Meriwether Lewis - Biography

Meriwether Lewis was born on August 18, 1774 on a plantation near Charlottesville, Virginia. He spent his childhood in the wilderness and developed a love of hunting and exploring. As a young man, Lewis fought against the Whiskey Rebellion in 1794. From there, he became an officer in the army and battled against Native Americans in the Northwest Territory. Over time, he learned a lot about Native Americans and their languages.

As a friend and former neighbor of the Lewis family, President Thomas Jefferson recruited Lewis to be his private secretary in 1801. For two years, Jefferson prepared Lewis to lead a group of explorers across the Louisiana Purchase. To prepare for the trip, Lewis studied navigation, plants, and animals at the University of Pennsylvania.

After Lewis and his co-leader, William Clark, successfully returned from the three-year expedition, Jefferson appointed Lewis governor of the Louisiana Territory. On October 11, 1809, while on his way from his St. Louis headquarters to Washington, D.C., Lewis met an untimely and mysterious death at an inn. Most historians believe that Lewis committed suicide, yet others think that Lewis was murdered.

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