Originally designated as a postal route in 1806, the old Federal Road stretched through the Creek Indian territory of lower Alabama. Alabama’s Federal Road functioned as a major thoroughfare for western migration into the Old Southwest ushering in a new era of national expansion and exploitation of Native American territory. Although much of the Federal Road has disappeared, portions of it remain today.
In 1803, Pres. Thomas Jefferson authorized the purchase of the Louisiana Territory from France, effectively doubling the size of the United States. Jefferson understood the importance of safe and adequate transportation for military defense and commercial interests in the newly acquired settlements of Louisiana. He lobbied to build the road through Creek territory, recognizing that the future of southern commerce depended on easy access to the port of New Orleans.