The Lewis and Clark Expedition, probably the most well known, most important expedition to North America. It was key to the westward expansion of the United States. Jefferson bought the Louisiana territory in 1801, thank you France. He wanted to know what was there, he wanted to know what he bought. So his friend Meriwether lewis was called up or I should say written up and was asked to explore the recently bought territory and report back with a detailed description. Lewis was also permitted for a crew and all the supplies he needed for the expedition. The day after the letter was sent lewis and his partner clark were off to explore the new country. Lewis and clark went into this expedition not knowing what to think and what was going to be out there. For all they knew they could find the cure to diseases and other illnesses. They didn’t find cures but they did find ways that the natives helped with those illnesses and to help slow them or make them go away. Those people that showed him these tricks or “cures” were natives, thanks to a couple people in the crew we could understand these natives.
Lewis and his partner Clark were accompanied by many important people the new how to make fire, purify water, hunt, trap and thrive in the environment given to them. There was also a dog named Seaman and was always by lewis and Clark’s side and loved running around with them. Lewis made multiple discoveries in America’s new purchase and jefferson was proud. If it wasn’t for the translators and other mediators Lewis and Clark would not have came back with as much valuable information, for example Sacagawea help translate for Lewis and Clark and helped with other small and large things. If it wasn’t for her Lewis and clark would probably be dead and America would have to send others to find them and finish exploring.
Undaunted Courage, Novel? But Nonfiction
Undaunted Courage, seems like a great novel to read but all this stuff in the book, it all really happened. Lewis and Clark, Sacagawea, Seaman all of them contributed to the expedition. All these people so vital to the expedition all helped and were real people that the book told us about. This book wasn’t a fairytale its a historical book that tells about how lewis and clark changed America forever. Although people might read it as a novel it is actually just a very detailed description of what happened on the lewis and clark trip. If you ever wanted to know what actually went on during the expedition, read this book before you do anything else. This book tells very detailed descriptions about the course they took, and the people they met and mad friends with and who they were enemies with. The whole reason for the book to be wrote was to tell everybody else besides Jefferson and others that ordered him to explore the new purchase. Reading this you know that it is all real, not fiction it’s not made up for the reader. The book is not made for the readers pleasure. Reading history is more interesting to me at least, but others my like fiction stories. Reading history makes you think ho it was back then and wonder how thing were. It makes you think. While fiction doesn’t make you think you just read it to read it, there is no purpose to reading a make belief story or novel. Even though people may like it, there is nothing special that you get out of it. With reading historical or any nonfiction story you get to learn what happened and why it did. Everybody needs and deserves to know about our country and how it came to be.
Undaunted Courage, Then and Now
The time that they were on this expedition women, Indians, African Americans were treated differently. Blacks were still slaves and were treated as expected, they were whipped when they disobeyed and didn’t do what they were told. Amazingly there was only one slave on the ship, his name was York. York was owned by Clark and was eventually given his freedom after the expedition. There was one woman in the Corps of Discovery she was a Shoshoni. There was also a french trader that helped see over the trades between the Americans and the natives. The women back then were treated not as valuable to the crew, is was stereotypical the men did the work and the women did the little stuff. So they only took one woman and was surprised that she made it and she carried a baby the whole way. Her name was Sacagawea, actually one of the most helpful people on the trip and one of the most valuable to the Corps of Discovery. There were 59 people and one dog who participated on the expedition, but only 33 people and a dog left from Fort Mandan, which is now part of North Dakota.3 Indians were often treated poorly also but they were treated better than women and slaves. We treated them better than them because we needed them to survive and to describe what life is like out there in the west. We needed their trust so lewis and clark could gain information to give Jefferson. We trusted them too knowing that they not just live in the wild west but were thriving there. Indians were often friendly and willing to help lewis and clark out but every so often they would come across so hostile ones that didn’t want anything to do with them. Although the hostile indians wanted to kill all of them, obviously they didn’t because only one person died on the trip and it was from an illness.
The Importance of The Expedition
If it wasn’t for the expedition of the westward part of the new America, our country would be very different. We would have had to go blindly into the west and not know what to expect. Cures for some illnesses would not have been found until later and more people would have died from them. Tricks to farm would not have been found till much later and what to farm would have been difficult to find. The natives knew what to grow, when to grow it, and which ways worked best to grow these specific plants. Many of these new plants that the indians introduced to use became very useful and were used in many different ways. Some of these plant helped with medicine and other medical uses. These plants also provided more food and a variety of food also.
Most hunting ways and tricks would not be prevalent in the west like they are today. Not just hunting ways but way to cook meat to were it would go bad as fast. Smoking meat keeps it from rotting and spoiling for longer than just regular cooking methods. Fur would not be used as much as it is now, indians used lots of fur for warmth and for other utilities.2 The natives taught lewis and clark and the other Americans how to use the whole animal too, not just use the fur but to use the bones and other parts for other purposes. The indians also taught the Americans how to make knives and how to skin animals certain ways for certain purposes. Knives were big back then if you had a knife you were pretty set off and could much more than other people. Knives were usually made from rock or glass. We later made them out of certain metals and then used them to trade to the indians for corn also known as maze back then.
The Hardships on the Expedition
There were many hardships that lewis and clark had to go through and endure. Lewis and clark had to overcome language barriers, limited food, and other resources. He also didn’t know the land and just didn’t know where to go and when to get there. The indians helped Lewis and clark and gave them a sense of direction. Language was a big issue between the english speaking Americans and the native tongue that the indians used. So Sacagawea worked as a translator and helped the americans interact with the indians. Without her they would have never understood the indians and would not have come back with as much information and would not have helped america at all.
In conclusion the Lewis and Clark expedition helped America in the westward expansion of our country. If they would not have gone or would have not made it back our country would have suffered. Lewis in the end of the book killed himself, which is weird because he endured all the hardships on the trip and all the adversity he survived that. He became famous and got a lot of credit for all discoveries and had life made. But something must have gone wrong in his life enough that he killed himself and left behind his fame and reputation.1 Some think that he killed himself others think that he was shot by someone, I believe that he killed himself. I don’t know why he did it neither do anybody else, no one know what happened for sure.
- Ambrose, Stephen, Undaunted Courage (New York: Simon & Schuster Paperbacks, 1996), 521 pages
- “Frequently Asked Questions of the Lewis and Clark Trail” National Park Service, https://www.nps.gov/lecl/faqs.htm (Accessed November 20, 2018)
- Ambrose, Stephen, Undaunted Courage, https://books.google.com/books?id=1qG28l85r-oC&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false (Accessed November 20, 2018)