Lewis and Clark Expedition

The Lewis and Clark Expedition was one of the most dramatic and significant episodes in the history of the United States. In 1804-6 it carried the destiny as well as the flag of our young Nation westward from the Mississippi across thousands of miles of mostly unknown land—up the Missouri, over the Rocky Mountains, and on to the Pacific. This epic feat not only sparked national pride, but it also fired the imagination of the American people and made them feel for the first time the full sweep of the continent on which they lived.

Equally as important, the political and economic ramifications of the trek vitally affected the subsequent course and growth of the Nation. In its scope and achievements, the expedition towers among the major explorations of the North American Continent and the world. Its members included the first U.S. citizens to cross the continent; the first individuals to traverse it within the area of the present United States; and the first white men to explore the Upper Missouri area and a large part of the Columbia Basin as well as to pass over the Continental Divide within the drainage area of the two rivers.