16: The Founding Fractures: Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson

“I always knew Colonel Hamilton to be a man of superior talents, but never supposed that he had any knowledge of finance.”

This is the story of conflict. Infighting. Intrigue. Dissension. This is the story of George Washington’s first term as President of the United States.

The new government is making important strides: it’s creating the Bill of Rights and new departments: War, State, and Finance. But Alexander Hamilton’s ambitious plan for the American economy is completely contradictory to Thomas Jefferson’s vision for the country. These two Founding Fathers could not be more different; each also could not be more determined to win at the other’s expense.

It’s Alex’s Northern bank-supported commerce versus Tom’s Southern agrarianism. Buckle up. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.

 

17: Death of a Nation's Father

“I die hard, but I am not afraid to go.”

This is the story of death and (another) revolution. The French Revolution means the end for King Louis XVI’s life. As his royal blood stains a Parisian square, the fallout of revolution in France is hitting George Washington hard; France is going to war against Britain! America is in no condition for war, but should George stand by his French allies? And with its regime change, is France still an ally? Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson couldn’t disagree more on the matter as a troublesome French diplomat, Citizen Genêt, exacerbates the feud between their respective political factions

But Louis XVI isn’t the only head of state leaving us in this episode. After explaining his views on slavery and their lifelong evolution, it’s time to say goodbye to George. This won’t be easy. Tissue is advisable.

 

18: Affairs! Foreign and..."Domestic"

“The intercourse with Mrs. Reynolds, in the meantime, continued.”

This is the story of seduction and failing relationships. New England’s favorite curmudgeon, John Adams, is now leading America as its second president, and the French Revolution is making life no easier for him than it did for George. The new French government’s agents, “X,” Y,” and “Z,” are trying to extort bribes and it’s ripping the the Franco-American friendship apart--it seems France is losing its charm.

 

But back at home, Alexander Hamilton has too much charm; Welcome to America’s first sex scandal! Meanwhile, the Republicans and Federalists are still bickering; Federalist infighting is starting to kill the party; and a fistfight breaks out in Congress! And the cherry on top? John ceases to be on speaking terms with his once good friend, Vice President Thomas Jefferson, about 24 hours into their four-year term.

 

The election of 1800 is going to be rough ...

 

19: The Traitor and The Thieving Spy: The Start of American Industrialization

“He invited me to see the loom operate. I well recollect the state of admiration and satisfaction with which we sat by the hour, watching the beautiful movement of this new and wonderful machine.”

 

This is the story of audacity. A young Samuel Slater risks it all by immigrating to America in order to open his own industrial textile factory. This isn’t just a risky entrepreneurial move; it’s illegal. His industrial know-how is about to give America a huge leg up, and Britain will consider him a traitor. Meanwhile, Francis “Frank” Lowell is a successful New Englander who’s bent on bringing the best of British industrial tech to America. It’s nothing a little espionage can’t make happen, and Frank’s up for it--even if the British navy is going to pursue him. These audacious, risk-taking, bold men will change America forever.

 

Rebelling against parliament. Spying. It’s just how America does revolution. Welcome to America’s industrial revolution.

 

20: “A Wolf by the Ears": Gabriel Rebels and Cotton Becomes King

“I have nothing more to offer than what General Washington would have had to offer, had he been taken by the British and put to trial by them. I have adventured my life in endeavoring to obtain the liberty of my countrymen, and am a willing sacrifice in their cause.”

 

This is the story of Gabriel’s fight for freedom. An intelligent, literate, and enslaved blacksmith, Gabriel is raising a slave army to seize Virginia’s capital of Richmond and set up a new society where all people, regardless of their color, are free.

 

But the world is changing around him. Chesapeake tobacco plantations, the international slave trade, and northern slavery are dying. Meanwhile, Eli Whitney’s new invention--the cotton gin--is taking southern slavery and the interstate slave trade to a whole new level.

 

This rebellion’s a risky move. Gabriel and his lieutenants are taking their lives in their hands, and they know it. But such risk should sound familiar; after all, there’s nothing more American than a willingness to live by Patrick Henry’s immortal phrase: “give me liberty, or give me death!”

 

21: Thomas Jefferson Presents: Lewis and Clark's Excellent Expedition

“Damn sugar, damn coffee, damn colonies!”

 

This is the story of Thomas Jefferson building an “empire of liberty.” As the new US President, Tommy’s lowering taxes while cutting the deficit, trimming the government, fighting off Federalist judges, and an increasingly Republican America is loving it. Oh, the Sage of Monticello is also fighting off pirates; brilliantly purchasing the Louisiana Territory from a very serious potential enemy (Napoleon Bonaparte); as well as sending William Clark and Meriwether Lewis to explore the west. Seriously, what can’t the Virginian philosopher do?

 

Well, it’s not all smooth sailing. Can Tom’s former newspaper attack dog, James Callender, take the President down with a vindictive article about him and Sally Hemings? Meanwhile, will William (Bill) and Meriwether survive a rugged wilderness and disease--even with Sacagawea's help?

