The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 17, July 1913 - April, 1914

140 The South western Historicl Quarterly
THE LOUISIANA-TEXAS FRONTIER
III
ISAAC JOSLIN COX
PART II-THE AMERICAN OCCUPATION OF THE LOUISIANA-TE AS
FRONTIER- (Continued.)
III. EXPLORING EXPEDITIONS OF THE TEXAS FRONTIER
Jefferson had planned to explore Louisiana, or at least as much
.of it as was necessary to traverse in pursuing a direct route to the
Pacific, long before he gained possession of the territory. Meri-
wether Lewis was already making preparations for his memorable
,journey, when his chief learned of the unexpected acquisition. He
was thus in a position to turn his project to very practical account
.and be the first to acquire the definite information that would as-
sist the President in determining just what he had bought from
France. For this reason his undertaking becomes the premier event
in a new epoch of Far Western exploration, and incidentally a
prominent factor in the attempt to extend the Louisiana-Texas
frontier to the Rio Grande. In the frontier area between that river
and the Mississippi Lewis and Clark emphasize the northern route
by way of the Missouri and Platte, which has Santa Fe as its ob-
jective point. Its consideration, then, belongs to another phase of
our subject.'
After Jefferson knew of the acquisition of Louisiana, he per-
ceived that the event gave a new impulse and purpose to his explor-
ing plan. That work must be pursued on a more extensive scale to
,overcome the serious handicap of the United States in the inevitable
territorial controversy with Spain. This will explain his state-
ment in his letter of August 11, 1803, to Isaac Briggs, a govern-
ment surveyor, that: "Congress would probably authorize the
exploration of the principal streams of the Mississippi and Mis-
souri," to determine those "given points in the highlands enclosing
those rivers" that "constitute the exterior boundary of the acquisi-
'Consult Cox, Early Emploration of Louisiana, Ch. II and III, passim.

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 17, July 1913 - April, 1914. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101061/. Accessed July 28, 2014.