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Manifest Destiny: A Documentary Mini-Series on U.S. Foreign Policy



A Documentary Mini-Series On U.S. Foreign Policy
Makes Its Public Television Debut


What does a City on a Hill have to do with Gitmo?  How are American exceptionalism and democracy promotion related to foreign wars?   Why does the 19th century rallying cry of “Manifest Destiny” still influence American foreign policy in the 21st century?


These and other questions are addressed in the powerful stories featured in MANIFEST DESTINY, an historical series produced by the documentary unit of JAK Films, a division of Lucasfilm.   The series, first released to public television stations in 2012, is comprised of three 60 minute episodes.


Part 1, “To Conquer or Redeem,” focuses on the Spanish-American War of 1898 when the United States under President William McKinley and Vice President Theodore Roosevelt set out to free colonial Cuba from the cruelty of imperial Spain and ended up, after a brutal guerilla war, with a colony of its own – the Philippines.


Part 2, “Making the World Safe for Democracy,” considers the consequences – intended and otherwise – of Woodrow Wilson’s call for a world shaped by American style democracy.   Tracing the Cold War struggle between the US and the USSR, this episode tells the dramatic story of how America moved from inspiring the young Ho Chi Minh at the Paris Peace Conference of 1919, to fighting him nearly half a century later. 


Part 3, “Monsters to Destroy,” begins with the tearing down of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Cold War.  As the sole superpower, the U.S. under George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush finds itself in a series of small but unpredictable and deadly military actions, from the Gulf War to Somalia, the Balkans, Afghanistan and Iraq, each with compromised objectives and unforeseen consequences.



Clear-eyed and probing, Manifest Destiny addresses key foreign policy concerns that affect every American.  In-depth, insightful commentary by nationally respected historians and diplomats fill in the dramatic stories each episode tells.  Over two decades after the end of the Cold War, one decade after the tragedy of September 11th, now more than ever is the time for national dialogue about the role the United States should play in the increasingly interconnected world of nations.

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