Learn American History through 50 pop songs

The Louisiana Purchase

Synopsis

The Louisiana Purchase was the acquisition by the United States of America of 828,800 square miles of the French territory Louisiana in 1803. President Thomas Jefferson paid a total cost of 15 million dollars for the Louisiana Territory, which encompassed all or part of 14 current US states. This addition doubled the size of the United States and led to an era of westward expansion.

Lyrics

© Copyright 2010 by Mr. and Mrs. Gillenwater

I am Thomas Jefferson
And I have inherited a mighty hand
As the third President
I’ve made choices
I hear voices
Mountain ram and big horn sheep
Visit me, when I sleep

I am Thomas Jefferson
And I have concocted a crazy plan
What if the Mississippi
Was not the end
What if I send
James Monroe and Livingston
To deal with Napoleon

And the deal went down so smooth
We bought the open Mid-western sky
The great Dakota Plains
The long Missouri Rains
The Rocky Mountains – tall and wide
The Continental Divide
Oh yes it was worth it my Louisiana Purchase
Oh yes it was worth it my Louisiana Purchase
My $15 million dollar Louisiana Purchase
Oh yes, it was worth it!

I am Thomas Jefferson
And I have forever altered this great land
Now I need explorers
To map a route
To write about
Flowers, rocks, and the wildlife
What the Autumn nights are like

I am Thomas Jefferson
And I have assembled a traveling band
To be led by Meriwether Lewis
And William Clark

Who will embark
On a voyage and a mission
A cross-country expedition

And the journey was so rough
Under the open Mid-western sky
The great Dakota Plains
The long Missouri Rains
The Rocky Mountains – tall and wide
The Continental Divide
Oh yes it was worth it my Louisiana Purchase
Oh yes it was worth it my Louisiana Purchase
My $15 million dollar Louisiana Purchase
Oh yes, it was worth it!

We travel west and we see
Massive woods of red oak trees
Immense herds of buffalo
Deer, elk, and antelope
Thorns of prickly pear cactus
OH NO! that hungry grizzly bear wants to attack us!

I am Thomas Jefferson
And I have expanded to the western sands
With Sacagawea
And the Shoshone
Discoveries
America and what will be
Sea to shining sea!

And the country stretched across the land
Alive! This open Mid-western sky
The great Dakota Plains
The long Missouri Rains
The Rocky Mountains – tall and wide
The Continental Divide
Oh yes it was worth it my Louisiana Purchase
Oh yes it was worth it my Louisiana Purchase
My $15 million dollar Louisiana Purchase
Oh yes, it was worth it!

Vocabulary

Thomas Jefferson— After serving as a delegate during the Second Continental Congress and writing the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson went on to be the third President of the United States, serving from 1801 to 1809. During his presidency he brokered the Louisiana Purchase, more than doubling the size of the US for 15 million dollars.

James Monroe— James Monroe was sent by Jefferson to negotiate the deal of the purchase of the Louisiana Territory from France. He also became the fifth President of the United States, serving from 1817 – 1825.

Robert Livingston— Robert Livingston was an American lawyer, politician, and diplomat. He was sent along with James Monroe by Thomas Jefferson to negotiate the purchase of the Louisiana Territory from France.

Napoleon— Napoleon Bonaparte was the political and military leader of France during the early 19th century. It was from him that the Louisiana Territory was bought.

The Louisiana Purchase— The purchase of the 828,000 square miles of land Thomas Jefferson bought from France in 1803 roughly doubling the size of the United States for 15 million dollars.

Meriwether Lewis and William Clark— Lewis and Clark were the two chosen by Thomas Jefferson to explore the vast territories acquired in the Louisiana Purchase.

Sacagawea— A Shoshone Indian who helped Lewis and Clark navigate the newly acquired Louisiana Territories.

Shoshone— A Native American tribe. Sacagawea was a Shoshone.

Tiered Questions

Tier 1 Questions

Describe what the Louisiana Purchase was.

Who was the president who made the Louisiana Purchase? What year? How much?

Who explored the Louisiana Territory

Tier 2 Questions

Explain the roles of Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe, Robert Livingston, Napoleon Bonaparte, Meriwether Lewis, William Clark, and Sacagawea in the Louisiana Purchase.

