Robert Peary Was Not Alone

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In April of 1909 the North Pole was claimed, Peary made it! Yet, Robert Peary was not alone. Although, Peary would have liked to have claimed the Pole on his own, and as he said it “go it alone” (qtd. in Robinson 1), his plans changed the day he met Matthew Henson, who was by his side throughout every expedition. Many other men attempted to claim the North Pole, but Peary and Henson, two extraordinary men, managed to be the first to reach the “top of the world.” If Robert Peary went to the Pole without Henson he may have been just another man who only attempted. Robert Peary was a civil engineer for the United States Navy who was held in the highest regard due to his “exceptional talents” (Robinson 118). It was these talents that would…show more content…
(Henson 2) Henson and Peary’s friendship would last through the years during their expeditions together; each with their own unique qualities and experiences, their relationship as not only friends, but as leader and assistant would make their expeditions successful and memorable. According to S. Allen Counter (who wrote the introduction for A Negro Explorer at The North Pole, by Matthew Henson), Peary and Henson both were impressed and taken by each other’s intelligence, ambition, and experience; and Henson was particularly impressed by the respect Peary had shown him (Counter xii). The two would soon make history, and Henson would play a vital role in helping Peary reach the North Pole. In July of 1908 Peary and Henson set out to make their claims of reaching farthest north, even farther than Peary’s first achievement. Officer and Page stated that Peary “needed the Pole, the big prize” (Officer and Page 164). Therefore, Peary was determined to be the conqueror of the North Pole and to be the first to take the “top of the world,” but he knew he couldn’t do it “alone.” At one point during the trip “Peary told [Donald] Macmillan that it had to be Matt and that [he] couldn’t get along without him” (Ferris

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