As Jefferson told Lewis, “it will now be proper you should inform those through whose country you will pass . But behind these symbols and rituals there were often very different ways of understanding power and authority.Such differences sometimes made communication across the cultural divide difficult and open to confusion and misunderstanding.Jefferson's letter became the charter for federal exploration for the remainder of the nineteenth century.
Each section of the document was really a question in search of a western answer.
Two generations of American explorers marched the West in search of those answers. that you have opened your ears to your great father's voice.” The certificate on display was left over from the expedition.
Other expedition guns might be graceful in design and craftsmanship but the stout blunderbuss simply signified brute force and power.
Lewis and Clark fired their blunderbusses as signs of arrival when entering Indian camps or villages.
In the eyes of Americans, Indians who accepted such medals were also acknowledging American sovereignty as “children” of a new “great father.” And in a moment of imperial bravado, Lewis hung a peace medal around the neck of a Piegan Blackfeet warrior killed by the expedition in late July 1806. in fact every man is a chief.” He set out to change that by “making chiefs.” He passed out medals, certificates, and uniforms to give power to chosen men. In their speeches, the Indians called Lewis and Clark “father,” as in this example made by the Arikira Chiefs.
As Lewis later explained, he used a peace medal as a way to let the Blackfeet know “who we were.” Lewis was frustrated by the egalitarian nature of Indian society: “the authority of the Chief being nothing more than mere admonition . By weakening traditional authority, he sought to make it easier for the United States to negotiate with the tribes. To them, it expressed kinship and their assumption that an adoptive father undertook an obligation to show generosity and loyalty to his new family.
Here Jefferson sketched out a comprehensive and flexible plan for western exploration.
That plan created a military exploring party with one key mission—finding the water passage across the continent “for the purposes of commerce”—and many additional objectives, ranging from botany to ethnography.
They also represented a rising American empire, one built on aggressive territorial expansion and commercial gain.
But there was another view of the West: that of the native inhabitants of the land.