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They Made America

They Made America

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Item Number:
240 min.
Closed Caption:
WGBH Boston Video
Grade Level:
7 - 12
From the introduction of the steamboat to the advent of on-line shopping, Americans have always been endlessly inventive and eminently practical. They Made America examines innovation in America through the stories of the resourceful men and women whose ideas and inventions have transformed the world. Based on author and journalist Harold Evans's book, They Made America also explores the political, social, economic, and environmental forces that make the United States an incubator for so much radical and far-reaching creativity.

Featured profiles include, Revolutionaries: Robert Fulton and John Fitch (steamboat service, Lewis Tappan (credit rating and reporting system), and Samuel Colt (mass market weapons production); Newcomers: Samuel Insull (inexpensive electricity), Amadeo Giannini (the people's banker), and Ida Rosenthal (the Maidenform bra); Gamblers: Juan Trippe (PanAm airlines), Ruth Handler (the Barbie doll), and Thomas Watson, Jr. (IBM); and Rebels: Ted Turner (CNN) and Russell Simmons (hip-hop industry leader).

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