Jefferson’s Men

Jefferson’s Men

Who: The Explorers

Meriwether Lewis

Meriwether Lewis was born in Virginia in 1774. He was a smart, quiet man of strong character. When he set a goal, he would persevere until the goal was reached. At the age of twenty, he enlisted in the militia. And a year later, he joined the regular army. After five years he became a captain. When Thomas Jefferson was elected President, he made Lewis his private secretary. Two years later the United States bought the Louisiana Territory from France. Jefferson chose Lewis to take charge of the expedition to the new territory.

William Clark

William Clark was also born in Virginia in 1770. He was a brother of George Rogers Clark who defeated the English and Native Americans in the Northwest Territory. It was George who taught William to hunt and fish and how to survive the wilderness. When he was fourteen years old, the family moved to Kentucky. At the age of twenty-two, he became a lieutenant in the infantry in the United States Army. He took part in battles against the Native Americans. He left the army because of poor health, but seven years later he entered it again. The following year he was asked by Lewis to become one of the commanders of the expedition. Clark was a very cheerful man who enjoyed people. He was always encouraging others.


There was room for all kinds of people in the Lewis and Clark expedition. Lewis was quiet and liked to be by himself; he knew a lot about plants and medicine and how to survive in the wilderness alone. Clark was outgoing and cheerful, and he knew a lot about Native Americans and how to survive in the wilderness alone. How do these different skills and personalities help with the goals of the expedition?