Page:Writings of Thomas Jefferson, III, IV.djvu/12

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.


ii
The Louisiana Purchase

Marshall, with the abolition of slavery, with the overthrow of secession and the complete triumph of an indissoluble union, and with the Spanish war and all its far-reaching consequences. The Louisiana Purchase nearly doubled the boundaries of the republic. It added to her territory a little less than a million square miles of territory. It broadened the domain of our country by an extension which was larger in itself than Great Britain, France, Germany, Spain, Portugal and Italy combined. It gave us what has become one of the most fertile and opulent sections of the nation and the home of nearly fifteen millions of happy and contented Americans. It was an indispensable preliminary to the later acquisition of that vast domain which extends from the Gulf to Vancouver, embracing Texas, California, Oregon and Washington, and which added more than a million square miles to our territory, now the home of six millions more of thrifty and happy Americans who live and move and have their being within its domain. It was the first great expansion of the republic, and the manifesto of its continued extension with the advance of the world.

The honor which belongs to Jefferson is not simply that of being President when the purchase was made. He was the father of the vital policy which brought that splendid culmination. The crucial necessity which led up to the acquisition of Louisiana was the free navigation of the Mississippi River. The great Father of Waters was our western boundary and the