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Nineteen Twenties
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Depressions — 1929
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1.

Republican Congress, the

Former Secretary of Labor and university professor Robert Reich talks about the abrupt changes that took place when the Republicans gained control of Congress in the 1994 congressional elections. "I had to stop a lot of bad things from happening and guard my programs, make sure that decisions that had been made were going to stick," Secretary Reich recalls.
Online
2015; 2011
2.

Behind the Burly Q

Burlesque was one of America’s most popular forms of live entertainment in the first half of the 20th century. Gaudy, bawdy and spectacular, the shows entertained thousands of paying customers every night of the week. And yet the legacy of burlesque is often vilified and misunderstood, and left out of the history books. By telling the intimate and surprising stories from its golden age through the women (and men!) who lived it, Behind the Burly Q reveals the true story of burlesque, even as it experiences a new renaissance.
Online
2017; 2011
3.

Washington Monument Syndrome, the

Former Secretary of State James A. Baker talks about what he calls "The Washington Monument Syndrome." Secretary Baker explains that career people in the various federal government departments and agencies, along with the Congress and the press, ". . . have a way of preserving programs whether you want to get rid of them or not."
Online
2015; 2011
4.

First Hundred Days, the

Former Secretary of State James A. Baker talks about how important the first hundred days are for any new Administration. He also explains how the Reagan team laid out a very precise plan for their first hundred days, and stuck to it.
Online
2015; 2011
5.

From the White House to Treasury

Former Secretary of State James A. Baker talks about his move from the White House Chief of Staff job to his position as Secretary of the Treasury. He recounts how there was initially a degree of skepticism about his qualifications, because he hadn't come out of Wall Street or been a banker previously.
Online
2015; 2011
6.

Theodore Roosevelt and Reform (Part Two)

Professor of history Gary Gerstle explains that, ". . . the great reform effort of the first half of the twentieth century was about building a strong government that could regulate private industry and private power." Professor Gerstle suggests that Theodore Roosevelt was very much responsible for that, noting that "...Roosevelt set it all out by 1910 and 1912 and...this was the template of reform politics for the next fifty years."
Online
2015; 2011
7.

Immigration Following World War I (Part One)

Professor of history Gary Gerstle explains that after World War I, ". . . the country pretty much decided, not right away, but pretty quickly, that it could not take any more foreigners." The only immigrants welcomed from that point forward were certain Europeans, "...who were deemed to be racially superior," Professor Gerstle says.
Online
2015; 2011
8.

Making a Difference

Former Secretary of Labor and university professor Robert Reich talks about the satisfaction of being part of the process that alters public policy with regard to issues like minimum wage and worker safety. "There is no greater satisfaction than knowing that you have made a difference in enabling sometimes millions of people to live a better life," Secretary Reich notes.
Online
2015; 2011
9.

Al Capone and Prohibition

On January 16, 1920, the 18th amendment to the United States Constitution comes into force, one year after its ratification. All sale, production, and transport of alcohol are henceforward forbidden in the entire territory of America. It’s the start of Prohibition. Several criminals grab the opportunity to create veritable empires by means of contraband liquor. Al Capone is certainly the most infamous among them. The United States Treasury gives the no-less-famous Eliot Ness the mission of bringing down Al Capone. Despite the many, and fruitful, operations carried out against his clandestine distilleries, the boss of the Chicago underworld holds out—until another solution is considered: charge Capone with tax evasion. In 1931, Al Capone is found guilty of tax evasion and sentenced to [...]
Online
2017
10.

10 Homes That Changed America

10 Homes that Changed America highlights ten architecturally adventuresome dwellings, which provided Americans with more than just a “roof over their heads”—these homes elevated living to an art form. Meet the talented architects who brought these buildings to life, along with their often-eccentric clients, and the lucky individuals who live in these historic homes today. A primer in domestic architecture, 10 Homes will also offer a lesson in the history of American domestic life, as the evolving design of these homes over time reveals America’s changing relationship with nature, technology, and each other.
Online
2017; 2016
11.

Reaping the Whirlwind

Following "Black Sunday," the crucible of dust, drought and Depression only intensifies. Many people on the southern Plains, including an itinerant songwriter named Woody Guthrie, give up and join a "migration of the defeated" to California. There they are branded as "Okies" and face vicious discrimination. Meanwhile, Caroline Henderson and her neighbors struggle to hang on to their land. Franklin Roosevelt's administration attempts to help them through New Deal programs aimed at preventing the breadbasket of America from becoming a Sahara. Survivors recount their families' desperate times, their joy at the rains' return, and the lessons learned--and sometimes forgotten--from the Dust Bowl.
Online
2017; 2012
12.

