Lewis and Clark are two names forever linked. These two names, the last names of
Meriwether and William respectively, are that of two of the greatest explorers in the
history of the United States. With the help of Indians and a group of brave men, the vast
area west of the Mississippi River was the object of their exploration.
Lewis was born to a Virginia planter family in 1774. His father, who had been an officer
in the American Revolution, died when Lewis was five years old, and for a brief time he
lived in Georgia when his mother moved there with her second husband.
After assuming the management of his family's Virginia plantation, Lewis joined the
state militia in 1794 to help put down the Whiskey Rebellion in Pennsylvania. He
continued his military career as an officer in the regular army, serving on the frontier in
Ohio and Tennessee, and rising to the rank of captain by 1801, when he accepted an
invitation from President Thomas Jefferson, an old family friend, to serve as his private
Even before the Louisiana Territory was purchased from France, Jefferson was ready to
send an expedition into the frontier. In January of 1803 Congress approved a plan for an
expedition. Jefferson had many reasons for employing the explorers. A boundless
curiosity for botany, zoology, and geography was one of Jefferson's main reasons. Also
Jefferson wanted to establish communication and some interaction with the Indians.
The purchase of the Louisiana Territory was an entirely unexpected outcome. Robert
Livingston, an ambassador to France, was told to discuss the purchase of the port of New
Orleans from France. After weeks of fruitless efforts to buy t...
... middle of paper ...
...als brought back by the Corps took some of the fear away from
settlers wanting to move into the territory. The fur trade in the west was also expanded
greatly by the expedition. The United States' claim to the Oregon Country became
stronger then Britain's by virtue of their exploration and presence in the territory.
The expedition could not have survived without the Indians. Despite this fact, however,
the expedition hurt the Indians. The door was opened for American settlers to move into
the territory and to try to force the Indians out of the territory.
The west will forever be linked with Lewis and Clark, the two men who opened its
doors. With undaunted courage and patriotic spirit these explorers survived an arduous
journey through the uncharted lands of the Louisiana Territory and placed themselves
among the greatest explorers of all time.
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