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Episode Descriptions

Episodes 5-8

Episode 5: A Fatal Contradiction
The Declaration of Independence stated "all men are created equal," but the nation's slaves were a glaring exception. The colonial slave trade and brutal life for African Americans on Southern plantations spark the abolition movement and the Underground Railroad. This episode explores the role of Frederick Douglass, and then looks at the impact of the Lincoln-Douglass debates on the westward expansion of slavery. It ends with Abraham Lincoln's election to the presidency.

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Episode 6: A War to End Slavery
Heroic soldiers in blue and gray endure the bloodiest battles ever fought on American soil, as the country fights a civil war over the future of slavery. Grim battles unfold: Bull Run, Antietam, and Gettysburg. Famous generals Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee lead the war between the North and the South. Lincoln speaks eloquently at Gettysburg, and just a year and a half later is brutally assassinated at Ford's Theater.

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Episode 7: What is Freedom?
In the aftermath of the Civil War, Reconstruction begins as a time of great hope for the devastated South. When political turmoil continues and the Reconstruction efforts fail, a new era of segregation begins. In the Supreme Court decision of Plessy v. Ferguson, "separate but equal" becomes the law of the land.

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Episode 8: Whose Land is This?
The nation seethes with racial conflict as immigrants increasingly become targets of prejudice, and as settlers and soldiers massacre Western Indians and force them onto reservations. As European freedom-seekers continue to pour into America through Ellis Island, the Supreme Court finally rules that non-citizens are due equal protection under the law.

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Continue to: Episodes 9-12
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episodes 1-4 episodes 5-8 episodes 9-12 episodes 13-16