After the United States purchased Louisiana, many inhabitants of the new American territory believed that Louisiana would quickly be incorporated into the Union and that they would soon enjoy rights as citizens. In March of 1804, however, Congress passed the Act for the Organization of Orleans Territory, which divided Louisiana into two sections: Orleans Territory, which lay southwest of the Mississippi Territory; and the Louisiana District. Under this act, President Jefferson possessed the power to appoint the government of Orleans Territory and its thirteen-man legislative council. The act also prohibited importation of most slaves. Anxieties about their livelihoods and an unrepresentative government drove some Louisiana merchants and planters to organize protests. At first this group used petitions and newspaper editorials to demand revisions; later they pressed for reforms as a political faction within the territorial government.
Strangers on Their Native Soil
Subjects: History, Political Science