Jefferson's Secret Message Regarding the Lewis & Clark
On January 18, 1803, Thomas
Jefferson sent a secret message to Congress asking
appropriation of two thousand five hundred dollars, for
the purpose of extending the external commerce of the United
States. This money was used to fund the Lewis & Clark
expedition. Jefferson made the request in a secret message
in order to hide his intentions from his political enemies
in the Federalist Party.
Congress Web Site | External Web
Sites | Selected
Century of Lawmaking for a New Nation: U.S. Congressional
Documents and Debates, 1774-1875
This collection contains congressional publications from 1774 to 1875, including debates, bills, laws, and journals.
- The Senate
Executive Journal contains a copy of Jefferson's
secret message to Congress requesting funds for the Lewis & Clark expedition.
this collection to find additional Congressional documents
on the Lewis & Clark Expedition. For example, after
the successful completion of the Lewis & Clark Expedition,
Thomas Jefferson signed into law An
Act Making Compensation to Messrs. Lewis and Clarke, and
their companions on March 3, 1807.
European Explorations and the Louisiana Purchase
This collection focuses on the various documents—from
maps to newspapers to cultural artifacts—that help
to describe the region of North America that stretched
from as far east as Alabama into what is now the state
of Montana. The 119 items presented here come from the
various special and general collections of the Library
The Library of Congress has custody of the largest and most comprehensive cartographic collection in the world with collections numbering over 5.5 million maps, 80,000 atlases, 6,000 reference works, over 500 globes and globe gores, 3,000 raised relief models, and a large number of cartographic materials in other formats, including over 19,000 cds/dvds. The online map collections represents only a small fraction that have been converted to digital form.
Search this collection using the phrase "Lewis
and Clark" to view additional maps produced during
and after the Lewis & Clark Expedition.
Thomas Jefferson Papers, 1606 to 1827
The complete Thomas Jefferson Papers from the Manuscript Division at the Library of Congress consists of approximately 27,000 documents.
Search this collection using the phrase "Meriwether Lewis"
to locate over fifty documents related to the Lewis and
- Thomas Jefferson to Congress, January 18, 1803. [Transcription]
- Thomas Jefferson to Meriwether Lewis, June 20, 1803, Instructions, "Your situation as Secretary of the President of the US. has made you acquainted with the objects of my confidential message of Jan. 18. 1803 to the legislature; you have seen the act they passed, which they expressed in general terms, was meant to sanction these objects, and you are appointed to carry them into execution." [Transcription]
- William Clark to Thomas Jefferson, July 24, 1803, "I had the honor of receiving thro' Captain M. Lewis an assureance of your Approbation & wish that I would join him in a North Western enterprise. I will chearfully, and with great pleasure, join my friend Capt. Lewis in this Vast enterprise..." [Transcription]
- Meriwether Lewis to Thomas Jefferson, September 23, 1806, "...in obedience to your orders we have penitrated the
Continent of North America to the Pacific Ocean, and sufficiently
explored the interior of the country..." [Transcription]
Back in Time: Senate Ratified the Louisiana Purchase
Treaty, October 20, 1803.
Amazing Americans: Meriwether Lewis & William
Treasures of the Library of Congress - Lewis and Clark
Includes maps and documents from the Lewis & Clark
of Congress Exhibition: Thomas Jefferson
This exhibition focuses on the legacy of Thomas Jefferson.
A section on the
West examines Jefferson’s role in the Louisiana
Purchase and the Lewis and Clark Expedition.
Edens, Empire - Lewis & Clark and the Revealing of
This exhibition contains maps, images and documents
related to the Lewis & Clark Expedition, including
of Jefferson's secret message to Congress.
Meeting of Frontiers
A bilingual, multimedia English-Russian digital library that tells the story of the American exploration and settlement of the West, the parallel exploration and settlement of Siberia and the Russian Far East, and the meeting of the Russian-American frontier in Alaska and the Pacific Northwest. The section Exploration of the American West contains digital items related to the Lewis & Clark Expedition.
Jefferson's Letter to Meriwether Lewis
Gerard Gawalt (American History Specialist, Manuscript
Division, Library of Congress)
discusses the draft of a letter that
Thomas Jefferson sent to Meriwether Lewis to initiate
and Clark Expedition.
Explorer Meriwether Lewis
was born on August 18, 1774 near Charlottesville, Virginia.
The Senate ratified the Louisiana Purchase treaty on
October 20, 1803.
The Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, University of Nebraska
Lewis and Clark Journals, American Philosophical Society
Lewis & Clark:
The Journey of the Corps of Discovery, PBS
Lewis & Clark Journey of Discovery, National
- Thomas Jefferson and the Lewis and Clark Expedition,The
Thomas Jefferson Foundation
Documents, Jefferson's Secret Message to Congress Regarding
the Lewis & Clark Expedition, National Archives
and Records Administration
With Documents: The Lewis and Clark Expedition, National
Archives and Records Administration
Ambrose, Stephen E. Undaunted Courage:
Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson, and the Opening of
the American West.
New York: Simon & Schuster, 1996. [Catalog Record]
Cutright, Paul Russell. Lewis and
Clark: Pioneering Naturalists.
Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2003. [Catalog
Duncan, Dayton. Lewis & Clark: An Illustrated History.
New York: Knopf, 1997. [Catalog Record]
Moulton, Gary E., ed. The Lewis and
Clark Journals: An American Epic of Discovery: The Abridgment
of the Definitive
Nebraska Edition. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press,
Ronda, James P. Finding the West:
Explorations with Lewis and Clark. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press,
2001. [Catalog Record]
Seefeldt, Douglas, Jeffrey L. Hantman, and Peter S. Onuf. eds. Across the Continent: Jefferson, Lewis and Clark, and the Making of America. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2005. [Catalog Record]
Slaughter, Thomas P. Exploring Lewis
and Clark: Reflections on Men and Wilderness. New York: Knopf, 2003. [Catalog
Bergen, Lara Rice. The Travels of
Lewis & Clark. Austin,
Tex.: Steadwell Books, 2000. [Catalog
Blumberg, Rhoda. The Incredible Journey
of Lewis and Clark.
New York: Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Books, 1987. [Catalog Record]
Cavan, Seamus. Lewis and Clark and
the Route to the Pacific.
New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1991. [Catalog
Edwards, Judith. The Great Expedition
of Lewis and Clark: By Private Reubin Field, Member of
the Corps of Discovery.
New York: Farrar Straus Giroux, 2003. [Catalog Record]
Erdrich, Liselotte. Sacagawea. Minneapolis: Carolrhoda
Books, 2003. [Catalog
Faber, Harold. Lewis and Clark: From
Ocean to Ocean. New
York: Benchmark Books/Marshall Cavendish, 2001. [Catalog
Morley, Jacqueline. Across America:
The Story of Lewis & Clark.
New York: Franklin Watts, 1998. [Catalog