Early negotiations by Robert R. Livingston to purchase New Orleans failed. However, when Napoleon lost of control over Haiti and was in dire need of funds to support his war effort against Britain in Europe, a window of opportunity opened.
James Monroe was sent to Paris and the American negotiators were authorized to spend up to $2 million for New Orleans and adjacent land. They were surprised when Napoléon offered them a much bigger deal – the entire French controlled North American Territory for $15 million.
Although not authorized to make such a large purchase, Robert Livingston and James Monroe took a chance, overstepped their orders, and accepted the offer of the entire Louisiana Territory. Final negotiations were carried out with the Marquis de Barbé Marbois, Napoleon's minister of the treasury.