Saturday, June 7, 2014

How Lewis and Clark Became History

When did Americans become interested in Lewis and Clark's journey's through the Louisiana Territory?  The actual trip was made between 1804 and 1806, but the story of the journey did not become part of the popular American historical imagination until the1960s.  Natasha Geiling makes this argument at Smithsonian.com.  Here is a taste of her post:

It wasn't until the 1960s that the public and scholarly spheres connected to make Lewis and Clark the American icons they are today. In the academic world, the work of Donald Jackson changed the way the Lewis and Clark narrative was told. In the 1962 edition of the Lewis and Clark letters, Jackson wrote in his introduction that the Lewis and Clark expedition was more than the story of two men—it was the story of many people and cultures. 

Geiling also connects the popularity of Lewis and Clark to the founding of the Lewis and Clark Heritage Trail in 1969 and the publication of Stephen Ambrose's Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson, and the Opening of the American West