Louisiana Purchase Timeline 1803

1803 In a nutshell: The treaty is signed. Lower Louisiana is transferred to US control. Lewis and Clark Expedition approved.

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7th Congress, 2nd Session

January 4, 1803

The House of Representatives debates Spain's cession of Louisiana to France.

January 5, 1803

The House of Representatives continues to debate Spain's cession of Louisiana to France.

The House of Representatives debates the navigation of the Mississippi.

January 6, 1803

The House of Representatives continues to debate Spain's cession of Louisiana to France.

January 7, 1803

The House of Representatives debates and passes a resolution on the navigation of the Mississippi.

January 11, 1803

The Senate receives a message from President Thomas Jefferson nominating "Robert Livingston to be Minister Plenipotentiary, and James Monroe to be Minister Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, to enter into a treaty or convention with the First Consul of France, for the purpose of enlarging, and more effectually securing, our rights and interests in the river Mississippi, and in the territories eastward thereof."

The House of Representatives continues to debate Spain's cession of Louisiana to France.

January 12, 1803

The Senate approves the nominations of Robert Livingston and James Monroe to enter into a treaty or convention with the First Consul of France.

The House of Representatives appropriates $2,000,000 for the purchase of Louisiana.

January 18, 1803

President Thomas Jefferson sends a secret letter to Congress asking for "the appropriation of two thousand five hundred dollars, for the purpose of extending the external commerce of the United States." This money will be used to fund the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

February 14, 1803

The Senate debates the Mississippi question and resolutions respecting the indisputable right of the United States to the free navigation of the Mississippi.

February 15, 1803

The Senate continues to debate the Mississippi question and resolutions respecting the indisputable right of the United States to the free navigation of the Mississippi.

February 16, 1803

The Senate continues to debate the Mississippi question and resolutions respecting the indisputable right of the United States to the free navigation of the Mississippi.

February 23, 1803

The Senate continues to debate the Mississippi question and resolutions respecting the indisputable right of the United States to the free navigation of the Mississippi.

February 24, 1803

The Senate continues to debate the Mississippi question and resolutions respecting the indisputable right of the United States to the free navigation of the Mississippi.

February 25, 1803

The Senate debates the Mississippi question and votes on resolutions respecting the indisputable right of the United States to the free navigation of the Mississippi; the Senate authorizes the president to "organize, arm, and equip, according to law, and hold in readiness to march, at a moment's warning, 80,000 effective militia."

February 28, 1803

President Thomas Jefferson signs into law "An act for extending the external commerce of the United States," which appropriates $2,500 for the Lewis & Clark Expedition.

April 30, 1803

Robert Livingston and James Monroe sign the Louisiana Purchase Treaty and Conventions in Paris, France.

8th Congress, 1st Session

September 30, 1803

Governor William C. C. Claiborne delivers an address to the citizens of Louisiana.

October 17, 1803

President Thomas Jefferson presents his Third Annual Message to Congress, which discusses the Louisiana Purchase.

President Thomas Jefferson sends a message to the Senate on the Louisiana Purchase treaty and related communications.

October 20, 1803

The Senate ratifies the Louisiana Purchase treaty by a vote of 24 yeas and 7 nays.

October 21, 1803

President Thomas Jefferson sends a message to Congress on the Louisiana Purchase treaty.

In addition to the presidential message, Jefferson submits to Congress a copy of the Louisiana Purchase treaties, as well as related communications written and received by Robert Livingston, James Monroe, Rufus King, James Madison, and Charles Pinckney during and after negotiations.

The Senate introduces “An act to enable the President of the United States to take possession of the territories ceded by France to the United States, by the treaty concluded at Paris on the thirtieth of April last, and for the temporary government thereof.”

The House of Representatives debates the Louisiana Treaty.

October 24, 1803

The House of Representatives continues to debate the Louisiana Treaty.

October 25, 1803

The House of Representatives continues to debate the Louisiana Treaty.

October 26, 1803

The Senate passes “An act to enable the President of the United States to take possession of the territories ceded by France to the United States, by the treaty concluded at Paris on the thirtieth of April last, and for the temporary government thereof.”

October 27, 1803

The House of Representatives debates “An act to enable the President of the United States to take possession of the territories ceded by France to the United States, by the treaty concluded at Paris on the thirtieth of April last, and for the temporary government thereof.”

