This Souvenir Fridge Magnet Shows the Famous St. Louis Gateway Arch
This acrylic magnet has an image of St. Louis' most famous landmark: the Gateway Arch. Officially, the Arch is named the "Jefferson National Expansion Memorial," and is dedicated the westward growth of the United States. The monument is dedicated to Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the United States, who purchased the French claim to the Louisiana Territory for fifty million francs in 1803 from the government of Napoleon Bonaparte. The city of St. Louis, founded by the French on the Mississippi River, was the major city on the central portion of the river and served as a staging ground for expeditions of exploration such as the famous Louis and Clark Expedition of 1804-1806 and for many west-bound wagon trains of settlers. The Memorial includes not only the dramatic Arch, but also the city's Old Courthouse (where the famous Dred Scott case was heard) and the Museum of Westward Expansion.
The Louisiana Purchase Was One of the Most Important Events in United States History
In 1803, President Jefferson was presented with an unprecedented opportunity. They were offered a chance to purchase a vast swath of the central part of the continent by the government of Napoleonic France. The French had maintained a claim to the region of the Mississippi Basin on the west side of the river and controlled the strategic port of New Orleans at the river's mouth - thus controlling all river traffic west of the Appalachian Mountains. St. Louis was also considered a crucial major port along the river. The young United States (having only gained independence in 1783) approached the French about purchasing New Orleans but were surprised when the French offered the entire territory. The revolution in Haiti (a far more important colony) and the need for cash to maintain their armed forces on the European continent led the French to offer the much broader deal.