What were the short-term and the long-term consequences of the Lewis and Clark Expedition?

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mkoren eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Lewis and Clark explored the northern portion of the Louisiana Purchase and the Oregon Territory. Their exploration, along with explorations of Zebulon Pike and of Stephen Long, had both short-term and long-term effects.

There were short-term effects of the exploration of Lewis and Clark. One short-term effect was that they were able to provide important geographic information. This information led to the creation of maps of the region. They were also able to gather scientific information about the area they explored. We learned about the wildlife, the soil, and the climate of the region. We also learned about some of the people who lived in the areas they explored.

There were long-term effects of their exploration. Based on the information they gathered, we believed the Great Plains region was a worthless desert. Thus, when policies were developed to deal with the Native Americans, it was decided to relocate the Native Americans to the Great Plains. This led to the forced removal of the Native Americans to the lands west of the Mississippi River beginning around 1830. Their exploration also encouraged other people to head west. People began to move to the Oregon Territory following what became known as the Oregon Trail. The discovery of the South Pass made it possible to travel through the Rocky Mountains to reach the lands bordering the Pacific Ocean. This helped the Oregon Territory grow as Americans moved to that area.

The exploration of Lewis and Clark had many effects, both in the short-term and in the long-term.