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lewis and clark expedition essay

Lewis and Clark Expedition The Lewis and Clark expedition was amongst one of the first major American expeditions. This expedition helped the United States advance in science, land as well as gaining many valuable resources. The Lewis and Clark expedition is also an amazing American story. Essay The Lewis And Clark Expedition. The Lewis and Clark Expedition is most commonly known as the exploration that led to the westward expansion of the United States of America. William Clark is highly under-credited for his role as one of the two explorers on the trip with most of the credit given to Meriwether Lewis. Essay about The Lewis and Clark Expedition - The Lewis and Clark Expedition Missing Works Cited Exploration has always been a central theme in the development of the United States. The Louisiana Purchase, in , made the government more eager to expand west. The newly acquired lands were in need of exploration.

Lewis And Clark Expedition Essays: Examples, Topics, Titles, & Outlines

Advanced Search. Historians and geographers judge the Lewis and Clark Expedition, which brought more than thirty overland travelers into the Columbia River Basin inas the most successful North American land exploration in U. Department of War, with presidential and congressional authorization. Louis in September The explorers traveled more than eight thousand miles, by water and land, in boats, on horseback, lewis and clark expedition essay, and by foot.

The journey took just over twenty-eight months, and only one member of the Corps died, the result of disease. They met hundreds of Native people from dozens of groups along the exploration route, mostly under friendly or conciliatory conditions, but not without conflict. They also cataloged hundreds of new plant and animal species unknown to science of the day. The origins and ambitions of the Expedition reached back more than two decades before the explorers crossed the Continental Divide in August ; but the nine months the Corps of Discovery spent in Oregon Country left a lasting imprint on the region, while their reports described it for the larger lewis and clark expedition essay. The principal legacy of lewis and clark expedition essay Lewis and Clark Expedition is the accounts of the journey recorded in the Journals written by the Captains and five other members of the Corps.

The maps, principally the work of William Clark, provided the first detailed topographic representations of the interior landscapes of the Oregon Country. The Expedition also represented an international claim for the United States on the northern Pacific region west of the Continental Divide, a claim the nation used in negotiations over hegemony in the Pacific Northwest during the mid-nineteenth century. Perhaps most important, the interactions between members of the Corps and indigenous people left lewis and clark expedition essay that influenced subsequent relations between Natives and non-Natives in the Pacific Northwest.

The presence of a Native woman among the expeditionary force— Sacagawea —made her one of the most recognized female historical figures in Oregon and U. For these and other reasons, the Corps of Discovery is one of the most important episodes in the history of Oregon.

Beginning in the early s, Jefferson imagined a scientific exploration of the interior of North America that would catalog flora and fauna and thoroughly map the vast reaches between the Mississippi River and the Pacific Ocean. Jefferson embraced Enlightenment-era science, lewis and clark expedition essay, especially the documentation of nature based on empirical investigation.

Reflecting that interest, his library at Monticello included hundreds of volumes, maps, and scientific reports on North American subjects, places, and discovered species.

These plans did not mature; but once Jefferson became president in Marchhe had the power of his office to propel his beloved project forward. Jefferson had especial fascination with the Trans-Appalachian and Trans-Mississippi regions, where he expected scientific discoveries to advance human knowledge. In addition, he worried that other nations might control the vast Trans-Mississippi region and compromise U. In lateJefferson decided to mount an expedition to the Pacific Ocean.

He assigned his private secretary Meriwether Lewis, lewis and clark expedition essay, a bright student of science and a military veteran, the task of preparing plans for the exploration.

Secrecy was necessary to avoid conflict with European nations that claimed lands in the region the expeditionary force would cross. Once he secured approval from Congress, Jefferson sent Lewis in spring to meet with scientists and specialists in armaments and materials, using his contacts in the American Philosophical Society in Philadelphia.

By JuneJefferson had outlined a lengthy letter of instruction to Lewis. One month later, the president received word of the successful treaty negotiations in Paris, where France agreed to cede Louisiana to the United States. The so-called Louisiana Purchase did not prompt the Expedition, but it altered how the Corps of Discovery dealt with Natives and other non-Americans in the vast region. Jefferson wrote a second letter of instruction to Lewis in Novemberadvising that the Expedition wait until spring to ascend the Missouri, allowing for the transfer of Louisiana to the United States and to avoid winter travel, lewis and clark expedition essay.

The two men gathered materials and advertised for experienced frontiersmen to join the Expedition. By latethey had enlisted forty-three men—some with experience on the Missouri—and had organized them in five platoons.

