Part I

Early Colonization to
Reconstruction (To 1877)
 

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Episode 2: "From Days Before Time
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Episodes Covered in The Unfinished Nation

Episode 1:  “From Days Before Time”

Early human habitation of the North American continent. The civilizations of the North and South and tribal cultures. The journeys of Christopher Columbus.  Exploration and exploitation of the west by the Spanish; impact on native population.  Early slave trade. Biological and cultural exchanges between the Spanish and native cultures.

Original writings from:

“The Journal of Christopher Columbus”
”The Conquest of New Spain” c. 1565, Bernal Diez del Castillo
”The Aztec Reports”
”Journal of Francisco de Aguilar”

Contributing experts:

Alan Taylor, University of California—Davis
Cliff Trafzer, University of California—Riverside
Stephen Brian Stoll, Yale University
Richard White, Stanford University
Helena Wall, Pomona College
Carlos CortÚs, University of California—Riverside
Stephen Aron, University of California—Los Angeles
Alfred Moss, University of Maryland
Karen Ordahl Kupperman, New York University

Episode 2:   “Turbulent Virginia:  Pirate Base…Royal Colony”

Incentives for English colonization. French and Dutch presence in North America.  British attempts to establish a base at Roanoke and the outcome. Subsequent Virginia Company settlement at Jamestown. The people who come; the struggle to survive; the response of Native Americans. Establishing the royal colony in 1619.

Original writings from:

“The Return to Roanoke” by John White (1590) from Richard Hakluyt’s
Principal Navigations, Voyages of the English Nation, III (1600)
”Settlement of Jamestown,” 1607, by John Smith

Contributing experts:

Alan Taylor, University of California—Davis
Karen Ordahl Kupperman, New York University
Carlos CortÚs, University of California—Riverside
John Murrin, Princeton University
Helena Wall, Pomona College
Richard Godbeer, University of California—Riverside

Episode 3:  “Saints and Strangers”

Discontent of Puritan Separatists; their journey to Plymouth.The Mayflower Compact; life once off the ship.  Experience with Irish influences attitude toward Native Americans. Massachusetts Bay Company as structure for a colony. Creating a godly community; the role of the town meeting and church. Expansion and growth brings colonists into conflict with Native Americans.

Original writings from:

“The Mayflower Compact”
”The Examination of Mrs. Anne Hutchinson at the Court at Newton,” 1637

Contributing experts:

Alan Taylor, University of California—Davis
Helena Wall, Pomona College
Richard Godbeer, University of California—Riverside
John Murrin, Princeton University
Christine Leigh Heyrman, University of Delaware
Gary Nash, University of California—Los Angeles
Clifford Trafzer, University of California—Riverside

Episode 4:  “The Lure of Land”

English interest in colonization hindered by Civil War and rise of Oliver Cromwell;  resumes under Charles II. Expanded list of immigrants find home in middle colonies.  Agricultural interests take hold in Carolinas and Georgia. James II attempts to exert greater control over colonies, parliament, and European neighbors; overthrown in Glorious Revolution. Colonies exerting more independence, becoming more diverse.  

Original writings from:

“A Historical Description of the Province and Country of West-New Jersey in
America”  (London, 1698) by Gabriel Thomas ”
”A Brief Description of the Province of Carolina,” 1666, by Robert Horne
”The Navigation Acts” of September 13, 1660

Contributing experts:

John Murrin, Princeton University
Helena Wall, Pomona College
Alan Taylor, University of California—Davis
Gary Nash, University of California—Los Angeles
Christine Leigh Heyrman, University of Delaware
Richard Godbeer, University of California—Riverside
Stanley Katz, Princeton University

Episode 5:  “Coming to America:  Portrait of Colonial Life”

Immigration key to American history. Contrasting experiences of different groups.  The challenges of indentured servitude; their contributions. Family groups in New England; roles within the family unit. The emergence of a slave society in North America. Upsurge in Scotch Irish and German immigration.

