Good Research Paper About Lewis And Clark Expedition
Type of paper: Research Paper
Topic: Expedition, United States, America, River, Water, Customers, Purchase, Money
Out of all investigations in the United States, the expedition of Lewis and Clark was the first government research expedition. The heads of the study were given a clear task, and all participants were provided with the necessary equipment.
Initially, the goal of the expedition was to most accurately determine what the United States had acquired as a result of the Louisiana Purchase, but later the expedition became the basis for the expansion of the United States to the Wild West.
President Thomas Jefferson was very interested in sending an expedition of Lewis and Clark, because he wanted to explore and to map the western territories, as well as to strengthen the claims of the United States on the disputed territories in the Pacific Northwest.(Bertozzi, 2011)
At the same time, in order to be able to fund his war in Europe, Napoleon Bonaparte, offered to the United States of America to buy an area of about 500 million acres for $ 15 million, which later became known as the "Louisiana Purchase". This paved the way for a detailed exploration of the "new" territory, and at the same gave opportunity to search for a long popular Northwest Passage between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, whose existence was wondered at that time.(Bertozzi, 2011)
In 1803, the value of the Louisiana Purchase was for Americans is not obvious. Many considered this purchase not only a waste of money, but also illegal. Indeed, in the US Constitution, there was nothing said about the purchase areas in other states. There were those who foresaw that this purchase would result in the inevitable war with Spain, whose colonial possessions now appeared in the neighborhood. Some people with good reason considered the Louisiana Purchase to be meaningless. After all, the United States did not have enough people to populate such expanses.(Quiri, 2001)
Jefferson requested the to lead an expedition to the captain of the regular army Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, his comrade in Indian campaign, who at that time was working on his family plantation. Lewis and Clark were good friends and texted after Clark left the army. Therefore it was not surprising that they both were appointed as two leaders of this important expedition. The expedition consisted of two commanders, 27 soldiers, half-breed that was a translator and a hunter, a black-skinned servant of Clark, York, and a group of soldiers and boatmen, who were to go back after the first season.(Bertozzi, 2011)
The objectives of the expedition were presented in detail, and described in the instructions and the oral negotiations between President Jefferson and Lewis. To have geographical information about the riverbeds and mountain passes was the issue of great importance for the further expansion. The opening of the route that passes to the Pacific Ocean would have facilitated trade between the United States of America and the East. And, of course, it was very important to obtain information on natural resources and the Indians living in the prairies. One of the purposes of the expedition was to try to strike up a trade and establish good relations with the Indians; the other reason was to record scientific information, such as flora and fauna, minerals, soil composition and climate.
It is obvious why did Lewis and Clark chose to travel by the river. Cargo of the expedition was more than 6 tons and riverboats best suited for its transportation. Why was exactly the Missouri River chosen is also easy to explain. Missouri is a deep river with not fast stream, flowing from somewhere in the northwest. The source of the river, according to local Indians, was very far away. It was obvious that the further expedition would be able to move up by the Missouri to the West, where they should find their ultimate aim, the Pacific Ocean. (Gray, 2005)
The expedition left May 14, 1804 from the city of St. Louis. Within 5 months, the researchers slowly moved by the river. They wintered in Mandan Indians, that were located on the territory where modern state of North Dakota is now located. If you look at a map, you can see that before the winter the expedition overcame a little less than half of their way. But the map was the thing that Lewis and Clark did not have, as they were the ones whose goal was to create this map. The routes were known only by local Indian tribes, and white trappers who haunted in this area.(Quiri, 2001)
One of the trappers, Toussaint Charbonneau who originally was a Frenchman, Lewis and Clark hired as a translator and their guide. As an interpreter he was useless, because on practice he had no skills to translate any of the Indian languages, even though he lived pretty long period of time among the Indians. He also did not know English language. But it happened so that his young wife was surprisingly useful for the expedition; she was an Indian from the Shoshone tribe, whose name was Sacagawea. She also became a conductor and interpreter of the expedition. Sacagawea negotiated with the Indians, and they gave horses and provisions that allowed travelers to set foot on the way to overcome the Rockies.(Gray, 2005)
It was naturally, that starting the expedition Lewis and Clark had no idea about the existence of these mountains. Go through the Rockies was the most difficult part of the journey. Sacagawea, who showed her familiar passages through the passes, largely facilitated this barrier. But most importantly, the presence of women in the unit was indicating the peaceful purposes of the expedition to local Indians. The Indians never accompanied fighting force with women.
Crossing the mountains, the travelers reached the river, which was later called Colombia. From this river the expedition descended to the Pacific Ocean on the Indian canoes. On December 3, 1805 the goal of the journey was reached. That was the place, where the members of the expedition built the fort and wintered.
The Lewis and Clark expedition started the process of the discovery of America by Americans. It turned out that they very close to the wealth and beauty, which cannot be found anywhere in the world. Thus, even Lewis and Clark discovered in the Yellowstone River in the valley of which the great American national parks with lots of geysers is now created.
Since that time Americans knew where to go in search of new lands. And they knew the way by which to move to the West: the valley of the rivers that flow into the Mississippi, in the first place, the valley of the Missouri River.
One of the first, who used the information about the way to the Pacific Ocean, was John Jacob Astor. He planned to gain a foothold on the Pacific coast, and to create a city and port in order to supply the fur to China. To this end, in 1808, George Astor founded the "American Fur Company" and became a monopolist in the fur trade. It is unlikely that Astor would achieve this, if he did not enlisted the support in the upper echelons of American power, the vice-president Clinton and President Jefferson.(Gray, 2005)
In 1810 Astor financed another Meso-American expedition, which, using the results of the Lewis and Clark expedition, reached the mouth of the Columbia River and founded a fort and port of Astoria. Idea of Astor became true. The territory called Oregon entrenched behind the US. Hence, the ships that were loaded with fur began to leave to China. (Quiri, 2001)
Speaking about the immediate results of the expedition, they were not as valuable as they could be, partly because of the death of Lewis, and because Clark later moved on to other issues. However, albeit belatedly, the report was finally granted in 1814 and this information had a significant impact on the policy of the United States.
The expedition took place many years before that time, when one could use the most part of the information that was received. But these studies have led to the growth of the fur trade, as a result were made more accurate maps, and it has established a strong impact on the US Pacific Northwest, which has reached its highest point in the resolution of the Oregon boundary dispute in 1846.
Bertozzi, N. (2011). Lewis & Clark. New York: First Second.
Gray, E. (2005). The Lewis And Clark Expedition. Itinerario, 29(03), 110. doi:10.1017/s0165115300010500
Quiri, P. (2001). The Lewis and Clark Expedition. Minneapolis, Minn.: Compass Point Books.