Thomas Jefferson has a bee in his bonnet.
It's about this vast stretch of riches out west.
How long before the British make New Orleans theirs?
You won't find a nastier gang
waiting to kick in your back door
...if you want to know Jefferson's
way of thinking.
An even bigger nightmare
is Napoleon finding a new appreciation
for the wealth waiting to be harvested
in the New World.
Caribbean French sugar plantations
have been a surprising
treasure trove for Napoleon's coffers.
And this is just the beginning.
Handwriting on the wall
Spain swaps Louisiana to France
for a plot of European turf.
Napoleon dispatches his brother-in-law,
General Charles Leclerc,
with an army of forty thousand
to put an end to this slave rebellion.
The French expedition meets disaster.
General Leclerc, along with most of his army,
die of yellow fever or battle wounds.
Only two thousand answer the final reveille
when Napoleon decides to call it quits.
The French Emperor realizes the vulnerability
in his plans for the New World.
He hasn't the navy needed to fend off
the fleet of his British enemy.
Of what use is New Orleans if he can't reach it?
Jefferson wants to buy Napoleon out.
He'll pay up to $7.5 million for New Orleans
and keep the French army off America's shores.
Napoleon needs quick revenue to finance
his newly planned European wars.
He offers all of Louisiana for $15 million.
That's three cents an acre.
Jefferson is thrilled at his luck.
He snaps up the deal even though
he doesn't have the money.
He simply borrows what he needs.
Just as Hamilton would have done.
It's Lewis and Clark
taking the new territory for a test drive.
They'll let you know what they found
when they get back in a couple of years.
If all goes well.
© Tom Taylor