The westward expansion of the United States made necessary American ports on the Gulf of Mexico; consequently the acquisition of West Florida as well as of New Orleans was one of the aims of the negotiations which resulted in the Louisiana Purchase of 1803.
Exactions at the expense of Hanover and Naples helped to lighten the burdens of French finance; Napoleon's sale of Louisiana to the United States early in 1803 for 60,000,000 francs brought further relief to the French treasury; and by pressing hard on his ally, Spain, he compelled her to exchange the armed help which he had a right to claim, for an annual subsidy of 2,880,000.
The acquisition of Louisiana in 1803, which gave a new field for the growth of the slave power, though not made in its interest, the Missouri Compromise (1820), the annexation of Texas (1845), the Fugitive Slave Law (1850), the Kansas-Nebraska bill (1854), the Dred Scott decision (1857), the attempts to acquire Cuba (especially in 1854) and to reopen the foreign slave trade (1859-1860), were the principal steps - only some of them successful - in its career of aggression.
In 1673 a French expedition organized in Canada under Jacques Marquette and Louis Joliet sailed down the Mississippi to the mouth of the Arkansas, and nine years later (1682) Rene Robert Cavelier, sieur de la Salle, reached the mouth of the river, took formal possession of the country which it drains, and named it Louisiana in honour of Louis XIV.
The parts of Virginia and Louisiana not affected were those then considered to be under Federal jurisdiction; in Virginia 55 counties were excepted (including the 48 which became the separate state of West Virginia), and in Louisiana 13 parishes (including the parish of Orleans).
Two years later the American Congress annexed the portion of West Florida between the Pearl and the Mississippi rivers to Louisiana (hence the so-called Florida parishes of Louisiana), and that between the Pearl and the Perdido to the Mississippi Territory.
The charitable institutions include two charity hospitals - at New Orleans (1832) and Shreveport; an Eye, Ear, Nose and Throat Hospital, a Hotel Dieu, the Touro Infirmary and a Home for Incurables, all at New Orleans; an Institute for the Deaf and Dumb (for whites - there is no state provision for negro deaf and dumb) and an Institute for the Blind, both at Baton Rouge; an Insane Hospital at Jackson and another at Pineville; and the Louisiana Retreat for the Insane at New Orleans.
The painted box tortoise is common in the central part of the state; the snapping-turtle and the soft-shell turtle in most of the rivers and creeks; the Louisiana mud-turtle, in the coast marshes.
The alluvial section of lower Louisiana is mostly devoted to sugar, and farther northward to Indian corn and cotton.
In Louisiana alone (as the state is known to-day), out of all the territory acquired from France as the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, was the civil law so established under French and Spanish rule that it persisted under American dominion.