History Monday #78

Life is a Highway, a song says and today’s historical event is about the life of highways

It’s the 11th day of the 11th Month, and for Americans that means Veterans’ Day. So, blessings and thanks to all Armed Forces Veterans on this day. The armistice of World War I would seem the most obvious choice for today’s entry, but I like to call attention to the not so obvious events for #HistoryMonday, so let’s roll on down the highway with today’s entry.

The U.S. Highway Plan approved on 11 November, 1926

On November 11, 1926, the American Association of State Highway Officials (AASHO) approved the Numbered Highway System. Created more than a decade earlier to organize and assist the patchwork group of auto trails, the AASHO acknowledged shortcomings of the loose affiliation of the auto trails and hoped to correct them.

Most auto trails began as old wagon trails, cow paths, and corduroy roads. Adventurous and romanticized travelers attempted to navigate the country using these pathways and created names like the Lincoln Highway, Dixie Highway, Ocean to Ocean Trail, among others. Travelers found confusion when auto trail clubs built parallel roads with makeshift signage and no clear instruction on which route to take, something had to be done.

Wisconsin noticed the pitfalls and decided that an organized system using numbers rather than arbitrary names would be a better option. Other states followed suit and eventually the AASHO began meeting to organize the system nationwide that would be clear to all.

Not everyone appreciated the move though. Some of the auto trail designers felt that numbers were too sterile and cold and lost the sense of adventure and honor that the named trails offered. Arguing that numbers were an insult to the memory of Abraham Lincoln by numbering a highway rather than retaining the Lincoln Highway. Others joked that nobody could get their ‘kicks’ on 46, 55 or 33 or 21. Ironically, Route 66 would be popularized in song and travelers were encouraged to get their ‘kicks’ on the highway.

Spending roughly a year to plan the system, the AASHO approved the report from U.S. Agriculture officials serving with the Bureau of Public Roads and state highway officials. The Joint Board had tried to determine the best way to arrange the routes and satisfy local entities.

The U.S. Highway Numbering System uses numbers to convey direction of travel and length of the route. Odd numbers generally run north and south, with highways ending in ‘1’ and ‘5’ being major routes. East to West routes use even numbers and those ending in ‘0’ are major highways spanning from coast to coast. Spurs of the parent highway adopt a third digit prefix attached to the parent highway number.

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As the U.S. Highway Numbering System became the standard for auto travel, other states followed the pattern for their own state routes. Eventually, the Interstate Highway System would use roughly the same numbering system during their creation. The Interstate Highway System also insisted on further standards for the roads that the U.S. Highway System don’t always require.

Even today, there are still memorialized and honorary naming conventions for highways still exists. Portions of state highways, U.S. Highways, and Interstate Highways bear the names of important people. The Interstate Highway System bears the official name Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways honoring Pres. Eisenhower who pushed for a standardized transcontinental system similar to the highway systems he had observed during World War II in Germany.

 

The Southern terminus of U.S. Highway 1 in Key West, FL

Even many of the old auto trails named for persons or geographic destinations are still associated with U.S. Highways. Nearby in Kentucky, U.S. 31 and its spurs are most often termed the Dixie Highway, and of course as I traveled on U.S. Highway 40 during Undergrad, the highway is popularly known as the National Road.

What’s your favorite U.S. Highway?

History Monday #77

History is made with the 44th President on this day

Hopefully as the calendar has changed to a new month, you are excited for today’s #HistoryMonday entry. Today’s post deals with everyone’s favorite subject—politics. I’ll try to stay above the fray and address the historical implications for the United States and for African-Americans specifically.

On November 4, 2008, Senator Barack Obama of Illinois won the Presidential election over Senator John McCain of Arizona, becoming the 44th President of the United States.  President Obama’s election win marked the first African American elected to the presidency.

Born in 1961 in Hawaii to a white mother from Kansas and a Kenyan father, Obama graduated from Harvard Law School and was a law professor at the University of Chicago before launching his political career in 1996, when he was elected to the Illinois State Senate. Serving for 8 years in the Illinois State Senate, Obama was eventually elected to the U.S. Senate in 2004 and immediately gained national attention in Democratic political circles.