Contributing experts:

Bernard Bailyn, Harvard University
Lawrence Levine, George Mason University
John Murrin, Princeton University
Richard Godbeer, University of California—Riverside
Karen Ordahl Kupperman, New York University
Estelle Freedman, Stanford University
Helena Wall, Pomona College
Alice Kessler-Harris, Columbia University
Alan Taylor, University of California—Davis
Gary Nash, University of California—Los Angeles
Ira Berlin, University of Maryland
Alfred Moss, University of Maryland
Christine Leigh Heyrman, University of Delaware
Deborah G. White, Rutgers University

Episode 6:  “Divergent paths”

Contrast between large scale agricultural operations in South vs. small family farms and commercial operations in North. Emergence of cities; absence of  rigid class differences of Europe. Distinctly American form of communities: the plantation society of the South, the tightly knit New England towns governed by town covenants. Witch trials in Salem. The Great Awakening.

Original writings from:

“Deposition of Mercy Lewis v. Giles Corey” from the Essex County Archives,
Salem, Massachusetts

Contributing experts:

Alfred Moss, University of Maryland
Helena Wall, Pomona College
Bernard Bailyn, Harvard University
Kenneth Jackson, Columbia University
Becky Nicolaides, University of California—San Diego
Steven Brian Stoll, Yale University
Alice Kessler-Harris, Columbia University
Estelle Freedman, Stanford University
Deborah G. White, Rutgers University
Alan Taylor, University of California—Davis
Christine Leigh Heyrman, University of Delaware
Richard Godbeer, University of California—Riverside

Episode 7:  “Strained Relations”

Symbiotic relationship between the colonies and the British government in the 1750s.  French and Indian War alters British holdings in North America, spawns questions related to cost of colonial defense and administration. Proclamation of 1763 attempts to control westward migration. Colonists upset by Revenue Acts; boycott of British goods. Boston Massacre, Boston Tea Party, and Intolerable Acts stiffens resolve of some colonists to resist British control. British attempts to appease colonists yet regain authority. First shots fired at Lexington and Concord.

Original writings from:

Letter from George Washington to Francis Dandridge, September 20, 1765   
Letter from George Washington to George Mason, April 5, 1769
Letter from George Washington to Bryan Fairfax, July 20, 1774

Contributing experts:

Richard Godbeer, University of California—Riverside
John Murrin, Princeton University
Helena Wall, Pomona College
Alan Taylor,  University of California—Riverside
Bernard Bailyn, Harvard University
Alfred Moss, University of Maryland

Episode 8:  “Not Much of a War”

Colonists ill equipped for armed conflict with Great Britain. Meetings of Continental Congress; Declaration of Independence. British response to incidents of hostility in northeast and mid-Atlantic states. Leadership of George Washington. Support of the French government. Defeat of British forces at Saratoga and Yorktown. Destiny now in colonists’ hands.

Contributing experts:

Richard Godbeer, University of California—Riverside
Helena Wall, Pomona College
Bernard Bailyn, Harvard University
Christine Leigh Heyrman, University of Delaware
John Murrin, Princeton University
Peter Onuf, University of Virginia
Barbara Oberg, Princeton University

Episode 9:  “A Precarious Experiment”

Peace Treaty (1783) with Great Britain negotiated by Richard Oswald, John Jay, and Benjamin Franklin. Uncertainties facing young country. Effects of war on new nation’s people, politics, and economy. Difficulty of functioning as “nation” under Articles of Confederation. Partial resolution of controversies related to western lands, but not problem of mounting national debt. Annapolis Convention to modify Articles of Confederation fails to attract enough delegates.

Contributing experts:

Barbara Oberg, Princeton University
John Murrin, Princeton University
Helena Wall, Pomona College
Gary Nash, University of California—Los Angeles
Ira Berlin, University of Maryland
Alfred Moss, University of Maryland
Dan Rodgers, Princeton University
Clifford Trafzer, University of California—Riverside
Peter Onuf,  University of Virginia
Bernard Bailyn, Harvard University
Alan Taylor, University of California—Davis
Stephen Aron, University of California—Los Angeles
Jack Rakove, Stanford University

Episode 10:  “Vision for a Nation”

Delegates meet in Philadelphia, May 1787 to “create a government with sufficient power to govern vast territory.” The convention, closed to public, chaired by George Washington. Controversy over basis for representation in House of Representatives and  slavery issues; over sovereignty and limiting national power. Ground rules for ratification process. Debate between Federalists and Anti-federalists; winning approval. George Washington, first elected president, puts plan to work. Different philosophies within cabinet, Federalist vs. Republican. Washington declines to run for third term.

