Undaunted one of the reasons Jefferson knew

Undaunted CourageStephen Ambrose’s Undaunted Courage is a well written book regarding Meriwether Lewis and William Clark’s journey to explore the west. The book centers on the friendship between Thomas Jefferson and Lewis.

Ambrose wrote the book to emphasis the life of Lewis. The book essentially becomes the biography of Lewis because Ambrose goes form the beginning of the journey to after the journey.In the first few chapters Ambrose goes into details about Lewis’ life in preparation for the exploration. Lewis was a born into a well-known Virginia plantation family which is one of the reasons Jefferson knew his family.

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In 1801 Jefferson asked Lewis to be his personal secretary and aid which Lewis accepted and moved to the president’s residence. Jefferson was persistent in wanting to explore the west and when Jefferson learned that the British were planning on engaging in a fur trade Jefferson chose Lewis to head up the exploration of the west. Lewis made plenty of preparations for the exploration. He studied geography, botany, mineralogy, and astronomy as well as many more fields.

He also made decisions on what to bring and what presents to give the Indians. While Lewis was making these preparations the Louisiana Purchase was being finalized which gave the United States the lands the men were going to travel. He also made the decision as to how many men he was going to take along the journey. Lewis realized he needed a co-captain and thus, picked Clark. He met Clark through the military.

The book does not go into as much depth about Clark as it does Lewis. This is one downside to the novel, but it still is a good read.The “Corps of Discovery,” as the exploration was called, was made up of fifty men, two small boats and one keelboat. The men traveled more than 640 miles up the Missouri river before encountering one Indian. In early August a group of Oto arrived at the explorations camp. Lewis told them about Jefferson and gave them gifts.

A few weeks later, the exploration suffered its only fatality, and that came when Sergeant Charles Floyd died of a ruptured appendix. In the next month, the “Corps of Discovery” met a large party of Sioux and went and visited a Sioux village. By this point the party was reaching present day North Dakota.

The men built Fort Mandan, where they spent the harsh winter. There, the group met a French-Canadian trader, Charbonneau, and his wife, Sacagawea, who joined their team as translators. In April the group was ready to head west and crossed the farthest.

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