The BEST episodes of America: the Story of Us

Every episode of America: the Story of Us ever, ranked from best to worst by thousands of votes from fans of the show. The best episodes of America: the Story of Us!

The history of how the United States was invented, looking at the moments where Americans harnessed technology to advance human progress -- from the rigors of linking the continent by transcontinental railroad to triumphing over vertical space through the construction of steel-structured buildings.

Last Updated: 2/5/2024Network: HistoryStatus: Ended
42 votes

#1 - Millennium

Season 1 - Episode 12 - Aired 5/30/2010

America booms, in population and prosperity. The "baby boomers" are the next generation to reinvent America. Powerful new technologies transform the nation. Television brings the world into the nation's living rooms, and changes lives and values in unexpected ways - but this is not just about entertainment. Just as newspapers shape America's identity in the Revolution and its sense of self in the Civil War, now television shapes a distant war in Vietnam and the response of all Americans to their changing society. The conflicts of the late 1960s and 1970s remind America of the divisions that opened up before the Civil War, but the boom of the 1980s heralds better times, with a confidence that mirrors the 1920s. A piece of plastic, the credit card, shapes the decade, creating new affluent classes, like the ‘yuppie' while the nation spends. The government spends too: on the technology that drives the last phase of the Cold War and puts the Shuttle into space. But as America reaches once more for the stars, technology meets tragedy in the Challenger disaster. As Americans have often discovered over 400 years, Pioneers sometimes have to pay the ultimate price. Innovation and a new California Gold Rush; the biggest technological breakthroughs yet are the personal computer and the internet. Technology transforms America, just as the telegraph and railroad once did. America‘s confidence is rocked by 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina - but it is still the world's superpower. As the nation launches into the 21st century, what does the future hold? Where is the next new frontier?

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132 votes

#2 - Westward

Season 1 - Episode 3 - Aired 5/2/2010

As the American nation is born, a vast continent lies to the west of the mountains, waiting to be explored. Yet this land is not empty--Native American Indians are spread across the land mass, as are Spanish colonists and French explorers. For the pioneers who set out to confront these lands, the conquest of the West is a story of courage and hardship that forges the character of America.

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168 votes

#3 - Revolution

Season 1 - Episode 2 - Aired 4/25/2010

The colonies declare independence, taking on the might of the British Empire. Washington's army is near defeat, but new weapons and battle tactics turn the tide. Forged through revolution, a new nation is born.

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43 votes

#4 - Superpower

Season 1 - Episode 11 - Aired 5/30/2010

World War II transforms America into a global Superpower. The economy booms. Technology feeds the boom and a new age of consumerism is born. More than twenty thousand cars roll off production lines daily and - just like the Transcontinental Railroad more than a century before - the Interstate highways connect the country. After defending their country and their ideals the Greatest Generation comes home. Like the pioneers before them they push back the boundaries, plowing up over a million acres of virgin territory a year to create the suburbs. This pioneering spirit knows no bounds as first the jet age and then the space age takes America into the supersonic era. The first man walks on the moon - and plants the American flag. Optimism for the future prevails - but first America must deal with the past - and the issue of race. It's a second Civil War, but finally the Civil Rights movement brings the words of the Declaration of Independence home to ALL Americans - black and white. America is united once again - but a new enemy is threatening: Communism.

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48 votes

#5 - Heartland

Season 1 - Episode 6 - Aired 5/9/2010

The Transcontinental Railroad unites the nation and transforms the Heartland. Native American civilizations decline as farmers settle the continent. Cattle replace wild buffalo as king of the Plains; the Cowboy becomes a new American icon.

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156 votes

#6 - Rebels

Season 1 - Episode 1 - Aired 4/25/2010

From Jamestown to Plymouth, early settlers fight for survival. Tobacco sows the seeds of opportunity; the north becomes a powerhouse of trade. Tension, taxation and resistance explode into war as the rebels take on the might of the British Empire. Washington's army is near defeat, but new weapons and battle tactics turn the tide. Forged through revolution, a new nation is born.

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74 votes

#7 - Cities

Season 1 - Episode 7 - Aired 5/16/2010

Americans conquer a new frontier--the modern city--with Carnegie's empire of steel as its backbone. Skyscrapers and the Statue of Liberty are symbols of the American Dream for millions of immigrants. Urban life introduces a new breed of social ills, set against the backdrop of stunning skylines and ambitious innovations.

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71 votes

#8 - Bust

Season 1 - Episode 9 - Aired 5/23/2010

Boom turns to bust when the stock market crash ushers in the Great Depression. Dust storms blanket the Midwest in darkness. Roosevelt's New Deal signals recovery; thousands find work on projects like the Hoover Dam and Mount Rushmore. Hope for the American future collides with world conflict brewing in Europe.

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45 votes

#9 - Boom

Season 1 - Episode 8 - Aired 5/16/2010

America strikes oil and the boom time begins. Henry Ford brings the motorcar to the masses; the nation hits the road. Massive engineering projects modernize the West. Intended to cure vice, Prohibition fuels the growth of organized crime in burgeoning cities.

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108 votes

#10 - Division

Season 1 - Episode 4 - Aired 5/2/2010

Commerce and industry thrive across the new nation, now one of the wealthiest on Earth. The Erie Canal brings big risk and bigger reward. In the South, cotton is king but slavery fuels a growing divide. Violence flares across the territories and abolitionists make a stand for freedom. The election of Lincoln is a harbinger of war.

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World War II
41 votes

#11 - World War II

Season 1 - Episode 10 - Aired 5/23/2010

The attack on Pearl Harbor brings America into World War. The war effort revitalizes the nation's economy. American innovation and manufacturing might invigorate the Allies in Europe and in the Pacific, the ultimate piece of technology ends the war; a new global superpower takes the stage.

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Civil War
130 votes

#12 - Civil War

Season 1 - Episode 5 - Aired 5/9/2010

The Civil War rages. The minie ball is the great equalizer on the battlefield. The formidable Confederate army cannot match the Union's mastery of technology; railroads, supply lines and the telegram become new weapons in a modern war. With Sherman's March, the South is definitively crushed.

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