Pres. Obama was able to earn 365 electoral votes and nearly 53 percent of the popular vote, outpacing the late Sen. McCain who earned only 173 electoral votes and just a little over 45 percent of the popular vote. Pres. Obama chose Senator Joe Biden of Delaware to be his running mate, while McCain’s running mate was Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska. Had Sen. McCain won, history would have been made with the election of the first female Vice President. So, the election had historic importance regardless of the outcome.

Campaign staff chose Springfield, Illinois as the site for then-Senator Obama’s officially announcement of his candidacy for president. An Iowa caucus victory in January 2008 propelled him through the primary season to be the nominee over Sen. Hillary Clinton.

Obama’s team built a grassroots strategy for the general election season appealing to voters with their candidate’s natural charisma, unique life story and inspiring message of hope and change. The team also focused on appealing to young and African-American voters who identified with Obama’s demographic similarities. To this end, the campaign took advantage of the Internet to organize fundraising and voter turnout efforts.

Candidate Obama campaigned on pledges to get the U.S. out of the war in Iraq and drastically expanding healthcare access. The 2008 Recession caused Obama and McCain to provide solutions to address the economic struggles resulting from the Recession

President-elect Obama accepted the election victory at Chicago’s Grant Park, acknowledging the historic significance of his victory stating, “If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible, who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time, who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer… It’s been a long time coming, but tonight, because of what we did on this date in this election at this defining moment, change has come to America.”

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Pres. Obama was inaugurated on January 20, 2009 in Washington, D.C. according to the Constitutional process spelled out for the U.S. President. Pres. Obama would accomplish the campaign promise to expand health insurance coverage very shortly after with the passage of the Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare,” as an allusion to his efforts in the healthcare expansion.

After serving his first term, Pres. Obama was re-elected on November 6, 2012, defeating Republican Mitt Romney to win a second term in the White House. Pres. Obama completed his second term on January 20, 2017.

The election of Pres. Obama as the first African-American President is remarkable since governors, congressmen, and senators of African-American descent had been elected much earlier and often. Many of these political figures were elected within the first decade after the Civil War.

Pres. Obama’s presidency was also significant as mentioned for the historic expansion of health insurance coverage beyond private companies, establishing government agencies to oversee the administration of insurance.

Per his promise to end the Iraq War, Pres. Obama eventually withdrew troops from Iraq ending the almost decade-long conflict in the region. Pres. Obama did also accomplish a significant victory that had eluded his predecessor, by killing Osama bin Laden.

Pres. Obama’s progressive policies drew sharp criticism from conservatives just after his inauguration and saw Republican gains steadily each election cycle during his presidency. This also saw the rise of conservative media outlets that criticized those policies alleging the predominance of mainstream media outlets were amenable with Pres. Obama rather than maintaining independence. The reaction to these progressive policies also led to many voters electing Pres. Trump in 2016 who viewed the policies as unhelpful for the country and particularly divisive.

After leaving office, Pres. Obama has become a pseudo-celebrity appearing on Netflix specials and political conventions. Recently, Pres. Obama has also used his position to endorse candidates in 2018 and 2020. Just a few weeks ago, Pres. Obama endorsed Justin Trudeau for re-election as the Prime Minister of Canada. Surprisingly, Pres. Obama has yet to endorse a 2020 Presidential Candidate, which includes his Vice President Joe Biden, his former HUD Secretary Julián Castro, and fellow Hawaiian Rep. Tulsi Gabbard.

Do you think Pres. Obama will endorse anyone in the 2020 Presidential Election.

History Monday #76

The city that never sleeps needs a nightlight

In a New York minute everything can change. Admittedly, today’s event took longer than a New York minute, however long of a measure that time is. So, start spreading the news, an important structure demonstrated that its construction brought light to inspire so many including this #HistoryMonday post.

Image result for lady liberty

On this day in 1886, The Statue of Liberty is completed, and dedicated by Pres. Grover Cleveland. Originally a gift of friendship from the people of France in commemoration of the centennial anniversary of the Declaration of Independence and Franco-American relations during the American Revolution, the statue is erected in the New York Harbor just over a decade later.

The official name of the statue is “Liberty Enlightening the World,” and was conceived by French historian Edouard de Laboulaye during the American Civil War in 1865. Following this conception, French sculptor Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi, designed the 151-foot statue depicting Columbia personified as a woman with an uplifted arm holding a torch. The steel supports for the structure of the statue were designed by Eugene-Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc and Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel, the latter famous for his design of the Eiffel Tower in Paris. The exterior covering of the statue was made of copper. The tablet in Liberty’s hand is inscribed with July IV MDCCLXXVI which denotes the Fourth of July in Roman numerals.

