What if he had never left the United States? How would things have been different? Jefferson had turned down two previous high-level government invitations to take up a diplomatic post in Paris. He finally made the journey in July 1784 because his wife Martha was dead, because he was still reeling from his frustrating and unsuccessful tenure as the wartime Governor of Virginia, and of course he wanted to see the Old World, especially France.
"[Meriwether Lewis] kept promising copy and he never sent a single page. We don't know what, if anything, became of his manuscript. We have nothing. He wouldn't communicate with us."
— Thomas Jefferson, as portrayed by Clay S. Jenkinson
President Jefferson talks about the Lewis & Clark expedition and America's role as an “Empire of liberty". Jefferson, that Type A keeper of records, was disappointed that Meriwether Lewis failed to complete his book about the journey. Lewis was Jefferson's neighbor, his protégé, his private secretary in the White House, and he led the most successful expedition in American history — a voyage Clay & David have spent many years discussing, and one that Clay revisits by foot and by canoe each summer with Odyssey Tours.