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Books on Louisiana Purchase - History

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Books on the Louisiana Purchase


The Louisiana Purchase

Like many other major events in world history, the Louisiana Purchase is a fascinating mix of destiny and individual energy and creativity. . . . Thomas Jefferson would have been less than human had he not claimed a major share of the credit. In a private letter . . . the president, reviving a favorite metaphor, said he "very early saw" Louisiana was a "speck" that could turn into a "tornado." He added that the public never knew how near "this catastrophe was." But he decided to calm the hotheads of the west and "endure" Napoleon's aggression, betting that a war with England would force Bonaparte to sell. This policy "saved us from the storm." Omitted almost entirely from this account is the melodrama of the purchase, so crowded with "what ifs" that might have changed the outcome-and the history of the world.

The reports of the Lewis and Clark expedition . . . electrified the nation with their descriptions of a region of broad rivers and rich soil, of immense herds of buffalo and other game, of grassy prairies seemingly as illimitable as the ocean. . . . From the Louisiana Purchase would come, in future decades, the states of Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota, and large portions of what is now North Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, Minnesota, Colorado, and Louisiana. For the immediate future, the purchase, by doubling the size of the United States, transformed it from a minor to a major world power. The emboldened Americans soon absorbed West and East Florida and fought mighty England to a bloody stalemate in the War of 1812. Looking westward, the orators of the 1840s who preached the "Manifest Destiny" of the United States to preside from sea to shining sea based their oratorical logic on the Louisiana Purchase.

TURNING POINTS features preeminent writers offering fresh, personal perspectives on the defining events of our time.


Louisiana History : An Annotated Bibliography

From the accounts of 18th-century travelers to the interpretations of 21st-century historians, Jumonville lists more than 6,800 books, chapters, articles, theses, dissertations, and government documents that describe the rich history of America's 18th state. Here are references to sources on the Louisiana Purchase, the Battle of New Orleans, Carnival, and Cajuns. Less-explored topics such as the rebellion of 1768, the changing roles of women, and civic development are also covered. It is a sweeping guide to the publications that best illuminate the land, the people, and the multifaceted history of the Pelican State.

Arranged according to discipline and time period, chapters cover such topics as the environment, the Civil War and Reconstruction, social and cultural history, the people of Louisiana, local, parish, and sectional histories, and New Orleans. It also lists major historical sites and repositories of primary materials. As the only comprehensive bibliography of the secondary sources about the state, ^ILouisiana History^R is an invaluable resource for scholars and researchers.


Louisiana History

Special Order

Race & Democracy: The Civil Rights Struggle in Louisiana, 1915-1972
by Adam Fairclough
Paperback from University of Georgia Press

Strange True Stories of Louisiana
by George Washington Cable
Paperback from Pelican Pub Co
1994

Soul by Soul: Life Inside the Antebellum Slave Market
by Walter Johnson
Paperback from Harvard Univ Pr

Storyville, New Orleans, Being an Authentic, Illustrated Account of the Notorious Red-Light District
by Al Rose

Talking With Tebé : Clementine Hunter, Memory Artist
by Mary E. Lyons
Hardcover from Houghton Mifflin Co

Transforming New Orleans and Its Environs: Centuries of Change
by Craig E. Colten
Paperback from Univ of Pittsburgh Pr (Txt)

Time and Place in New Orleans: Past Geographies in the Present Day
by Richard Campanella
Hardcover from Pelican Pub Co

Under Stately Oaks: A Pictorial History of LSU
by Thomas F. Ruffin, Jo Jackson, Mary J. Hebert, J. Michael Desmond
Hardcover from Louisiana State University Press

Vestiges of Grandeur: The Plantations of Louisiana's River Road
by Richard Sexton, Alex S. MacLean, Eugene Darwin Cizek, Eugene Cizek
Hardcover from Chronicle Books

Way Down Yonder in Plaquemines
by Janice P. Buras

We As Freemen: Plessy v. Ferguson
by Keith Weldon Medley
Hardcover from Pelican Pub Co


“Lincoln Parish, Louisiana Marriage Records 1873-1901.” Willie Huffman Farley, J & W Enterprises, 1987. Lincoln Parish was created in 1873 and taken from Bienville, Claiborne, Jackson and Union Parishes. This index lists bride, groom, date of marriage, and book and page number of marriage license. Note: this is an INDEX for the years 1873-1901 only.

