Many schoolchildren across our fair country learn about the Louisiana Purchase followed by the Lewis and Clark expedition. I agree with that sequence of study. Those two events did follow each other chronologically, however, our collective interest in the west began much earlier, and Thomas Jefferson’s interest in exploring the west began much earlier than 1801. I contend that Jefferson’s love of the west….an area he never visited…began at his father’s knee.
We learn many things at our father’s knee---how to ride a bike, how to shoot a basket, and in my case I learned how to drive a tractor and plow a straight line. Thomas Jefferson was no different and it was from his father and father-type figures in his early life that he became facinated with the western frontier.
Head on over to American Presidents for my newest article about Thomas Jefferson and his quest for exploration of the west.