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Episodes
The People
Empire Upon The Trails
Speck of the Future
Death Runs Riot
The Grandest Enterprise Under God
Fight No More Forever
The Geography of Hope
One Sky Above Us
Producers
Empire Upon the Trails

Introduction

Hats

The Heart of Everything

Tejas

In the Midst of Savage Darkness

We go to conquer

Trail of Tears

The Barren Rock

Westward I Go Free

What A Country

So We Die

A Continental Nation


THE WEST Empire Upon The Trails

Introduction

Covered Wagons arrive at Santa FeThe American realizes that 'Progress is God.' The destiny of the American people is to subdue the continent -- to rush over this vast field to the Pacific Ocean... to change darkness into light and confirm the destiny of the human race... Divine task! Immortal mission! The pioneer army perpetually strikes to the front. Empire plants itself upon the trails.
William Gilpin

By 1821, no one knew who would control the West’s seemingly infinite spaces, what language would be dominant, whose god would be worshipped -- what the West's destiny would be.

Two young republics -- the United States and the newly established Republic of Mexico -- claimed most of it. England still had outposts in the Pacific Northwest, while a host of Indian nations held fast to their lands -- and challenged each other for more.

But the Americans were already moving west, content -- at first -- to make their way in other people's worlds.

Mountain men began it, following icy streams into the Rockies in search of furs.

Others, who called themselves Latter-day Saints, fled to the West hoping to find sanctuary.

A devout young woman from upstate New York hurried west to save the souls of Indians, but in the end could not even save herself.

A Tennessee politician whose career was ruined by drink and scandal would get a second chance in the Mexican province of Tejas.

While a Virginia family, accustomed to following a restless dream of better times over the next horizon, very nearly destroyed itself trying to reach the continent's farthest shore.

But regardless of their reasons for going West, once they got there, the Americans soon determined to make the West -- all of it -- their own.

It is our manifest destiny to overspread the continent allotted by Providence for the free development of our yearly multiplying millions.
John L. O’Sullivan

Richard White"Americans' reach exceeds their grasp. Americans can't do what they might like to do, but the time is coming. This is a country that is going to grow more and more powerful. Its ambition is already there, and there's going to come a time by mid-century where in fact it can fulfill its ambition, and when that time is reached, the West will be an entirely different place."
Richard White


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