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The Jeffersonian Era Expedition

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1) Describe the United States in 1803; what exactly was Jefferson's interest in the West;

2) Discuss the various aspects/types of equipment, etc. that were necessary to equip the expedition.
Does anything about what they took [or didn't take] surprise you?;

3) Explain the significant role the Mandans, the Shoshones, and the Nez Perce played in the success
of the expedition; and

4) Describe the two leaders of the expedition and describe the composition of the remainder of the
expedition's crew. Had you been living then [and been male], would you have joined this Corps
of Discovery? Explain.

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1) Describe the United States in 1803; what exactly was Jefferson's interest in the West

The US was a new country, small and just beginning to make its presence felt in the world. The country was split between the Federalists and anti-Federalists, and major rebellions in Massachusetts and Pennsylvania had just been put down. The US was insecure at this point, surrounded by French, British and Spanish empire outposts. Moving out west was one way to compensate for this.

Jefferson thought that extinct species might be found in the western US. He also wanted to engage the Russians in pacific trade (this failed). The Russians were in Alaska in 1724. Controlling the fur trade was also significant.
Agriculture and mining were also on his mind here too. Jefferson thought that American prosperity can be greatly helped by exploring the western parts of the country. Jefferson, trained in the sciences, wanted to explore the different species of flora and animal life out west that might not exist in the settled east. Jefferson wanted both a quick route to the Pacific and to trade with the Indian tribes along the way.

Jefferson writes:

"The commerce on that line could bear no competition ...

Solution Summary

The Jeffersonian Era Expedition are examined. The significant role the Mandans, the Shoshones and the Nez Perce plays in the success of the expedition is determined.

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