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Lewis and Clark Case

Autor:   •  October 24, 2013  •  Essay  •  1,187 Words (5 Pages)  •  659 Views

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Lewis and Clark

In viewing part one of the film, it can be determined that it is a strong and accurate piece of historical evidence. Within part one the story of the expedition is told up until they reach the Colorado Rockies and the end of the Missouri river. The accuracy and relevance of the film is deduced from the readings of the Journals by Lewis and Clark. The purpose of the journey fits into the Presidents goals of the time. America, in its infancy sought to expand and establish itself as a dominant nation during a time of intellectual focus. This period of enlightenment promoted intellectual thought and an exchange of knowledge amongst peoples. Beyond the cause of knowledge, the expedition also begged to answer the question asked earlier by the Europeans: was there an all water route to the Pacific?

In 1803, Jefferson sent Lewis to Philadelphia to learn the sciences of celestial navigation and botany. Soon after Napoleon Bonaparte of France sold the Louisiana Purchase to the United States as he was unable to maintain it and France. Jefferson chartered Lewis, Clark and several dozen men that came to be called the Corps of Discovery to find an all water route for trade and communication from coast to coast.

The men departed from Illinois and made their way up the Missouri river. At most times it was unpassable with sails and oars alone due to the mud and trees that occupied the bed of the river. Clark spent his time navigating and mapping while Lewis studied plants and collected specimens of wildlife. Jefferson is to thank for the knowledge provided and collected by the men. With his instructions in the expedition he outlined that both Captains, the Sergeants and at least one private were to take journal entries of the day's events, discoveries and weather.

The film by Ken Burns may not have even been made without these detailed reports that were kept by the explorers. While reading through the first chapter of the journals it is evident that the movie closely follows what the men wrote. One of their fists major complaints were the mosquitos. Also in the first few journal entries it is noted that several of the men, all of whom were in their mid-twenties, received court marshaling. One man, Hugh Hall, broke into the whiskey supply and pled not guilty. He was found guilty and received 100 lashes. A handful of other men received between fifty and one hundred lashes for similar incursions, including insubordination towards the captains. The crew received no further punishments as they began to shape up in the fall.

The film retained the major events and encounters that the men underwent. It also spent immense detail in regard to the meetings with the Sioux tribes. One of the few differences between the film and the journal entries is the exact and concise detail in which the men wrote. This did not however reduce the historical relevance of the film.

If anything

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