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Primary Documents in American History

Louisiana Purchase

Treaty between the United States and France, April 29, 1803.
Treaty between the United States and France, April 29, 1803.
Manuscript document
Manuscript Division (102)

The Louisiana Purchase is considered the greatest real estate deal in history. The United States purchased the Louisiana Territory from France at a price of $15 million, or approximately four cents an acre. The ratification of the Louisiana Purchase treaty by the Senate on October 20, 1803, doubled the size of the United States and opened up the continent to its westward expansion.

Library of Congress Web Site | External Web Sites | Selected Bibliography

American Memory Historical Collections

An American Time Capsule: Three Centuries of Broadsides and Other Printed Ephemera

Louisiana Governor Newton Blanchard issued a proclamation in 1904 that reproduced Governor William C. C. Claiborne's 1803 proclamation to the citizens of Louisiana.

Search this collection using the phrase "Louisiana Purchase" to find more printed ephemera on this subject.

A Century of Lawmaking for a New Nation

The Louisiana Purchase: Legislative Timeline 1802-1807 explores the role of Congress in the Louisiana Purchase from 1802 to 1807, including ratification of the treaty, establishment of a territorial government, confrontation with Spain over boundary issues, and its limited role in the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

The James Madison Papers

On July 29, 1803, three months after the signing of the Louisiana Purchase treaty with France, Secretary of State James Madison wrote a letter to Robert Livingston and James Monroe informing them that the treaty and related dispatches had safely arrived in Washington, D.C.

Search this collection using the word "Louisiana" to locate additional documents related to this topic.

Louisiana: European Explorations and the Louisiana Purchase

This collection focuses on the various documents—from maps to newspapers to cultural artifacts—that help to describe the region of North America that stretched from as far east as Alabama into what is now the state of Montana. The 119 items presented here come from the various special and general collections of the Library of Congress. Includes the essay Louisiana: European Explorations and the Louisiana Purchase.

Map Collections: 1500-2004

Includes a map of Louisiana published in the 1804 edition of the Arrowsmith & Lewis New and Elegant General Atlas. Search or browse this collection to locate additional maps related to the Louisiana Purchase and the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

Nineteenth Century in Print: Periodicals

In 1890, articles in the New Englander and Yale Review and The New England Magazine examined the history of the Louisiana Purchase.

The Thomas Jefferson Papers at the Library of Congress

The complete Thomas Jefferson Papers from the Manuscript Division at the Library of Congress consists of approximately 27,000 documents. This is the largest collection of original Jefferson documents in the world.

Search on the word "Louisiana" to retrieve over one hundred documents. For example, Jefferson's Annual Message to Congress dated October 17, 1803, discussed in great detail the recent purchase of Louisiana from the French.

America's Story

Jump Back in Time: Senate Ratified the Louisiana Purchase Treaty, October 20, 1803.


American Treasures of the Library of Congress - Lewis and Clark Expedition

Provides maps and documents from the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

Rivers, Edens, Empire - Lewis & Clark and the Revealing of America

This exhibition contains maps, images and documents on the Lewis and Clark Expedition. The Before Lewis & Clark section of this exhibition includes documents and maps related to the Louisiana Purchase.

Thomas Jefferson

This exhibition focuses on the legacy of Thomas Jefferson--founding father, farmer, architect, inventor, slaveholder, book collector, scholar, diplomat, and the third president of the United States. A section on the West examines Jefferson’s role in the Louisiana Purchase and the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

Today in History

August 18, 1774

Explorer Meriwether Lewis was born on August 18, 1774 near Charlottesville, Virginia.

October 20, 1803

The Senate ratified the Louisiana Purchase treaty on October 20, 1803.

Link disclaimerExternal Web Sites

The Lewis & Clark Journey of Discovery, National Park Service

The Louisiana Purchase and Associated Documents, The Avalon Project at Yale Law School

The Louisiana Purchase Bicentennial: A Heritage Explored, Louisiana State University

The Louisiana Purchase Bicentennial Celebration: A Nation Reborn 1803-2003, Louisiana Purchase Bicentennial Commission

Our Documents, The Louisiana Purchase Treaty, National Archives and Records Administration

Monticello - Jefferson's West, Thomas Jefferson Foundation

Selected Bibliography

Cerami, Charles. Jefferson's Great Gamble: The Remarkable Story of Jefferson, Napoleon and the Men Behind the Louisiana Purchase. Naperville, Ill.: Sourcebooks, 2003. [Catalog Record]

Fleming, Thomas J. The Louisiana Purchase. Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley & Sons, 2003. [Catalog Record]

Kastor, Peter J., ed. The Louisiana Purchase: Emergence of an American Nation. Washington, D.C.: CQ Press, 2002. [Catalog Record]

Kennedy, Roger G. Mr. Jefferson's Lost Cause: Land, Farmers, Slavery, and the Louisiana Purchase. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003. [Catalog Record]

Kukla, Jon. A Wilderness So Immense: The Louisiana Purchase and the Destiny of America. New York: A.A. Knopf : Distributed by Random House, 2003. [Catalog Record]

Rodriguez, Junius P., ed. The Louisiana Purchase: A Historical and Geographical Encyclopedia. Santa Barbara, Calif.: ABC-CLIO, 2002. [Catalog Record]

Younger Readers

Blumberg, Rhoda. What's the Deal? Jefferson, Napoleon and the Louisiana Purchase. Washington, DC: National Geographic Society, 1998. [Catalog Record]

Burgan, Michael. The Louisiana Purchase. Minneapolis, Minn.: Compass Point Books, 2002. [Catalog Record]

Corrick, James A. The Louisiana Purchase. San Diego: Lucent Books, 2001. [Catalog Record]

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  October 16, 2008
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