Jefferson’s Louisiana Purchase And the Exploration of the New Land
Louisiana Purchase- 1803
President Thomas Jefferson moved quickly to find out more about the new lands of the Louisiana Purchase.
He sent exploring parties to prepare maps and reports on the land, animal life, and natural resources.
Merriwether Lewis & William Clark
The most famous expedition Jefferson supported.
Lewis & Clark explored 8,000 miles from 1803-1806.
The journey provided
new knowledge of the geography of the western portion of the country.
Expansion of the fur trade
Improved relationships with the Native Americans.
New maps of major rivers and mountain ranges
Notes on 150 plant types and 120 species of animals.
William Dunbar & George Hunter
Commissioned to explore the Ouachita River in Louisiana & Arkansas.
From 1804-1805 they traveled up the Ouachita, as far as the hot springs.
They recorded that Indians and European settlers truly lived off the land. The people used all the natural resources of the rivers and land.
Both explorers reported that many people would travel to the hot “baths” from the springs. And that it was reported to have medicinal properties.
Dunbar & Hunter
How was this important to Arkansas?
For the first time, official studies were conducted and submitted on the features of the land, the animals, and plants of south Arkansas.
Henry R. Schoolcraft
Entered Arkansas in 1818 at Mammoth Spring in the northeast.
He traveled through the valleys of the Spring, Black, & White rivers.
He was impressed with the hospitality of Arkansas.
But commented negatively on the formal religious practices, he called “witchcraft,” and the lack of education.
Started at Arkansas Post in 1819 and went up the Arkansas River to Fort Smith.
He is remembered both for identifying a number of the state’s plants and for his description of early Arkansas life. His notes on people living in the territory—both Native Americans and American settlers—have provided valuable information for historians and researchers
Question A What was the long-term impact of the Louisiana Purchase on the nation as a whole and on the people living in the newly acquired lands? Imagine what our nation would be like today if the transaction had not occurred.