Preparing for an Expedition

Preparation for the expedition was exhaustive, and Jefferson had his own territorial and economic motivations for the journey. He had acquired plenty of knowledge about the subject which was shared with Lewis. Lewis was directed by Jefferson to study various matters related to medicine, astronomy, navigation, geography, and mapping under his supervision. Other well-known experts assisted Lewis with his studies, and Lewis took to the preparations well.

The explorers prepared a keelboat created near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It held various provisions and items for their journey. They traveled down the Ohio River to meet Clark near Louisville, Kentucky, in 1803. Their boat contained many items for trade with the native Indians. It included silver peace medals with Jefferson inscribed on them. These friendship medals were to be distributed to tribes they met. The boat also held weapons to display military prowess and protect the party, such as high-grade European weaponry, firearms, knives, metals, and the best mapping and cartography equipment. They also prepared medicines, gifts, flags, and all kinds of survival equipment.

Lewis and Clark were prepared as much as they could be. They had been influenced by the journey of Moncacht-Apé who was a Native American explorer from the Yazoo tribe near Mississippi. It is believed he made a journey in the early 1700s across North America. His story and itinerary were given to French explorer Antoine-Simon Le Page du Pratz, who then published this in his memoirs. In the 1750s. A book with Le Page’s book was published in 1763 and was used by European and American pioneers,

Jefferson had Le Page’s book with Moncacht-Apé’s itinerary, and Lewis also took a copy with him during the expedition of the Northwest. However, it was in no way a perfect guide as it did not contain information about getting through the Rocky Mountains. Lewis and Clark believed that it was possible to transport boats from Missouri’s headwaters flowing westward, which proved to be untrue.

The journey was influenced by Jefferson’s knowledge and readings of explorers such as Captain James Cook and his voyages to the Pacific Ocean. Jefferson also read about Alexander Mackenzie’s routes to the Pacific coast in British Columbia in 1793. Mackenzie’s writings influenced Jefferson’s need to find a way westwards as soon as possible. Jefferson knew from Mackenzie’s reports of the Brit’s intention of controlling the area through the Columbia River. His interest in the journey was based upon this fact.

The Louisiana Purchase

The Lewis and Clark expedition came about because of The Louisiana Purchase, which was negotiated between Thomas Jefferson and Napolean from France. The Kingdom of France wanted to sell the land to the U.S because of financial pressures resulting from other conflicts with the United Kingdom and other revolts in their territories. Thomas Jefferson was excited about the prospect of acquiring the land and wanted to get control of the Mississippi River port of New Orleans. It was possible for the government to purchase an area of land that stretched from the Mississippi River to the Rocky Mountains for $15 million. The price of $2.50 per square mile was hard for Jefferson to pass over, and he perused the sale.

The purchase was not supported by the Federalist Party, but Jefferson and Secretary of State James Madison convinced Congress to fund the purchase after the debate. The sale would add 828,000 square miles (2,144,510 square km) of land from France. In April 1803, the land was purchased under President Thomas Jefferson’s government. The purchase would result in The Louisiana Purchase, which included areas of the Mississippi River that were mostly unexplored and unknown to both the U.S. and France.

The Louisiana Purchase almost doubled the size of the U.S. It covers many states and provinces in the present-day U.S and Canada. The purchase also includes Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Nebraska. Big areas of North and South Dakota; Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, and some of Minnesota, New Mexico, Texas; New Orleans, Louisiana, Alberta, and Saskatchewan were also discovered during the journey.

Thomas Jefferson and others in the government wanted to know what was purchased as they had little knowledge of the area in question. After the purchase of the land, President Jefferson asked Congress to approve $2,500 for a journey of exploration into the west.

The goal of the journey would be to map the newly acquired Louisiana territory. Another primary objective was to find a water route to the Pacific Ocean through the north-west and increase trade throughout the region and the U.S. Other secondary purposes were to study plant and animal life as well as geography. Establishing relations and dealing with the Indian tribes was another objective. The journey would accomplish a resounding number of goals related to biology, scientific discovery, botany, archeology, and even climatology.

From the beginning of the journey, many of the party took journals of what they saw and experienced on their trip. The journey was important in the history of the U.S and exploration and expansion. It would be of vital importance in the subsequent knowledge of the area and what other explorers could expect on their journey westward. The Lousiana Purchase needed to be justified, and a group of men would be responsible for showing the fruitfulness of such a purchase by Jefferson and the government.