Page:Handbook for Boys.djvu/344

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By Waldo H. Sherman, Author of "Civics —Studies in American Citizenship"


America is the home of social, religious, and political liberty—"the land of the free and the home of the brave." As a nation, we have always been rich in land, and for this reason millions of people have sought our shores. We have come into possession of our territory through treaty, purchase, and annexation. In speaking of our territorial area we usually speak of the "original territory" and "additions" to same. When we speak of "original territory" we mean that part of the United States which was ceded to us by Great Britain in the peace treaty of x783, at the dose of the War of the Revolution. This territory, in brief, is described as follows: East to the Atlantic Ocean, west to the Mississippi River, north to the Great Lakes and Canada, and as far south as the northern line of Florida. We sometimes hear it spoken of as the territory of the "Thirteen Original States," meaning the states that formed the Government of the Constitution in 1789. However ff we look at the map we shall see that the original territory includes not only the territory of the thirteen original states, but comprises also land out of which twelve other states have been formed. Looking at this area to-day, however, it seems a small part of our country compared with our present limits.


Louisiana Purchase: What is known as the Louisiana Purchase we bought from France in 1803. It consisted of 875,025 square miles, for which we paid $15,000,000. It is described as follows: west of the Mississippi River to the Rocky Mountains, north to Canada, and south to the Gulf of Mexico, exclusive of Texas. This is a territory greater than the present combined areas of Spain, Portugal, Italy, Hungary, and the Balkan states.