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Empires: Years of Trial - Episode 2 of 4
Caligula grips Rome in fear; Judea's religious and political establishment finds Jesus a threat.
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The Hunt for Subversives - Red Scare
This video is accompanied by text. "The Korean War and advances in nuclear weaponry by Soviet scientists promoted the rapid spread of anti-Communist sentiment throughout America. Public fears that Communist spies were infiltrating the U.S. government and undermining foreign policy led to the introduction of strict security measures. However, many Americans believed that their traditional freedoms—primarily free speech and the right of political dissent—would erode in the climate of the Cold
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Cold War: After Stalin (1953-1956) Part 1 of 5
Cold War is a twenty-four episode television documentary series about the Cold War (1945--1989). Jeremy Isaacs produced the 1998 program in a style similar to his previous series, The World at War (1973). Businessman Ted Turner created the series as a joint production between the Turner Broadcasting System and the BBC, originally broadcast on CNN in the U.S. and the BBC Two in the U.K. Kenneth Branagh. It featured interviews with leading political figures and people who witnessed and lived throu
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Cold War: After Stalin (1953-1956) Part 2 of 5
Cold War is a twenty-four episode television documentary series about the Cold War (1945--1989). Jeremy Isaacs produced the 1998 program in a style similar to his previous series, The World at War (1973). Businessman Ted Turner created the series as a joint production between the Turner Broadcasting System and the BBC, originally broadcast on CNN in the U.S. and the BBC Two in the U.K. Kenneth Branagh. It featured interviews with leading political figures and people who witnessed and lived throu
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Cold War: After Stalin (1953-1956) Part 3 of 5
Cold War is a twenty-four episode television documentary series about the Cold War (1945--1989). Jeremy Isaacs produced the 1998 program in a style similar to his previous series, The World at War (1973). Businessman Ted Turner created the series as a joint production between the Turner Broadcasting System and the BBC, originally broadcast on CNN in the U.S. and the BBC Two in the U.K. Kenneth Branagh. It featured interviews with leading political figures and people who witnessed and lived throu
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Cold War: After Stalin (1953-1956) Part 4 of 5
Cold War is a twenty-four episode television documentary series about the Cold War (1945--1989). Jeremy Isaacs produced the 1998 program in a style similar to his previous series, The World at War (1973). Businessman Ted Turner created the series as a joint production between the Turner Broadcasting System and the BBC, originally broadcast on CNN in the U.S. and the BBC Two in the U.K. Kenneth Branagh. It featured interviews with leading political figures and people who witnessed and lived throu
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Cold War: After Stalin (1953-1956) Part 5 of 5
Cold War is a twenty-four episode television documentary series about the Cold War (1945--1989). Jeremy Isaacs produced the 1998 program in a style similar to his previous series, The World at War (1973). Businessman Ted Turner created the series as a joint production between the Turner Broadcasting System and the BBC, originally broadcast on CNN in the U.S. and the BBC Two in the U.K. Kenneth Branagh. It featured interviews with leading political figures and people who witnessed and lived throu
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Social Reforms in the 1800s
This video is accompanied by text. "Educational reform was another effort Americans pursued to perfect society during this period. In the early nineteenth century, Americans had the highest literacy rate in the western world, and yet there was no statewide system of free elementary schools anywhere in the United States. Reformers were influenced by Thomas Jefferson's vision of an educated electorate, and the desire to inculcate students—including increasing numbers of non-English and non-Prote
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The Far West - Social issues
This video is accompanied by text. "In 1598 Juan de Oñate, the son of a wealthy Spanish mining family in Mexico, was given the rights to the unexplored territory north of the Rio Grande. He headed an expeditionary force into what is now New Mexico and founded the town of San Gabriel. Jesuit and Franciscan missionaries followed Oñate to convert the Indians, who were coaxed, bribed, and forced to accept Catholicism and a settled farming life. In the beginning there were troubles, including sever
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The New Culture of the 1920s
In addition to the political and social transformations brought about by prohibition, fundamentalism and nativism, the 1920s also witnessed a cultural transformation. In this postwar decade, many citizens, especially in larger urban areas, were embracing new forms of entertainment, discovering new recreational activities, and adopting the culture of consumerism. Literature and music were taking adventurous new strides, and the women rights movement was making slow progress. In light of all these
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The Emancipation Proclamation