Congress had approved a site for the statue in February 1877 Bedloe’s Island, upon a suggestion by Bartholdi. Harper’s Weekly and other enterprising individuals helped to encourage fundraising efforts to build the statue.

By May 1884, the statue was completed in France, and three months later the Americans laid the cornerstone for its pedestal in New York Harbor. Nearly a year later, the Statue of Liberty arrived with building instructions for the Americans.

As the copper sheets were attached to the statue and the last rivet of the monument was fitted on October 28, 1886, Pres. Cleveland along with numerous French and American dignitaries celebrated the accomplishment.

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Eventually the pedestal was inscribed with a sonnet “The New Colossus,” by American poet Emma Lazarus with aspirational verses for incoming émigrés in 1892. This was done thanks to nearby Ellis Island, which served as the chief entry station for immigrants to the United States, for the next 32 years. Lady Liberty as the statue has been euphemized, was one of the first sights for new immigrants to the U.S. before being processed at Ellis Island.

By the 20th Century, the copper had begun to oxidize, and the statue took on its now iconic green hue. The torch in the right arm didn’t suffer this fate as it was coated with a golden covering over the copper-plating.

Ralph Pulitzer, publisher of the New York World began a campaign in 1916 to illuminate the area and celebrate its importance in New York. Eventually in 1924, Pres. Coolidge designated the statue as a National Monument. The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island would eventually become a single entity as a National Monument. By 1956, Bedloe’s Island was renamed Liberty Island.

The statue underwent major restorations in the 1980s, the early 2000s, and even the last decade. A new standalone Statue of Liberty Museum began construction in 2016 that would offer access to many more visitors beyond those that visit the museum located in the pedestal. This new museum opened in May of this year.

Among similar notable statues, the Statue of Liberty is ranked by height somewhere around the 3rd spot depending on the list. Ahead of the Statue of Liberty are a statue dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi’s deputy Prime Minister and the Spring Temple Buddha. The Statue of Liberty is thus taller than Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and Michelangelo’s David in Florence, Italy. Nicknamed the New Colossus in Emma Lazarus’s poem, the Statue of Liberty is also twice as large as the original Colossus at Rhodes. The Statue of Liberty is able to accomplish this thanks to its pedestal being nearly as tall as the statue itself. Among American statues, the Statue of Liberty is second in height, being beaten by Birth of the New World/Estatua de Colón located in Arecibo, Puerto Rico commemorating the 500th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’s arrival in the New World.

Image result for statue of liberty planet of the apes

New York’s iconic skyline is easily recognizable with the inclusion of the Statue of Liberty. Even post-apocalyptic works of television and film feature pieces of the statue as a clue to the location of the characters in the work, chief among these is 1968’s Planet of the Apes. Likenesses of the statue are also included as part of political and athletic logos, including the New York Rangers, the New York Liberty, and the Libertarian Party. References and likenesses of the Statue of Liberty are often paired with Uncle Sam as the female counterpart to America personified.

Have you visited the Statue of Liberty?

🗽

 

History Monday #75

The US Navy decides they’d ship it

We the people in order to defend ourselves from foreign naval attacks do hereby commission several ships including one named for the blueprint of our government. The ship bearing that name launches today’s #HistoryMonday.

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On this day in 1797, the USS Constitution is launched. Originally part of an order for construction of six frigates in the Naval Act of 1794, the ship was constructed along with USS United States and the USS Constellation at roughly the same timeframe. The other three ships were delayed in construction thanks to treaties with Algiers. These treaties would nullify the need for construction as provided in the Naval Act.  The USS Constitution and her sister ships were wooden, three-masted heavy frigates of the United States Navy.

Owing her name to Constitution of the United States of America at the suggestion of President George Washington she was built in Boston, Massachusetts, at Edmund Hartt’s shipyard beginning in 1794, to replenish the US Navy after the Revolutionary War. Seeking to pay off debts, the United States had sold off many ships to bring in income. As pirates and other nations began to attack US ships who no longer had British protection, it became obvious that the U.S. needed to establish a standing navy to protect itself during ocean voyages.