“Biographical Historical Memoirs-Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana.” Donna Rachal Mills, Mills Historical Press, 1985. Contains many stories with information like who held public offices, etc. “Catholic Natchitoches 1729-1803.” Elizabeth Shown Mills Polyanthos, Inc. 1977. A transcription of Catholic church records of marriages and births in Natchitoches Parish, LA from 1729-1803.
“The Natchitoches Cemeteries.” Lucille Keater Prud’homme and Fern B. Christensen Polyanthos, Inc. 1977. Cemetery listings transcribed.
“Natchitoches Church Marriages 1818-1850.” Elizabeth Shown Mills Mills Historical Press 1985. Record of Catholic marriages in Natchitoches Parish, LA from 1818-1850.
“Red River Parish: Our Heritage.” The Red River Parish Heritage Society, 1989. A book that greatly details family histories as well as history of local events of Red River Parish, LA, as well as Natchitoches Parish, LA (Red River Parish was Natchitoches Parish prior to 1873). Many individuals are contained within.


"There is on the globe one single spot"

Rumors of the secret retrocession of Louisiana from Spain to France prompted anxiety in Washington city. By May 1801 the American minister to Great Britain, Rufus King, had apprised President Thomas Jefferson with some certainty of the transaction, an event that Jefferson said was an inauspicious circumstance to us. 10 Painfully aware of the potential difficulties in having Napoleonic France as a neighbor, Jefferson informed William C. C. Claiborne, governor of the Mississippi Territory, that he regarded Spanish "possession of the adjacent country as most favorable to our interests, & should see, with extreme pain any other nation substituted for them. Should France get possession of that country, it will be more to be lamented than remedied by us ¦" 11 In November 1801 Secretary of State James Madison received a copy of the Treaty of San Ildefonso from Ambassador King, confirming the diplomatic transaction previously denied by France.

Over the course of several years President Thomas Jeffersonprepared to handle an impending French presence in the Mississippi Valley and his administration's first great diplomatic crisis. Jefferson was probably America's foremost geographical thinker and a student of the American West. The plight of the western farmers evoked his empathy and his support. He was also a long-time friend of France his stint as ambassador to Paris (1784-89) had familiarized him with French diplomacy and politics. A political veteran of the American Revolution, Jefferson was also an Anglophobe.

By early 1802 events in Europe led Jefferson to reappraise and reformulate American relations with France, especially in light of her intended occupation of the Mississippi River and the port of New Orleans. War between France and Great Britain was expected. Jefferson realized that if France claimed Louisiana, Great Britain would try to capture and occupy the region. In a April 18, 1802, letter to Minister Robert R. Livingston, Jefferson revealed that the prospect of potential war with France and the unpleasant consequence of an alliance with Great Britain completely reverses all the political relations of the U.S.

Jefferson and Secretary of State James Madison had hoped to fashion a foreign policy congenial to French interests. They disapproved of the slave uprising in Saint Domingue, intimating through diplomatic channels that the United States might assist France in subduing L'Ouverture. They appointed the pro-French Robert R. Livingstonas American minister to Paris. In May 1802 Madison instructed Livingston to negotiate for the purchase of New Orleans. Livingston was also directed to ascertain whether the cession included East Florida and West Florida, and, if so, to negotiate a price for acquiring them, or at least the right of navigation and deposit on one of the rivers feeding into the Gulf.

10. Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Mann Randolph, Jr., Washington City, May 14, 1801, Thomas Jefferson Papers, Library of Congress. (Return to text)

11. Thomas Jefferson to William C. C. Claiborne, Washington City, July 13, 1801, Thomas Jefferson Papers, Library of Congress. (Return to text)


Historical Context of the Louisiana Purchase

France controlled the vast stretches of land west of the Mississippi, known as Louisiana, from 1699 until 1762, the year it gave the land to its Spanish ally. The great French general Napoleon Bonaparte took back the land in 1800 and had every intention of asserting his presence in the region. Unfortunately for him, there were several reasons why selling the land was all but necessary:

  • A prominent French commander recently lost a fierce battle in Saint-Domingue (present-day Haiti) that took up much needed resources and cut off the connection to the ports of North America’s southern coast.
  • French officials in the United States reported to Napoleon on the country's quickly increasing population. This highlighted the difficulty France might have in holding back the western frontier of American pioneers.
  • France did not have a strong enough navy to maintain control of lands so far away from home, separated by the Atlantic ocean. wanted to consolidate his resources so that he could focus on conquering England. Believing he lacked the troops and materials to wage an effective war, the French general wished to sell France's land to raise funds.

Chere Coen: Louisiana Books

On November 23, 1887, white vigilantes angered by striking sugar cane workers gunned down black men and women in their homes and on the streets of Thibodaux for more than two hours. This horrific tragedy that turned into an ugly secret few would later speak of is the basis of John DeSantis’ book, “The Thibodaux Massacre: Racial Violence and the 1887 Sugar Cane Labor Strike.”

“The Thibodaux Massacre: Racial Violence and the 1887 Sugar Cane Labor Strike.” (Photo: Louisiana Book News)

The number of those killed has never been known an inquest report filed by the parish coroner stated eight victims but DeSantis believes the number could have been as high as 60. Some of the victims included two elderly people, one a woman. Even the bodies of the slain are unaccounted for, some believed to have been buried in unmarked graves. The event forced an exodus of African Americans from the city.

DeSantis offers Louisiana history of slavery, sugar cane production and the Civil War aftermath to give readers an idea of the environment and moods of white citizens reacting to striking workers. But the most chilling part of the book is his recollection of a journalist asking black Thibodaux residents if they had recalled the event and all but one, an elderly woman, did not. Even in this day and age, the older resident refused to speak of the massacre in fear of retaliation.

DeSantis is the senior staff writer at the Times of Houma and a former city editor at the Thibodaux Daily Comet. His other books include “For the Color of His Skin: The Murder of Yusuf Hawkins and The Trial of Bensonhurst” and “The New Untouchables: How America Sanctions Police Violence.”

DeSantis will discuss and sign “The Thibodaux Massacre” at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Octavia Books of New Orleans.

Pelican books

Pelican Publishing of New Orleans offers the following fall releases:

Linda Thurman of Hammond offers part memoir and part expose in “Hollywood South: Glamour, Gumbo, and Greed.” Thurman has worked in the entertainment industry in New Orleans, Dallas, New York, London, Moscow and Los Angeles and served as co-owner of Emerald Bayou Studios.

Kathy Finn of New Orleans has penned the biography “Tom Benson: A Billionaire’s Journey.” Finn is a journalist with Reuters news agency and a columnist and feature writer for regional publications.

Capt. Robert Mueller of Mandeville details the post-Hurricane Katrina rescue operations in “Coast Guard Heroes of New Orleans,” with a foreword by Rear Adm. Joseph Castillo, the Eighth District chief of operations in New Orleans and who commanded the Coast Guard’s Katrina evacuation and rescue efforts. Before retiring, Mueller led USCG surface rescue operations post-Katrina.

Writer and historian Christopher G. Pena, a native of New Orleans, looks at “The Strange Case of Dr. Etienne Deschamps: Murder in the New Orleans French Quarter.” A 12-year-old immigrant was found dead at Deschamps’ home along with the deranged dentist, who believed a young virgin would help him find Jean Lafitte’s treasure.

