What happens to heroes when the cheers of the crowds grow silent and attention fades? Some stay content with the satisfaction of a job well done. Others chase after new adventures. And some are consumed in the aftermath by a jealous few or by their own demons. Such was the tragic fate of Meriwether Lewis, the famed adventurer turned politician.
Meriwether Lewis, now age 34, returned from his mission of exploration with William Clark and the 50 members of the Corps of Discovery in 1806. The Virginia native became instantly famous and was widely revered for the many discoveries of the expedition. Together, Lewis and Clark had discovered new species of plants and animals, discovered important trade routes, established peaceful contact with dozens of tribes, learned about the topography and geography of the region, and established an American claim on the Pacific Ocean as a border. Congress awarded the two 1,600 acres each in deep appreciation for their service.
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