The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

SE instructor gives insight into one of Jefferson’s greatest achievements

By Jessy Diamba/reporter

SE Campus students received a deeper look into what experts consider Thomas Jefferson’s most lasting contribution to young America during his time as president. 

Economics instructor Mike Gallaher presented From Sea to Shining Sea: How Thomas Jefferson and Lewis and Clark Expanded America April 3.

“Overnight, Jefferson doubled the size of the U.S. for only 4 cents an acre,” he said. “His purchase of the Louisiana Territory from the French in 1803 cost him $15 million — at that time, twice the amount of America’s GDP.”

Nonetheless, Jefferson wasn’t going to let this opportunity pass him by, Gallaher said.

“The entire journey began in the mind of Thomas Jefferson at his home in Virginia,” he said. “Although he would never travel farther than 200 miles west of his birthplace, the president envisioned the U.S. going from coast to coast. Jefferson had a lifetime interest in the West.”

Gallaher said the Lewis and Clark expedition holds special significance to historians.

“There’s no time in the history of mankind when this much information was revealed in that short a lifespan — never before or since,” he said.

Student Kwasi Buahin said she attended for extra credit but enjoyed the presentation.

“This speaker was interesting, funny and made history very fascinating,” she said. “It was cool learning about what it took those people to explore the new land.”

In addition to a slideshow, Gallaher changed into character and gave the audience a firsthand account of the trip from George Shannon, the youngest member of the expedition. He also had a table set with artifacts from the voyage for anyone to see following his presentation.

“It was really interesting,” student Patrick German said. “The professor gave more light and depth into the expedition.”

Although an economics teacher, Gallaher explained his experience with the subject.

“I’m a lifetime student of Lewis and Clark,” he said. “I’ve probably got 50 books on this topic. I’ve read them all, at least once. This [expedition] is part of everyone’s heritage. We all benefit from the strength and courage that those men had when they opened the West.”

When he’s not on campus teaching supply and demand, Gallagher enjoys exploring the past.

“I teach economics, but I like history,” he said. “History’s my hobby!”

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