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How did the Louisiana Purchase affect America?

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Quick Answer

The Louisiana Purchase significantly increased the size of the United States, which began the expansion of the country towards the West. It also laid the groundwork for the Civil War as the new territories took sides in the heated slavery debate.

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Full Answer

The Louisiana Purchase covered a large area, from the Rocky Mountains to the Mississippi River, and it cost the U.S. $15 million. Native Americans were already living in the area at the time. However, much of the land was sold cheaply to pioneers for farming, opening up the country. It also eventually played a role in the start of the Civil War as the adding of new territories contributed to the struggle for control between the North and South. The addition of new states and territories, which were included in the attempt to make compromises on slavery, increased conflict and eventually led to war breaking out.

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