American Experience - Season 7, Episode 8 - Rotten Tomatoes

The Way West: Westward, the Course of Empire Takes Its Way

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Episode Info

Ric Burns' four-part series The Way West explores the short and violent history of American expansion. Taking its title from philosopher George Berkeley's beliefs in manifest destiny, The Way West: Westward, the Course of Empire Takes Its Way, 1845-1864 focuses on the history of the West from 1845 to the end of the Civil War. Ric Burns presents an alternate version of the typical scenario with Native Americans taking center stage. When the Gold Rush opened the West, confrontation was inevitable. Westward migration was a death cry for many Indians as shown in the Minnesota uprising of 1862 and the Massacre at Sand Creek. Yet, the trickle of pioneers couldn't be stopped.

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