As the keynote speaker of the 2004 AASLH Annual Meeting, Jon Kukla challenges the various interpretations of the Louisiana Purchase by leading scholars over the years.

He begins by showing how historians, like Dr. David Ramsay, Henry Adams, and Bernard DeVoto, argued the land broker was the single most important event in American history.

The bicentennial in 2003 came and went without commemoration of the Louisiana Purchase.

Though Kukla recognizes the popularity of Lewis and Clark often overshadows the purchase that made the expedition possible, he reflects on why the bicentennial did not receive more attention and what this means for public history.