A wilderness so immense : the Louisiana Purchase and the destiny of America



Transcription of Annotations

Notes on front endpapers refer to the death of the King of Spain Carlos III in 1789 as an event that allowed the U.S. to pursue the Louisiana Purchase more aggressively. It is noted that the Federalists were of the opinion that this enterprise went against the constitution. The notes also mention a letter by the Spanish negotiator Gardoqui to the Spanish King in 1786 referring to the controversy in Congress regarding the Mississippi. In secret negotiations with Gardoqui, John Jay stated that the northern states were interested in a treaty that would close the Mississippi for up to thirty years in exchange for access to Spanish ports. James Monroe, on the other hand, wanted the river to open up. In 1800 Spain ceded Louisiana back to France. The famous bathroom incident when Lucien and Joseph Bonaparte confront their brother Napoleon about his intent to sell Louisiana without the consent of the Chambers is also referred to in the notes. The Treaty of San Lorenzo is described as "one of the great successes in American diplomacy". A list of American and French politicians and their role in the negotiations is also included in the notes. -- Annotations by Brian Lamb in the margins and underlining of pertinent phrases throughout the book. -- Examples: p. 5: "Key participants in story of Louisiana Purchase: Thomas Jefferson, Robert Livingston, James Monroe, Napoleon Bonaparte, Francois Barbé-Marbois, Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord. -- p. 139: "The revival or Père Antoine's appointment as Louisiana commissary of the Inquisition and his specific assignment to root out subversive literature were direct reflections of Spain's initial reaction to the French Revolution - an event that shocked the Atlantic world, played havoc with Spanish efforts to maintain control of the Mississippi River Valley, and in many ways set the stage for the Louisiana Purchase."


Kukla, Jon, “A wilderness so immense : the Louisiana Purchase and the destiny of America,” One Book. One Author. One Hour., accessed November 29, 2022, http://booknotes.gmu.edu/items/show/601.


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A wilderness so immense : the Louisiana Purchase and the destiny of America


Kukla, Jon


Program air date: July 6, 2003


Publisher's description: The remarkable story of the land purchase that doubled the size of our young nation, set the stage for its expansion across the continent, and confronted Americans with new challenges of ethnic and religious diversity. In a saga that stretches from Paris and Madrid to Haiti, Virginia, New York, and New Orleans, Jon Kukla shows how rivalries over the Mississippi River and its vast watershed brought France, Spain, Great Britain, and the United States to the brink of war and shaped the destiny of the new American republic. We encounter American leaders--Jefferson and Jay, Monroe and Pickering among them--clashing over the opening of the West and its implications for sectional balance of power. We see these disagreements nearly derailing the Constitutional Convention of 1787 and spawning a series of separatist conspiracies long before the dispute over slavery in the territory set the stage for the Missouri Compromise and the Civil War. Kukla makes it clear that as the French Revolution and Napoleon's empire-building rocked the Atlantic community, Spain's New World empire grew increasingly vulnerable to American and European rivals. Jefferson hoped to take Spain's territories--piece by piece, --while Napoleon schemed to reestablish a French colonial empire in the Caribbean and North America. Interweaving the stories of ordinary settlers and imperial decision-makers, Kukla depicts a world of revolutionary intrigue that transformed a small and precarious union into a world power--all without bloodshed and for about four cents an acre.


"Louisiana Purchase."


Brian Lamb Booknotes Collection
Gift of Brian Lamb, 2011.


A.A. Knopf
George Mason University. Libraries. Special Collections & Archives


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1st ed.