Lewis And Clark

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate August 2001

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In history, one of the greatest expeditions of America is the Lewis and Clark expedition, also known as the Corps of Discovery, of the land west of the Mississippi. The expedition brought back great knowledge of the unexplored land and opened up the door of opportunity for the United States. More detailed maps were drawn up and the idea of western expansion grew. In addition, the expedition created ties with some of the Indian tribes encountered along the way. The knowledge brought back by the Lewis and Clark expedition has proved invaluable for the history and shaping of the United States.

For a long time Thomas Jefferson had dreams of an expedition to explore the territory in the west. One of the main reasons for this was the chance to develop a trade route to the Pacific. When the Louisiana Purchase came about, Jefferson turned the expedition into a mapping and studying expedition of the land and its inhabitants, as well as an expedition to find a route to the Pacific.

To conquer this enormous task, Jefferson wanted his secretary, Meriwether Lewis to head the expedition. Lewis, then, employed his friend, William Clark, to help him.

"The object of your mission is to explore the Missouri river, & such principal stream of it, as, by it's course and communication with the waters of the Pacific ocean, whether the Columbia, Oregon, Colorado or any other river may offer the most direct & practicable water communication across this continent for the purpose of commerce."--Thomas Jefferson, Instructions to Lewis, June 20, 1803 The success of the expedition is attributed to the two co-leaders, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark. The two men were perfect compliments to each other, close friends and worked well together. Lewis had more formal schooling than Clark. He...