What were the achievements and failures of Jefferson’s presidency?

In 1803, President Thomas Jefferson was presented an offer that he could not refuse: to double the territory of the United States, including the commercially important port of New Orleans, for just under $12 million. The Louisiana Purchase increased the physical territory of the United States by 828,000 square miles. The land stretched along the Mississippi River, from New Orleans up to what is now the Canadian border, and westward across the Rocky Mountains. But was the land fit for farming? And was there a passable land route across the continent to the Pacific Ocean? To obtain this knowledge, the president outfitted a company of men to follow the mighty Missouri River on its northwestern course through the center of the North American continent. The Corps of Discovery, led by Captain Meriwether Lewis and his Second Lieutenant, William Clark, charted previously unknown mountain ranges, such as the Rockies, encountered many Native American peoples, and meticulously recorded their discoveries of new species of plants and animals. The journals kept by Lewis and Clark, two entries from which are included here, are a treasure trove not only for historians but also for those who study animal biology, geography, as well as Native American culture.


Document 1 sets the stage with a map of the journeys of the Corps of Discovery.

Document 2 includes two actual entries from the journals of Lewis and Clark, one from November 1805 and the other from March 1806. As primary sources, the journals of Lewis and Clark are rich with details about the time period, the places, and the thinking of the men who wrote them.


1. Read the textbook Chapters 8 through 10.

2. Look at Document 1 and read the two entries for Document 2, with special attention to

the image and caption in the entry from March 1806.

3. Answer the questions that follow below (Questions to Answer in the Discussion Board) by Saturday by 11:59pm. You can post your comments to other students until Sunday by 11:59pm. Review the Welcome Message for more info on discussion requirements. Be sure to label your answers.

4. The discussion should reflect your own words. I use software to detect plagiarism, so do your own work and if you use ANY information from the internet it is better to be safe than sorry, so cite it. If you use the internet for help, with few exceptions like Wikipedia.org, questionable sources can be avoided by searching on reputable websites, especially those that end in .edu, .org or .gov. All other websites should be carefully considered and the information critically evaluated and questioned.


1) What were the achievements and failures of Jefferson’s presidency?

2) Explain how the drawing and passage in Documents 1 and 2 serve as evidence of the scientific purpose President Jefferson had in mind for Lewis and Clark’s journey.

3) Look at the Map (Document 1). What is an important piece of information that the map offered explorers and travelers at the time?

4) What does the following passage from Document 2 tell us about the relationship Lewis and Clark had with Native Americans: “they gave us to eate Some fish, and Sold us, fish . . . roots three dogs and 2 otter skins for which we gave fish hooks principally of which they were verry fond”?

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