Author Archive

May 08 2018

The Gateway to the West

Published by

The Gate Way to the West
Austin Edge
Movie: The Gateway Arch
Miano, B. Huegerich, S. (Director). (2007). The Gateway Arch [Video file]. Janson Media. Retrieved April 30, 2018, from Kanopy.

Setting the Stage

At the age of just 27 Thomas Jefferson, the third president of a nation in its infancy made a decision that would forever change the face of the United States of America. This decision was to purchase the Louisiana territory from France in the greatest trade deal in the history of trade deals, possibly ever. The Louisiana Purchase allowed for the expansion of the United States west of the Mississippi.

During this time St. Louis Missouri sat on the western edge of the known world. In 1804 Thomas Jefferson sent his personal assistant Meriwether Lewis on an expedition to explore the river system of the newly acquired territory. Lewis recruited the help of his good friend William Clark and together they led the Corp of Discovery west. They departed St. Louis in 1804 covering an estimated 6,000 miles before retuning to St. Louis two and a half year later. What they would report would bring hoards flocking to St. Louis.

Moving West

After news of Lewis and Clarks finding spread throughout the nation Americans and immigrants hastened to head west to the land of milk and honey Lewis and Clark had reported. St. Lewis being on the Mississippi River and being the farthest western city made it the ideal home base for the push westward. Seemingly overnight St. Louis flourished, and steamboats could be seen lining the banks of the Mississippi dropping off wave after wave of pioneers beginning their journey westward. This of course brought big business to St. Louis which prospered in the outfitting business. St. Louis had become the point in which all pioneers began their journey westward, this is how it earned the name “The Gateway to the West”.