Friday, April 26, 2013
305. To Realize his China Dream Thomas Jefferson Initated the Expedition
China Dream, the principal object of which was building a commercial relationship with China, “dominated Jefferson’s thinking about America.” Jefferson naturally wanted Lewis to learn what he could about the routes used by the British traders coming down from Canada to trade with the Missouri River tribes, and about the trading methods and practice. He also instructed Lewis to pay attention to how the fur trade, currently dominated by the British, could be taken over by Americans using the Missouri route.
From the report of Lewis to Jefferson we can tell that Jefferson’s concern about finding a possible commercial route for the United States. “In obedience to your orders we have penetrated the Continent of North America to the Pacific Ocean, and sufficiently explored the interior of the country to affirm with confidence that we have discovered the most practical rout with does exist across the continent by means of the navigable branches of the Missouri and Columbia Rivers.” We admire Jefferson’s great vision reflected in his China Dream. However, what really are impressive are Jefferson’s great efforts to realize his dream. As historian and scholar Jon Meacham has perceived that Thomas Jefferson “dreamed big but understood that dreams become reality only when their champions are strong enough and wily enough to bend history to their purpose.”
The influence of Thomas Jefferson’s China dream on American history was so great that it encouraged a contemporary scholar to state that the Lewis and Clark expedition initiated by Thomas Jefferson “Changed American history forever—in no small part thanks to the seed of a dream planed so many years earlier.”