Lewis And Clark Expedition Essay

1183 words - 5 pages

This paper will explain why Lewis and Clark are two of the greatest explorers in American history. Some of the distinguishing factors of these explorers and the three main points in this paper are their exploration of the uncharted west by way of the Missouri river, the many discoveries made along the way, and the effect they had on the westward expansion of the United States.
In January 1803, Thomas Jefferson sent a confidential message to Congress asking for approval and funding of the exploration of the Westward part of the continent and was granted 2500-dollar budget for the expedition. Captain Meriwether Lewis was chosen as the expeditions’ leader because of his previous experience with the west and because he was an experienced Army officer. William Clark another Army officer was chosen as Lewis’s co-captain in the expedition. On May 21, 1804 Lewis, Clark, and the 33 other men making up the Corps of discovery set off leaving their camp in St. Louis, Missouri. Just two days along their journey, Lewis nearly lost his life when he and his dog were walking along the river studying the land and he almost fell off a cliff on the edge of the river. In September 1804, the Corps ran into the Teton Sioux and were demanded by the chief to surrender their boat before they could pass. After the Corps refused to give up their boat, the Sioux began threatening them with violence. Incredibly, the chief ended up calling off his men and the Corps continued the expedition. On November 4, 1804 Lewis and Clark hire Toussaint Charbonneau a fur-trader and his Shoshone wife, Sacagawea, to act as interpreters on the journey ahead. The Corps continued up the Missouri River until winter hit and they stopped in the villages of the Mandan tribe in December 1804, and built Fort Mandan in present-day Washburn, North Dakota. In the brunt of the winter temperatures frequently dropped to -45 degrees and three men were severely frost bitten. They stayed at the fort until April 1805. So far, Lew and Clark had discovered 108 new plant species and 68 mineral types. Sacagawea became increasingly important to the expedition as she showed the men things to eat like licorices, white apples, wild artichokes, and many other edible plants and roots. She also saved many important tools and artifacts when the boat tipped in a storm. On June 13, 1805, Lewis reached the great Missouri falls and the crew was forced to carry all their gear, supplies, and canoes up a seventeen-mile trail to the top of the falls. This took them almost an entire month. On August 8, 1805, Sacagawea recognized Beaverhead rock from her childhood and knew they were close to Shoshone lands. On August 17, 1805, the expedition arrives at the Shoshone camp, where Sacagawea recognized the chief as her long-lost brother Cameahwait, and they were given horses to continue their journey. On August 31, 1805, the expedition set out for the Bitterroot Mountains with many horses they had received from the...

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