A video instructional series on American history for college and high school classrooms and adult learners; 26 half-hour video programs, coordinated books, and Web site
Now on DVD
A Biography of America presents history not simply as a series of irrefutable facts to be memorized, but as a living narrative. Prominent historians -- Donald L. Miller, Pauline Maier, Louis P. Masur, Waldo E. Martin, Jr., Douglas Brinkley, and Virginia Scharff -- present America's story as something that is best understood from a variety of perspectives. Thought-provoking debates and lectures encourage critical analysis of the forces that have shaped America. First-person narratives, photos, film footage, and documents reveal the human side of American history -- how historical figures affected events, and the impact of these events on citizens' lives.
Produced by WGBH Boston in cooperation with the Library of Congress and the National Archives and Records Administration, and with the assistance of Instructional Resources Corporation. 2000.
1. New World Encounters
Professor Miller introduces A Biography of America and its team of historians. The program looks at the beginnings of American history from west to east, following the first Ice Age migrations through the corn civilizations of Middle America, and the explorations of Columbus, DeSoto, and the Spanish. Go to this unit.
VOD2. English Settlement
As the American character begins to take shape in the early seventeenth century, English settlements develop in New England and Virginia. Their personalities are dramatically different. Professor Miller explores the origins of values, cultures, and economies that have collided in the North and South throughout the American story. Go to this unit.
VOD3. Growth and Empire
Benjamin Franklin and Franklin's Philadelphia take center stage in this program. As the merchant class grows in the North, the economies of southern colonies are built on the shoulders of the slave trade. Professor Miller brings the American story to 1763 with the Peace of Paris and English dominance in America. Go to this unit.
VOD4. The Coming of Independence
Professor Maier tells the story of how the English-loving colonist transforms into the freedom-loving American rebel. The luminaries of the early days of the Republic -- Washington, Jefferson, Adams -- are featured in this program as they craft the Declaration of -- and wage the War for -- Independence. Go to this unit.
VOD5. A New System of Government
After the War for Independence, the struggle for a new system of government begins. Professor Maier looks at the creation of the Constitution of the United States. The Republic survives a series of threats to its union, and the program ends with the deaths of John Adams and Thomas Jefferson on the Fourth of July, 1826. Go to this unit.