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Great Advances in Science and Knowledge: Reflective Essay on the Lewis and Clark Expedition

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1620–1728: Puritanism

Plymouth Plantation founded

During the reign of King James I in September of 1620, nearly 100 mean and women boarded the Mayflower and set sail for the New World. These people were members of the English separatist church. The Mayflower landed on Plymouth Rock, the place that would later become the permanent settlement of the Europeans in New England. Most of the settlers died off within the first winter and those who survived secured peace treaties with neighboring Native Americans such as the Tisquantum, Squanto, and the Pawtuxet tribes. The settlers, with the help of the Native Americans, managed to build a self-sufficient economy in five years. In 1621, the Pilgrims shared a feast with the Pokanokets. This day became known as Thanksgiving, a tradition still celebrated to this day. The first Thanksgiving was a major impact on the US. Also, the foundation provided by this event gave our country the fuel that it needed to become its own nation.

Salem Witch Trials

In Spring of 1692, the Salem Witch Trials had begun. This was because a group of young girls in the village of Salem, Massachusetts was said to be possessed by the devil and accused of performing witchcraft. Those accusations caused a special court to convene. One of the first of the witches, Bridget Bishop, was accused of witchcraft and later hung. Other women later faced the same fate as Bridget. Many women and children were wrongly accused and killed, but by September of 1692, the craziness began to die down after the public had begun to turn against the trials. Further on, the Massachusetts General Court decided against the accused witches and granted protection and security to their families. The bitterness left in the community stayed with them for centuries.

1750–1800: Rationalism

Boston Massacre

On March 5, 1770, British soldiers were sent to support a sentry being pressed for messing with a crowd of colonists. Soon, shots were fired, resulting in 5 deaths. Captain Thomas Preston, the British officer in charge at the time, was arrested for manslaughter along with 8 other men. This event is known for helping to galvanize the Colonies to the Patriot Cause. This event was a defining moment in the path leading up the the American Revolution.

1800–1860: Romanticism

Lewis and Clark expedition

In 1804, Lewis and Clark led an expedition through the uncharted American interior in the Pacific Northwest. This expedition spanded 8,000 miles and took 3 years to accomplish. It was also known as “the Corps of Discovery”. The expedition ran up the Missouri River, across the Continental Divide, and all the way to the Pacific Ocean. Lewis and Clark began their journey in ST. Louis, Missouri in early 1804, keeping a detailed journal of collected samples from plants and animals along the way. They recieved aid from many natives on their journey. This expedition overall helped to change the face of the US by exploring its uncharted territory known as the American West. Lewis and Clark also helped to inspire many other explorers to follow their path. They managed to greatly advance in scientific knowledge, and made many discoveries.

1836–1860: Transcendentalism

Women’s suffrage movement

The first campaign for women’s suffrage began in the decades before the Civil War. In the 1820s and 30s, most states had extended the campaign to all white men, no matter their amount of money or property. In 1884, a group of abolitionist activists gathered in Seneca Falls, New York. This group met to discuss the issue of women’s rights. In the 1850s, the women’s rights movement has lost its steam because of the Civil War. By 1890, women’s suffrage groups had formed the National American Woman Suffrage Association. Beginning in 1910, some of the Western states began to extend vote to women for the first time in 20 years. However, many southern and eastern states resisted the movement. Because of World War I, the suffragists’ campaign was slowed down. Eventually, on August 26, 1920, 100 years ago, the 19th amendment was added to the Constitution, giving women the right to vote.

1850–1900: Realism, Regionalism, and Naturalism

Civil War

In the spring of 1861, Years of simmering tensions between the Northern and Southern parts of the US. This was over issues including state rights against federal authority. The Civil war ended up lasting from 1861 through 1865. The war ended in Confederate surrender in 1865. Around 620,000 soldiers were killed, and millions were injured. It proved to be the costliest war ever fought in the US.

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1900–1950: Modernism

The Great Depression

In 1929 to 1939, the worst economic downturn in history of the western industrialization occured. This began after the stock market crash of October 1929. This sent Wall Street into a panic while wiping out millions of investors. Through the next several years, consumer spending and investment heavily dropped. This caused a steep decline in the industrial output and rising levels of unemployment as more and more workers were laid off. In 1933, 13 to 15 million Americans were unemployed, and half of the country’s banks had failed. President Roosevelt helped to lessen the effects of the Great Depression in the 1930s, but the economy did not fully turn around until 1939.

1920–1932: Harlem Renaissance

World War I Great Migration

The Harlem Renaissance was known to be the relocation 6 million African Americans from the rural south to the cities of the North, Midwest, and West from 1916 to 1970. This was a great migration that hugely impacted urban life in the United States. African Americans were driven out of their homes by harsh segregationist laws. Many of these former slaves headed to the North, where they took advantage of the need for workers. Migrants were forced to deal with poor working conditions, competition for living space, and widespread racism and prejudice. All while states like Chicago and New York watched their black populations grow. Eventually, African Americans were able to build a new place for themselves in public life. These events helped our country to become what it is today, and give African Americans a great and accepting life.

1950–Present: Contemporary

Cold War

The first military action in the Cold War began in June of 1950 when the Soviets and North Korean’s invaded the south. American officials feared this was the start of a communist campaign to take over the world. Truman had sent the American military into Korea, but the war had dragged into a standstill and ended in 1953. The legacy of the cold war continued to influence world affairs, but it also defined the political role of the US.

First African-American President

In 2008, the United States met their first African American president. President Barack Obama, former senator of Illinois. He was the 44th president and served two terms. In 2007, Obama officially announced his candidacy for the presidential election. Obama’s campaign during the primaries worked to build support for his campaign with his inspiring life story. On November 4, 2008, the US experienced a significant day in history. It was the day the first-ever African American man was elected president. This election really showed our country that anyone can be anything here, also that we can overcome anything.


All of these events helped to shape modern American life, values, and ways of thinking. For example, without the settlement of the Plymouth plantation, we would not be where we are today. We would certainly not celebrate Thanksgiving and other holidays such as the 4th of July. The same circumstance occurs for all of the other events. The Salem Witch Trials also brought new ways of doing things. Because of this event, America was taught a tough lesson. With so many innocents facing charges of murder, these trials brought resentment that lingered in Salem long after the trials were “over”. This disagreement between the court and the people brought upon a legacy that would last for centuries. These events, although dark at times, taught us how to avoid a future incident from occurring. Another example of this is the Boston Massacre. Both this and the Salem witch trials resulted in loss. Although, events like the Lewis and Clark expedition brought great advances in science and knowledge. These events further as well as change our ways of thinking and our values.

This ultimately affects American life as a whole. Because of events such as the Women’s suffrage movement, life for Women in the US changed forever, and for the better. Events such as the Civil War taught us that things go wrong, but if we preserve, we can overcome it. Although America still faces problems, the progress we’ve shown in our country gives us hope for the future. We’ve even had an African American president who was re-elected and served two terms. 100 years ago, that would have seemed unthinkable, and even impossible. Our progress is the reason America has become such a great country. American life as we know it has been shaped by our history. Our values are constantly changing and evolving, and will continue to.

Connection Between Historical

Contexts and Texts

Different time periods bring different perspectives. They bring up new issues, and with these different time periods comes varying levels of knowledge. Writings during the time Plymouth was first settled in, may have been concerning the knowledge in which is being absorbed at the time. During the Salem witch trials, writings possibly could have been about the accused witches or those in which being convicted of it. At the time of the Boston Massacre, writings may have been regarding the British or the Patriots. All of these writings provided information for the people and advanced our knowledge.

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Great Advances in Science and Knowledge: Reflective Essay on the Lewis and Clark Expedition. (2022, July 14). Edubirdie. Retrieved March 5, 2024, from
“Great Advances in Science and Knowledge: Reflective Essay on the Lewis and Clark Expedition.” Edubirdie, 14 Jul. 2022,
Great Advances in Science and Knowledge: Reflective Essay on the Lewis and Clark Expedition. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 5 Mar. 2024].
Great Advances in Science and Knowledge: Reflective Essay on the Lewis and Clark Expedition [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Jul 14 [cited 2024 Mar 5]. Available from:
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