

The purchase would make a great contribution to American history because it could be most controversial and largest land purchase. During this time, United States of America was putting efforts to try to solidify their national identity.  Two groups had caused the division in national identity. One of the subjects was westwards expansion that causes this national identity division. Therefore, the purchase of the land was backed by the southern states while the northern states opposed the purchase. Consequently, the purchase of the land raised many issues in the United States of America.  Making such a decision was not easy and would cause many changes in the country.

        Many books and article have been written concerning this greatest land deal in the United States of America. The history has been given in different dimensions depending on what the different authors think about the purchase. The reason why President Thomas Jefferson purchased the land is not clear and, therefore, people give different opinions about what might have convinced him to buy the land depending on the observed outcomes. On the other side, people have a different view on the impacts that the purchase brought to the United States of America. Some give more disadvantages while others view the advantages as being greater than the disadvantages. The differences in the arguments have raised many debates on the purchase history. People have given different analysis of the matter depending on their perspective. Each person is convinced that his or her argument is correct and, therefore, stands for it. Consequently, the history of this great land deal has evolved over time as people express their different thoughts about the whole purchase. Historians have a different approach to the issue as well as different study methods. Their interests and interpretations have changed from time to time and, therefore, different techniques and approaches have been experienced in the history of this great land purchase. Below is an analysis of different author's interpretation of the history and the changes that have taken time. The essay examines four different authors and the changes that have occurred.

Cardinal lemonades Goodwin is one of the authors who wrote about the history of the purchase of Louisianan. His approach gives the history of the acquisition and covers the period in which the United States of America was under expansion. He is a great contributor to the background history of the Louisiana Purchase. His history starts from 1803 when the land was purchased and ends fifty years later after the Gadsden Purchase. In the past fifteen years, individual students and historical societies have done great deals to promote the history of Mississippi communities.  A lot has been done in an effort of justifying settlement of people from the united states to Mississippi. The work of Goodwin is the start of the whole study about the purchase of the land. It acts as the base of the whole history where most historians have developed their arguments. The writer has freely used many secondary works especially monographic while dealing with Trans-Mississippi. However, he has not been able to resist his investigations from being utilized by historians.

        Goodwin has gone through different sources which have revealed more information. His investigations linked with this topic on the purchase of Louisiana have tried to account for the settlement of people from the united states to Mississippi. Therefore, his volumes have more truth on the reasons why people from the united states settled in Mississippi. Some of his information has been published in different articles and magazines. This information has been used in different institutions to study about the purchase of Louisiana. In addition, it has formed a great part of the purchase history that is widely accepted by people in the world.  Goodwin focus is on the way ownership of Louisiana exchange hands.

The history traces its origin form the time the United States feared that France would dominate Mississippi. Therefore, the history goes around there until now Thomas the president of the United States decided to purchase the land. It does not speak much about the effects that the purchase brought to the country but the way the exchange took place. He explains how Louisiana has been exchanging ownership from the time it was under Spain colonialists. Napoleon purchased this land in 1800 from the Spain colonialists and used slaves to make the land more productive.  He was unable to maintain the production after the slaves stood stern to fight for their freedom. It was after the slaves refused to give up their freedom that Napoleon found it necessary to sell the land to the Americans. The purchase of this land brought a great change in the history of the united states of America. The land was approximately half the United States. It had good climatic conditions and minerals that contributed the greater part of the United States wealth. The fact that the land was productive is predicted to be the reason why Thomas purchased the land. 

 From Goodwin, the history of Louisiana has evolved, and other authors have come with deeper analyses. Different authors give their perspectives on the history of purchase depending on the current benefits that the United States gets from the land. Researchers have come with more information about the purchase and the effects that were experienced in the United States because of the purchase. Peter J. Kastor came up with more sophisticated investigations about the purchase of the Louisiana. Like in most historical works, Peter has addressed topics about the purchase which most people probably did not have any information about. His interpretation relates the history of purchase to more complex issues that most people know nothing about.

