Upon purchasing the Louisiana Territory in 1803, President Thomas Jefferson already had plans for a great expedition of this new territory in the West. Prior to purchasing the Louisiana Territory, Jefferson had already sent a message in secret for an organized exploration to be set forth. There was no knowledge of what inhabited the Louisiana Purchase or its shape, new discoveries needed to be made. In leading such a dangerous expedition, in 1801 Jefferson chose one of his chief aides Meriwether Lewis who was a skilled soldier and woodsmen. Lewis accepted the noble undertaking and recruited Co-captain William Clark, his former Army Commander who was a skilled map-maker and river man. This paper argues that Jefferson's efforts in this expedition were to gather information about the indigenous inhabitants and the country of the western territories, to fortify America's ownership in the Oregon territory, and to seek out a land route to the Pacific Ocean.
The Corp of Discovery left their camp in Illinois after a large ceremony held in their honor, celebrating before they left on their dangerous mission through the West. Traveling up the Missouri River is where the Corp began their journey, with a few boats carrying rations and supplies. Lewis was a very studies and reclusive man, who under the training of Jefferson was told to spectate in the wilderness, observe, and record every new thing he saw. Lewis would often spend many hours exploring new areas with his dog Seaman. This was very dangerous of him to do as he was very unfamiliar with the landmasses, as well as if there were dangerous indigenous people or animals near him. If something were to happen to him and he needed help, he would only have his dog. .
The journey up the Missouri river was very strenuous as the men had to pull and row barges through the current, mosquitos and ticks were infuriating as well. Lewis thought it to be very important not only to explore through the Missouri River, but make systematic reports, based on scientific measurement and observations.