Lewis and Clark Journals

From reading the Lewis and Clark journals it is safe to say they had little to no respect for nature. Nearly everyday they killed several animals, more than enough to feed their group. They were not killing to sustain themselves; it became a competitive game for the two men. Lewis wrote on Monday May 6 1805 “Capt Clark walked on shore and killed two Elk, they were not in very good order, we therefore took a part of the meat only; it is now only amusement for Capt C. and myself to kill as much meat as the party can consum.” This makes is obvious that the party had more than enough to eat, and began to kill for entertainment.

Lewis and Clark do not fit into any of Garrard’s philosophical positions but they do display a trope studied in eco criticism. And that trope is man dominance and superiority over nature. Lewis and Clark set out to ‘conquer’ the west and were determined to not let any part of nature, whether it is a grizzly or a rapid river, stand in their way.

Lewis and Clark were only concerned with nature in terms of how it could be beneficial to them, and humans as a whole. This is a common theme in literature and in people’s view of nature in general. There is not reverence for the beauty of the undiscovered land. They don’t even view it as a feminine entity as some explorers do. Because to view nature as a woman that would be lending it human qualities and Lewis and Clark do not view nature in any way human. They in no way feel connected to nature, if anything the time they spent made them feel even more superior to nature than they did when they began their trip.


One response to this post.

  1. Lewis and Clark’s apparent disregard for nature is indicative of European’s overall attitude in general. The immigrants coming over saw the land as endless opportunity and, more importantly, endless resources. This attitude is still reflected in today’s society where we focus on our needs alone and do not think about the next person possibly needing those resources. The natives of Lewis and Clark’s time used every feasible part of the animals they killed and saw it as a way of life rather than a sport and dominance over nature. Lewis and Clark would have done well to take heed and possibly set a different precedent for the future generations of America.

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