Robert Miller, Eastern Shawnee, “The Louisiana Purchase”

You’ve probably studied the Louisiana Purchase,
right? And in 1803, Thomas Jefferson arranged with
France, and we signed a treaty with France, and that yellow area is what we purchased
in the Louisiana Territory. But one thing I also want to teach you today,
folks, is we did not buy the land, the actual land, from France. We did not buy that. And so I want you …you’re learning something
today that most Americans do not know, because most people say the Louisiana Purchase was
the greatest real estate deal in history. Have you heard that phrase, folks? The Louisiana Purchase was supposedly the
greatest real estate deal in history. That’s false – because we did not buy
land from France. France didn’t claim to own any land. What France claimed was this right of discovery
– that it had discovered the Mississippi River first, before any other European or
Christian country. Hence, they claimed the right to deal with
the Natives that lived there, the right to buy the land from the Natives, when the Native
people chose to sell their land. Now you already know in the back of your mind
the facts to prove what I just stated. Didn’t we spend – I say we, the United
States – spend a hundred years after 1803 dealing with the tribes in that yellow area,
buying land from tribes, signing treaties with them, and even fighting wars with some
of them, right? I mean, Custer’s Last Stand, the Sioux Nation
battled with the United States, all occurred in that Louisiana Territory area. The United States bought the land from the
tribes, from the Indian nations, not from France. So if you ever hear anyone say again, oh,
we bought that land for three cents an acre, the greatest real estate deal in history – that
is false. That’s incorrect. In fact, folks, another law professor forty
years ago figured out how much the United States truly paid for the land in that yellow
area. We paid France $15,000,000 to purchase its
rights to buy the land when the Indians wanted to sell. We ultimately paid the tribes in that yellow
area $300,000,000 in treaties, and in cash payments and in trade goods to purchase the
actual land. And of course, many tribes still have their
reservations, still live in those areas. So they kept some of that land for themselves. So some of the encounters that Jefferson wanted
to have occur with Indian people were diplomatic relationships and commercial relationships.

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