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on September 30, 2007
This is a great teaching tool. History becomes alive. It begins by explaining what was the general mood of the country and why. In light of the events which followed for that year, it was insightful.
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on July 3, 2013
I have this wonderful PBS show on VHS and I would love to have it on DVD but the cost is prohibitive!! Is it just not available anymore? If so, that's a shame because it is an engrossing time capsule of the turn of the century in 1900. I do hope it comes down in price eventually or that PBS re-releases it.
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on January 15, 2014
I found this show riveting, a snapshot of life at the turn of the 20th century with wonderful early video and other pictures.

But the scarcity and the price? Curious. Go to PBS online and there are pages and pages of "American Experience" episodes for a reasonable price. Why not this one? I'd like to buy it but $421 dollars? - it's nuts.
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on May 18, 2010
This American Experience was as good as the first time I saw it on PBS. Excellent overview of that period.
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on March 18, 2007
This is a fascinating profile of America at the turn of the last century--comprehensive and full of rare footage.
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on January 30, 2011
The documentary is exceptional. The combination of the background music with the superb narration brings 1900 to life. A superb way to learn about an era long gone.
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on September 16, 2014
Like most of the documentaries in the American Experience series, America 1900 is outstanding. PBS needs to release the DVD again or make it available for streaming.
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on July 22, 2014
Awesome video about the turn of the century. I love it!!
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on April 19, 2015
Always puts out great documentaries.
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on March 8, 2010
I would like to note that as PBS spent public money on this thing, both donations and tax dollars, that it is infuriating when they spend the money on the presentation of wrong information.
They have an historian, Walter LaFeber (a guy at Cornell, good grief!), who states that the US wanted the Philippine islands in order to project US business into China. He makes no mention of the strategic situation, which should be obvious to anyone who looks at a map and remembers the situation in 1899-1900. If the US had left the Philippines in 1899, the islands would have been ripe for a quick takeover by Japan, China, France (whose Indochina colony was right across the water). LaFeber too quickly dismisses the notion that McKinley decided for the US to stay in the Philippines for as long as it took to inculturate them in Democracy and Free Trade (two of the essentials in Michael Mandelbaum's trio of essentials, with the US providing the islands with the third, security).
Later, LaFeber makes the erroneous claim that the Spanish-American War was the USA's first conflict outside of the Western Hemisphere; it was not, that was the Tripolitan War in the early 1800s.
LaFeber also makes a big deal, in what is not much more than a moot point, in McKinley ordering US forces into China to rescue Americans from captivity by the Boxers. He states this is the first time a US president had done this without consulting with Congress. Was Congress even in session when this was done? No mention by him or in the film. Congress was not in session in the Spring of 1861 when Lincoln suspended habeas corpus, and he issued the Emancipation Proclamation, a policy statement bound to war strategy, as an executive order.
Somehow, I think the impending harm of Americans qualifies as the type of decision described above.
There also is no mention in this film of McKinley's pronouncement of an "Open Door" policy with regard to western nations trading with China. No mention at all, of a key policy proposal, made in the interests of fair play by President McKinley. Why is that?
Throughout, they make a big deal out of the growing appearance of light bulbs, phonograph record players, movies. But they do not mention, not even once, the guy who invented these things, Thomas Edison. They talk long and hard about a labor union leader, Marshall, but captains of industry, inventors and the like are kept invisible or in the back seat. They are only mentioned when someone is apparently needed to support a point that seems to fit a historical revisionists/political thrust, as when Andrew Carnegie is cited for being "anti-imperialist" and opposed to the conflict in the Philippines with the insurrectionaries there.
At the end, the narrator makes the claim that America in 1900 was "the wealthiest and most powerful nation on earth." Well, in 1900 the first claim is debatable, the last is absurdly fallacious. If "powerful" refers to military power, than the United States had at least two world powers ranked ahead of it in 1900, Great Britain and Germany of the Second Reich. France of the Third Republic may have been a close fourth, perhaps even in a tie for third with the USA. But PBS producers, particularly those who contribute programs to this series, American Experience, seem to love to indulge in this particular act of hyperbole, as the same claim "most powerful nation on earth" was made for the USA of 1890 in the documentary The Way West.
Can someone just please get them to cut the B.S. and check their facts?
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