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How the West Was Won

President Thomas Jefferson expanded the territory of the United States in 1803 with the purchase of the Louisiana Territory from France. This nearly doubled the size of the new republic and laid the groundwork for extensive American settlement, expansion and development through the rest of the 19th Century. Jefferson directed Meriwether Lewis and William Clark to head up an expedition to map the territory and find a practical route across the continent.

Lewis could hear the Great Falls from seven miles away! 'Explore the States' home page from America's Library Web site

Lewis and Clark documented a series of natural wonders during their more than two-year journey, including the Great Falls of the Missouri. Their work paved the way for generations of explorers and settlers to come. America’s Library, the interactive and educational website for kids, has stories of Lewis and Clark in its "Amazing Americans" section.

You can also visit the exhibition "Rivers, Edens, Empires: Lewis and Clark and the Revealing of America," which details in words accompanied by relevant maps, documents and artifacts the story of their remarkable journey.

Although designed with kids in mind, America's Library's educational and, often, unusual stories are for all ages. A section called "Explore the States" will let you make your own discoveries about your home state or any other state.

A. Great Falls of the Missouri River from H.R. Executive Document Number 56, 36th Congress, First Session. A Century of Lawmaking for A New Nation.

B. "Explore the States" home page from America's Library Web site