Program 6: Westward Expansion/The Empire of Liberty
Donald L. Miller with Virginia Scharff, Douglas Brinkley, Stephen Ambrose and Pauline Maier
Miller: The land. The rugged surface on which the American story is
Scharff: What happens out there on the ground shapes the American
character in some fundamental ways. It reflects larger American processes.
Brinkley: The whole history of the United States is that constant
movement westward, that constant march from the Europeans to either progress,
or to de-civilizing the civilizations that were already here. But, I think,
Scharff: But that's the land again. I mean, so many places in the
United States for so much of its history have been the possibility of running
away from where you are, of lining up for the territory. It's such a big
Miller: Americans could only travel as fast as a running horse could
take them in 1800. But as the 19th Century begins, America is on the move.
And the North and the South are changing forever. Historians Pauline Maier...
Maier: So the canals made all the difference in the world.
Miller: ...And Stephen Ambrose.
Ambrose: You can't own another man, period.
Miller: Join us.
Miller: And they take advantage of what the frontier gives them.
Miller: Today, on A Biography of America, "Westward Expansion".