By Meriwether Lewis
In 1803, while the U.S. bought Louisiana from France, the nice expanse of this new American territory used to be a clean -- not just at the map yet in our wisdom. President Thomas Jefferson keenly understood that the process the nation's future lay westward and nationwide ''Voyage of Discovery'' needs to be fastened to figure out the character and accessibility of the frontier. He commissioned his younger secretary, Meriwether Lewis, to steer an intelligence-gathering day trip from the Missouri River to the northern Pacific coast and again. From 1804 to 1806, Lewis, followed via co-captain William Clark, the Shoshone consultant Sacajawea, and thirty-two males, made the 1st trek around the Louisiana buy, mapping the rivers as he went, tracing the central waterways to the ocean, and constructing the yank declare to the territories of Idaho, Washington, and Oregon. jointly the captains stored a magazine, a richly particular list of the wildlife they sighted, the Indian tribes they encountered, and the awe-inspiring panorama they traversed, from their base camp close to present-day St. Louis to the mouth of the Columbia River. In maintaining this checklist they made an incomparable contribution to the literature of exploration and the writing of normal heritage. The Journals of Lewis and Clark, writes Bernard DeVoto, was once ''the first file at the West, at the usa over the hill and past the sundown, at the province of the yankee destiny. There hasn't ever been one other so very good or so influential...It chuffed hope and created hope: the will of the westering nation.''
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Additional resources for The Journals of Lewis and Clark
Ten years earlier, in 1793, speaking for the American Philosophical Society, he had phrased the same objective. André Michaux was "to pursue such of the largest streams of [the Missouri] as shall lead by the shortest way and the lowest latitudes to the Pacific ocean. " When he drafted these instructions for Michaux, the Columbia had not yet returned to the States, and so he did not know of Captain Gray's momentous discovery. He reminded Michaux that a large river was supposed to come down to the Pacific somewhere in the vicinity of Nootka, and said that this river would probably prove to be his best route.
In 1738 he reached the Missouri with his sons, traveling from the Lake Winnipeg region to the Mandan villages below the Great Bend. The Vérendryes were the first white men to see the Upper Missouri (and one of them was the effective discoverer of the other key river of the West, the Saskatchewan) but nothing came of their enterprise. British thinking about the Missouri route to the Pacific was almost as old, dating back to 1727, when Daniel Coxe concocted the error that was to prove most durable of all, the theorem that only a very short land traverse would be found necessary from Missouri to Pacific waters.
This delay was Napoleon's second gift to American expansion. Page xxxix which Mackenzie expected to become the route between the beaver country and the Pacific. This, of course, was a problem not for the fur merchants but for the government. In a proposal made after his book was published Mackenzie explained that sovereignty must be supported by a military establishment at Nootka with subsidiary ones at the mouth of the Columbia and elsewhere. He believed that Great Britain had unwisely abandoned her rights east of the Divide when treaties and conventions relating to the Canadian boundary were drawn up, and that the damage thus done must be repaired.
The Journals of Lewis and Clark by Meriwether Lewis