History of Montana - The Louisiana Purchase

The Louisiana Purchase

On April 30, 1803, the Louisiana Purchase Treaty was signed by Robert Livingston, James Monroe, and Barbé Marbois for the U.S. at Paris France. Jefferson announced the treaty to the American people on July 4, 1803. The area covered by the purchase included much of what is now Montana—part of the Missouri River drainage. The rights to the Louisiana Purchase territory cost the U. S. $15 million, which came out to an average of 3 cents an acre.

The United States Senate ratified the treaty on October 20. The following day, it authorized President Jefferson to take possession of the territory and establish a temporary military government. In legislation enacted on October 31, Congress made temporary provisions for local civil government to continue as it had under nominal French and Spanish rule, and authorized the President to use the U.S. Army to maintain order. France then turned New Orleans over to the United States on December 20, 1803. On March 10, 1804, a formal ceremony was conducted in St. Louis, Missouri, to transfer ownership of the territory from France to the United States of America.

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