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Jefferson's Secret Message Regarding the Lewis & Clark Expedition: Primary Documents in American History

On January 18, 1803, Thomas Jefferson sent a secret message to Congress asking for $2,500 to fund the Lewis & Clark expedition. This guide provides access to digital materials at the Library of Congress, external websites, and a print bibliography.

Introduction

President Thomas Jefferson sent a secret message to Congress on January 18, 1803, asking for “the appropriation of two thousand five hundred dollars, for the purpose of extending the external commerce of the United States.” This money was used to fund the Lewis & Clark expedition. Jefferson made the request in a secret message in order to hide his intentions from his political enemies in the Federalist Party.