In December, they established a cantonment, Camp Dubois, across from the mouth of the Missouri River, about eighteen miles from St. Louis, the principal trading location of the lower Missouri River region, had a population of about a thousand people in Lewis and Clark spent several weeks in the town gathering information from traders about the Missouri River and Native villages upriver.

At 2, miles in length, the Missouri is the longest tributary river in North America and was home to dozens of Native groups and hundreds of villages in French and Spanish traders had long developed relationships with Native groups on the lower river—the Osage, Missouri, Kansa, Pawnee, Oto, and Omaha—while British traders had traded upriver with Arikara, Hidatsa, and Mandan villages for more than two decades.

They traveled upriver in lewis and clark expedition essay large canoes and a foot keelboat that had 16 sweep oars, a single mast, and ton capacity. They poled the keelboat and paddled the canoes laboriously up the Missouri, encountering Natives in a large council held on July 30 at Council Bluff, just north of present-day Omaha, Nebraska. Lewis greeted Natives at Council Bluff and at other like gatherings on the Missouri with ceremony and gifts, emphasizing that the U.

Floyd was the only Corps member to die during the twenty-eight-month-long Expedition. The Captains successfully avoided open conflict, and after a tense meeting the Sioux lewis and clark expedition essay to let them pass. It was the first of many experiences with Native peoples that induced caution from the Expedition leaders.

They established the triangular-shaped and palisaded Fort Mandan as their winter quarters, remaining there for five months and interacting with Mandan and Hidatsa people in the region.

They enlisted Toussaint Charbonneau as interpreter for the voyage west. The Corps left the Knife River villages on April 7,sending the keelboat and some men downriver to St. Geographical knowledge that the Captains had gleaned from Mandan and Hidatsa informants aided them in their travel through present-day North Dakota and Montana.

They did not encounter any Native people for more than a thousand miles of travel on the Missouri, and their journals contain mostly notations on the geography, mineralization, plants, and animals of the region. The Corps also marveled at the western high plains environment, especially the abundance of bison herds, the Missouri River landscape, and grizzly bears. Mandans had provided general information on some Missouri River landmarks, including a large falls near the western mountains, but few details.

When the Corps reached the Marias River, a northern tributary, in June, they had to determine which fork was the Missouri. By the end of July, lewis and clark expedition essay, the Corps had passed through the Gates of the Mountains, a narrow limestone canyon north of present-day Helena, Montana, and arrived at the Three Forks of the Missouri, lewis and clark expedition essay.

From there, they pursued the Beaverhead River south and west. It was there that Sacagawea recognized Beaverhead Rock, a landmark she remembered from her childhood traveling with her Lemhi family.

From the moment the Corps headed west lewis and clark expedition essay the Continental Divide, they entered territory outside the Louisiana Purchase. Until they encountered Shoshone men and women on the Continental Divide, the Corps had not met Natives since leaving the Mandan Villages. That reaction to York was common among Natives who the Corps encountered and has endured in stories among many tribes along the Expedition route, lewis and clark expedition essay. After resting for a couple of days on Lolo Creek west of present-day Missoula, the Corps began perhaps the most arduous portion of their outward journey—the trek across the Bitterroot Mountains on the Lolo Trail.

It took eleven days of heavy slogging, with diminishing lewis and clark expedition essay supplies and inclement weather, before they descended the mountains in late September to Weippe Prairie on the Clearwater River. There they met the Nez Lewis and clark expedition essay, whose hospitality revived the physically weakened Corps during their two-week stay.

The Captains made strong connections with Nez Perce and secured their aid in constructing five dugout canoes from ponderosa pine logs to descend the Clearwater, Snake, and Columbia Rivers. With two Nez Perce as guides—Twisted Hair and Teotarsky—the small flotilla descended the Clearwater to the Snake Riverwhere they encountered nearly fifty major rapids and a semi-arid landscape that lewis and clark expedition essay unlike anything they had experienced. As the Corps descended the Columbia in October and Novemberthe Captains described Native people in increasingly negative terms, lewis and clark expedition essay, emphasizing the pilfering of items and their physical appearance and dress.

But they also noted their extensive caches of dried fish, the unusual reed mat lodges, and their fishing gear. Their Nez Perce guides told the Captains that they had entered a dangerous region and that people who lived below the falls would kill them, lewis and clark expedition essay.

They left the Corps to return to their villages on the Clearwater. Lewis and Clark discovered that those who lived in the Columbia River Gorge spoke a different language, but they ignored the Nez Perce warnings and encountered no hostility.

