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    Re: Lewis and Clark lunars: more 1803 Almanac data
    From: Frank Reed CT
    Date: 2004 Apr 21, 17:43 EDT
    Kieran K wrote:
    "I would however ask our American colleagues why Jefferson did not send a trained expert like Ellicott out on the expedition. If Jefferson's intent was to map the West this would have seemed a logical thing to do, particularly as he had the earlier exemplary work of M & D as a guide."

    This is a really interesting question. I suspect it has something to do with Jefferson's over-confidence. Thomas Jefferson was a brilliant man with wide-ranging interests including extensive knowledge of the sciences, much of it self-taught. But sometimes a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing. A great leader has to know when to seek expert advice and make decisions based on that advice rather than on his own personal base of knowledge. I don't think Jefferson was a "great leader" in this sense, despite (or even because of) his intellect. If he had asked experts in exploration, navigation, and surveying, they probably would have told him that a few weeks of training might not be sufficient for this task. But Jefferson would have made his decision based on his own approach to science. A self-taught genius may assume that things are easier than they really are.

    This is my personal speculation based on my recollection of Jefferson's biography. Nothing more.

    Frank E. Reed
    [ ] Mystic, Connecticut
    [X] Chicago, Illinois
       
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