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Episode Descriptions

Episodes 1-4

Episode 1: Independence
The episode begins by examining how the terrorist attack of September 11th sparked a renewed focus on freedom. The program then takes us back to the summer of 1776.

The thirteen colonies stake everything on an armed struggle for freedom and the chance to build a new kind of nation. Beginning with a look at the decision to declare independence, the film explores the escalating conflict with Great Britain, including the Boston Tea Party and Paul Revere's famous midnight ride. America's founding fathers such as George Washington, Samuel Adams, and Thomas Jefferson -- along with other well-known historical figures, including Abigail Adams and Tom Paine -- all play roles in the fight for liberty.

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Episode 2: Revolution
Colonial Americans fight together to defeat the world's most awesome military power. Then they strive to create a new kind of government that will live up to their high ideals. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson each become President; Lewis and Clark undertake their great expedition; and the American dream is born.

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Episode 3: Liberty for All?
While America was founded as a free land in which people could live out their own destinies, it came at a terrible cost to Native Americans. The Pilgrims laid the groundwork for religious freedom, while the Puritan-led Salem Witch Trials were a frightening reminder of superstition and intolerance. The nation's population migrates westward, emboldened by a new philosophy called Manifest Destiny; the Wilderness Trail leads to the Trail of Tears and then the Gold Rush. Key historical figures include Daniel Boone, Andrew Jackson, and James K. Polk.

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Episode 4: Wake Up America
The nation is in love with progress, and innovations include steamboats, the Erie Canal, and the first railroads. The Industrial Revolution brings Americans new leisure and personal freedom -- but there is a dark side to the story for factory workers and women. Reformers begin to rail against horrendous conditions, while people like Sojourner Truth and Elizabeth Cady Stanton rally for equal rights.






Continue to: Episodes 5-8
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