USS Constitution saw action in the Quasi-War with France and the First Barbary War but her fame was established in the War of 1812, when she captued numerous merchant ships and defeated five British warships: HMS Guerriere, Java, Pictou, Cyane and Levant. The HMS Guerriere and the USS Constitution’s skirmish and the eventual surrender of HMS Guerriere earned USS Constitution the nickname “Old Ironsides” and helped keep her in service well beyond other ships built at the same time.

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As her fame gained her recognition, specifically with the poem “Old Ironsides” she was refurbished by the US Navy and served as a flagship for the fleet and eventually would become a receiving ship during the Civil War and beyond to help train new sailors.

During the Civil War, the USS Monitor, an ironclad warship was given the name of “New Ironsides” as an homage to USS Constitution and the nickname she earned during the War of 1812. Since USS Constitution was still active during this time, both the nickname and the official name was unavailable for the ironclad warship.

She was eventually retired from active service in 1881, until being designated as a museum ship in 1907. USS Constitution has since sailed on two bicentennial occasions in the Boston Harbor, once in 1997 on the anniversary of her launch and again in August 2012, to commemorate the 200th anniversary of her victory over HMS Guerriere.

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USS Constitution demonstrating her functions on 4 July, 2014

USS Constitution continues to serve as a museum for the public in Charleston Navy Yard in the Boston Harbor. This museum status allows her to be listed as part of the Freedom Trail in Boston recognizing much of the Revolutionary War and post-Revolution sites in the city. The USS Constitution is tasked as a museum to promote understanding of the Navy’s role in war and peace through historic demonstrations and other museum-related functions.

History Monday #74

A crisis 90 miles from the U.S. makes history today

Russia is affecting the election; we need to take action against them. No, this isn’t sentiments ripped from today’s headlines, it’s sentiments from Cold War actors. Today we look at the origins of a pivotal few weeks in American v. Communist relations in today’s #HistoryMonday.

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Pres. John F. Kennedy & Sec. of Defense Robert McNamara discussing the presence of Soviet missiles in Cuba

On this day in 1962, the Cuban Missile Crisis begins. The crisis brought the United States and the Soviet Union to what many thoughts would be the climax of Cold War aggression. Reconnaissance photos taken by a U-2 spy plane showed Soviet-made medium-range missiles in Cuba. These missiles were now placed 90 miles from the American coastline, and if equipped with nuclear warheads, could reach many major American cities.

Tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union over Cuba first came to the fore during the Cuban Revolution in 1959. Those tensions grew in the wake of the Bay of Pigs invasion in April 1961. Cuban refugees with U.S. training attempted to overthrow Fidel Castro and the Communist forces but were unsuccessful in these efforts. Castro fearing a reprisal from the United States, sought to augment the military assistance from the Soviet Union. Cuba received over 20,000 Soviet advisors in the next year. Additionally, Russia placed missiles and strategic bombers on the island to threaten U.S. forces. Soviet President Nikita Khrushchev decided that ratcheting up the threat to the U.S. was necessary to appease his hardliners and deter further intervention by the United States. Khrushchev was already worried about his ability to be elected and remain in power in the USSR.  American missiles with nuclear capabilities of their own were already placed in Turkey and Italy which led to resentment from Khrushchev and the Soviets. Placing the missiles in Cuba was seen by the Soviets as being a reciprocal effort towards America.

Not surprisingly, Americans were angered by the missile sites in Cuba. Hawkish factions in the legislature and the press demanded Pres. Kennedy take swift action against Cuba and the USSR for this bellicose action so near America.

Pres. Kennedy was unsure which option to choose and started EXCOMM (Executive Committee of the National Security Council) to give him some options: Do nothing, Attack, Diplomatic overtures, or Blockade. Each had strengths and weaknesses which Pres. Kennedy weighed out before deciding to blockade the Caribbean Island and prevent more Soviet shipments from arriving.

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Eventually, the blockade proved effective in backing down the Soviets. Communications between the two nations eventually arrived at a compromise that allowed each to save some face. Soviets removed the missiles from Cuba while the U.S. would remove the missiles in Turkey. This agreement by the United States was only agreed on with the stipulation that the removal remain covertly. Pres. Kennedy was worried that removing these deterrents to the Soviets would impact the U.S. Election and his administration.

