The third segment of this series focused on the American Civil War and the westward expansion. This episode was 50/50 for me.
The Civil War portion was lacking, as far as I am concerned. During the entire hour they only really talked about one actual battle – the 2nd battle of Bull Run – and even then, it wasn’t for very long. The bulk of the discussion was on the strengths and weaknesses of the North and the South and how this contributed to the South ultimately losing. While I think this is a great topic of discussion – I also would have liked a little bit more mentioned about the battles and some of the great people who were a part of them. They quickly covered the Gettysburg Address, but not the Battle of Gettysburg. I didn’t think that you could really separate the two. And the assassination of Lincoln went like this: “Five days after the Civil War ended, Lincoln was assassinated”…end of story. Are you kidding?
That said, I did enjoy the second half of the episode, Heartland, very much. This was an aspect that I hadn’t spent too much time learning about in the past. The expansion of the railroad west and its effects, the decimation of the buffalo and Native population, the closing of the frontier – all very interesting topics. One of the things that I enjoyed most was the strength of these frontier families. They had to live in some tough landscape with little provisions, crazy weather that they had never seen before, a plague of locusts, crop failures – just to start with. These are definitely people that I can admire.
I will end with a trivia question from this episode – what was the date that standard time began in the US (the four time zones) and what caused this to happen? The answer will be posted in my sidebar in a few days.
The next episode airs Sunday May 16th and is on the building of the modern cities.
Here is the link to the Heartland portion of the episode – it’s not really worth watching the Civil War segment.
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