The Louisiana Purchase: A Thing That Probably Happened

In 1803, Thomas Jefferson bought the Louisiana Purchase for $15 million. The French wanted $25 million, but Jefferson was able to talk the French down because the Louisiana Purchase included Arkansas.

So why were the French willing to part with the massive Louisiana Purchase, stretching from New Orleans to Montana, for only three cents per acre? To pay off Napoleon’s massive gambling debts. Napoleon was in deep to the Mob, and needed cash fast. Napoleon had bet $20 million for the Dolphins to win the 1802 Super Bowl, even though neither the Miami Dolphins nor the Super Bowl would exist for another 160 years. He lost big time, and the Mob wanted their cash, pronto. The Mob had threatened to make Napoleon ten inches taller, which would have ruined his whole image.

Napoleon had to do something, and so we ended up with the Louisiana Purchase. Though sadly, we did not keep the receipt, so we’re stuck with Arkansas.

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