In His State of the Union Address, Thomas Jefferson Commends Lewis and Clark for Their Successful Explorations
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THOMAS JEFFERSON. [LEWIS AND CLARK].
Newspaper. Connecticut Courant. Hartford, Conn., December 10, 1806. 4 pp, 12½ x 20½ in.
After purchasing the Louisiana Territory in 1803, President Jefferson sent his former personal secretary, Meriwether Lewis and Army officer William Clark to explore the huge tract of land. In his December 2, 1806, State of the Union address, Jefferson praised the expedition’s success. His address, in full on page 3, includes this important paragraph:
“The expedition of Messrs. Lewis and Clarke, for exploring the river Missouri, and the best communication from that to the Pacific Ocean, has had all the success which could have been expected. They have traced the Missouri nearly to its source, descended the Columbia to the Pacific Ocean. . . . and it is but justice to say that Messrs. Lewis and Clarke, and their brave companions, have, by this arduous service, deserved well of their country.”
Meriwether Lewis (1774 - 1809) was best known for leading, along with William Clark, the expedition that explored the Louisiana Purchase from 1804-1806. He was a largely self-taught naturalist and outdoorsman, and soldier in the Army’s First Infantry Regiment. In 1801, he joined Thomas Jefferson’s staff as his personal secretary. In 1804, Jefferson picked his old friend and fellow Virginian to lead the transcontinental expedition. Jefferson named him Governor of the Louisiana Territory in 1807. Lingering effects of wounds suffered returning from the expedition dogged him until he died under mysterious circumstances, apparently by suicide, in 1809.
William Clark (1770 – 1838) joined the Kentucky territory’s volunteer militia and fought in the Northwest Indian War in 1789. He was promoted to captain in 1790, and played a decisive role in the Battle of Fallen Timbers, victory in which brought an end to the entire war in 1794. He is best known for his role leading, along with Meriwether Lewis, the expedition exploring the Louisiana Purchase in 1804. He was later governor of the Missouri territory in 1812, and Superintendant of Indian Affairs in 1822.
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