Envisaging the West: Thomas Jefferson and the Roots of Lewis and Clark

Thematic View

Building on the interpretive work of a number of historians and geographers, including Donald Jackson and John Logan Allen, this digital history project allows users to examine the development of Jefferson’s attitudes toward the Far West in terms of three significant themes that influenced his conception of the region. Exposure to cartography, natural sciences, and political thought and discourse throughout various phases of Jefferson’s public life shaped this process: first, the actions of his father's generation of Albermarle explorers during Jefferson's youth; second, his service in the Virginia legislature and later as governor; third, his long-standing interests in natural sciences and service to the nation while posted abroad; and fourth, his service at the national level as Secretary of State, Vice-President, and President.