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Teaching Guide

Teaching Louisiana Purchase: Haitian Revolution to Lewis & Clark

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In this guide you will find

  • an activity about Jefferson's racial attitudes and slave revolts. 
  • discussion questions on diplomacy, economy, and politics.
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Instructions for You

In this exercise, your students will draw from the real expedition journals of Lewis and Clark to write their own reports back to Washington on the lessons gained in a recent encounter with the Teton Sioux. They will write the report from the perspective of a member of the expedition.

1. Direct your students to this site, where they can read from Lewis and Clark's journals from 23 September 1804 to 30 September 1804. Tell them that they are a member of the expedition charged with writing a report back to President Jefferson summarizing the lessons they have learned about the Teton Sioux. Remind them that Jefferson had asked them for more than details about their ways of life; he also wanted information that might help future exploration and settlement parties deal successfully with the western Indians. In other words, are the Indians peaceful or hostile? Should they be treated with kindness or force? What sorts of goods do they desire? Can they be trusted?

Instructions for Your Students

President Jefferson asked you, as a member of the Lewis and Clark expedition, to send back reports on the Indians encountered on the journey. He wants details about their ways of life, but more importantly, he wants information that will help future settlers and explorers deal with the western Indians successfully. In other words, he wants to know: Are the Indians peaceful or hostile? Should they be treated with kindness or force? What sorts of goods do they desire? Can they be trusted?

Read these entries from the expedition journals from 23 September to 30 September 1804 and prepare your own report to be sent to President Jefferson.

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