Becoming Americans

Written and produced by John Maggio and narrated by Academy Award-nominated actor Stanley Tucci, “The Italian Americans” explores the evolution of the Italian community, from “outsiders” in the late nineteenth viewed with suspicion and mistrust to some of the most prominent leaders of business, politics and the arts today. This film explores racial discrimination faced by immigrants from 1900 to 1930. In public schools, children were taught to reject their Italian identity to assimilate to American culture. Arturo Giovannitti led the largest labor strike of 1912, winning better working conditions and wages. When Italian Americans were marginalized by the Irish Archdiocese, they took to the streets to reinforce their beliefs and culture. Anarchists Sacco and Vanzetti’s execution reinf [...]
Online
2015; 2014
13.

Case for Education, the

Former Secretary of Labor and university professor Robert Reich talks about the state of education in the United States. Secretary Reich notes that most money for primary and secondary education comes from local property taxes. The result, he says, is that schools in less affluent areas are generally not as good as those located in more economically advantaged communities. "We've got to get serious...about providing poor children in poor communities not with as much resources as rich kids, but even more resources," Secretary Reich says. He also advocates giving more choices to parents among both public and charter schools.
Online
2015; 2011
14.

Reagan Triumvirate, the

Former Secretary of State James A. Baker talks about the way he, Ed Meese and Mike Deaver split up responsibilities as President Reagan's three most influential staff members during the first term of the Reagan presidency.
Online
2015; 2011
15.

The Great Plow Up

In the early twentieth century, thousands of homesteaders and "suitcase farmers" converge on the southern Plains, where wet years, rising wheat prices and World War I produce a classic boom. Millions of acres of virgin sod are plowed up. Caroline Henderson stakes her claim in a strip of Oklahoma called No Man's Land, and for a while prosperity seems certain for her and the families of two dozen survivors who provide eyewitness testimony. Then, in 1931, a decade-long drought begins, exacerbated by the Great Depression. Huge dust storms carry off the exposed topsoil and darken the skies at midday, killing crops and livestock. "Dust pneumonia" breaks out, threatening children's lives. And just when it seems things could not get any worse, in 1935 the most catastrophic dust storm in hist [...]
Online
2017; 2012
16.

Ideals and Heroes

Former Secretary of Labor and university professor Robert Reich talks about growing up in the 1960s, during the height of the Civil Rights Movement, with heroes like Martin Luther King, Jr., John F. Kennedy, and Robert Kennedy. Secretary Reich also notes that the heroes of today's youth tend not to be people in public service, but actors and musicians.
Online
2015; 2011
17.

Theodore Roosevelt and Asian Immigration

Professor of history Gary Gerstle explains that Theodore Roosevelt was a great admirer of the Japanese and welcomed Japanese immigrants, despite popular sentiment in the United States against the perceived "invasion by yellow people." Professor Gerstle explains that Roosevelt's feelings towards Chinese immigrants were very different, adding that Roosevelt supported their exclusion.
Online
2015; 2011
18.

Sacco and Vanzetti

Sacco and Vanzetti brings to life the story of Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti, two Italian immigrant anarchists who were accused of a murder in 1920, and executed in Boston in 1927 after a notoriously prejudiced trial. The ordeal of Sacco and Vanzetti came to symbolize the bigotry and intolerance directed at immigrants and dissenters in America. Millions of people around the world protested on their behalf, and now, 80 years later, their story continues to have great resonance, as civil liberties and the rights of immigrants are again under attack. Powerful prison writings (given voice by John Turturro and Tony Shalhoub) and passionate interviews with Howard Zinn, Arlo Guthrie and Studs Terkel are interwoven with artwork, music, and film clips. Through the story of Sacco and Va [...]
Online
2017; 2007
19.

The Hoover Dam

With its impassable canyons, dangerous rapids and severe seasonal variations that could reduce the western states to a desert, the Colorado River was one of the most dangerous and unpredictable rivers in the world. But in 1902, engineer Arthur Powell-Davis dreamed of creating the largest dam ever and taming the wild river. The scale of his ambition was matched only by the scale of his plan. Several engineers bid for the project, but one man stood out—the ruthless and dedicated Frank Crowe. Many lives were lost as the entire Colorado River had to be diverted to make way for construction. Safety was sacrificed for speed. On February 1, 1935, the diversion tunnels were blocked. The Colorado resumed its natural course, and the dam went into operation. Frank Crowe, decked in glory, walked [...]
Online
2017; 2003
20.

10 Parks That Changed America

10 Parks that Changed America tells the story of ten visionaries who took open canvases of God-forsaken land, and transformed them into serene spaces that offer city dwellers a respite from the hustle and bustle of urban life. From the elegant squares of Savannah, Georgia, to a park built over a freeway in Seattle, to the more recent High Line in New York, each story introduces the heroes who brought these parks to life, and the villains who preferred to exploit the land for private enterprise. Discover the evolution of our nation’s city parks, and learn the history of landscape architecture—an American-born art in which human beings try their best to mimic nature.
Online
2017; 2016