The Making of the United States of America - Major Territorial Acquisitions of the United States
Reprinted with permission of Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services.
From 1776 to 1898, the United States stretched from coast to coast and beyond in more ways than one. Much land was conquered through battle, some parcels were bought and others gained by treaty.
The largest land-buy was the Louisiana Purchase of 1803. More than 827,000 square miles was purchased from France for a sum of about $15 million, almost doubling the size of the United States.
The doctrine of Manifest Destiny in the mid-1840s, the belief that the United States should control all of North America, led to the drive for Oregon Country (ceded by the British) and the battles with Mexico over what would become the Texas annexation, the Mexican cession and the Gadsden Purchase.