Cuban-American relations were relaxed in the final portions of Pres. Obama’s tenure, including much of the Cuban embargo. Travel to the Caribbean nation has been more permissible in the last several years but there are still challenges. The shift of power from Fidel Castro to his brother, Raúl began much a thawing of the Cold War tensions between the countries. Fidel’s subsequent death also led to further lessening of tensions between the countries.

Of course, tensions between Russia, Turkey, and the United States are currently in a state of concern for all parties involved. Rather than worrying about Cuba, Syria is the proxy nation being torn apart by the tug-of-war between the more powerful nations. Time will tell whether diplomatic efforts come to bear, and everyone settles down.

Should the U.S. take more provocative actions towards Cuba and the Soviet Union when photos of missiles were discovered?

 

History Monday #72

Hotty Toddy! History is made in college admissions

History in the Civil Rights Movement is no stranger to the Hospitality State, and today’s #HistoryMonday is about less than hospitable conditions provided by the state’s flagship institution of higher learning. Let’s delve into the event and the results following.

James Meredith, accompanied by U.S. Marshals while entering the University of Mississippi

On this day in 1962, James H. Meredith attempts to enroll at the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) along with U.S. Marshals. Federal reinforcements in the form of the U.S. Marshalls had become necessary after resistance from university officials and the state’s governor blocked Meredith’s enrollment at Ole Miss.

A former serviceman in the U.S. Air Force, Meredith applied and was accepted to the University of Mississippi in 1962, but when the registrar discovered his race the admission was rescinded. Meredith was still determined to gain admission.

Meredith had previously tried without success in to enroll at the university. After the second refusal by the university, Meredith filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi, alleging that the university had rejected him only because of his race. Eventually, after a series of appeals that ruled the state had no right to refuse Meredith’s enrollment, the state appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. The Supreme Court uphold the lower courts’ rulings and ordered Ole Miss to admit James Meredith. The District Court ordered the Board of Trustees for Ole Miss to admit Meredith on September 13, 1962.

Facing a potential election loss in November of that year, Gov. Ross Barnett boasted, “no school will be integrated in Mississippi while I am your governor.” Barnett along with the state legislature had already been planning to prevent Meredith’s enrollment by falsifying claims of voter fraud against Meredith. The criminal charges of these voter fraud would prevent Meredith from enrolling based on this alleged criminal activity.

Barnett, and his Lieutenant Governor both faced federal criminal charges of contempt on September 28 for their actions to prevent Meredith from enrolling. If they refused to comply by October 2, they could be arrested and pay $10,000 and $5,000 a day, respectively.

In hopes to expedite Meredith’s admission and avoid the fines, U.S. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy and Pres. Kennedy conducted calls with Barnett to secretly admit Meredith but allow Barnett to appear unflappable in the public.

Attorney Gen. Kennedy ordered 500 U.S. Marshalls to Oxford, MS to assist Meredith with his enrollment. The Marshalls’ presence would help perpetuate an appearance of Federal overreach which the Governor would have to necessarily comply with.

Unfortunately, this appearance of the Marshalls in Oxford was not dissimilar to Civil War troops marching through the South. Residents unhappy that Ole Miss was being desegregated and Federal troops were invading the South and its way of life began to riot. Two men were killed in the midst of this violence. In addition to Marshalls, another 3,000 federal soldiers were dispatched by Pres. Kennedy to end the rioting. The next day on October 1, 1962, after troops took control, Meredith became the first African-American student to enroll at the University of Mississippi.

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The admission of James Meredith is regarded as a pivotal moment in the history of Civil Rights in the United States. Compared to other Civil Rights pioneers like Rosa Parks, Meredith helped other African-Americans take courage to desegregate other universities in the South. The Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka had inspired Meredith to pursue desegregation as the Supreme Court had overruled the Plessy v. Ferguson case that promoted separate but equal facilities.

Meredith graduated from Ole Miss in 1963 with a degree in political science. As part of his activism at Ole Miss, Meredith would go on to help protests through the Sixties partnering with Martin Luther King, Jr. and Stokely Carmichael.

Anniversaries of this date have been held in 2002 and 2012. During the 40th anniversary, officials erected a statue of Meredith in the Lyceum-The Circle Historic District at the center of the campus. The district was designated as a National Historic Landmark for these events in October of 2008.