Joel L. Fletcher’s “Ken and Thelma: The Story of ‘A Confederacy of Dunces’” is now in paperback. Fletcher is a Louisiana native and worked with John Kenndy Toole (author of “A Confederacy of Dunces”) during his tenure at UL-Lafayette.

The University of Louisiana Monroe’s English program hosted its annual Best Freshman Essay Awards Ceremony November 14, an essay contest held each fall for English 1001 students to demonstrate their writing abilities and creativity.

The winners were first place, Princess Ayika for her essay titled “The Color of My Skin is Not Me” second place, Even Hebert for his essay titled “Blind Hysteria” and third place, Allison Jackson for her essay titled “Another Day Another Dog.”

Photo: (From ULM) From left to right: Hebert, Ayika, Jackson (Photo: University of Louisiana Monroe)

The essays are written based on a unit taught alongside Writing Today and the summer reader “This I Believe,” essay selections from National Public Radio.

Katie Manning’s “Tasty Other,” a collection of poems, has won the 2016 Main Street Rag Poetry Book Award. Manning earned a PhD in English from UL-Lafayette and teaches as an associate professor of writing at Point Loma Nazarene University. She is the author of four chapbook-length poetry collections: “A Door with a Voice” (Agape Editions), “The Gospel of the Bleeding Woman” (Point Loma Press), “I Awake in My Womb” (Yellow Flag Press) and “Tea with Ezra” (Boneset Books). She is also the founder and editor-in-chief of Whale Road Review. The book is scheduled for release this month.

And good news for those of you who asked for paperback copies of my books. My “Cajun Embassy” series of contemporary romance is now available in trade paperback at online bookstores. The three books that make up the Cajun Embassy series “Ticket to Paradise,” “Damn Yankees” and “Gone Pecan,” the latter set in Lafayette follows three Columbia journalism coeds homesick for Louisiana who find comfort at school in a bowl of Cajun gumbo. Each book spotlights these dedicated friends as they make their way into the world. Because love and a good gumbo cures everything.

P.S. There’s a gumbo recipe in each book.

Book events

S.R. Perricone discusses and signs his book, “The Shadows of Nazareth,” at 2 p.m. today at Garden District Bookshop in New Orleans.

Lyrically Inclined Open Mic will be Monday at The Brass Room, 1301 Surrey St Lafayette.

New Orleans author Chris Tusa takes a look into an alternate reality for New Orleans with his book “In the City of Fallen Stars” at 6 p.m. Monday at Octavia Books of New Orleans.

The Writers Guild meets at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Barnes and Noble Lafayette.

Maple Street Books of New Orleans celebrates the release of Elizabeth Gross’ new chapbook, “Dear Escape Artist,” at 6 p.m. Tuesday. Local writers Anya Groner and Carlus Henderson will join her.

Bill Lascher, author of “Eve of a Hundred Midnights: The Star-Crossed Love Story of Two WWII Correspondents and Their Epic Escape Across the Pacific,” will discuss his book at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Jewish Community Center of New Orleans.

George Graham signs “Acadiana Table: Cajun and Creole Home Cooking from the Heart of Louisiana: Recipes, Stories and Photographs” from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Friday at The Kitchenary during the Oil Center’s Festival of Lights in Lafayette, from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Saturday at Octavia Books of New Orleans and from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at Barnes & Noble Mandeville.

The Conundrum bookstore in St. Francisville celebrates its one-year anniversary on Saturday as part of the city’s Christmas in The Country celebration.


Louisiana Purchase Map

Map of the Louisiana Territory included in the Louisiana Purchase of 1803


Map Showing Extent of Louisiana Purchase - History of Iowa


Louisiana Purchase New Orleans Thure de Thulstrup


Louisiana Purchase Convention French Copy Last Page

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The Louisiana Digital Library (LDL) is the front door to Louisiana's digital cultural heritage. Members include public libraries, academic libraries, museums, and archives from arcross the state.

Currently, there are 25 participating institutions in the LDL. Each institution contributes the digital items and the descriptive text for their collections.

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