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Lewis and Clark

Journey's End - Life after the Expedition, Part 1

Journey's End - Life after the Expedition, Part 1
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 8 to 12
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   7.51

     challenging words:    abusive, amongst, tribal, backbreaking, geographical, townspeople, bustle, cooperation, exert, cartography, tended, banks, heroic, enterprise, rag-tag, unclaimed
     content words:    Clark Expedition, In November, Rocky Mountains, Northwest Passage, White House, President Jefferson, North America, Native American, Columbia River, Lewis Governor

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Journey's End - Life after the Expedition, Part 1
By Toni Lee Robinson

1     It was September 23, 1806. The people of St. Louis, Missouri, gathered on the banks of the river as a rag-tag bunch of men in canoes made their way downstream. They were Jefferson's explorers, back from the other side of the continent! They weren't dead, as some had assumed. Townspeople began to cheer. Church bells rang out the glad news. That night, the town sparkled with parties and dinners in honor of the men of the Lewis and Clark Expedition.
2     As they left their canoes on the banks of the Missouri, the men of the Corps of Discovery stepped out of the frontier. Ready or not, they entered the bustle and confusion of life in what was then the modern world. On the voyage, they had sweated and struggled, knit together through hardship. Courage and cooperation had sustained them over 8,000 miles of hard trail. They had developed a strong loyalty to their leaders and their daring enterprise. Now, they were just thirty-some weary, weatherworn individuals. Many of them weren't at all sure where they fit in this complex world.
3     The nation's capital welcomed the travelers with grand banquets and speeches. In November of 1806, Lewis reported to his commander. As he faced the president, Lewis was keenly aware that one of the major goals of the mission had not been attained. The high, jagged peaks of the Rocky Mountains split the continent with a swath that was sometimes three hundred miles wide. Jefferson's hopes for an easy water route to the Pacific were not to be fulfilled. The explorers had not found the coveted Northwest Passage hiding in the wilderness.
4     Lewis laid his maps out on the White House floors. He traced the steps of the journey for President Jefferson, telling stories of rushing rivers, sunny prairies, and formidable mountains. The president crawled on hands and knees amongst the paper images of the Expedition's route. He listened, delighted with Lewis's tales of the journey.

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