The new nation, the United States of America, doubled overnight in size with the purchase of a vast tract of land west of the Mississippi River. The sitting president, Thomas Jefferson, negotiated a deal for the land with French ruler Napoleon. Now that America had all this new unexplored territory, Jefferson knew it was time to explore this new land and firmly place America's claim on this expansive wilderness. In 1803, Jefferson commissioned the Corps of Discovery and named Meriwether Lewis as the leader.
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