Original writings from:

“Journal of the Constitutional Convention,” kept by James Monroe
”George Washington’s Farewell Address,” 1796

Contributing experts:

Jack Rakove, Stanford University
Barbara Oberg, Princeton University
Bernard Bailyn, Harvard University
Alfred Moss, University of Maryland
John Murrin, Princeton University
Dan Rodgers, Princeton University
Helena Wall, Pomona College
Timothy Conlan, George Washington University
Peter Onuf, University of Virginia

Episode 11:  “Rivals and Friends”

Election of 1796, first contested presidential election, won by John Adams.  His opponent, Thomas Jefferson becomes vice-president. Adam’s difficult relationship with cabinet, congress, and Jefferson. Struggle with France on the high seas; the Alien and Sedition Acts set stage for election of 1800, won narrowly by Jefferson.   Lame-duck Congress changes court structure; Adams’ appoints Federalists to new posts before he leaves office. Jefferson challenges appointments. Role of Chief Justice John Marshall and Marbury vs. Madison decision in strengthening Supreme Court.

Contributing experts:

Barbara Oberg, Princeton University
Peter Onuf, University of Virginia
Robert Dawidoff, Claremont Graduate University
Bernard Bailyn, Harvard University
Helena Wall, Pomona College
Gary Jacobsen, University of California—San Diego
R. Shep Melnick, Boston College

Episode 12:  “Best Laid Plans…”

Republican desire to minimize national government and encourage small town/agrarian lifestyles overtaken during Jefferson’s presidency by economic vitality and growth of cities, beginnings of industrialization, the Louisiana Purchase, expansion to the west. Jefferson’s embargo in response to Napoleonic Wars hurts economy of northeast. Election of James Madison in 1808; Jefferson lifts embargo as he leaves office.  The War of 1812. 

Contributing experts:

Peter Onuf, University of Virginia
Catherine Allgor, University of California—Riverside
Stanley Katz, Princeton University
Barbara Oberg, Princeton University
Estelle Freedman, Stanford University
Christine Leigh Heyrman, University of Delaware
Helena Wall, Pomona College
Kenneth Jackson, Columbia University
Alice Kessler-Harris, Columbia University
Richard White, Stanford University
Stephen Aron, University of California—Los Angeles
Clifford Trafzer, University of California—Riverside
Brian J. Cook, Clark University
Bernard Bailyn, Harvard University

Episode 13:  “Pressures from Within”

War of 1812 magnifies need for internal improvements and stronger national government. Distinct patterns of American growth and expansion:  areas of fur trading, plantations, and farms. Monroe elected president;  “Era of Good Feelings.”  War with Indians and economic depression of 1819. The Missouri Compromise temporarily resolves sectional differences; Monroe Doctrine asserts U.S. preeminence in hemisphere.

Original writings from:

“The Monroe Doctrine”

Contributing experts:

Peter Onuf, University of Virginia
Tom Zeiler, University of Colorado
Harry Watson, University of North Carolina
Stephen Aron, University of California—Los Angeles
Richard White, Stanford University
Alfred Moss, University of Maryland
Clifford Trafzer, University of California—Riverside
Catherine Algor, University of California—Riverside
Joan Waugh, University of California—Los Angeles
Bernard Bailyn, Harvard University
Carlos CortÚs, University of California--Riverside

Episode 14:  “He Brought the People With Him”

The controversial presidency of John Quincy Adams. Changing party politics ushers in “Age of Jackson.” Struggles between the establishment and the Washington outsider. South Carolina’s Nullification challenge, and Jackson’s response.

Contributing experts:

Harry Watson, University of Virginia
Catherine Allgor, University of California—Riverside
Scott James, University of California—Los Angeles
Dan Rodgers, Princeton University
Bertram Wyatt-Brown, University of Florida
Emory Thomas, University of Georgia (The Citadel)

Episode 15:  “Legacy of an Autocratic Ruler”

President’s Jackson’s policy related to Native Americans. The Veil of Tears.  Henry Clay’s introduction of bill to renew charter of Bank of United States as ploy prior to presidential election of 1832. Jackson’s veto of bill and reelection victory. Jackson’s attempts to deplete power of bank after election. Van Buren, Jackson’s successor, and economic crises. Political battles between the Whigs and Democrats; Harrison’s election in 1840 and his brief tem in office; John Tyler, his successor.  

