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  • Published on: 15th October 2019
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Global Studies Essay

The mission of Lewis and Clark in the 19th century was extremely successful due to their many new scientific discoveries, respect for the American Indians throughout the journey, and their influence on America and how that has affected modern day. Their large discovery of new species and of the landscape greatly contributed to the scientific knowledge of that time. Throughout the journey they were also able to maintain a friendly relationship with the native people, that improved the social aspects of the American Indians for time to come. Throughout the expedition they also recorded important information that boosted the scientific knowledge of that time significantly, for example their discovery of the 120 new animals and 182 new species of plants. This great expedition also lead to many great things for America, by their establishment of the land to house American people and their opening to new trade, exploration and discoveries. The Lewis and Clark Expedition has shaped the America today, through their many discoveries and attitudes on the exploration.

In 1803, President Thomas Jefferson purchased Lousiana Territory from France. With no knowledge of the unknown land he initiated an expedition to explore and record the land and the native people that resided on it. He hoped to find a new water link that would connect the Pacific Ocean with the Mississippi rivers and establish easier routes to travel to the port markets in the Gulf of Carpentaria for trade. There was also concern regarding the American-Indians and their reaction to the purchase of the land, and their affect on the American people who would eventually live on that land. As the president states, "(the American-Indians)... been growing more and more uneasy at the constant dimination of the territory they occupy... it hazards their friendship, and excites dangerous jealousies."

Many new scientific discoveries were made on the journey that displayed the success of the group. An important piece of information that was later produced to the president and congress was the three improved maps of Western United States and lower Canada. These maps contained the observations of Lewis and Clark and were detailed drawings of the land. According to the historical cartographer Carl I, "Wheat" (the name of the third map), was of "towering significance", (c. 1809) and was "one of the most influential ever drawn" of the United States (Carl I, N.D., Internet).

The men also determined the true course of the Upper Missouri and its major tributaries, and they observed that instead of a short portage, a long one separated the Missouri from the Columbia river. Besides from their geographical discoveries they also identified many flora and fauna species. They accurately described 120 mammals, birds, reptiles, fish, and, 182 plant species. In an excerpt from Lewis and Clark's journals he states of their first encounter with a coyote (prairie wolf). "A prairie wolf come near the bank and barked at us this evening, we made an attempt but could not git him, the animale barkes like a large ferce dog."(Lewis and Clark, 1996, Internet)  The introduction of these new species of flora and fauna added to the scientific knowledge of America and improved their intelligence of the newly purchased landscape. This is supported by "quote". The Corps of discovery was additionally able to maintain a friendly relationship with the American-Indians during the expedition, another example that displayed the success of the journey.

The expedition group and the American Indians thoroughly maintained a healthy relationship in the course of the journey, with the Indians playing an important role in the safety and overall success of the group. It is thought that without the help of the Indians they met, the group would not have been able to make it to the Pacific coast and back. The men encountered many tribes of native people on the expedition and write of trading corn for needles, scissors, knives and other goods to keep the peace. They also gave the Indians letters from President Jefferson, with the addition of gold medallions, specially made. By keeping peace with the American-Indians by trade and general friendliness, the Corps established a good relationship with them that ensured the native people would do little to harm the American people. In return the American-Indians gave them food, hospitality, animals, and invited them to feasts and to celebrate with them. In one of their journals, Lewis writes about meeting with the tribe Teton Sioux in present day Dakota. "... I was met by about 10 well dressd yound men who took me up in a roabe highly a decrated and set me down by the side of their chief and dressd roabe in a large council house... under this shelter about 70 men set forming a circle in front of the Chiefs... a large fire was near in which provisions were cooking, in the center about 400 wt. of excellent buffalo beif as a present for us." This truly shows the. hospitality an pd graciousness of the native people. Besides the successes they made through out the journey, the Lewis and Clark expedition also lead for many things for America.

The Expedition of Lewis and Clark had a large affect on America and the American Indian people, though not of the same affect. At the return of the explorers many more American people moved into the new land. Traders, explorers, woodsmen and setters all followed and lived in the west, spreading the American way of life to the Pacific coast.

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