Introduction: The American Empire (01:36)
American democracy gained strength every time it reached a new frontier. This episode examines American dominance and pivotal sites.
Independence Hall: 1732-1753 (04:05)
The 13 colonies were the founding members of the United States. The signing of the Declaration of Independence and constitutional debates occurred at the hall. Washington D.C. became the federal capital.
Washington Monument: 1848-1888 (02:50)
George Washington originally scrapped the idea of the monument as a waste of money; it was the tallest building in 1884. By the end of Washington's presidency, the Mississippi River marked the U.S. nation's boundary.
Port of New Orleans: c.1718 (04:30)
The city was difficult to establish but its strategic location was vital. President Jefferson purchased territory, including the port, from France; the British tried and failed to capture the port. Andrew Jackson seized Fort Barrancas in Spanish controlled Florida.
Fort Barrancas: 1797 (03:46)
Jackson's seizure of the fort divided President Monroe's cabinet, but it forced Spain to sell Florida; Spain also ceded portions of the western frontier. Jackson left a controversial legacy. Many Americans settled in the Mexican province of Tejas.
The Alamo: c. 1718 (05:24)
The Mexican army besieged and killed 200 Texan soldiers inside the mission. Texas joined the Union in 1845. President Polk declared war on Mexico, resulting in massive American land expansion. The Civil War halted the transcontinental railroad project.
Transcontinental Railroad: 1863-1869 (02:01)
The railroad helped to bind the U.S. after the Civil War. The Sierra Nevada Mountains made navigating the route challenging; the railroad was completed at Promontory, Utah.
Grand Central Station: 1871 (02:31)
The Vanderbilt family financed the station known as the gateway to the nation. The rail system improved the economy and powerful corporations underwent rapid industrialization. Andrew Carnegie began a legacy of philanthropic projects.
Homestead Steel Mill: 1881 (05:42)
The mill set the standard for steel production. Industrialization led to economic growth and inequality; a brutal labor dispute occurred at the mill. The Turner thesis featured in debates about imperialism; the U.S. acquired Cuba, the Philippines, Guam, and Puerto Rico.
Iolani Palace: 1879-1882 (01:47)
The U.S. ran Hawaii's economy and pushed Queen Liliuokalani to abdicate her throne. A political ideology of the U.S. policing the western hemisphere emerged.
Panama Canal: 1881-1914 (03:46)
President Theodore Roosevelt saw the canal as vital to American ascendancy and encouraged a rebellion in Colombia. The canal was the most expensive project in U.S. history. After WWI, wealthy U.S. businessmen built monuments to success.
Empire State Building: 1930-1931 (02:33)
The building became an icon of classic Art Deco architecture and was the world's tallest building until 1972. In the 1920s, the movie industry expanded and many people moved to California; the U.S. exerted soft power.
Hollywood Sign: 1923 (02:34)
The iconic landmark was originally constructed as a real estate development billboard. By the end of WWII, America was the dominant force in the world. In the 1960s, JFK set a challenge for space exploration.
Johnson Space Center: 1962-1963 (04:31)
The facility was at the forefront of the Apollo and Space Shuttle programs. America continued to see itself as the world's policeman and intervened in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Cyber Revolution began in Palo Alto, CA; Silicon Valley embodies the frontier spirit.
Apple Park: 2014-2017 (03:27)
Steve Jobs envisioned the facility that cost the Apple Corporation over $5 billion to construct. A drive to conquer the frontier defines American history.
Credits: The American Empire (00:48)
Credits: The American Empire
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