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The Big Purchase 

We have Thomas Jefferson to thank for the fact that we're writing this in English for an audience of English speakers, within a region and nation where English most certainly is not the only language spoken, but it is the dominant one. Were it not for a certain colossal real estate deal transacted in 1803, we could well be writing this piece en francais; Jefferson's shrewd bargaining is why we've been sticking with anglais 'round these parts ever since. This massive land acquisition doubled the republic's size overnight and decisively transformed St. Louis into an American city. A new exhibit at the Missouri History Museum (Lindell Boulevard and DeBaliviere Avenue; 314-746-4599 or www.mohistory.org) tells the back-story. The Louisiana Purchase: Making St. Louis, Remaking America recounts familiar events with the advantage of documents on loan from the National Archives, as well as artifacts from the museum's own collections. The exhibit is free and runs from Saturday, October 25, through Sunday, April 19, 2015.

IMAGE CREDIT: Seal for the Court of Quarter Sessions of Peace, St. Charles. The court of quarter sessions of peace, St. Charles, was organized in 1804 when the District of Louisiana's new government was inaugurated. They existed until 1812 when Congress created the Territory of Missouri. Courtesy Missouri History Museum.
Mondays, Wednesdays-Sundays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Tuesdays, 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; Tuesdays, 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; Mondays, Wednesdays-Sundays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Starts: Oct. 25. Continues through April 19, 2014

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