1962 4¢ Louisiana Statehood
Issue Date: April 30, 1962
City: New Orleans, Louisiana
Printed By: Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Printing Method: Giori Press
Color: Blue, dark slate, green and red
U.S. #1197 showcases the 150th anniversary of the addition of Louisiana as a U.S state. It was added in 1812, just nine years after President Thomas Jefferson authorized the Louisiana Purchase.
The stamp pictures a steamboat, which was a common sight on the Mississippi River. New Orleans was a major trading port, and steamboats brought goods there from the length of the Mississippi.
The Louisiana Purchase
In 1803, the United States purchased the Louisiana Territory from France, acquiring more than 800,000 square miles of land extending from the Mississippi River to the Rocky Mountains. The price was about $15 million – an incredible bargain. In fact, the Louisiana Purchase has been called the greatest real estate deal in history. Thirteen U.S. states were carved from this massive land purchase.
Historians consider the purchase the most important event of U.S. President Thomas Jefferson’s first administration, if not his presidency. France’s Napoleon Bonaparte sold Louisiana to raise money to support his military ventures in Europe. Jefferson believed the U.S. Constitution did not grant the government power to make such a purchase, and in doing so, felt he had “stretched the Constitution ‘till it cracked.” However, he felt the benefits to the nation outweighed such a violation of the Constitution.
In a message to Congress, Jefferson said, “Whilst the property and sovereignty of the Mississippi and its waters secure an independent outlet for the produce of the Western States and an uncontrolled navigation through their whole course... the fertility of the country, its climate and extent, promise in due season important aids to our Treasury, an ample provision for our posterity, and a wide spread for blessings of freedom and equal laws.”