Thursday, December 10, 2015

History and Prophecy Coincide in Louisiana Purchase

An interesting article from about U.S. development. This follows this post about Turkey and ISIS. This follows this post about the Koran. This follows this post about Star Wars. For a free magazine subscription or to get the books recommended for free click HERE! or call 1-888-886- 8632.
Please follow me here for continued posts.

This year marks the 200th anniversary of the Louisiana Purchase, one of the greatest land deals in the history of the world. It involved the peaceful transfer of 900,000 square miles of territory from which all or part of 13 states in what is now the central part of the United States were formed. Much of what is considered the heartland of the country, with an abundance of agricultural wealth, was purchased at a bargain price. Yet it almost didn't happen.
The major European power that controlled the area at the time the United States gained its independence did not want to see the infant republic expand into the territory. Another European country that obtained the region by a secret treaty had designs of colonization by its people. Even political forces within the United States were against westward expansion.
Despite all of these forces against pioneering this bountiful land, it was destined to be peopled by the descendants of Joseph, one of the tribes of ancient Israel. God promised the patriarch Abraham, “I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing” (Genesis 12:2). The Louisiana Purchase was a major step in fulfilling this prophecy and others that followed to Isaac and Jacob, for its territory doubled the size of the young country and set it on course to become the major world power of the latter 20th century.
All of the history and the various intrigues that led up to the famous Louisiana Purchase are described in a new book titled A Wilderness So Immense by Jon Kukla. Unless otherwise noted, all quotations are from Mr. Kukla's book.
The French explorer, Robert Cavelier De La Salle, led an expedition south from Quebec down the Mississippi River to the Gulf of Mexico, passing through what he described as “the most beautiful country in the world” (p. 30). On April 9, 1682, he claimed the interior of the continent for France and named it “Louisiana” after the king of France, Louis XIV.
During the Seven Years War (1756-1763), France was fighting against Great Britain and Prussia on two fronts, Europe and North America. France eventually lost the war and, through a treaty, ceded Canada to Great Britain and the Louisiana territory to Spain.
Carlos III, king of Spain, now had control of the vast land tract just about 13 years before the United States would declare its independence from Great Britain. He was glad to obtain this huge land mass, since it served as a buffer between the American colonists and the rich silver mines of Mexico. Spain now controlled not only most of South America but a huge part of North America as well.
Silver production was booming in Mexico, accounting for half the export trade of the entire Spanish Empire. Thus, the Louisiana territory in Spanish hands served to keep the aggressive colonists away from the lucrative silver production in Mexico, and the king of Spain wanted to keep it that way.
Navigation of the Mississippi
Separating the now Spanish Louisiana territory and the newly independent United States was the mighty Mississippi River, which served as a rapid means to move trade goods down to the port of New Orleans. Many colonists flocked to the west along the tributaries of this great river to try to make their fortunes. “The navigation of the Mississippi we must have” (p. 20), wrote Thomas Jefferson as he set out to negotiate with Spain for those rights.
The king of Spain sent a special minister, Don Diego de Gardoqui, to negotiate Mississippi navigation rights, but the king's objective was to stall and delay with no real intention of granting the Americans' request. He began bargaining separately with the New England states, whose fishing industry was becoming lucrative. Gardoqui encouraged a separate northern confederacy and a commercial treaty with Spain.
This scheme had potential, as many in the New England states did not see the value of the Mississippi and westward expansion. A heated controversy developed between New England and the southern states, which desired free navigation of the river and westward expansion. The young nation came dangerously close to splitting apart only 12 years after gaining independence.
The Spanish intended to keep the Louisiana territory in their hands. In terms of world dominion of territory, the Spanish Empire was at its peak in the year 1786.
Rise of Napoleon Bonaparte
As long as Louisiana remained in its hands, Spain had no intentions of permitting Americans to enter the land. But events in Europe would change the situation dramatically.
God revealed to the prophet Daniel that it is He who “removes kings and raises up kings” (Daniel 2:21). Amazingly, at the precise time of the U.S. negotiations with Spain, a revolution took place that saw the king of France (Louis XVI) toppled and a fragile republican government established. Even more amazing is that bad weather set the stage for Louis' defeat. On July 23, 1788, violent hailstorms destroyed crops and wildlife throughout most of France. “As though some biblical curse had been unleashed…drought followed the hailstorm” (p. 41). A terrible winter followed the drought. A prophetic scripture in Psalms 148:8 declares that God uses weather to accomplish His purpose: “Fire and hail, snow and clouds; stormy wind, fulfilling His word.”
