Disquiet on an American trail

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by wdlove, Jul 4, 2004.

  1. wdlove macrumors P6


    Oct 20, 2002
    Along Lewis and Clark's route, pride in nation mixed with anxiety

    By Colin Nickerson, Globe Staff *|* July 4, 2004

    VERMILLION, S.D. -- On a sweltering day in August 1804, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark clambered to the top of a 70-foot knoll north of the Missouri River. Local Yankton Sioux believed the landmark to be haunted, but instead of ghosts the explorers took in a vista that awed them with its majesty and potential.

    ''We beheld a most butifull landscape," Clark recorded in his journal, describing a realm of grassland extending ''without interruption as far as Can be Seen . . . the soil of those Plains are delightful."

    The land has been tamed in the 200 years since then. The view from the rise called Spirit Mound today offers a bucolic version of the American dream that President Thomas Jefferson might have imagined when he dispatched the Corps of Discovery on its journey from St. Louis to the Pacific: tidy farms, busy shops, solid civic buildings, and church steeples protruding from cottonwood groves. Less charming, but still telling of prosperity, double-trailer truck rigs roar over wide highways while a crop-duster buzzes low over newly sown fields. The dome of a university sports stadium glints in the sun. In the hazy distance, a gigantic American flag floats languidly over a Phillips 66 gas station.

    Yet to travel today the route taken by Lewis and Clark at the dawn of America is to encounter a nation that seems unsettled in its soul. Although an abiding faith in the future remains almost the national trademark, many people seem uneasy about the direction the country is taking.

  2. garybUK Guest


    Jun 3, 2002
    Who was Meriwether Lewis and William Clark ??

    i read it three times and didn't really understand it. oh well we have never learnt anything about american history in schools, and why should we, would be interesting to know tho :)

  3. wdlove thread starter macrumors P6


    Oct 20, 2002
    "Lewis & Clark: The Journey of the corps of Discovery" a PBS film by Ken Burns. I watched it on my local PBS. It's well worth watching. A great history lesson about the opening of the North West.

  4. wordmunger macrumors 603


    Sep 3, 2003
    North Carolina
    Lewis and Clark are probably the two most famous American explorers. They were the first white men to cross the North American continent by land in an organized expedition, in 1803-1805. Since this is the 200th anniversary of the expedition, there's lots of news coverage of it over here.
  5. rainman::|:| macrumors 603


    Feb 2, 2002
    i recently read that they're going back to the original measurements of rivers to determine how much we've changed their course since their discovery. An interesting project, but rather depressing; in 200 years we've managed to scar the face of the earth this badly. And, river conservation is hugely ignored, so i doubt they'll get the funding to fix any of the damage...


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