Random Facts about how the United States got its Lands
HOW THE UNITED STATES GOT ITS LANDS
The United States bought Louisiana, the vast region between the Mississippi River, the eastern and northern boundary of Texas (then belonging to Spain), and the dividing ridge of the Rocky Mountains, together with what is now Oregon, Washington Territory, and the western parts of Montana and Idaho, from France for $11,250,000. This was in 1803. Before the principal, interest, and claims of one sort and another assumed by the United States were settled, the total cost of this "Louisiana purchase," comprising, according to French construction and our understanding, 1,171,931 square miles, swelled to $23,500,000, or almost $25 per section--a fact not stated in cyclopedias and school histories, and therefore not generally understood. Spain still held Florida and claimed a part of what we understood to be included in the Louisiana purchase--a strip up to north latitude 31--and disputed our boundary along the south and west, and even claimed Oregon. We bought Florida and all the disputed land east of the Mississippi and her claim to Oregon, and settled our southwestern boundary dispute for the sum of $6,500,000. Texas smilingly proposed annexation to the United States, and this great government was "taken in" December 29, 1845, Texas keeping her public lands and giving us all her State debts and a three-year war (costing us $66,000,000) with Mexico, who claimed her for a runaway from Mexican jurisdiction. This was a bargain that out-yankeed the Yankees, but the South insisted on it and the North submitted. After conquering all the territory now embraced in New Mexico, a part of Colorado, Arizona, Utah, Nevada and California, we paid Mexico $25,000,000 for it--$15,000,000 for the greater part of it and $10,000,000 for another slice, known as the "Gadsden purchase." In 1867 we bought Alaska from Russia for $7,200,000. All the several amounts above named were paid long ago. As for all the rest of our landed possessions, we took them with us when we cut loose from mother Britain's apron string, but did not get a clear title until we had fought ten years for it--first in the Revolutionary War, costing us in killed 7,343 reported--besides the unreported killed--and over 15,000 wounded, and $135,193,103 in money; afterward in the War of 1812-15, costing us in killed 1,877, in wounded 3,737, in money $107,159,003. We have paid everybody but the Indians, the only real owners, and, thanks to gunpowder, sword, bayonet, bad whisky, small-pox, cholera and other weapons of civilization, there are not many of them left to complain. Besides all the beads, earrings, blankets, pots, kettles, brass buttons, etc., given them for land titles in the olden times, we paid them, or the Indian agents, in one way and another, in the ninety years from 1791 to 1881, inclusive, $193,672,697.31, to say nothing of the thousands of lives sacrificed and many millions spent in Indian wars, from the war of King Philip to the last fight with the Apaches.