A movie directed by Nathan Frankowski
The follow-up to the History Channel's fine special FOUNDING FATHERS, this engaging and detailed documentary chronicles more of the moments and decisions that shaped the nascent United States. Using excerpts from original documents, personal writings, … see full wiki
This series of four episodes tells the political history of the United States focusing on the key political figures from the beginning of the federal government with George Washington's inauguration through the end of Thomas Jefferson's second term as President. It technically ends after Thomas Jefferson left office, but it does continue through to the death of Jefferson and John Adams on the same day July 4, 1826. This part, however, becomes more of a history of just the two men after their political lives and gives an overview of how this was the ending of a chapter in American history. The series up until that point, which happens about half way through the last episode, focuses on the political upheavals that occur and how the men that were brothers in arms during the revolution become rivals as they have different views on the path the new country should take. The main men that the series focuses on include George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and Alexander Hamilton.
The first episode roughly covers Washington's first term. Topics include Hamilton's move to create the Bank of the United States and have the federal government assume state debts to help pay them off and give the new country a sense of legitimacy to the rest of the world. It also presents the issue of slavery that begins to further develop between the North and the South (this division began at the Constitutional Convention).
The second episode roughly covers the Washington's second term ending with Washington setting the precedent of Presidents only serving two terms. This episode begins to really get into the political tensions that arise between the Federalists and the Republicans about whether the federal or the state governments should have more power. Rifts form between Jefferson and Hamilton and eventually Jefferson and Washington as Washington backs Hamilton.
The third episode focuses on Adams presidency and the political rivalry between Adams and Jefferson. It also discusses Adams fear for Hamilton being a conspirator for power as the Cabinet is loyal to Hamilton instead of Adam. It ends with Jefferson winning his first term after Hamilton gives him his support because he disliked Burr more than Jefferson and realized that at least Jefferson's interests were for the country than for himself.
The fourth episode focuses on Jefferson's presidency and him taking it to the government in the direction of democracy we know today. The second half of the episode talks about Adams and Jefferson reconnecting to some extent near the end of their lives because they were some of the last survivors of the those that signed the Declaration of Independence. It ends with them dying on the same day, the 50th anniversary of Independence Day.
While I found this a fascinating series of episodes, I will admit that it does not do anything amazing or flashy to make it appeal to more than an audience that already has an interest in history. I do not think it will appeal to a general audience or even some of those who like history. The main audience I think would enjoy this are those interested in political history, early American history, or American history in general. As for me I tend to dislike political history, but because one of my favorite history topics are the American Revolution and the early American history I did actually find this enjoyable. The main reason for this is that it does go beyond just showing the founding brothers political views, but also shows personal parts of their life that helps one better understand these key historical figures as actual humans. The only thing that disappointed me about this DVD is that it has absolutely no special features.
Viewing Format: DVD
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