Creating a legend.
From May 14, 1804 to September 23, 1806, Meriwether Lewis, William Clark and their 60-member Corps of Discovery traveled up the Missouri River, over the Rockies, to the Pacific Ocean and back to St. Louis: 8,000 miles by canoe, horseback and foot. Their paths opened the way for new settlements. Within a few decades, the Oregon and Santa Fe trails carried thousands of people west into the newly opened territories.
Exploring a nation.
Lewis and Clark were sent on their journey by President Thomas Jefferson, who wanted to learn more about the new Louisiana Purchase, which had doubled the size of the United States. The Corps of Discovery was about probing where the young nation's economic, geographic and scientific future lay.
Discovering the new.
Grizzly bear, prairie dog, plains cottonwood, narrow-leafed purple coneflower, coyote, pronghorn antelope, mule deer, ponderosa pine, Eastern wood rat: all were unknown to white Americans until Lewis and Clark's expedition. Scientific and cultural discoveries often intertwined, such as when Lewis not only wrote about a plant called camass, but documented how it was harvested, prepared and eaten by the Nez Perce Indians.
Lewis and Clark's expedition created myths of exploration, ambition, teamwork and individuality that define America. It also solidified a personal, cultural, sociological and scientific curiosity that propelled the U.S. into superpower status.
The 2003-04 Drury Convocation series is built around the ideas that drove Lewis and Clark's expedition 200 years ago. The 2003-04 theme, Creativity, Exploration and Discovery will permeate classes and campus events throughout the year. Each talk in the Convocation series reflects the legacy of Lewis and Clark by exploring uniquely American approaches to life and learning, and how those approaches affect and mesh with the rest of the world.