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part i Contexts Map 2. A map of Lewis and Clark’s track across the western portion of North America from the Mississippi to the Pacific Ocean by order of the executive of the United States in 1804, 5, & 6. By Samuel Lewis, 1814, from the original drawing of Wm. Clark, 1810. (American Philosophical Society) Based on William Clark’s careful observations, and augmented with information from the 1805–7 expedition of Zebulon Pike, this full-scale map of the entire Lewis and Clark trail is crowded with references to rivers, mountain ranges, and Native groups. Clark added new details to an original version of this map throughout a thirty-year career that combined his private interests in the fur trade with his official obligations as an Indian agent and superintendent of Indian affairs for the Upper Louisiana Territory. The updated map that he kept in his offices in St. Louis served as a guide to fur trading enterprises, policy makers, and military planners for nearly half a century. T hough largely neglected by scholars and the general public for most of the nineteenth century, the Lewis and Clark expedition has attracted a great deal of attention since the centennial celebrations of 1904 and 1905. It would seem that the past one hundred years might be enough to exhaust the subject. After all, the expedition has a clear beginning and end, the route across the continent is well known and documented , various issues of the journals are widely available, and hundreds of authors have already written about the subject. Yet the increasing flood of books, articles, and films on the expedition suggests there may be no end to the appeal of Lewis and Clark and the ways it can be described or interpreted. The most remarkable feature of writings on Lewis and Clark is not the sheer volume of material, but its narrow scope. Indeed, the Lewis and Clark expedition might be likened to a favorite national children’s bedtime story—which like young children, Americans insist on hearing over and over. The physicality of the expedition generally receives the most attention , with Lewis and Clark and wild nature set up as antagonists in a classic tale of adversity and triumph. There is more to the appeal of the expedition than this, and it is unfair to suggest that recent scholarship on Lewis and Clark fits into this narrow story line. Nevertheless, there remains a great deal of work to be done on the broader contexts and meaning of the expedition . This section presents new views on the expedition, with particular emphasis on the conditions and concerns that shaped its purposes and ensured its lasting significance. The first three essays assess the support of organizations like the American Philosophical Society, the manner in which the journals fulfilled Jefferson’s description of the expedition as a “literary pursuit,” and the social aspects of disease and injury and their medical treatments. This page intentionally left blank ...


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