Jefferson always had an eye on the west. His father Peter was a surveyor and map maker in the Virginia Frontier and young Thomas spent much of his formative years out along the Blue Ridge Mountains dreaming of the possibilities of travel. Jefferson had the vision to see that land west of the Mississippi was not a wild wasteland but was in fact an area rich in distinct nations and competing cultures.
Despite this, and incredibly ironic, President Jefferson instituted his "Empire for Liberty," which he believed was the natural responsibility of America to spread liberty and freedom across the world... this didn't include prohibiting slavery from entering the western states or sovereignty for native peoples... but that's another story!
As the first leg of Loop #2 kicks off... we head to Fort Clatsop on the Oregon coast to read about the Louisiana Purchase, the flawed greatness of Thomas Jefferson, and begin the massive collection of artifacts, letters, and journals of William Clark and Meriwether Lewis.