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As the expedition was gaining approval and funding, Jefferson made efforts to prepare him for the long journey ahead.
Lewis, however, was not ignorant of science and had demonstrated to Jefferson a marked capacity to learn, especially with Jefferson as his teacher.
The Corps of Discovery comprised a selected group of U. Army volunteers under the command of Captain Meriwether Lewis and his close friend, Second Lieutenant William Clark.
President Thomas Jefferson commissioned the expedition shortly after the Louisiana Purchase in 1803 to explore and to map the newly acquired territory, to find a practical route across the western half of the continent, and to establish an American presence in this territory before Britain and other European powers tried to claim it.
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Mackenzie's accounts in Voyages from Montreal (1801) informed Jefferson (who read the book at Monticello in 1802) of Britain's intent to control the lucrative fur trade of the Columbia River, and convinced him of the importance of securing the territory as soon as possible.