Claiming the Far West: Territorial Expansion After 1812 - Research Article from Westward Expansion Reference Library

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The Dreams of a President

One of the first Americans to embrace the dream of a coast-to-coast empire was President Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826). Jefferson had read with interest Canadian fur trader Alexander Mackenzie's (c. 1755–1820) account of his 1793 explorations across the Canadian Rocky Mountains and to the shores of the Pacific. In his book, Voyages from Montreal, Mackenzie outlined his vision of a continental fur trade controlled by the British. As it became clear that the United States could expand that far west, Jefferson began to dream of an expedition that would explore the far western lands and establish a claim for American control of the fur-rich regions there. Gathering together two experienced young military officers, Meriwether Lewis (1774–1809) and William Clark (1770–1838), Jefferson gave them these instructions in a letter dated January 20, 1803, quoted in Donald Jackson's Letters of the Lewis and Clark...

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This section contains 5,295 words
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Buy the Claiming the Far West: Territorial Expansion After 1812 Encyclopedia Article
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Claiming the Far West: Territorial Expansion After 1812 from Westward Expansion Reference Library. ©2005-2006 by U•X•L. U•X•L is an imprint of Thomson Gale, a division of Thomson Learning, Inc. All rights reserved.
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