 His approach does not concentrate much on the purchase but on the impacts brought by the purchases. His historical approach takes the reader into more detailed content about the purchase to topics that have not been well addressed by other authors. The author sometimes tends to address more complicated issues about the purchase which most of the people tend not to understand. This approach contributes a lot to the history of the purchase and adds more details about the purchase. His arguments are at a greater extent confusing and most of the time reveals a fresh content about the purchase of the Louisianan. His history offers a new perspective to things that seem familiar but opens a way for more critical historical questions which are not addressed in his book. 


        Peter Kastor who has been a great assistant professor of American cultural studies and history gives a different argument. Through his book on the purchase of Louisiana reflects a lot of intellectual maturity because of the approach that he takes in addressing the issue.  The approach brings a timely discussion about the meaning of nation-building, citizenship and state making. This approach evaluates the abilities that Thomas has on real estates. His arguments rotate on the knowledge that Jefferson applied in making America a great nation through the purchase of Louisianan. He connects the achieving to nation building where he view the purchase as the greatest step that Americans have ever taken to build their nation.

Peter concentrates much on the contributions that the purchase brought to the United States of America. The purchase may seem simple but from his perspective, it brought territories and great wealth to the United States of America. The land also brought the first country's population distribution where people found more place to reside. It created space for people to reside and therefore giving a relief to overcrowded areas in the United States.  African Americans, Native Americans, and Francophone got a place to reside after the land was purchased.  It also gave a chance for the country to acquire more citizens for maximum u utilization of resources. 

        Peter Kastor continues with his argument that the purchase of this land proved to be the basis of the United States nationhood. The greatest and most important task can be useful to a generation policy maker. It acted as the transformation of the United States nation by increasing its size as well as the population. The purchased land also gave the administrators experiences on how to govern large distance territory.  The country had to develop stronger governing strategies due to the increase in both land and population. Therefore, Peter's argument gives the history of the Louisianan another approach. He uses different techniques to explain the act of President Thomas Jefferson of purchasing land from France. His approach gives the fruits of benefit that America is reaping from the decision made by Thomas in 1802. It is from that decision that America has a history of the size it has today.

        John Kukla is also a great history writer and joins several written works about the purchase of Louisianan. He takes his reader back to explore the duplicity, diplomatic intrigues, and blinders that encouraged Napoleon to sell Louisiana to the president of the United States of America. Napoleon sold the land for paltry 25 million dollars in 1803.  His history starts from the American Revolution to the settlement of the Americans on Mississippi. From the French revolution to the slave revolt that was successful in the hint. Kukla traces the international reason that rendered the United States owner of Louisianan. From his argument, it was not predicted that America would become the owner of the land.

 At first, the French colony extended from Canada all the way to Mississippi and the United States did not have a right to navigate through Mississippi. Spain had given up the land to the French colonial power. On the other hand, the United States had an interest in the port of New Orleans and therefore had to sign a treaty to be allowed to navigate the area. After Spain secretly ceded Louisianan to Napoleon, officials from the United States started showing more concern about Mississippi. The Americans were much concerned about how Napoleon could possibly be in control of such a productive land.

 No other book could give a better view of the purchase of Louisiana history other than Kukla's book. The book had a different approach to the historical event and differed from other authors. He offers a beautiful, splendid narrative that focuses on the complex origin of the purchase. Kukla employs letters, contemporary documents, memories and a portfolio of other sources to create a compelling and full reason for the purchase of the Louisiana land. He uses a lot of creativity to link up events that turned a struggle for the right to navigate the Mississippi to actual ownership of the land by the United States of America. He aligns events from hinterlands to courts of France Spain and England to congress hall.

His technique gives a different taste of the story and a different historical dimension. The book takes the globe in understanding the failure of Napoleon to maintain the land and the need for money. kukla favors no one in his tale but gives the historical event as it happened. He brings to life a group of characters from Napoleon, Thomas Jefferson, John Jay, and Carlos III from Spain and other beautiful figures. The only thing that the book lacks is a grand theme that matches the grand subject in it. He gives the flow of event in his own unique approach to show that the purchase is actually one of the most important events in the history of America. 

