The Men Who Built America episode 2 – Never Surrender: On the orders of President Thomas Jefferson, Army captains Lewis and Clark explore the newly acquired Louisiana Territory, and with the help of their guide Sacagawea, they make their legendary expedition to the Pacific. After the Battle of Fallen Timbers, Tecumseh unites the Native American tribes by forming an alliance to resist U.S. expansion. When he learns about the Battle of Tippecanoe, the Shawnee leader aligns with the British in Canada and another war for America’s independence begins; the War of 1812.
A look at the lives of iconic pioneers such as Daniel Boone, Lewis and Clark, Tecumseh, Davy Crocket and Andrew Jackson as they traveled across America, starting in The Men Who Built America episode 1 with Daniel Boone.
The Men Who Built America episode 2 – Never Surrender
Lewis and Clark Expedition
The Lewis and Clark Expedition from August 31, 1803, to September 25, 1806, also known as the Corps of Discovery Expedition, was the United States expedition to cross the newly acquired western portion of the country after the Louisiana Purchase. The Corps of Discovery was a select group of U.S. Army and civilian volunteers under the command of Captain Meriwether Lewis and his close friend Second Lieutenant William Clark. The expedition made its way westward, and crossed the Continental Divide of the Americas before reaching the Pacific Coast.
President Thomas Jefferson commissioned the expedition shortly after the Louisiana Purchase in 1803 to explore and to map the newly acquired territory, to find a practical route across the western half of the continent, and to establish an American presence in this territory before Britain and other European powers tried to claim it. The campaign’s secondary objectives were scientific and economic: to study the area’s plants, animal life, and geography, and to establish trade with local Native American tribes. The expedition returned to St. Louis to report its findings to Jefferson, with maps, sketches, and journals in hand.
The Corps met their objective of reaching the Pacific, mapping and establishing their presence for a legal claim to the land. They established diplomatic relations and trade with at least two dozen indigenous nations. They did not find a continuous waterway to the Pacific Ocean but located an Native American trail that led from the upper end of the Missouri River to the Columbia River which ran to the Pacific Ocean.
They gained information about the natural habitat, flora and fauna, bringing back various plant, seed and mineral specimens. They mapped the topography of the land, designating the location of mountain ranges, rivers and the many Native American tribes during the course of their journey. They also learned and recorded much about the language and customs of the Native American tribes they encountered, and brought back many of their artifacts, including bows, clothing and ceremonial robes.
Sacagawea – Men Who Built America episode 2
Sacagawea, sometimes called Sakajawea or Sakagawea, was a Shoshone Native American woman who arrived with her husband Toussaint Charbonneau on the expedition to the Pacific Ocean.
On February 11, 1805, a few weeks after her first contact with the expedition, Sacagawea went into labor which was slow and painful, so the Frenchman Charbonneau suggested she be given a potion of rattlesnake’s rattle to aid in her delivery. Lewis happened to have some snake’s rattle with him. A short time after administering the potion, she delivered a healthy boy who was given the name Jean Baptiste Charbonneau.
When the expedition reached Marias River, on June 16, 1805, Sacagawea became dangerously ill. She was able to find some relief by drinking mineral water from the sulphur spring that fed into the river.
Though she has been discussed in literature frequently, much of the information is exaggeration or fiction. Scholars say she did notice some geographical features, but “Sacagawea … was not the guide for the Expedition, she was important to them as an interpreter and in other ways.” The sight of a woman and her infant son would have been reassuring to some indigenous nations, and she played an important role in diplomatic relations by talking to chiefs, easing tensions, and giving the impression of a peaceful mission.
In his writings, Meriwether Lewis presented a somewhat negative view of her, though Clark had a higher regard for her, and provided some support for her children in subsequent years. In the journals, they used the terms “squar” and “savages” to refer to Sacagawea and other indigenous peoples.
War of 1812 – Men Who Built America episode 2
The War of 1812 (June 1812 – February 1815) was a conflict fought between the United States and its allies, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and its dependent colonies in North America and indigenous allies. It began when the United States declared war in June 1812, and ended in a restoration of the pre-war status quo when a peace treaty agreed to earlier was ratified by the United States in February 1815. Historians in the United Kingdom often see it as a minor theatre of the Napoleonic Wars, while historians in North America see it as a war in its own right; it is related to the American Indian Wars, Sixty Years’ War, Creek War, Tecumseh’s War, and the American Revolutionary War.
From the American perspective, the major casus belli of the war was the kidnapping of American citizens to man the Royal Navy, a practice known as impressment. Between 1793 and 1812, the British absconded with more than 15,000 American citizens and forced them to help the British prosecute their ongoing wars on the European continent.
The Treaty of Paris, signed in 1783, ended the American Revolution by formally acknowledging the US to be a sovereign nation separate and independent from Great Britain. The Americans felt greatly aggrieved that their hard-won sovereignty was already being violated a mere 10 years after the Treaty’s enactment by the mass Shanghaiing of their citizens to fight in another country’s wars. One of the 27 colonial grievances enumerated in the Declaration of Independence directly highlights the practice of impressment, so the issue had already been politically sensitive even before the Revolutionary War broke out, and stopping it formed one of the primary motivations for achieving independence in the first place.