From 1804 to 1806 near St. Louis, two leaders and a military of chosen men were set to explore new land. Meriwether Lewis and William Clark were two explorers, called upon by president, Thomas Jefferson. They were set to explore the new land purchased, known as the Louisiana Purchase. These two men were not alone on their journey, as they led a selected group of military men called, ‘Corps of Discovery’. They were also accompanied by a female Shoshone guide, better known as Sacagawea. This expedition was planned to go down the Missouri River in St. Louis, to the mouth of the Columbia River. The goals of this were not only scientific, but commercial as well. President Thomas Jefferson wanted to: explore the land he had just purchased, study the weather, and to establish trade along the Missouri River. Before the men left for their journey, they had to draw and plan their route. Clark portrayed an interest and skill in mapmaking, so he drew most of the maps. Lewis was more of the brains for the expedition, he handled much of the scientific factors of the journey. The two men together, created almost 150 maps, and got maps from other Natives. On May 21st,1804 the expedition began leaving from Camp Dubois near St. Louis. After traveling for a year and a half, they made it to the Pacific Ocean in early November 1805. When they returned back on September 23rd, 1806, a book of newly discovered animals and plants were brought back. Along the way they had trouble with Native Americans, so completing this journey would hopefully decrease the Native American Indian Culture.
This expedition was most important, because Lewis and Clark were able to explore the newly purchased land. When President Thomas Jefferson made the Louisiana Purchase, the amount of land owned nearly doubled. This exploration provided them with information about land, plants, animals, and Native American Indians. Another way this expedition changed history was by improving relationships with Native Americans. Without Lewis and Clark exploring the new land, the instant trade between the nearly 50 different found tribes would not have taken place. While few tribes felt terrorized by the explorers, there were tribes who were very inviting of them. One big historical change from this expedition is the idea of Manifest Destiny. This idea was that God planned for the U.S. to expand Westward. A blessing to many Americans, was the expansion of land to the West. They believed that since others were not as lucky and informed as they were, their mission was to enlighten others. After the idea of Manifest Destiny, the Oregon Territory was claimed. Pioneers were able to travel further West after claiming this land. The settlers were trying to find an easy way to explore through the Rocky Mountains via water, and named this The Oregon Trail. The western coast as we know today, is populated due to the emigrants, and the Oregon trail. Just as they discovered new plants and animals in the Louisiana Purchase, there were many new species found when they explored the Oregon Territory. The amount of land the U.S. had was increasing, and everyone still believed this was part of God’s plan.


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