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American Writers: a journey through history is a permanent archive for educators, researchers and every one interested in the writers featured in the  C‑SPAN series.


Meriwether Lewis
Born: August 18, 1774, near Charlottesville, VA
Died: October 11, 1809, near Nashville, TN

William Clark
Born: August 1, 1770, Caroline County, VA
Died: September 1, 1838, St. Louis, MO

After serving in the army, Lewis in 1801 became private secretary to Pres. Thomas Jefferson, who selected him to lead the first overland expedition to the Pacific Northwest. Lewis asked that William Clark, a former army colleague, share the
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Lewis and Clark, Journals of the Expedition
C-SPAN's Video Library: Merewether Lewis
C-SPAN's Video Library: William Clark
command. In 1804 the Lewis and Clark Expedition set out from St. Louis to explore the new lands added to the United States after the Louisiana Purchase. The two men led a party of about 40 men up the Missouri River to winter in present-day North Dakota. The next spring they hired Toussaint Charbonneau and his Shoshone wife, Sacagawea, as guides and interpreters. The expedition traveled over the Continental Divide and canoed down several rivers to the mouth of the Columbia River on the Pacific coast. After wintering in present-day Oregon, the group returned to St. Louis to great acclaim in September 1806, having traveled over 4,000 miles. Named governor of the Louisiana Territory, Lewis died at 35 under mysterious circumstances in an inn en route to Washington, D.C. Clark was named superintendent of Indian affairs, and also served as governor of the Missouri Territory (1813-22).

Works by Lewis & Clark
History of the expedition under the command of Captains Lewis & Clarke to the sources of the Missouri, thence across the Rocky Mountains and down the River Columbia to the Pacific Ocean, performed during the years 1804-5-6 by order of the Government of the United States

The journals kept by Lewis and others, edited by Nicholas Biddle and published in 1814, helped reinforce U.S. claims to the Oregon country. In blunt, forthright, minimal prose, they document the Indian tribes, wildlife, and geography of the vast region traversed, providing a matchless account of the discovery of a new world.

Web sites about Lewis & Clark
Discovering Lewis and Clark
Lewis and Clark's Historic Trail

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