Lewis and Clark Explorations

By Trevor Roussel

Who were Lewis and Clark?

Meriwether Lewis and William Clark were explorers tasked with finding a waterway from settlement on the East coast all the way to the pacific ocean on the other side of the continent.

Lewis was 30 at the time the expedition began. He had been an aide for Jefferson for a time before he was selected to lead the expedition.

Clark was 33 when the he began the expedition. Clark studied the natural sciences and enrolled in the military for 6 years. Lewis sent Clark an invitation to join him in command of the expedition in 1803.

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The Louisiana Purchase

The Louisiana purchase was a deal made between the US and France in which the US bought over 827,000 square miles of land west of the Appalachian mountains. It cost the US 15 million dollars. This was the beginning of westward expansion and what lead to the expedition.

Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson was the president of the United States at the time of the Lewis and Clark expeditions. He had a large role in the expedition, as in 1803 he wrote a confidential letter to Congress asking for $2,500 to fund an expedition from St. Louis to the Pacific ocean. Jefferson believed the ideas behind "manifest destiny" were strongly linked with freedom.

Map of the expedition

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What made the expedition significant?

The land west of the Appalachian mountains had been mostly unexplored (by English settlers) and the land was largely undocumented. While this single group of explorers could not document the whole territory gained, it would help groups of settlers living in the original colonies move westward, as well as expand trade. This expedition mostly affected white men, as they were typically the people that owned property at the time.

Key facts about the exploration

-Lewis and Clark did not embark on the trip alone, they were accompanied by a group called the Corps of Exploration. However, Lewis and Clark are remembered because they led the trip.

-Lewis and and Clark mostly followed their original path on their trip back to the colonies, but at one point Lewis and Clark split up onto different routes. However, the two groups reconnected later in the trip.

-Their trip was successful, the explorers returned to the colony about two and a half years later.