After Lewis and Clark: Mountain Men and the Paths to the Pacific

By Robert M. Utley | Go to book overview
Save to active project

INTRODUCTION

FOR AMERICANS, the history of the Trans-Mississippi West dawned with the nineteenth century. The Louisiana Purchase opened fresh vistas beyond a western boundary that traced the course of the mighty river bisecting most of the North American continent. President Thomas Jefferson knew not what he had bought from Napoleon, but he had long been interested in lifting the veil from the western reaches of the continent. Spaniards, Englishmen, Frenchmen, and Russians knew some of the geography, but mainly around the fringes. Indian tribes, their cultures reflecting the immense geographical diversity, knew the heartland. All, in their respective regions, had imprinted human history on the landscape, the Europeans for three centuries, the natives for millennia. For the first half of the nineteenth century, much of the young American republic s energies concentrated on discovering and recording the contours of this immense land.

Not alone on revealing the contours. In the fertile mind of Thomas Jefferson himself stirred nebulous visions of a continental destiny for the American people if not for the United States itself. In less than two decades, in the ambitions of an influential segment of national leadership, such musings had hardened into doctrine. Secretary of State John Quincy Adams best expressed it in 1819: "The world shall be familiarized with the idea of considering our proper dominion to be the continent of North America," he wrote. "Europe shall find it a settled geographic element that the United States and North America are identical."1 Even more than

-xi-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
After Lewis and Clark: Mountain Men and the Paths to the Pacific
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 392

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?