Ole Miss continues to rehabilitate its image and its conduct towards African-Americans. The school’s mascot while named the Rebels commemorates the Confederate forces during the Civil War. Attempts have been made to remove the mascot, Col. Reb and replace it with Rebel Black Bear and Tony Landshark, but fans are reluctant to embrace the new mascots. Additionally, the school band’s playing of Dixie has also elicited negative responses from critics as well. Due to the historical significance of the song in minstrel shows, these critics argued it should be removed from the band’s repertoire. Use of the “Battle Flag” by fans and students at ball games has also been banned for similar reasons.

Hopefully, Mississippi will eventually move forward and live up to its Hospitality State nickname and overcome much of its historic resistance to African-American equality. Ole Miss has even elected its first African-American Student Body President a few years ago which bodes well for the University to make such steps. Heritage Tourism efforts in the state to commemorate Civil Rights challenges along with the popularity of HGTV’s Home Town in Laurel are also drawing renewed travel to Mississippi.

Will Mississippi ever shed its negative reputation towards African-Americans?      

History Monday #71

Just over two centuries ago, a group of explorers makes a celebrated return to Missouri.

The boys are back in town, the wild-eyed boys who’d been away. After two years away, I imagine anyone might be wild-eyed. The homecoming celebration for today’s #HistoryMonday had nationwide significance and the travelers would be heralded for years to come.

From Left to Right, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark

On September 23, 1806, the Corps of Discovery returns to St. Louis, MO after two and a half years exploring the recently purchased Louisiana Territory. The Corps’ lead explorers, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark brought back a wealth of information about the largely unexplored region, as well as valuable U.S. claims to Oregon Territory.

The Lewis and Clark Expedition had been organized by President Thomas Jefferson while the Louisiana Purchase was being completed. The expedition was tasked with mapping, describing, and chronicling adventures of the U.S. Northwest. The expedition began on May 14, 1804 near St. Louis and included 28 men and one woman—a Native American named Sacagawea.

Lewis and Clark, along with the rest of the expedition paralleled the Missouri River eventually passing through the Dakotas and eventually into Montana, where they discovered the Rocky Mountains and the Continental Divide. Eventually they followed the Columbia River and on November 8, 1805, arrived at the Pacific Ocean. This feat was the first effort by European/White explorers to do so by an overland route from the east. Deciding that return during the winter would be more challenging, the Corps wintered in Oregon until March of 1806 before heading back East.

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Lewis, Clark, and the Corps did achieve their goal of reaching the Pacific, in order to establish American presence and legal claim to the land. Diplomatic relations were established along with trading agreements with nearly two dozen indigenous nations. While the Corps of Discovery did not find a continuous waterway to the Pacific Ocean as expected, they did discover a trail leading from the upper end of the Missouri River to the Columbia River running to the Pacific Ocean.

The Corps of Discovery discovered new flora and fauna. Upon the discovery of these, the Corps brought back several botanical and mineral specimens. Hoping to aid explorers following their efforts, the Corps practiced cartography that included topographical maps of the lands, waterways, and geological formations on maps that were circulated on their return. Along with these maps, the Corps also produced maps that listed and described the various tribes they had encountered. Tribal information was also published about the language and customs of these American Indian tribes.

Lewis and Clark established an immediate legacy as they returned to St. Louis and continue to be recognized today. It’s not hard to see it locally myself, as the county I live in is named for William Clark’s brother George Rogers Clark. Yet, one of the main roads in Clarksville named for George Rogers Clark, is named for Lewis and Clark. Even the newest bridge spanning the Ohio River connecting Clark County, Indiana to Prospect, KY bears the Lewis and Clark name as well.

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Photo by Matthias Cooper on Pexels.com

As the expedition began and ended in St. Louis, the most obvious symbol of their legacy is seen in the Gateway Arch National Park. Located near the Corps’ embarkation and return point, the monument recognizes the expedition’s efforts and that the city is the Gateway to the West. The National Park is known for its 630’ tall cantilevered arch that defines the city skyline.

While the Corps of Discovery were the first Americans to explore the Western Frontier, their travels would inspire many others such as Kit Carson, John C. Frémont, Jim Bridger, Pres. Teddy Roosevelt, and John Muir. Other Western frontiersman such as Buffalo Bill Cody and Wild Bill Hickok would promote and celebrate the West while magnifying the stories of the Western explorers and the natives.

What do you know about Lewis and Clark?