The river overwhelmed the Corps. By early November, lewis and clark expedition essay, they had descended below the Cascades rapids, where Clark noted evidence of a tidal effect in the river near present-day Beacon Rock. On the southern bank they found extensive sand deposits at the mouth of what they called the Quicksand River the present-day Sandy River.

Their journal entries increasingly included complaints about the weather. By November 18, the expeditionary force had reached the Pacific. By polling Corps members, lewis and clark expedition essay, they decided to stay the winter on the south side of the river. In early December, they built a sturdy stockade, lewis and clark expedition essay, named Fort Clatsopon the present-day Lewis and Clark River southwest of present-day Astoria.

Lewis and Clark had hoped to contact seafarers at the mouth of the Columbia, but no ships entered the river during their stay on the coast. Built in the homeland of the Clatsop people, the fort drew sufficient attention from residents on both sides of the Columbia River that the Captains instituted security precautions to limit contact between Corps members and Natives. The restrictions reflected significant tensions between the Corps and lower Columbia River people, who the Captains saw as difficult in trade and generally not interested in friendly relations, as the Mandan had been.

Chinook and Clatsop people had little to gain in trade with the Corps, lewis and clark expedition essay, and their middleman role in trade between coastal and interior Native groups gave them considerable power. Lewis and Clark spent the winter compiling their notes and maps from the journey west of Fort Mandan, taking care to make drawings of people, flora, fauna, and landscapes. Their journal entries from that winter are peppered with criticism of the people and conditions at the coast.

Certainly one of the worst days that ever was! During much of the Fort Clatsop winter, the Corps prepared gear and clothing for the return journey, hunted elk in the Coast Range, and tended a salt-boiling station on the coast. Nonetheless, the Captains were eager to head upriver. Their impatience with Clatsops who would not sell them a canoe led them to steal one of the great canoes they had lauded, breaking one of their fundamental rules to not transgress Natives, lewis and clark expedition essay.

Lewis and Clark and the members of the Corps focused on arriving at the Nez Perce camps as speedily as possible. They dallied only to explore the Willamette Riverwhich they called the Multnomah, a major tributary they had missed on their descent. Clark had time only to travel up the Willamette to near the present-day site of the St. Johns Bridge. Once back on the Columbia and in the Gorge, the Captains tried to bargain for horses to hasten their journey.

The spring freshet on the river offered the Corps a much different river, one very difficult to navigate against a strong current. At The Dalles, Lewis became agitated with what he perceived to be Native intransigence and erupted over thievery. By Lewis and clark expedition essay 27, the Corps had reunited with Yellepit near the mouth of the Snake River, lewis and clark expedition essay, where they traded for more horses and made their way cross-country to the Nez Perce camps and a reuniting with Teotarsky.

The Captains learned that snow blocked passage over the Bitterroot Mountains, so they spent more than a month with the Nez Perce, developing the strongest relationship with Natives during the entire Expedition.

The Corps struggled back over the Lolo Trail to the Bitterroot Valley by late June, when they rested and decided to split up. One group, headed by Lewis, explored the Marias River to determine if it originated in British Canadian territory, while the second, headed by Clark, proceeded southwest and descended the Yellowstone River.

Lewis and his group had a much different experience. Offering to camp with them, Lewis believed he was being careful, but an attempted theft of a Corps rifle led to a lewis and clark expedition essay that left two Piegan dead and the Corps racing away from the scene to the Missouri River. It was the only armed conflict with Natives during the Expedition.

Clark and Lewis and their entourages reunited at the mouth of the Yellowstone on August 12 for their final descent of the Missouri to the Mandan villages, where they arrived two days later. The Captains took two days to conduct diplomacy with Mandan and Hidatsa chiefs; to say their farewells to Toussaint Charbonneau, Sacagawea, and Baptiste; and to enlist Mandan chief Sheheke and his family to accompany the Corps to St.


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The Lewis and Clark Expedition remains one of the foundational stories of Oregon history. Place-names the explorers set down on maps are still used, Sacagawea became one of the most famous women in American history, and modern places and institutions in Oregon are named for the Captains and members of the Corps. Essay about The Lewis and Clark Expedition - The Lewis and Clark Expedition Missing Works Cited Exploration has always been a central theme in the development of the United States. The Louisiana Purchase, in , made the government more eager to expand west. The newly acquired lands were in need of exploration. Mar 25,  · View and download lewis and clark expedition essays examples. Also discover topics, titles, outlines, thesis statements, and conclusions for your lewis and clark expedition essay.