In the Wake of Lewis and Clark
Thomas Jefferson, president of the young United States of America, was an optimist who also had a shrewd understanding of geopolitics. His young country was blocked from expanding to the north by Great Britain, to the south and west by Spain, and, after 1800, by France. The immense Louisiana Territory effectively blocked his vision of an America that would someday extend from sea to shining sea. Even before he learned, in 1803, that he would be able to buy Louisiana from France, be began his plans to explore what he knew must someday become American territory.
The daring enterprise was so important that he assigned its leadership to Meriwether Lewis, his own personal secretary. Lewis, in turn, recruited his former commanding officer, William Clark, to co-captain the expedition.
Leaving St. Louis on May 14, 1804, with thirty-four soldiers, hired voyagers, and Clark’s slave, York, they traveled through the unexplored territory and beyond it, to the Pacific Ocean. Their exploits come alive today as cruise ships travel their route up and down the Snake and Columbia Rivers.
This book is designed to help passengers better understand what the Lewis and Clark expedition experienced during those momentous years of 1804–1806, but also to be able to see through vintage photographs and other images what the members of the Corps of Discovery saw before the rivers were changed forever by hydroelectric dams. It affords an opportunity to travel “in the wake of Lewis and Clark.”