Weather played a part in these historical events, enabling the emergence of the leader who would sell the vast Louisiana territory to the United States. Weather would again play a role in later events, as we shall see. Meanwhile, angry and starving Frenchmen became organized, pushed by enlightenment ideas; the revolution became violent, culminating in the execution of King Louis XVI.
In 1792, an aggressive French Republic declared war on Austria and the following year on Great Britain and Spain. The war against the Spanish went well for France and soon Spain had to sue for peace. As part of a treaty, they gave up their short-lived alliance with Great Britain and the colony of Santo Domingo (now the Dominican Republic). Meanwhile, Napoleon Bonaparte, a military genius, was promoted to the rank of brigadier general at 24 years of age. He began moving up in power and grabbed total control of France. In 1799, he became a virtual dictator. Now, the players who would affect the historical land transfer we call the Louisiana Purchase were in place.
Napoleon had visions of regaining the former French colony of Louisiana in North America. As the war with France was going badly for Spain, Madrid decided to cut a deal and relinquish the territory to France. In a secret treaty, Spain ceded Louisiana back to France and on March 21, 1801, France took title to the land.
The U.S. government was unaware of these secret dealings, although it suspected something odd was afoot. Once discovered, the new development alarmed the foreign secretary of Great Britain, Baron Hawkesbury: “The acquisition might enable France to extend her influence and perhaps her dominion up the Mississippi and through the Great Lakes even to Canada” (p. 226).
Indeed, he had cause to be alarmed, because Napoleon began planning an expedition to occupy and fortify Louisiana in April 1801.
Napoleon wrote to his minister of marine on June 4, 1802, “My intention is that we take possession of Louisiana with the shortest possible delay, that this expedition be organized in the greatest secrecy, and that it have the appearance of being directed on St. Domingue” (p. 227). Furthermore, he directed the minister to plan “for the fortifications and batteries we should have to construct there in order to have a harbor and some men-of-war sheltered from superior forces” (p. 227).
The ambitions of Napoleon were to occupy, fortify and colonize the Louisiana territory. Had this happened, the course of history for the United States and the world would have changed! But events on Santo Domingo and, again, the weather would eventually force the dictator to change his plans.
He first sent an expedition to claim the sugar-producing island of Santo Domingo, from which the French were to move on Louisiana. A fierce rebellion by slaves on Santo Domingo forced the French into fighting a guerrilla war that expended thousands of troops. Yellow fever then began to take its toll, claiming the lives of thousands of French soldiers.
Meanwhile, a second expedition set to go directly to Louisiana with 3,000 soldiers and many ships met numerous delays. Freezing weather for almost three months did not allow the fleet to set sail. Then a terrible storm damaged many of the ships. Napoleon became so disgusted with the problems and delays that he gave up on the whole idea and decided to sell the Louisiana territory!
The United States had sent special envoys to France (during all of the secret French maneuvers) with the hopes of buying New Orleans and maybe Florida (also then in French hands). Robert Livingston (one of the envoys) wrote that “Florida and New Orleans might be a cheap purchase at twenty millions of dollars” (p. 241). They were surprised when Napoleon offered them all of the Louisiana territory! They began to negotiate a price. It eventually cost $15 million, which breaks down to be four cents an acre. What a bargain!
“I give it to you”
In the book of Genesis, we read: “And the Lord said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him: 'Lift your eyes now and look from the place where you are—northward, southward, eastward, and westward; for all the land which you see I give to you and your descendants forever… Arise, walk in the land through its length and its width, for I give it to you” (Genesis 13:14-15, 17).
The Nelson Study Bible adds an interesting commentary to verse 17: “Abram's walk in the land is a symbolic act of taking possession. Abraham would not take possession of the land; his descendants would” (p. 29). This was partially fulfilled when the children of Israel took possession of the land of Canaan. But the Louisiana Purchase was an even greater fulfillment, as a major portion of Abraham's modern descendants took possession of a land promised to Abraham.
Consider the blessings promised to Abraham's descendant Joseph: “The blessings of your father are stronger than the blessings of the eternal mountains, the bounties of the everlasting hills; may they be on the head of Joseph, on the brow of him who was set apart from his brothers” (Genesis 49:26, NRSV). (See our booklet, The United States and Britain in Bible Prophecy for the full story.)
The Louisiana Purchase treaty was dated April 30, 1803, and after working out translations and the necessary ratifications, Louisiana was formally transferred to the United States from France on Dec. 20, 1803.
The great nation that God promised to make of one branch of Abraham's descendants took a huge leap forward from this time on. Even Napoleon, reflecting upon the magnitude of the event said, “This accession of territory strengthens forever the power of the United States” (p. 281). What a great series of events to reflect upon. This little noticed 200th anniversary truly marks one of the greatest moments in American history. WNP

No comments: