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By the late 1700s the young United States began to look westward and dream about the possibilities it presented They wondered if there was in fact an all water route from the Mississippi to the Pacific what the whole continent actually looked like and really what was out there There were many individual and groups of people that helped pave an opening for the eventual settlement of the American west Two of the most recognizable and important groups that opened up the west were the Lewis Clark expedition and the group of fur traders known as the mountain men for their chosen lifestyleThe west and all of its treasures were a great mystery to the people of the United States around the turn of the 19th century As far as the Native Americans were concerned the west was their home and tey already had explored and discovered much of its treasures These native peoples had already established extensive trade networks amongst themselves which worked to unify the continent These native people also developed very complex societies complete with governments working economies and all other things we would consider a present day society to consist of They felt that the lands which the United States wished to discover belonged to them since they have been living there for many centuries The Native Americans werent the only ones existing in the West Many European explorers had tried to explore the west in order to acquire great amounts of wealth French and British were already trading with the Indians in the Oregon territory by the late 1700s Due of all of this interaction European diseases began to overtake the Native population killing thousands all across the west This greatly decreased their numbers and made future exploration and expansion into the region easier Thomas Jefferson became the president of the United States on March 4th 1801 By this time trade between the Americans and the Indians was
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