Originally posted eight years ago, I have updated the links in this post.
Monday, July 24, 2006:
A great article in the Billings Gazette: Retracing Clark’s Journey to Pompeys . Two hundred years ago, July 24, 1806 the Corps of Discovery was on the Yellowstone River. If not for the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, which President Thomas Jefferson thought Unconstitutional but made anyway, and the Corps of Discovery; the United States would not be the size it is today. The Louisiana Purchase was the first step in westward expansion that led to Manifest Destiny, the Mexican War; the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo; February 2, 1848 , giving the United States California and in turn the Gadsden Purchase in 1853 . It is debatable whether the Mexican War was a good thing. There is no such thing as a good war. There is nothing good in war except its ending.
The fact is the United States came out of that war with California and Texas. California, in 1848—49, was a place that people wanted to go. Land was cheap, abundant, and the weather was fair. This desire of people to get to California for its land and raw materials led to the construction of the Transcontinental Rail Road. The Road was called for by Congress in 1862 with the Pacific Rail Road Bill. The building of the Transcontinental Rail Road was the greatest industrial-economic feat in American History, and it was made possible in part by the exploration of Lewis and Clark.