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The Lewis And Clark Expedition - Term Paper Example

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The Lewis And Clark Expedition University: Date Submitted: BACKGROUND In 1803, the US President Thomas Jefferson led a brilliant piece of diplomacy with the help of the senate when he purchased the territory of Louisiana from France. Although the US lacked the financial resources for the actual purchase of the territory, it borrowed some resources from Britain to actualize the deal…
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The Lewis And Clark Expedition
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Download file to see previous pages The task for President Jefferson was now to get familiarized with the territory itself, especially the western front. To accomplish this task, President Jefferson chose his personal secretary Meriwether Lewis who was not only a reliable and intelligent man, but also possessed skills of a frontiersman. Meriwether Lewisin in turn selected one of his most reliable friends and an exceptional frontiersman and draftsman, William Clark, and made him the co-commanding captain of the expedition. The trust that Lewis had in Clark’s abilities was remarkable given the fact that Clark was not highly ranked by the government itself for such expeditions1. There were two reasons why President Jefferson wanted this expedition to take place. The first obvious reason was that he wanted to discover the actual territory itself so that the boundaries could be established. The second reason was that he wanted Lewis to discover the water link between the Missouri and Columbia rivers. This water network would link the Pacific Ocean with the Mississippi system of rivers which in turn would open new access routes for trade and commerce. EXPEDITION The expedition officially started from the summer of 1804 from Camp Wood in St. Louis. Until then, the members were developing the strategies for the expedition. That summertime and during the fall the group of voyagers propelled and dragged themselves towards the north and more precisely, to the northwest on the Missouri River. The post which they reached before the advent of winter was the Fort Mandan post, a trading post, where they set up their camps and waited till the winter had passed away. During this time they prepared for the journey ahead. When the winter had finally passed and as spring of 1805 was approaching, the journey began once again. They moved on further up towards the Missouri to Montana, to what is presently called Three-Forks. The path which they chose was the boundary of the western front along the Jefferson River. This helped to serve the purpose of discovering the new terrain. The new route brought the explorers to the threshold of Shoshone Indians who were very well acquainted with the terrain and specialized in crossing the mountains with their horses. The significant people whom they met were a French fur trader and his Shoshone Indian wife named Sacagawea which means ‘bird woman’. Both these people agreed to guide them through and Sacagawea was especially helpful in establishing contact with the Indians through acting as a translator. At first, the Indians were frightened to see the explorers, but because of Sacagawea, the connection was made rather easily and the Indians agreed to help them. The Indians provided them with supplies and other essential stuff. The other benefit of Sacagawea was that because she was a woman it signified the fact that the explorers were not there for war. Generally, women were not taken alongside in the situation of war. Thus, the presence of Sacagawea meant that the explorers did not mean war. With the help of the Indians, the explorers made their way up to the Bitterroot Mountains. Without the horses it would have been difficult to pass through the mountains. There, the difficulty they had to face was that they had to now travel downriver from the Bitterroot ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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