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Portrait of Alexander Hamilton, 1832

Alexander Hamilton Portrait
New York State Archives, NYSA_A3045-78_559
Document Description
A portrait of Alexander Hamilton by John Trumbull, 1832.
Who decided that the United States would purchase the Louisiana Territory from France? 
How much did the United States pay for the Louisiana Territory?
Was this a good purchase? Why or why not?
Why were some Americans unhappy with the Louisiana Purchase?
How might United States history be different if the United States had not bought the Louisiana Territory from France?
How might United States history be different if Alexander Hamilton had supported the secession of northern states over the issue of the Louisiana Purchase?
Historical Challenges
Create a timeline of Alexander Hamilton’s life showing major events and accomplishments. Chose the accomplishment you think is most important and write a paragraph describing the accomplishment and explaining why you think it was Hamilton’s most important one.
Interdisciplinary Connections
Math: About how many dollars per square mile did the United States pay for the Louisiana Territory? If there are 640 acres in one square mile, about how much per acre did the United States pay? Does your number match the amount given by other sources?
Science: Choose five plants or animals that Lewis and Clark discovered on their expedition across Louisiana Territory. Make a booklet including one page for each discovery. For each discovery, draw a picture of the plant or animal, write its common and Latin names, describe the location and climate where it is found, and include any interesting facts about the species.
English Language Arts: Many of Thomas Jefferson’s opponents said that the Louisiana Territory was a worthless purchase and that Jefferson did not have the authority to purchase it without the approval of Congress. Chose a side and write a speech arguing for or against the United States’ purchase of the Louisiana Territory.
Adler, David. Picture Book of Lewis and Clark. Holiday House, Inc., May 2003. ISBN: 0823417956
Randsom, Candice. Lewis and Clark (History Maker Bios Series). July 2002. ISBN: 0760733902
Myers, Laurie. Lewis and Clark and Me: A Dog's Tale. Henry Holt & Company, Incorporated, August 2002. ISBN: 0805063684

Historical Context
The Louisiana Purchase has been called the greatest real estate venture in history. On April 30, 1803, the United States acquired from France 828,000 square miles of land west of the Mississippi River. This land stretched north from the Gulf of Mexico to Canada and west from the Mississippi River to the Rocky Mountains. This new land nearly doubled the size of the United States!

Even so, not everyone in the United States was happy with the Louisiana Purchase. Some members of the Federalist Party in New England were so opposed to the purchase that they planned to separate from the United States.  Alexander Hamilton, who was a Federalist leader and the first Secretary of Treasury, helped to stop the secession of northern states.

Essential Question
How do individuals influence national and global events?
Check for Understanding
Describe the individual in the portrait and explain the role of Alexander Hamilton in westward expansion.