Original writings from:

Commentary on the Cherokee Indian Removal, 1838-1839, by  Private John
Burnett (Capt. Abraham McClellan’s Company, 2nd Regiment, 2nd Brigade,
Mounted Infantry)
Female survivor of the Trail of Tears
Chief Dragging Canoe
President Andrew Jackson’s Veto Message regarding the Bank of the United States

Contributing experts:

Harry Watson, University of North Carolina
Robert Dawidoff, Claremont Graduate University
Clifford Trafzer, University of California—Riverside
Dan Rodgers, Princeton University

Episode 16:  “Revolution of a Different Sort”

Growth in population and surge in transportation and technology which occurs during the first half of the 18th century. Rising immigration, and incidence of nativism.  Growth of canal system, emergence of railroads, and its priming of news industry.  Industrialists, the emerging factory system, and its effect on workers and artisans. 

Contributing experts:

Matthew Frye Jacobson, Yale University
Sarah J. Purcell, Grinnell College
Alice Kessler-Harris, Columbia University
Harry Watson, University of North Carolina
Stephen Brian Stoll, Yale University
Christopher Clark, University of Warwick, England
Dan Rodgers, Princeton University
Kevin Boyle, University of Ohio

Episode 17:  “Worlds Apart”

Changes in social order in first half of the nineteenth century. The wealthy class as an derivative of industrial success; contrast with the very poor. Emergence of the middle class. Concept of a leisure wife and the cult of domesticity. Portrait of life on the farm in the North in comparison with life on the Southern plantation. 

Original writings from  from:

“A Frontier Family in Minnesota”
”Letters from Forest Place—A Plantation Family’s Correspondence, 1846-1881”

Contributing experts:

Sarah J. Purcell, Grinnell College  wealth
Harry Watson, University of North Carolina
Alice Kessler-Harris, Columbia University
Estelle Freedman, Stanford University
Christopher Clark, University of Warwick, England
Stephen Brian Stoll, Yale University
Joan Waugh, University of California—Los Angeles
Emory Thomas, University of Georgia

Episode 18:  “Master and Slave”

Southern life and the differences in class and culture that arose. Plantations not all pillared mansions with hundreds of slaves. Life of poor white families. The slave family in agricultural and city settings. The contrast in living conditions; the harshness of slave laws. The rich culture built by slaves: religion, family, music and art. 

Original writings from  from:

“A Song from a Small Slave Child” by W. H. Robinson

Contributing experts:

Deborah G. White, Rutgers University
Joan Waugh, University of California—Los Angeles
Emory Thomas, University of Georgia
Bertram Wyatt-Brown, University of Florida
Ira Berlin, University of Maryland
Alice Kessler-Harris, Columbia University
Fitzhugh Brundage, University of North Carolina
Gary Nash, University of California—Los Angeles
Alfred Moss, University of Maryland
Christine Leigh Heyrman, University of Delaware

Episode 19:  “Voices of Reform”

Emergence of romanticism in literature and art. The transcendentalists and utopian societies. Reform movements that emerged from the Second Great Awakening. A closer look at the temperance movement, the abolitionists movement, and women’s suffrage efforts: their leaders and effects on each other. 

Original writings from  from:

“Walden Pond” by Henry David Thoreau
”Country, Conscience, and the Anti-slavery Cause,” an address delivered
by Frederick Douglass in New York, May 11, 1847
”Sojourner Truth’s Speech to the Akron Convention,” 1851
”Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions,” Seneca Falls, 1848

Contributing experts:

Sarah J. Purcell, Grinnell College
Christopher Clark, University of Warwick, England
Estelle Freedman, Stanford University
Bertram Wyatt-Brown, University of Florida
Joan Waugh, University of California—Los Angeles
Dan Rodgers, Princeton University
Alice Kessler-Harris, Columbia University

Episode 20:  “Manifest Destiny?”

American expansion into the west. Tensions between Mexico and the United States over Texas.  The Mexican War and its aftermath. Discovery of gold in California in 1848, and the rush for riches. How the gold rush changed lives of the Californios and Native Americans, the Chinese workers and those lured by the luster of gold. 

Contributing experts:

Tom Zeiler, University of Colorado
Richard White, Stanford University
Carlos CortÚs, University of California—Riverside
Joan Waugh, University of California—Los Angeles
Stephen Pitti, Yale University
Elliott West, University of Arkansas
Darrell Y. Hamamoto, University of California—Davis
Clifford Trafzer, University of California—Riverside 

Episode  21:  “Decade of Discord”

Sectional tensions over slavery subside with the Compromise of 1850; resurface as western states seek territorial and then state status. Railroad expansion plans ignite bloodshed in Kansas and Missouri. Parties sectionalized; Whigs disappear, Republicans emerge.  Lincoln-Douglas debates foreshadow future Harper’s Ferry Raid convinces South they’ll never be safe in the Union. Election of 1860 divides country; Abraham Lincoln wins ballot.

