According to the U.S. Senate: On October 20, 1803, the Senate approved for ratification a treaty with France by which the United States purchased the Louisiana Territory. As a result of this treaty, the nation doubled in size, adding territory that would become the states of Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and parts of Minnesota, New Mexico, Montana, Wyoming, and Colorado. The vote was 24 to 7. 

The Purchase was made but how?

Here’s the deal in a nutshell. In the wild world of 1800s geopolitics, Spain did a double-take and handed Louisiana to France like a hot potato. Napoleon, dreaming big about a North American empire, got Uncle Sam sweating bullets over the Mississippi blockade threat. President Jefferson, not one to sit idle, sent his buddy to Paris with a hefty $2 million check in his pocket, ready to splurge up to $10 million. 

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But hold your horses! Just as Napoleon was getting cozy with his dreams of colonial conquest, Haiti's slave rebellion crashed his party. Add in a sprinkle of impending beef with Britain, and suddenly Napoleon needed cash like a kid needs candy. 

Surprise! The French foreign minister turns to Jefferson’s guy and asks, “Hey, how much for the whole shebang, Louisiana and all?” They haggle, they barter, and finally settle on a cool $15 million. That’s $340 million today, folks—talk about a steal of a deal! 

And that’s how America bought Louisiana, Napoleon made a buck, and Jefferson’s crew got a bargain that would make any bargain-hunter proud.  


On to the Iowa Flag

The Iowa flag, a vertical tricolor banner of blue, white, and red, is meant to imitate France's flag. Each hue on the flag has a purpose according to Dixie Cornell Gebhardt: red denotes bravery; white purity; and blue loyalty, justice, and truth. Those colors have quite the gig.  

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