 

Tom’s doubling the size of the United States and seeing to its exploration. Welcome to a larger American Republic--to the start of an “empire of liberty.”

 

22: An Affair of Honor: Alexander Hamilton & Aaron Burr

"Adieu best of wives and best of Women. Embrace all my darling Children for me."

This is the story of the most influential duel in American History: Vice President Burr versus General Hamilton.

Aaron is down on his luck. He's an outgoing, lame-duck Vice President who's just lost the New York gubernatorial election... and word is Alex's been talking smack.

Alex is down on his luck. He's an out-of-the-game General who's hoping to get back in ... and Aaron's calling him out.

Aaron's itchin' for a fight; Alex doesn't scare easy. There's only one way to settle this affair of honor: with pistols at Weehawken.

 

23: Prelude to America's Forgotten War

“We’ll root out the damn’d tories. We’ll drink their blood. We’ll eat their hearts!”

 

This is the story of the path to war--the War of 1812.

 

The United States is stuck between a rock and a hard place: Britain and Napoleonic France. The two empires are seizing American ships amid a large scale throw down. Britain’s going one step further; it’s impressing thousands and thousands of American sailors into His Majesty’s Royal Navy.

 

Meanwhile, two Shawnee brothers, Tecumseh and The Prophet, are forming an Indian coalition in Indiana to stand against US expansion. Things are about to go down, and Americans blame … the British.

 

Americans are convinced Britain is reasserting its rule over them and it’s time to “declare” independence again. Welcome to the War of 1812.

 

24: From Granny to Old Ironsides: The Campaigns of 1812 and 1813.

“We’ll root out the damn’d tories. We’ll drink their blood. We’ll eat their hearts!”

 

This is the story of the path to war--the War of 1812.

 

The United States is stuck between a rock and a hard place: Britain and Napoleonic France. The two empires are seizing American ships amid a large scale throw down. Britain’s going one step further; it’s impressing thousands and thousands of American sailors into His Majesty’s Royal Navy.

 

Meanwhile, two Shawnee brothers, Tecumseh and The Prophet, are forming an Indian coalition in Indiana to stand against US expansion. Things are about to go down, and Americans blame … the British.

 

Americans are convinced Britain is reasserting its rule over them and it’s time to “declare” independence again. Welcome to the War of 1812.

 

25: From Lake Champlain to the “Defense of Fort M’Henry”

“Does that star-spangled banner yet wave?”

 

This is the story of the worst of the War of 1812 for America--the year 1814.

 

As the threat of Napoleon’s crumbling empire subsides, the British military has more ships and thousands of men available to fight against the United States. This means Canada’s getting reinforced and the British blockade on America’s east coast is extending.

 

But the worst of it is in the Chesapeake Bay. Washington DC is burning! As the White House goes up in flames, we’ll hear about one American who really steps up to the plate: Dolley Madison.

 

After this attack, the British fleet attacks yet another major Chesapeake city: Baltimore. British soldiers are eager to burn and pillage this Anglophobic city. Even with 15,000 militia in the city, only Fort McHenry can keep it safe. But will the crumbling Fort withstand the 25-hour bombardment? Do the Stars and Stripes still fly over it? Or is it the Union Jack? Francis Scott Key waits with bated breath for the answer.

 

26: Peace in Ghent, War in New Orleans

This is the story of peace and war; of self-destruction and political birth.

American and British negotiators are hashing out a peace treaty in Ghent, Belgium. The War of 1812 is over! But funny things can happen when word of the treaty’s signing hasn’t made it back to the US. Some out-of-power Federalists are going to make a few ill-timed demands in Washington, D.C., inadvertently killing their own party.

Meanwhile, American and British troops are still fighting in New Orleans. The Treaty of Ghent might exist now, but they don’t know about it, and it isn’t ratified, so the Battle of New Orleans rages. It’s violent. Bloody. Deadly. And unnecessary. But the British fight against a motley mix of Free Black, French-, Spanish-, and Anglo-Americans--as well as pirates!--a new and unlikely political star is born; Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the future 7th President of the United States: General Andrew Jackson.

 

“Thomas Jefferson survives.”

This is the story of reconciliation--and death. With peace abroad and the collapse of the Federalist party, the United States seems to be out of crisis mode. Reconciled even. President James Madison’s got so much consensus, one newspaper’s calling this the “era of good feelings.”

But there’s still important developments and conflicts. Supreme Court’s setting new precedents. 1819 marks the start of a serious “panic” (recession). And when James finishes his second term, Andrew Jackson feels screwed over by the House of Representatives, which is putting John Quincy Adams in the White House instead of him!

Then, sadly, the last of the Revolutionary generation passes away. But thankfully, the two old partisan rivals--John Adams and Thomas Jefferson--will reconcile their friendship before doing so. They’ll die within hours of each other on the 4th of July! Coincidence? Or act of God? Either way, rest your souls, gents. Today we bid farewell to the last of the Founding Fathers.