Essay On Lewis And Clark Expedition

2865 Words12 Pages
Manifested in the mind of the 3rd President of the United States, Thomas Jefferson came the first American expedition to head west towards the Missouri River all the way to the Pacific Ocean, in the year 1804. The Lewis and Clark Expedition formed just one year after the Louisiana Purchase, the purchase of territory from imperial France in 1803 by Thomas Jefferson. 1 The Louisiana Purchase provoked President Jefferson to look to navigate the territory that his empire now encompassed, and out of this grew the expedition led by Meriwether Lewis and Lewis Clark. 2 Lewis and Clark and their unit of volunteers from the United States Army specially selected by Thomas Jefferson that accompanied them soon became known as the Corps of Discovery, a group of men destined to “compile what amounted to the first chapters in an American encyclopedia of Native American peoples and cultures”. 3 Jefferson delegated many objectives upon Lewis and Clark for the expedition, but one of the objectives at the face of the list was the interaction with Native Indians in the land they looked to travel to. When planning the expedition, Jefferson came up with a lists of questions for Lewis and Clark to answer about the Native cultures of the area, as he urged the two men to find out all the information they could about the tribes, while also forming good relationships and blending American culture with Indian culture in order to slowly undertake the land they inhabited. 4 Thus, the Lewis and Clark expedition focused mainly on the interactions with Native Americans, as they tried to peacefully make a relationship with the Native tribes and change Native culture to reflect more American principles in efforts to take control of the Native’s lands, but ultimatel... ... middle of paper ... ...ion with the purchase of the Louisiana Territory in 1803, and furthered it with the expedition. Some instant ramifications were present after the expedition: it led to the northern plains fur trade from 1806-1812 that came out of Lewis and Clark’s focus on improving trade. 33 In a broader sense, the expedition promoted further expansion goals for the United States as a whole later on in American history. The idea of manifest destiny later on in the 19th century reflects a continued goal of the United States to expand. Thus, the “land hungry” attitude that Jefferson himself exhibited went on to influence later American goals of expansion out west. Lewis and Clark’s expedition thus was only the beginning, as it was the first American expedition out last, but nevertheless was surely not the last based on the benefits that the United States reaped after its completion.
Open Document