The Journals of Lewis and Clark by Meriwether LewisThe Journals of Lewis and Clark are the first report on the West, on the United States over the hill and beyond the sunset, on the province of the American future (Bernard DeVoto).
In 1803, the great expanse of the Louisiana Purchase was an empty canvas. Keenly aware that the course of the nations destiny lay westward—and that a Voyage of Discovery would be necessary to determine the nature of the frontier—President Thomas Jefferson commissioned Meriwether Lewis to lead an expedition from the Missouri River to the northern Pacific coast and back. From 1804 to 1806, accompanied by co-captain William Clark, the Shoshone guide Sacajawea, and thirty-two men, Lewis mapped rivers, traced the principal waterways to the sea, and established the American claim to the territories of Idaho, Washington, and Oregon. Together the captains kept this journal: a richly detailed record of the flora and fauna they sighted, the native tribes they encountered, and the awe-inspiring landscape they traversed, from their base camp near present-day St. Louis to the mouth of the Columbia River, that has become an incomparable contribution to the literature of exploration and the writing of natural history.
Why Lewis and Clark Matter
As the Lewis and Clark bicentennial approaches—the Corps of Discovery set out from CampDubois at the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri rivers on May 14, —all the signs of a great cultural-historical wallow are in place. There are Lewis and Clark conferences, museum exhibitions and trail rides. Last summer Harley-Davidson motorcycle riders drove parts of the trail. When Harley hogs discover Lewis and Clark, you know something big is going on! But in all this hoopla I fear that we may miss the underlying significance of the Lewis and Clark story and the chance to connect these early explorers to the larger and richer stories of our past.
It was the greatest explorative expedition the young United States of America had ever known. Louis, Missouri, with a group of hearty, eager explorers. Along the way it would chart the course of Manifest Destiny, transforming the continent of North America forever. The problem? Most of the land had never been seen by a citizen of the United States of America. To remedy this situation, the same day President Jefferson announced the Louisiana Purchase, he also authorized Lewis to lead an exploration of the new land.
Lewis and Clark Expedition , —06 , U. Meriwether Lewis and Lieut. The expedition was a major chapter in the history of American exploration. On January 18, , U. Jefferson, who had already sponsored several attempts to explore the West, asked his personal secretary, Meriwether Lewis, to lead the expedition. Lewis was dispatched to Philadelphia for instruction in botany , celestial navigation , medicine , and zoology. Lewis procured weapons at Harpers Ferry , Virginia now in West Virginia , supervised the construction of a foot metre keelboat, and secured smaller vessels, in addition to designing an iron-framed boat that could be assembled on the journey.
Commissioning and preparation
"An Animated Timeline of the Lewis and Clark Expedition" (4:28)
Lewis chose William Clark as his co-leader for the mission. The excursion lasted over two years: Along the way they confronted harsh weather, unforgiving terrain, treacherous waters, injuries, starvation, disease and both friendly and hostile Native Americans. Nevertheless, the approximately 8,mile journey was deemed a huge success and provided new geographic, ecological and social information about previously uncharted areas of North America. Meriwether Lewis was Virginia-born in but spent his early childhood in Georgia. He returned to Virginia as a teenager to receive his education and graduated from college in
In , the United States carried out the Louisiana Purchase in which it bought 2. One of the primary objectives of the expedition was to find a water route to the Pacific through the north-west. Though this could not be accomplished the expedition is considered a resounding success for various reasons including establishing diplomatic relations and trade with at least two dozen native American nations; establishing the presence of America over the Louisiana territory; and obtaining a wealth of scientific and geographic knowledge. Know more about it through these 10 interesting facts and accomplishments. Carried out during the presidency of Thomas Jefferson , the Louisiana Purchase of doubled the size of the United States and was by far the largest territorial gain in American history.