The House of Representatives introduces a bill “Making provision for the payment of claims of citizens of the United States on the Government of France, the payment of which has been assumed by the United States, by virtue of the Convention of the thirtieth of April, one thousand eight hundred and three, between the United States and the French Republic.”

October 28, 1803

The House of Representatives passes "An act to enable the President of the United States to take possession of the territories ceded by France to the United States, by the treaty concluded at Paris on the thirtieth of April last, and for the temporary government thereof," together with the amendments agreed to the day before, which was read the third time.

The House of Representatives debates a bill “for carrying into effect the Convention of the thirtieth of April, one thousand eight hundred and three, between the United States of America and the French Republic,” which authorized the creation of a stock to the amount of $11,250,000.

October 29, 1803

The Senate retreats from its disagreement with the House of Representatives concerning the amendments the House insists on attaching to "An act to enable the President of the United States to take possession of the territories ceded by France to the United States, by the treaty concluded at Paris on the 30th of April last, and for the temporary government thereof.”

The House of Representatives debates and passes “An act making provision for the payment of claims of citizens of the United States on the Government of France, the payment of which has been assumed by the United States, by virtue of the Convention of the thirtieth of April, one thousand eight hundred and three, between the United States and the French Republic.”

October 31, 1803

President Thomas Jefferson signs into law “An act to enable the President of the United States to take possession of the territories ceded by France to the United States, by the treaty concluded at Paris on the thirtieth of April last, and for the temporary government thereof.”

November 2, 1803

The Senate debates “An act authorizing the creation of a stock to the amount of eleven millions two hundred and fifty thousand dollars, for the purpose of carrying into effect the Convention of the thirtieth of April, one thousand eight hundred and three, between the United States and the French Republic.”

The Senate passes “An act making provision for the payment of claims of citizens of the United States on the government of France, the payment of which has been assumed by the United States by virtue of the convention of the 30th of April, 1803, between the United States and the French Republic.”

November 3, 1803

The Senate debates and passes “An act authorizing the creation of a stock to the amount of eleven millions two hundred and fifty thousand dollars, for the purpose of carrying into effect the Convention of the thirtieth of April, one thousand eight hundred and three, between the United States and the French Republic.”

November 7, 1803

The House of Representatives agrees to the Senate amendment to “An act authorizing the creation of a stock to the amount of eleven millions two hundred and fifty thousand dollars, for the purpose of carrying into effect the Convention of the thirtieth of April, one thousand eight hundred and three, between the United States and the French Republic.”

November 10, 1803

President Thomas Jefferson signs into law “An act authorizing the creation of a stock to the amount of eleven millions two hundred and fifty thousand dollars, for the purpose of carrying into effect the Convention of the thirtieth of April, one thousand eight hundred and three, between the United States and the French Republic.”

President Thomas Jefferson signs into law “An act making provision for the payment of claims of citizens of the United States on the government of France, the payment of which has been assumed by the United States, by virtue of the convention of the 30th of April, 1803, between the United States and the French Republic.”

November 14, 1803

President Thomas Jefferson sends a message to Congress containing a “Description of Louisiana.” This description contains a digest of information known about Louisiana and discusses geography, population, militias, fortification, lands and titles, agriculture, the judicial system, education, religion, government, taxes and duties, expenses and debt, trade, and manufacturing.

November 29, 1803

President Thomas Jefferson sends a message to Congress containing a “Digest of the Laws of Louisiana” and a “Census of Louisiana.”

November 30, 1803

The House of Representatives introduces “An act giving effect to the laws of the United States within the Territories ceded to the United States by the treaty of the thirtieth of April, one thousand eight hundred and three, between the United States and the French Republic, and for other purposes.”

December 16, 1803

The House of Representatives debates “An act giving effect to the laws of the United States within the Territories ceded to the United States by the treaty of the thirtieth of April, one thousand eight hundred and three, between the United States and the French Republic, and for other purposes.”

December 19, 1803

The House of Representatives passes “An act giving effect to the laws of the United States within the Territories ceded to the United States by the treaty of the thirtieth of April, one thousand eight hundred and three, between the United States and the French Republic, and for other purposes.”

December 20, 1803

William C. C. Claiborne and James Wilkinson sign the documents officially transferring Lower Louisiana from France to the United States in New Orleans.

The transfer is announced in a letter addressed to Secretary of State James Madison.

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