165. At the conclusion of the American Revolution, the western border of the new country was the eastern bank of the Mississippi River. France had claimed the land between the river and the Rocky Mountains and named it Louisiana. Later, Louisiana was ceded to Spain.
166. By the turn of the century (1800), the Mississippi River served to move 40% of US produce through the port at New Orleans which Spain alternately opened and closed to US shipping in spite of American rumblings of military conflict.
167. Then, as luck would have it, widespread events favoring the USA began to tumble onto the stage of history like dice out of a shaker.
168. First, a man named Napoleon came to power in France in 1799.
169. As luck would have it, Napoleon just happened to be a man who had illusions of creating a French empire that not only controlled Europe and other eastern hemisphere countries, but also included reassertion of French power in the west.
170. As luck would have it, Spain agreed to a secret treaty with France in 1800. That treaty returned the Louisiana territories to France, with Spain continuing to exercise public control.
171. In 1802 Napoleon deployed an invasion force of a reported 30,000 troops to the western hemisphere. There were two objectives:
- Quell a savage slave revolt in France’s most prosperous island colony, St. Dominique (Haiti)
- Establish permanent French military control of Louisiana
172. As luck would have it, by 1803, the former slaves and the French had engaged in a war of mutually horrendous acts of ruthlessness, and many thousands of the French troops had succumbed to the diseases of the island. Their effective number had been reduced to less than 10,000.
173. As luck would have it, this turn of events served to set in motion a rapid change of the boundaries of the USA.
174. November, 1803 – France “assumed formal control” of Louisiana.
175. December, 1803 – France, needing money for other military conquests more than a presence in the western hemisphere, sold Louisiana to the USA.
176. There was another rarely shared event related to the Saint Dominique revolt and the anticipated presence of French troops. The island had afforded a safe haven for hundreds of “pirates”. With trouble all about, the pirates sought a more tranquil environment. As luck, for the US, would have it, they chose the coast of Louisiana, from whence they provided pivotal aid to the Americans, rather than the British, during the 1815 attack on New Orleans.
177. As for that War of 1812 with Great Britain, a person seeking to justify a predisposed opinion as to the identity of the perpetrator of the conflict can find evidence supportive of the opinion of his choice.
178. The only reason for the episode to be mentioned here is to begin closure of the sharing of these seemingly inexplicable “coincidences” that were necessary for the establishment of the USA.
179. Our education systems generally teach that the treaty resolving the conflict appeared to gain little or nothing for the US, but, as luck would have it, the young nation had just dodged a fatal historical bullet.