Articles tagged with: Exploration

Book Review: The Age of Gold by H.W. Brands

The Age of Gold by H.W. BrandsThe California Gold Rush was a shot of adrenaline in the settlement of the American West. While settlors had been trickling into California and Oregon prior to the discovery of gold by James Marshall in 1848, news of the his gold find energized people around the world to travel to the gold fields. In The Age of Gold: The California Gold Rush and the New American Dream, H.W. Brands vividly tells the story of not only the immediate effects of Marshall’s discovery, but also the broader effects of the California gold rush on the United States.

The Inspiration of the American Flag: Fremont and California

The Star Spangled Banner

The Star Spangled Banner

Memorialized best in Francis Scott Key’s “The Star-Spangled Banner,” the American flag invokes a rallying cry among those witnessing its fluttering in the wind. Through the words “What so proudly we hailed,” Key instantly described the effect of seeing the American flag waiving over Fort McHenry during the War of 1812. Renewed by this sight, Key and others forgot the uncertainly of the previous battle.

Throughout history and throughout the world, this scene has been repeated countless times. For John C. Fremont, increasing tensions between his explorers and the Mexican government of California caused such an event in March, 1846.

Meriwether Lewis and the Location of Camp Dubois

Meriwether Lewis

Meriwether Lewis

During Meriwether Lewis and William Clark’s journey exploring territory gained through the Louisiana Purchase, they made three winter camps: Camp Dubois near St. Louis, Fort Mandan in present-day North Dakota, and Fort Clatsop on the Pacific Ocean. Showcasing Lewis’ steadfastness of mind that would ultimately guide the Corps of Discovery through countless interactions with Native Americans, the events leading to the location of Camp Dubois sits as an interesting portal into Lewis’ mind.

Zebulon Pike’s Instructions

Zebulon Pike in 1810.

Zebulon Pike in 1810.

President Thomas Jefferson’s June 20, 1803 instructions to Meriwether Lewis ranks among the most famous instructions given to an explorer in American history. Not only do Jefferson’s instructions showcase the personal interests of the third president of the United States, they demonstrate the national purpose of the Corps of Discovery. Significantly, Jefferson’s instructions also serve as a model for subsequent explorations of the American West.


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