As we examining the Era of Expansionism, it would be impossible to skip the contributions of the thousands of pages of information supplied by the expedition of Lewis and Clarke. Recording daily notations on the flora and fauna of the west, as well as the Native inhabitants, weather patterns, natural resources and maps charting the terrain, the team members of the expedition provided the young America with valuable 1st person accounts of the new frontier into which we wished to expand.
As you read through the journal entries that appear in your text, and in the attached document below, you will see the contribution of not just Lewis and Clarke, but also expedition members Floyd, Gass, Ordway, and Whitehouse. As you read through these be sure to consider the questions below, as we will discuss them in class:
- Which writer provides the most descriptive account vs. the most factual account?
- Why is it important for modern reader to analyze all the accounts from each given writer for each day?
- How should a modern reader synthesize this information to create a more complete understanding of their journey?
- Even after synthesis, is our understanding of the journey still affected by historical bias?
**A Note About Spelling In The Attachment (from the source, unl.edu)
The spelling and capitalization of Lewis, Clark, and other members of the expedition have been retained as nearly as possible, but some conventionalizing has been necessary. Uncrossed t’s and undotted i’s and the like have been silently corrected. Misspelled words have been corrected in brackets when necessary for clarity. When letters or words defy comprehension, conjectural readings have been given in brackets with a question mark signifying the editor’s uncertainty. With ambiguous spelling, the journalist’s typical spelling has been taken as a guide, or the modern spelling has been adopted in disputed cases. With Clark that is nearly impossible. One researcher discovered that Clark spelled the word Sioux “no less than twenty-seven different ways.” Little can be promised in the way of consistency, for no rule can stand against Clark’s inimitable style.