How did the Lewis and Clark expedition impact westward expansion?  

Expert Answers
mkoren eNotes educator| Certified Educator

After the United States bought the Louisiana Territory from France, President Jefferson wanted to discover as much as he could about the territory we just received. Thus, he sent Lewis and Clark on an expedition to learn about the land.

Lewis and Clark discovered many things on the trip. They learned about the geography of the area. From this information, accurate maps of the region were developed. They learned that there were gaps in the Rocky Mountains that made it possible to reach the Pacific Ocean. They also learned about the people who lived in the area. They encountered some Native American groups on their voyage. They also discovered scientific and climatic information about the region.

This information was important in furthering our expansion to the West. Because of the information they gathered and the maps that were developed, people had a route to follow. Many people took the Oregon Trail as they headed to the West. They also knew what to expect regarding the weather and the climate of the region. This helped them take the proper supplies they would need for their journey. People knew they might encounter Native Americans who may or who may not be friendly to them. The information they learned was very valuable in helping our country expand westward in the early 1800s.