Lewis & Clark Expedition Series Lesson #1-Resources

The Captains of the NH Corps of Discovery (a.k.a. Rydant and Jobin) asked Sgts. Ordway (a.k.a. Miller) and Gass (a.k.a. Havill) to develop five lesson plans relating to Lewis and Clark. These plans will be featured in NHGA newsletters. Captain Jobin suggested that a list of resources, annotated where possible, would be an excellent point of departure for this great adventure. Hence, we submit the following.

Sgts. Ordway & Gass

In 1800, Napoleon Bonaparte secured the rights to the territory called "Louisiana" from Spain. In 1802, he suspended the United States' right of deposit at the port of New Orleans. President Thomas Jefferson pursued negotiations with France to secure ownership of the port. Napoleon offered to sell the entire Louisiana Territory to the United States. By 1803, the Congress, with the urging of President Jefferson, agreed to a purchase price of $15 million.

The new nation was now the owner of territory that would almost double its size. What was this territory like? What resources did it have? What was the cultural landscape like? Was the Northwest Passage now part of our nation? If so, our control made our young nation a new World power! These were questions that were to be handed in 1804 to Merriwether Lewis and William Clark by President Jefferson. The Lewis and Clark expeditions provide teachers with an excellent opportunity to utilize history and literature to work on the geographical challenges with their students. The "Expedition of Discovery" was unique in that the participants ventured into a landscape they had very little understanding of. The "mental maps" of many Americans at that time would make an interesting study on its own.

The New Hampshire Geographic Alliance would like to take the opportunity to present teachers with an annotated list of resources to build a strong base form which to work lesson plan ideas. In future mailings, ideas for mapping skills, using literature, and working with expedition journals to teach about the "physical and cultural places" in the new territory will be offered. Teacher Consultants are encouraged to offer ideas and additional resources.

  1. Start your research at: www.mps.gov/led
    1. click on 'in depth' for: Trail History; Maps; Books; Native American Links; Newsletters; Trail Sites; Activities and more.
    2. click on 'for kids': Refers user to Junior Ranger program listed above. Under 'activities' there is a list of questions (21). Mail answers to Lewis & Clark Center to receive Lewis and Clark NHT Junior Ranger Patch
  1. Lewis and Clark Trail, P.O. Box 3434, Great Falls, Montana 59403 www.lewisandclark.org click on:
    1. 'History of the Lewis and Clark expedition', then click on
    2. 'Spelling of Sacagawea:' This article will help the reader understand the various (3) spellings of her name.
    3. The Foundation has a brochure called "Three Forks of the Lewis and Clark Trail; their Montana Travels."
    4. It also has copies of the U.S. Park Service bulletin "Lewis and Clark Trail" and "Lewis and Clark at Giant Springs"
  2. Sgt. George Drouillard (a.k.a. Drewyer and K. Mitchell-Internet Interpreter) provided us with the following list of web sites:


1. The Bicentennial Coordinator has the memorandum of understanding among various agencies, plus a list of federal agencies.

Margaret J. Gorski
Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Coordinator
USDA Forest Service
Northern Region
P.O. Box 7669
Missoula, MT 59807
E-mail: mgorski@fs.fed.us

a. Margaret also has copies of the map "Lewis and Clark in the Rocky Mountains"

b. Her web site connects with: The National Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Council. It was created to commemorate the journey and legacies of the Lewis and Clark Expedition 2003-2006. It can be reached at: www.lewisandclark2000.org/index.html

2. Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission
P.O. Box 42650
Olympia, WA 98504-2650

This agency produced a very small handout called "Lewis and Clark in Washington State." It outlines the Lewis and Clark journey across the state and notes 'points of interest' along the way.


  • Allen, John Logan. Passage through the Garden: Lewis and Clark and the Image of the American Northwest. University of Illinois Press, 1975

    Although this is John Logan Allen's Ph.D. dissertation, it is "..... a splendidly researched and highly readable treatment of a difficult subject. ....it is much more than just another Lewis and Clark book" (Donald Jackson). The work retraces the journey of Lewis and Clark. It contains 45 maps including a copy of the 1803 King map of western North America. Perhaps its strongest point is comparing what we thought was out there to the realities Lewis and Clark encountered.

  • Ambrose, Stephen. Undaunted Courage. Simon and Schuster, 1996.

    Although this book is about Merriwether Lewis, it revisits the whole of the Lewis and Clark mission to learn the nature of the Louisiana Purchase. As one critic put it ".... it reads like a novel".

  • Bakeless, John. The Eyes of Discovery: America as Seen by the First Explorers. Dover, Inc. 1961. pps 356-381.

    This chapter is a brief description of Lewis and Clark's journey from St. Louis, Missouri to the Clearwater Valley in Idaho. It emphasizes the nature of the river, varied ecological vegetation, and wildlife changes enroute. Important sites such as Great Falls, Gates of the Mountains, Three Forks and Lolo pass are highlighted.

    [The map entitled "Lewis and Clark in the Rocky Mountains." would be an excellent supplement to the chapter. The map is available from NHGA.]

  • DeVoto, Bernard. The Course of Empire. Houghton Mifflin,1952.

    See pages 383-432 for background events which led to the purchase of Louisiana. See pages 435-553 for summary of Lewis and Clark's journey across America. Among observations there is information on varous rivers and Native American groups.

  • Fenselow, Julie. Traveling the Lewis and Clark Trail. Falcon Publishing, Inc., 2000.

    If any of you are thinking about following all or parts of the Lewis and Clark trail, you are well advised to obtain a copy of this book. Sgt. Gass checked parts of it, with which he is familiar, and found it to be superb. Stephen Ambrose also endorses it!

  • Least Heat-Moon, William. River Horse: The Logbook of a Boat across America". Penguin Books, 1999.

    This is Heat-Moon's account of his travels from New York City to the Pacific Ocean by a small boat and a canoe. From page 191 to the end of the book, he follows the trail of Lewis and Clark describing things on and along the course. It might be interesting to compare his observations with those of Lewis and Clark on a portion of the journey, noting changes which have occurred over the past 200 years. See page 242-242 for an example.

  • Ronda, James P. Lewis and Clark among the Indians. University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln & London, 1984.

    This text is a readable account of President Jefferson's interest in the native American culture as well as an account of Lewis and Clark's encounters. Chapters on the Teton Sioux, Mandan, Arikara, and Claptsop are strong in content. Student could be assigned readings to help with the understanding of how the native peoples were involved in the movement of trade goods.


    For more information and materials write directly to:
    Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail Interpretive Center
    Lewis and Clark National Forest
    1101 15th Street North
    Great Falls, MT 59403
    (406) 791-7700 (Jane Weber)

    Point of Interest: Lemhi Pass Lewis and Clark in Beaverhead County Montana. 12 pp. w/map.
    Beaverhead - Deerlodge National Forest
    420 Barrett Street
    Dillon MT 59725-3572
    (406) 683-3900 (Katie Bump)

    Point of Interest: Lost Trail Pass
    Salmon - Challis National Forest
    RR2 Box 600
    Salmon ID 83467
    (208) 756-5100 (Steve Matz)

    Point of Interest: Lolo Trail
    Clearwater National forest
    12730 Highway 12
    Orofino, ID 83544
    (208) 476-4541 (Linda Fee)

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