The Beginning Of A Journey


Perhaps no American felt a yearning to tame the West more powerfully than Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson had grown up in a social circle where the men had planned an expedition to the Pacific. Since he shared his father’s avid interest in cartography, it is not surprising that he followed the reports of the explorations of the late 1700s very closely and collected many of the new publications and maps. Indeed, Thomas Jefferson himself promoted three unsuccessful attempts to find a route to the Pacific: in 1783 by George Rogers Clark (the brother of William Clark); in 1787-88 by John Ledyard; and in 1793 by Andre‚ Michaux.
In the summer of 1802, Jefferson, now president of the United ...

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overland to the Pacific Ocean following two rivers, the Missouri and the Columbia, which flow east and west from the Rocky Mountains. If the sources of the rivers were nearby, Jefferson reasoned that American traders would have a superior transportation route to help them compete with British fur companies pressing southward from Canada.
On February 28, 1803, the Congress appropriated funds for a small U.S. Army unit to explore the Missouri and Columbia rivers and tell the western Indian tribes that traders would soon come to buy their furs. The explorers were to make a detailed report on western geography, climate, plants and animals, and to study the customs and languages of the Indians.
Plans for the expedition were almost complete when the President learned that France offered to sell all of Louisiana Territory to the United States. President Jefferson sent ministers to France, offering to buy New Orleans, the vital port at the mouth of the Mississippi River. But instead, ...

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PAPER DETAILS
Added: 12/9/2004 08:34:23 PM
Category: American History
Type: Premium Paper
Words: 992
Pages: 4

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