Obverse. Photo © United States Mint
  • 5 Cents 2004, KM# 360, United States of America (USA), Westward Journey, Louisiana Purchase, Peace Medal
  • 5 Cents 2004, KM# 360, United States of America (USA), Westward Journey, Louisiana Purchase, Peace Medal
Description

In commemoration of the bicentennials of the Louisiana Purchase and the Lewis and Clark expedition, the Jefferson 5-cent coin (nickel) was modyfied to reflect images evocative of the historic expedition into the Louisiana Territory.

The Lewis and Clark Expedition, also known as the Corps of Discovery Expedition, was the first American expedition to cross what is now the western portion of the United States, departing in May 1804, from near St. Louis making their way westward through the continental divide to the Pacific coast.

The expedition was commissioned by President Thomas Jefferson shortly after the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, consisting of a select group of U.S. Army volunteers under the command of Captain Meriwether Lewis and his close friend, Second Lieutenant William Clark. Their perilous journey lasted from May 1804 to September 1806. The primary objective was to explore and map the newly acquired territory, find a practical route across the Western half of the continent, and establish an American presence in this territory before Britain and other European powers tried to claim it.

The campaign's secondary objectives were scientific and economic: to study the area's plants, animal life, and geography, and establish trade with local Native American tribes. With maps, sketches, and journals in hand, the expedition returned to St. Louis to report their findings to Jefferson.

Obverse

A left-facing bust of the president, dressed in a coat of the period and wearing a peruke wig. Arranged in arcs around the border are the motto IN GOD WE TRUST to the left, with LIBERTY and the date to the right, separated by a single star.

Thomas Jefferson (April 13, 1743 – July 4, 1826) was an American Founding Father, the principal author of the Declaration of Independence (1776), and the third President of the United States (1801–1809). During his first term as President, Thomas Jefferson virtually doubled the size of the United States when his Administration successfully completed the Louisiana Purchase in 1803 and commissioned the Lewis & Clark Expedition to explore the new territory.

Engraver: Felix Schlag (FS).

IN GOD WE TRUST
LIBERTY ★ 2004
P
FS

Reverse

A modified version of the Thomas Jefferson's Indian Peace Medal, commissioned for Lewis and Clark's expedition, bearing the likeness of America's third president on one side, and symbols of peace and friendship on the other. The medals were presented to Native American chiefs and other important leaders as tokens of goodwill at treaty signings and other events. It shows the hand of a Native American (with a broad metallic bracelet with the image of an eagle) and the hand of a European-American (with ornamented cuff of a military uniform) clasped in a friendly handshake below a crossed ceremonial pipe and tomahawk.

The Louisiana Purchase was the acquisition of the Louisiana territory (828,000 square miles) by the United States from France in 1803. The U.S. paid fifty million francs ($11,250,000 USD) and a cancellation of debts worth eighteen million francs ($3,750,000 USD) for a total of sixty-eight million francs ($15,000,000 USD). The Louisiana territory included land from fifteen present U.S. states and two Canadian provinces. The territory contained land that forms Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Nebraska; the portion of Minnesota west of the Mississippi River; a large portion of North Dakota; a large portion of South Dakota; the northeastern section of New Mexico; the northern portion of Texas; the area of Montana, Wyoming, and Colorado east of the Continental Divide; Louisiana west of the Mississippi River (plus New Orleans); and small portions of land within the present Canadian provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan. Its population was around 60,000 inhabitants, of whom half were colored.

The Louisiana Purchase occurred during the term of the third President of the United States, Thomas Jefferson. Because the western boundary was contested at the time of the Purchase, President Jefferson immediately began to organize three missions to explore and map the new territory. The most famous was the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

A tomahawk (also referred to as a hawk) is a type of single-handed axe from North America, traditionally resembling a hatchet with a straight shaft. The name came into the English language in the 17th century as an adaptation of the Powhatan (Virginian Algonquian) word.

A ceremonial pipe is a particular type of smoking pipe, used by a number of Native American cultures in their sacred ceremonies. Traditionally they are used to offer prayers in a religious ceremony, to make a ceremonial commitment, or to seal a covenant or treaty. Not all cultures have pipe traditions, and there is no single word for all ceremonial pipes across the hundreds of diverse Native cultures.

E Pluribus Unum — Latin for "Out of many, one" — is a phrase on the Seal of the United States. Never codified by law, E Pluribus Unum was considered a de facto motto of the United States until 1956 when the United States Congress passed an act (H. J. Resolution 396), adopting "In God We Trust" as the official motto.

Engraver: Norman E. Nemeth (NEN).

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
LOUISIANA PURCHASE
1803
NEN
E PLURIBUS
UNUM
FIVE CENTS

Edge

5 Cents

Jefferson Nickel

Westward Journey
Louisiana Purchase, Peace Medal

Subscribe series
KM# 360
Characteristics
Type Commemorative Issue (Circulating)
Material Cupronickel
Weight 5 g
Diameter 21.21 mm
Thickness 1.95 mm
Shape round
Alignment Coin
Mints
Denver Mint (D)
Philadelphia Mint (P)
San Francisco Mint (S)

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