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In 1798—more than five years before he led the epic western journey that would make him and Meriwether Lewis national heroes—William Clark set off by flatboat from his Louisville, Kentucky home with a cargo of tobacco and furs to sell downriver in Spanish New Orleans. He also carried with him a leather-trimmed journal to record his travels and notes on his activities. In this vivid history, Jo Ann Trogdon reveals William Clark’s highly questionable activities during the years before his famous journey west of the Mississippi. Delving into the details of Clark’s diary and ledger entries, Trogdon investigates evidence linking Clark to a series of plots—often called the Spanish Conspiracy—in which corrupt officials sought to line their pockets with Spanish money and to separate Kentucky from the United States. The Unknown Travels and Dubious Pursuits of William Clark gives readers a more complex portrait of the American icon than has been previously written.
Between 1803 and 1806, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark co-captained the most famous expedition in American history. But while Lewis ended his life just three years later, Clark, as the highest-ranking Federal official in the West, spent three decades overseeing its consequences: Indian removal and the destruction of Native America. In a rare combination of storytelling and scholarship, best-selling author Landon Y. Jones presents for the first time Clark's remarkable life and influential career in their full complexity. Like every colonial family living on Virginia's violent frontier, the Clarks killed Indians and acquired land; acting on behalf of the United States, William would prove successful at both. Clark's life was spent fighting in America's fifty-year running war with the Indians (and their European allies) over the Western borderlands. The struggle began with his famed brother George Roger's western campaigns during the American Revolution, continued through the vicious battles of the War of 1812, and ended with the Black Hawk War in the 1830s. In vividly depicting Clark's life, Jones memorably captures not only the dark and bloody ground of America's early West, but also the qualities of character and courage that made him an unequalled leader in America's grander enterprise: the shaping of the West. No one played a larger part in that accomplishment than William Clark. William Clark and the Shaping of the West is an unforgettable human story that encompasses in a single life the sweep of American history from colonial Virginia to the conquest of the West.
This new full-length biography of Meriwether Lewis is presented within the context of the turbulent times of the early AmericanRepublic. The author discusses intrigues to seize the Floridas and Louisiana from Spain with the help of France or Britain, and makes the case for General James Wilkinson assassinating General Anthony Wayne to become the commanding general of the U.S. Army. She proposes that the deadlock in the presidential election of 1800 between Aaron Burr and Thomas Jefferson was caused by a British faction of Federalists who planned to invade Louisiana and Mexico if Burr were elected president. Three parts of the conspiracy are identified: a secret military base on the Ohio, Cantonment Wilkinsonville, where 700 U.S. Army troops were stationed; the Philip Nolan filibuster into Texas; and British naval support. After Jefferson's election, Lewis lived in the White House as his confidential aide. In 1803, he left the White House as the leader of an elite army unit to reinforce America's claim to the Pacific Northwest. When he returned, Jefferson appointed him governor of LouisianaTerritory based in St. Louis with orders to remove followers of Aaron Burr from positions of power and influence. Within two years Meriwether Lewis was dead at the age of 35, killed by an assassin's bullets in 1809. The case is made that General Wilkinson and John Smith T., a wealthy lead mine operator, were the organizers of his assassination. Their motive was to prevent Lewis from stopping another filibuster expedition into Mexico in 1810. This biography of Lewis offers a very different interpretation of his character and achievements, supporting the idea that, if he had lived, Lewis was in line to become president of the United States. It presents a detailed account of his activities as a loyal Jefferson supporter, presidential aide, leader of a continental expedition, and governor of LouisianaTerritory.
This collection of Clark's intriguing letters to his brother reveals important new details about the Lewis and Clark expedition, Meriwether Lewis's mysterious death, the status of Clark's slave York, and life in Jeffersonian America. 17 illustrations.
The first study to focus on white and black women journalists and writers both before and after the Civil War, this book offers fresh insight into Southern intellectual life, the fight for women's rights and gender ideology. Based on new research into Southern magazines and newspapers, this book seeks to shift scholarly attention away from novelists and toward the rich and diverse periodical culture of the South between 1820 and 1900. Magazines were of central importance to the literary culture of the South because the region lacked the publishing centers that could produce large numbers of books. As editors, contributors, correspondents and reporters in the nineteenth century, Southern women entered traditionally male bastions when they embarked on careers in journalism. In so doing, they opened the door to calls for greater political and social equality at the turn of the twentieth century.
The first indepth examination of the architect of the Missouri Compromise In 1820 the Missouri controversy erupted over the issue of slavery in the newly acquired lands of the Louisiana Purchase. It fell to Jesse Burgess Thomas (1777-1853), a junior U.S. senator from the new state of Illinois, to handle the delicate negotiations that led to the Missouri Compromise. Thomas's maturity, good judgment, and restraint helped pull the country back from the brink of disunion and created a compromise that held for thirtyfour years. In Dividing the Union, Matthew W. Hall examines the legal issues underlying the controversy and the legislative history of the Missouri Compromise while focusing on Thomas's life and influence. As Hall demonstrates, Thomas was perfectly situated geographically, politically, and ideologically to deal with the Missouri controversy. The first speaker of the Indiana Territorial General Assembly and one of the first territorial judges in Illinois Territory, Thomas served in 1818 as the president of the Illinois State Constitutional Convention. That he was never required to clearly articulate his own views on slavery allowed Thomas to maintain a degree of neutrality, and, as Hall shows, his varied political career gave him the experience necessary to craft a compromise. Thomas's final version of the Compromise included shrewdly worded ambiguities that supported opposing interests in the matter of slavery. By weaving Thomas's life story into the history of the Missouri Compromise, Hall offers new insight into both a pivotal piece of legislation and an overlooked but important figure in nineteenthcentury American politics.
"Lands of Lost Borders carried me up into a state of openness and excitement I haven’t felt for years. It’s a modern classic." —Pico Iyer A brilliant, fierce writer makes her debut with this enthralling travelogue and memoir of her journey by bicycle along the Silk Road—an illuminating and thought-provoking fusion of The Places in Between, Lab Girl, and Wild that dares us to challenge the limits we place on ourselves and the natural world. As a teenager, Kate Harris realized that the career she craved—to be an explorer, equal parts swashbuckler and metaphysician—had gone extinct. From what she could tell of the world from small-town Ontario, the likes of Marco Polo and Magellan had mapped the whole earth; there was nothing left to be discovered. Looking beyond this planet, she decided to become a scientist and go to Mars. In between studying at Oxford and MIT, Harris set off by bicycle down the fabled Silk Road with her childhood friend Mel. Pedaling mile upon mile in some of the remotest places on earth, she realized that an explorer, in any day and age, is the kind of person who refuses to live between the lines. Forget charting maps, naming peaks: what she yearned for was the feeling of soaring completely out of bounds. The farther she traveled, the closer she came to a world as wild as she felt within. Lands of Lost Borders is the chronicle of Harris’s odyssey and an exploration of the importance of breaking the boundaries we set ourselves; an examination of the stories borders tell, and the restrictions they place on nature and humanity; and a meditation on the existential need to explore—the essential longing to discover what in the universe we are doing here. Like Rebecca Solnit and Pico Iyer, Kate Harris offers a travel account at once exuberant and reflective, wry and rapturous. Lands of Lost Borders explores the nature of limits and the wildness of the self that can never fully be mapped. Weaving adventure and philosophy with the history of science and exploration, Lands of Lost Borders celebrates our connection as humans to the natural world, and ultimately to each other—a belonging that transcends any fences or stories that may divide us.

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