The Discovery Expedition of 1804 - Essay Sample

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  3
Wordcount:  567 Words
Date:  2022-07-21


The expedition by Meriwether and William was an exploratory mission into the newly acquired territory from the Louisiana Purchase. President Thomas Jefferson ordered the purpose in 1803 with the aim of getting geographical insight into the new lands, expanding economic activities as well as advancing democracy (Collins). The president tasked his private secretary Meriwether Lewis with the responsibility of carrying out this mission. Meriwether was a former military man and was qualified to lead the mission. He recruited his ally William Clark to help guide the purpose. Together they gathered a team of about fifty men among them soldiers, slaves, translators and a navigation crew (Buckley).

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In the fifth month of 1804, the Meriwether and his team embarked on the expedition. The mission took about three years and ended in 1806 when the expedition corps arrived at the shore of the Pacific (Buckley). Congress had approved money to finance the trip, and therefore the team had enough supplies and weapons to carry out the expedition. During the journey, Lewis and his team were able to record relevant information about the territory including its topography, types of animal and plants distributed across the region as well as the location of Indian communities that already occupied the land. However, along the way, they encountered some challenges including severe weather, steep terrain, diseases and unfriendly Indian natives ("Lewis and Clark Expedition: Facts and Timeline"). Despite the obstacles, Meriwether and his team were able to have a successful expedition with minimal losses.

The Discovery corps while at Fort Mandan encountered a French trapper who had an Indian wife named Sacagawea. Lewis asked the couple to join their group and act as guides to help them maneuver the land as they journeyed to reach the Pacific. Sacagawea was useful to the group serving both as a guide and Indian translator since she was familiar with the region ("Lewis and Clark Expedition: Facts and Timeline").

I believe Sacagawea's was quite crucial to the group due to her knowledge of the land and communities that lived nearby. She would have been able to inform the group when they were approaching an Indian village and would help the team approach communities in a non-threatening way. Her presence probably helped diffuse situations as Indians would trust her since she was a mother with a child and the fact she was leading the white Americans through the land. However, her contributions may have been distorted over time making her story into that of a legend (Kingston).


All in all the Lewis and Clark expedition was successful in their mission. Their work helped to make information about the Louisiana territory available to the government and the masses. This information opened up the land west of the Mississippi allowing for its expansion as Americans would later move and settle in the territory. Furthermore, their permitted expedition for a route to the Pacific to be plotted.

Works Cited

Buckley, Jay H. "Lewis and Clark Expedition | History, Facts, & Map." Encyclopedia Britannica, 24 May 2018, Accessed 10 Sept. 2018.

Collins, Charles D. "The Corps of Discovery: Staff Ride Handbook for the Lewis and Clark Expedition." Combat Studies Institute, pp. 1-34.

Kingston, C. S. "Sacajawea as Guide: The Evaluation of a Legend." The Pacific Northwest Quarterly, vol. 35, no. 1, 1994, pp. 3-18, . Accessed 10 Sept. 2018.

"Lewis and Clark Expedition: Facts and Timeline.", 2009, Accessed 10 Sept. 2018.

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The Discovery Expedition of 1804 - Essay Sample. (2022, Jul 21). Retrieved from

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