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Pioneer, who named "Kaintuckee" (Canelands). By Morgan. Kentucky pioneers.
Colonel Daniel Boone.
By Chester Harding.
First Governor of Kentucky.
From the paintings in possession of Colonel Reuben T. Durrett, Louisville, Kentucky.
THE LOUISIANA PURCHASE
CURTIS M. GEER, PH. D.
OF THE FACULTIES OF THE HARTFORD THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY,
Author of English Colonization Ideas in the Reign of Elizabeth, etc.,
PRINTED FOR SUBSCRIBERS ONLY BY
GEORGE BARRIE & SONS, PHILADELPHIA
THE United States owes to France two of her most precious possessions: the first, independence; the second, the Louisiana Purchase. The winning of the first has in THE HISTORY OF NORTH AMERICA been chronicled in the volume entitled The Revolution; the gaining of the second is set forth in the volume now before us. The imperial expanse of fertile country stretching from the Mississippi Delta to the borders of what is now Canada was a domain of which Spain and France, by whom it had been held, knew little. True, their trappers and traders had stations. throughout it, and expeditions now and again penetrated its fastnesses, even in the early days before the Western settlements of the United States had waxed lusty and prosperous and burdened the Father of Waters with their productions in transit to the town of New Orleans. But the Spanish, after the French, and the French again after the Spanish, though in truth the later French occupation was short, made little avail of the riches at their hands; in fact, they grasped only and seemingly cared more to prevent others from profiting by the country to the westward of the Mississippi than to use it themselves. But this policy, this opposition to American development, was destined to operate to the advantage of the new republic; for it forced it to take action destined to put an end to the intolerable situation by which the entire portion of its territory west of the Alleghanies was compelled to forego the free use of its natural outlet to the world's commerce,-the Mississippi River. It is at
this juncture that we find France again the benefactor of the United States, and for the same reason-antagonism to Great Britain-that had caused her a quarter of a century before to give her aid to the colonies warring for independence.
The tremendous importance of the Louisiana Purchase is threefold: as we have suggested, it gave to the Western States and the Northwest Territory free communication with the Gulf of Mexico and thus with the world. It added to the territory of the United States a country exceeding in extent the original thirteen States themselves. But the third result of the cession of the Louisiana Purchase by France will by some be placed far above its fellows in the scale of importance. That third result has been so far-reaching that the end of its influence has not only not been approached, but it is not even to be predicted. In other words, the acquisition of the great district known as Louisiana was the first step in the progress of expansion that has given to the United States their position upon the North American continent and, we may add, in the world.
Benjamin Franklin has been rightly called the first great expansionist; the second was James Monroe, as some have said; and the third, Thomas Jefferson. It was Thomas Jefferson who made possible the ratification of the plans of Monroe, and against his own fixed opinions of constitutionality Jefferson secured to the United States Louisiana, as Monroe afterward secured Florida. The debates upon Louisiana in the first decade of the nineteenth century are of the greatest importance, and the opinions these enunciated by those favoring or opposing the acquisition of Louisiana, are the bases of countless arguments that for a century have furnished arms to contending politicians.
A few of these arguments had root in the controversies that had attended the creation of the States of Tennessee and Kentucky and in the organization of the Northwest Territory, but the case of Louisiana differed radically from that of either the trans-Alleghany States or the Northwest.