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Lewis & Clark Online Exhibit - Era Intro

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Lewis & Clark era introduction composite photo

"The object of your mission is to explore the Missouri river, & such principal stream of it, as, by it's course & communication with the water of the Pacific ocean may offer the most direct & practicable water communication across this continent, for the purposes of commerce."

"Given under my hand at the city of Washington, this 20th. day of June 1803."

Th:Jefferson, Pr. U.S. of America
Letter to Merriwether Lewis

Frequently Asked Questions

What were Jefferson’s reasons for wanting to explore the West?

How and why did the United States obtain the Louisiana Purchase?

Were there other American attempts–before and after–to explore the west?

How active was the fur trade in North Dakota before Lewis and Clark?

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