An Adventure into Unknown Territory: The Corps of Discovery Essay

An Adventure into Unknown Territory: The Corps of Discovery Essay

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As you can easily derive from the book title above, the book I read covered the main subject of the historical journey, westward across our country, as taken by the explorers Lewis and Clark and the remaining unit known as the Corps of Discovery. This book was teeming with facts about this exploration as derived, predominantly, as reported within the travel journals diligently kept by both Lewis and Clark. There was supplemental information provided in this book as well. This additional information had been obtained from documented correspondence; letters sent by Lewis to President Thomas Jefferson, and also to his mother, during the travels.
The book provides a short bibliography of Meriwether Lewis providing details regarding his family life, education, military service. The Lewis family came from a region known as central Piedmont in Virginia. Thomas Jefferson lived there as well, and he knew the Lewis family prior to his presidency. Meriwether Lewis served in the US Army and became Captain at the very young age of 26. He then accepted an offer by the newly elected President Jefferson to become his secretary. When the Louisiana Purchase occurred, President Jefferson wanted Lewis to head the exploration and bring back detailed information regarding the borders as well as the geographical conditions of the land that was purchased. He also wanted specific details regarding people, animals and plants that resided within this land. According to Lewis’ journals, one of the most important achievements of the journey would be locating and charting an all water route through the land reaching the Pacific Ocean. The anticipated objectives which motivated achievement of this task were the targeted goals of facilitation of trad...


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...d Lewis as Governor of St. Louis but instead assisted him in publishing the journals that suicide might have been avoided. Before reading this book I did not know about Lewis’s family history of depression and his own similar mental issues. If it is true that Lewis periodically had issues with using too much alcohol and possibly abused drugs such as opium and morphine, used to battle his malaria symptoms, that may explain his depressed state. His depression may have also been more severe due to factors such as not having a wife, not having the rush of adventure once his exploration ended, or he may have felt as if nothing could ever top the height of his success achieved in his return from the exploration.


Works Cited

Ambrose, Stephen E. Undaunted courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson, and the opening of the American West. Simon & Schuster, New York, 1996

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