        From his approach, Kukla explains why Napoleon found it necessary to sell the land to the American. At first, he had taken the advantages of the Haiti slaves who made the land more productive. His dreams were killed after the slaves resisted giving up their freedom. From his perspective the land was useless without the Haiti slaves. Therefore, he was afraid that he could lose the land to the Americans or Britain. It is at this point that he decided to sell the land to the Americans to be able to fund his war. He, therefore, offered to sell the land to prevent losing it to the Americans. Kukla gives a very interesting narrative on the way the whole negotiation happened. His description of the New Orleans fire in 1786 is an addition to his story. On the same, Kulka tries to account for the mission of Spanish Diego Gardoquis to the united states of America. The narrative of Kukla explains lots of details about the purchase of Louisianan. In his patient narrative is where all the information about the purchase anniversary will properly be served.

        Reginald Horseman gives the history of the Mississippi Valley as a rapidly growing area from time Louisiana was purchased by the United States of America. He explains the history in the broader context of national policy different from other historians. One of his main themes is the winning of the west by the United States. He addresses the issue of aggressive settlement that took place after the settlement of people from the United States to the land.   The history of the purchase of the Louisiana land by the United States of America has experienced a lot of changes. authors have a different approach in giving the history.

         Authors have different techniques of giving out their opinions about the history of the Louisiana Purchase.  History has developed from the original cause of the purchase. There are those who give the history based on the reasons why Napoleon found it necessary to sell his land to the United States of America. Others base their arguments on the process of selling, that are the events that followed after Napoleon agreed to sell the land. There were many procedures which involved great negotiation in courts. Napoleon sold the land because of fear that he could lose the land to Britain or the Americans.  This reason for many historians is vague and does not justify the selling of such a big land. Different authors view Napoleon as a failure because he thought that the land was worthless without slaves. They argue that it could be more sensible if he could utilize the land for the benefit of his country.

 The purchase of Louisiana has contributed a lot to change the history of America and the world in general. The event is considered as the greatest land deal in the world and therefore has a big part in world history. The purchase at first created a great dilemma to President Thomas who was not sure whether or not to buy the land. However, historians use his brave character to illustrate his knowledge of real estate. The land that he was getting was almost half of America. Buying the land could be costly but he never watched the future. Making a decision to buy that land was the greatest step that President Thomas Jefferson made in expanding the United States territorial boundaries.   Different authors allude from this event to illustrate national building and citizenship. Buying the land lead to an increase in both populations as resources in the United States.  Therefore, from the history, it's clear that buying land is one of the best things one can do for future development. The history of that land has been changing over time and authors are getting it necessary to concentrate on the changes that the purchase brought to the country.

In conclusion, Louisiana Purchase is the greatest land deal that has ever happened in the world.  The purchase has taken a great part in American history as well as the world history. The purchase has also been the base of American development and a contributor to the courtier's wealth. The history of the purchase has been addressed by different authors using different approaches and techniques. Therefore, its history has been evolving over time. The history of the purchase has been given in different ways due to rising issues that seem to be linked to history. The difference in author perspectives leads to a different presentation of the history. The facts and sources are same but different perspectives from the author bring that change in the history of Louisiana Purchase. 


  1. Cogliano, Frank. "Peter J. Kastor, The Nation's Crucible: The Louisiana Purchase and the Creation of America (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2004,? 25.00). Pp. 310. ISBN 0-300-101119-8.-." Journal of American Studies 39, no. 3 (2005): 562-563.
  2. Goodwin, Cardinal. "The Trans-Mississippi West." A History of its Acquisition and Settlement (1803-1853). New York (1922).
  3. Horsman, Reginald. The frontier in the formative years, 1783-1815. Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1970.
  4. Onuf, Peter S. "Jon Kukla. A Wilderness So Immense: The Louisiana Purchase and the Destiny of America. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. 2003. Pp. x, 430. $30.00." (2004): 519-520.


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Historiography of the Purchase of Louisiana. (2019, Oct 31). Retrieved July 13, 2024 , from

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