TODAY IN HISTORY: Lewis and Clark Return and… (Sept. 23)
Setting off on August 31, 1803, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark explored the lands west of St. Louis acquired by the United States in the Louisiana Purchase from France. Commissioned by President Thomas Jefferson, the expedition sought to explore the Missouri River and the Indian tribes, flora and fauna of the region. The party of 33 lost only one of its members along the way: to appendicitis. The expedition was also accompanied by “Seaman” Lewis’ black Newfoundland dog. For some portion of the way, they were guided by a Native American woman Sacagawea of the Shoshone nation. The “Corps of Discovery” returned three years later on September 23, 1806 having accomplished their mission.
Also on this day, Sept. 23, 1952…
Richard Nixon gave his famous “Checkers” speech to defend his integrity and character. At the time he was a candidate for vice-president. Nixon had been accused of campaign finance improprieties. Nixon told the nation he was innocent but that he intended to keep one gift: a black-and-white dog who had been named Checkers by the Nixon children. He gave about his family’s modest lifestyle and stated that he only used the fund to reimburse legitimate travel and office expenses. The “Checkers” speech is remembered as one of the most important speeches of Nixon’s political career.