|Author||George Frederick Augustus Ruxton|
|Publication Date||July 2, 2012|
When we bought the Louisiana Territory from Napoleon, in 1803, it was not from anj pressing need of land, for we still had millions of fertile acres east of the Mississippi. The purchase was made to forestall complications with foreign powers, either with the arch-conqueror himself, whose ambition was supposed to be the mastery of the whole world, or with Great Britain, to which the western country was sure to fall in case France should be defeated. Possession of Louisiana was essential to our free navigation of the Mississippi. The vast domain thus added to our boundaries was terra incog Tiita. A side from its strategic importance no one knew what it was good for. So Lewis and Clark were sent out from the frontier post of St. Louis to find a route to the Pacific and to report on what the new country was like. The only commercial asset that these explorers found which was immediately available was an abundance of fur-bearing animals. Fur may be called the gold of that period, and the news that there was plenty of it in the Rocky Mountains lured many an intrepid spirit of the border. Companies of traders proceeded at once up the Missouri to barter for peltrj vith the I ndians.
(Typographical errors above are due to OCR software and don't occur in the book.)
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