Immediately following Senate ratification of the Louisiana Purchase Treaty in October 1803, President Thomas Jefferson asked Congress to pass the necessary laws to carry out the provisions of the treaty. Within weeks, both the Senate and the House had passed bills authorizing the creation of stock for the purchase and authorizing the President to take possession and govern Louisiana.
The broadside featured here resides in the Records of the U.S. House of Representatives. It was created in December of 1803 by the Government for the purpose of clarifying for the people of New Orleans their citizenship status. That it was written in French, Spanish, and English reveals much about the territory’s population and its past.
Review with students the various elements of the Louisiana Purchase. (See Our Documents #17, Jefferson's Secret Message to Congress Regarding Exploration of the West, 1803, and #18, Louisiana Purchase Treaty.) Ask students to pretend to be a government official in the Jefferson administration that was responsible for informing the citizens of the Louisiana Territory about the change in ownership. Encourage student pairs to develop a plan of action. After students have developed their plans, share the broadside with them Ask them to compare the methods used in the broadside with their proposed methods in a class discussion or in an individually assigned single-page comparison paper.