Contributing experts:

Emory Thomas, University of Georgia
Joan Waugh, University of California—Los Angeles
Richard White, Stanford University

Episode 22:  “House Divided”

Election of Abraham Lincoln spawns secession of seven states led by South Carolina.  Confederate States form provisional government before Lincoln is inaugurated, take over two southern forts. Neither side believes there will be war, but attack on Fort Sumter by Confederate forces signals beginning of conflict. Both sides mobilize quickly. Union has material advantage; Confederates win early battles. Lincoln and Union generals want to minimize damage to South so they can come back into Union.  Influence of border states. Confiscation Acts address problem of captured and runaway slaves. War becomes harder with no end in sight.   

Contributing experts:

Alfred Moss, University of Maryland
Joan Waugh, University of California—Los Angeles
Bertram Wyatt-Brown, University of Florida
Emory Thomas, University of Georgia
Samuel Beer, Harvard University
Eric Rauchway, University of California—Davis
Ira Berlin, University of Maryland

Episode 23:  “Battle Cry”

South needs support of England and France to win war; North needs to maintain status quo.  North needs to win militarily; South needs to avoid defeat. Most of American West removed from fighting. Lee appointed commander of Army of Virginia; takes war into Northern territory. Union forces have parade of generals.  Battles extremely costly to both sides; Lincoln uses near victory at Antietam to issue Emancipation Proclamation. Both sides resort to draft.

Contributing experts:

Tom Zeiler, University of Colorado
Emory Thomas, University of Georgia
Joan Waugh, University of California—Los Angeles
Richard White, Stanford University
Clifford Trafzer, University of California—Riverside
Ira Berlin, University of Maryland

Episode 24: “Final Stages” 

1863 pivotal year in determining outcome of war. Decisive battles at Vicksburg, Gettysburg, and Chattanooga. Ulysses S. Grant named Commander of Western Theater for Union after victory at Vicksburg. Material superiority of North begins to make a difference. South devastated by Sherman’s march through Georgia. Grant and Meade pursue Lee in Virginia in 1864. Vastly outnumbered, Lee holds on behind fortifications at Petersburg; finally surrenders to Lee at Appomattox Courthouse in April of 1865. In military terms, long war is over.  

Contributing experts:

Emory Thomas, University of Georgia
Joan Waugh, University of California—Los Angeles
Ira Berlin, University of Maryland

Episode 25:  “What Price Freedom”

Reconstruction plans discussed long before war’s end, with little agreement.  Lincoln’s assassination brings Johnson into office. New president grants amnesty to thousands of former Confederates: plantation owners, politicians, generals. Angers Radical Republicans in Congress. Mid-year Republican victories give party clout to override Johnson’s vetoes of their proactive Reconstruction efforts. Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments to Constitution passed. Johnson impeached and just misses conviction in Senate. Grant elected his successor.    

Contributing experts:

Fitzhugh Brundage, University of North Carolina
Joan Waugh, University of California—Los Angeles
Deborah G. White, Rutgers University
Emory Thomas, University of Georgia
Ira Berlin, University of Maryland
Bertram Wyatt-Brown, University of Florida
Charles W. Calhoun, East Carolina University
J. Morgan Kousser, California Institute of Technology
Eric Rauchway, University of California—Davis

Episode 26:  “Tattered Remains”

White Southerners consider Reconstruction vicious and destructive; former slaves see it as small step toward gaining economic and political power. Improvements occur in Southern public education; blacks rebuild family structures. Sharecropping initiated to get the land into production without cash outlay; abuses of system.  Hayes elected president and withdraws last of troops. Violence used to subvert voting privileges of black citizens. Legal barriers enacted, supported by Supreme Court, diminish the rights blacks had gained. 

Contributing experts:

Joan Waugh, University of California—Los Angeles
Deborah G. White, Rutgers University
Fitzhugh Brundage, University of North Carolina
J. Morgan Kousser, California Institute of Technology
Charles W. Calhoun, East Carolina University

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