Tier 3 Questions

Pretend you are on the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Make five journal entries describing what you see, hear, smell, and feel. Don’t forget emotions!

Test Prep Questions

1) The Louisiana Purchase was important to the United States because it

  • (1) expanded the nation’s boundary to the Pacific Ocean
  • (2) removed the Spanish from North America
  • (3) closed the western territories to slavery
  • (4) secured control of the Mississippi River

2) A geographic and economic motivation for the Louisiana Purchase (1803) was the desire to

  • (1) annex California
  • (2) secure land for the Erie Canal
  • (3) control the port of New Orleans
  • (4) own all of the Great Lakes

3) A major foreign policy success of President Thomas Jefferson’s administration was the

  • (1) purchase of the Louisiana Territory
  • (2) support for the Alien and Sedition Acts
  • (3) victory in the war of 1812
  • (4) passage of the Embargo Act

DBQ 1

Historical Context: During the 1800s, the federal government promoted westward expansion in a variety of ways. This expansion changed the shape and character of the country.

Task: Using information from the documents and your knowledge of United States history, answer the questions that follow each document.

  • Describe the actions taken by the federal government that led to westward expansion during the 1800s
  • Discuss the impact of westward expansion on the United States

Based on the map, state two methods used by the United States government to acquire new territory.

DBQ 2

Historical Context: Between 1800 and 1900, the United States experienced great economic growth. Two factors that contributed to this growth were government policies and technological developments.

Task: Using information from the documents and your knowledge of United States history, answer the questions that follow each document.

  • Discuss how government policies and technological developments influenced the growth of the United States economy between 1800 and 1900.

Based on the information on this map, what action did President Thomas Jefferson take to encourage the economic growth of the United States?

DBQ 3

During the 19th and 20th centuries, geography influenced many of the actions taken by the United States to expand its territory or to protect its national interests.

Task: Using information from the documents and your knowledge of United States history, answer the questions that follow each document.

  • Discuss the influence of geography on actions that supported the territorial expansion and/or the protection of United States national interests during the 19th and 20th centuries.

. . .The object of your mission is to explore the Missouri river; & such principal stream of it, as by its course & communication with the waters of the Pacific ocean, may offer the most direct & practicable water communication across this continent, for the purpose of commerce. . . .

— President Thomas Jefferson, Instructions to Meriwether Lewis, June 20, 1803; Library of Congress Exhibition on Thomas Jefferson

Based on these documents, what was one goal of President Thomas Jefferson when he instructed Meriwether Lewis to explore the Missouri River?

Thematic Essay 1

Theme: Geography and United States Government Actions
Geographic factors often influence United States government actions, both foreign and domestic. Some of these factors include location, physical environment, movement of people, climate, and resources,

Task: Identify two actions taken by the United States government that were influenced by geographic factors, and for each action:

  • Discuss the historical circumstances that resulted in the government action
  • Discuss the influence of a geographic factor on the action
  • Describe the impact of the government action on the United States

From your study of United States history, you may use any federal government action that was influenced by geography. Some suggestions you might wish to consider include the Louisiana Purchase (1803), issuance of the Monroe Doctrine (1823), passage of the Homestead Act (1862), decision to build the transcontinental railroad (1860s), acquisition of the Philippines (1898), decision to build the Panama Canal (early 1900s) and passage of the Interstate Highway Act (1956).

Thematic Essay 2

Theme: Territorial Expansion (1800–1900)
Various events or developments have influenced the territorial expansion of the United States. In 1800, the United States was a new nation of approximately 895,000 square miles of territory. By 1900, the nation had grown to about 3,000,000 square miles of territory.

Task: Identify two events or developments that had a significant impact on United States territorial expansion between 1800 and 1900 and for each event or development identified:

  • Discuss the historical circumstances surrounding the event or development
  • Evaluate the importance of the event or development on the growth of the United States

You may use any example from your study of United States history. Some suggestions you might wish to consider include Louisiana Purchase (1803), completion of the Erie Canal (1825), War with Mexico (1846–1848), Homestead Act (1862), completion of the first transcontinental railroad (1869), and Native American Indian policies (1800–1900).