This video is accompanied by text. "Although President Lincoln had a reputation for being an abolitionist, his political record indicated this label was not completely accurate. Lincoln focused his political stance regarding slavery on the prevention of its spread into the territories. After becoming president he initially resisted laws by the federal government called the Confiscation Acts that pushed the Union toward abolition. The first of these acts, the Confiscation Act of 1861, approved on
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California is Admitted as a Free State
This video is accompanied by text. "In January 1848, gold was discovered on property belonging to John Sutter in the Sierra Nevada foothills of northern California. Sutter tried to keep the discovery secret, but word leaked out shortly after the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo was ratified. An estimated 100,000 “Forty-niners” from around the globe flocked to the gold fields the following year alone. Seemingly overnight, San Francisco grew from fewer than 1,000 residents to a major port city of 2
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Slave Resistance and the Underground Railroad
This video is accompanied by text. "During the 1850s, Americans witnessed a decade of sectional crises that threatened the very existence of the Union. Ralph Waldo Emerson was right in predicting that the Mexican Cession would reignite the explosive issue of slavery expansion. The newly acquired territory lay beyond the Louisiana Purchase and therefore was not part of the Missouri Compromise of 1820. Californians were clamoring for statehood, the residents of Utah and New Mexico deserved territo
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Lincoln-Douglas Debate of 1858
This video is accompanied by text. "The Dred Scott case played a pivotal role in the 1858 Illinois senate race and in the 1860 presidential election. Eyeing Stephen Douglas’s seat in the Senate, Abraham Lincoln challenged the incumbent to a series of debates. The two politicians differed in almost every respect. Lincoln, a tall and lanky Republican with a high-pitched voice, relied on his wit and integrity to provide a comforting sense of sincerity. Douglas, meanwhile, was a short, barrel-ches
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The Kansas-Nebraska Act
This video is accompanied by text. "Many Americans believed that a transcontinental railroad would unify the United States by linking eastern and western points of the rapidly expanding nation. Not everyone, however, agreed where the railroad should be built. U.S. minister to Mexico James Gadsden, a Southerner, wanted the route to go through Texas and the New Mexico Territory to the Pacific Ocean. Senator Stephen Douglas of Illinois, meanwhile, supported a plan to wind the railroad through Chica
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Dred Scott Decision - "Slaves are not Citizens"
This video is accompanied by text. "The controversy surrounding the Kansas-Nebraska Act affected the 1856 Democratic presidential nomination. Party members vetoed the selection of two prominent figures involved with the act—Stephen Douglas and Franklin Pierce. Rather, delegates elected James Buchanan, a Pennsylvania lawyer not connected with the Kansas-Nebraska affair. Therefore, Democratic leaders believed he was safe from Republican scrutiny.
Buchanan sailed to an easy victory over Rep

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Southern Secession
This video is accompanied by text. "When Americans voted Lincoln president, James Buchanan officially became a lame-duck leader. Southerners worried that Lincoln’s victory, which received no support from the South, would lead to political and economic dominance by the North. Slavery, they feared, would be restricted and possibly outlawed. Southerners believed that by claiming their independence they could develop their own banking system and establish trade directly with Europe. No longer woul
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Uncle Tom's Cabin and its Effects
This video is accompanied by text. "The most significant response to the Fugitive Slave Act came from the pen of novelist Harriet Beecher Stowe. Uncle Tom’s Cabin ran serially for nearly a year in an abolitionist newspaper, before it was published as a book in early 1852. It was an immediate and phenomenal success—selling 10,000 copies its first week in print, and 300,000 within a year. By the time of the Civil War, several million copies were in circulation, and many Union soldiers received
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The First Mobilization of the Civil War
This video is accompanied by text. "The artillery shells fired by Confederate soldiers on Fort Sumter, which was still federal property and controlled by U.S. military forces, marked the start of the Civil War. Lincoln shifted his attention from finding a peaceful end to the North-South conflict, to mobilizing military forces to defend the United States from the Confederates, whom he now considered enemy aggressors. On April 15, 1861, three days after the barrage of shells rained down on Fort Su
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The Civil War Battles
This video is accompanied by text. "With the beginning of the war still fresh in their minds, and expectations that fighting would be intense but short, Union troops were eager for action. Cries of “On to Richmond” echoed across the hills surrounding Washington as the troops advanced on Confederate forces near Bull Run, approximately 30 miles southwest of the northern capital. President Lincoln believed an attack on a smaller Confederate unit would boost morale and clear a path to Richmond,
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