You updated your password.

Reset Password

Enter the email address you used to create your account. We will email you instructions on how to reset your password.

Forgot Your Email Address? Contact Us

Reset Your Password

SHOW
SHOW

Turning Points in American History

Explore the history of our nation in this unusual and endlessly fascinating survey course that eschews traditional narratives—focusing instead on key moments in U.S. history that changed the course of our nation forever.
Turning Points in American History is rated 4.8 out of 5 by 169.
  • y_2023, m_2, d_3, h_21
  • bvseo_bulk, prod_bvrr, vn_bulk_3.0.34
  • cp_1, bvpage1
  • co_hasreviews, tv_15, tr_154
  • loc_en_CA, sid_8580, prod, sort_[SortEntry(order=SUBMISSION_TIME, direction=DESCENDING)]
  • clientName_teachco
  • bvseo_sdk, p_sdk, 3.2.1
  • CLOUD, getAggregateRating, 8.41ms
  • REVIEWS, PRODUCT
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Outstanding Course This course is the very best one I have completed so far. Truly a must have for anyone with a love of American History.
Date published: 2022-12-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Turning Points in American History I received my DVD and book last week and have been fascinated with this presentation. I've always been a history buff but I had a very bad US History teacher in high school. He focused primarily on past Presidential campaigns, their platforms, their slogans. I found it extremely BORING! I wanted to learn more about expansion West, the Industrial Revolution, more details of the Revolutionary War, the passing of the 19th Amendment, and many other aspects of our history. Dr. O'Donnell's presentation explains all of these, and more. I watched entire discs, one after the other, and found this course extremely interesting.
Date published: 2022-09-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The title is well deserved and well delivered! I recently purchased this series and I am finding out how much American history I have missed ! On one hand it’s sad not to have not known all this , on the other hand at 85 , it is still exciting to be able to learn more !
Date published: 2022-08-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Good course Dr. O'donnell discusses a wide range of subjects, all of which are interesting. He speaks clearly, though a little fast, and sometimes repeats. The only complaint might be that he treats most subjects superficially, but a survey course like this must do that.
Date published: 2022-08-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Much fun Enjoy learning more about events I thought I knew about
Date published: 2022-06-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Enjoyable Lectures An excellent lecture series. Extremely interesting and informative. I thoroughly enjoyed these lectures and when 1 finished, I looked forward to the next one with pleasant expectations. Prof. O'Donnell did an extremely good job preparing and delivering this course.
Date published: 2022-04-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Such an interesting and thought provoking view I really enjoyed this course. I love that he looked at history through the lens of "turning points" rather than just a linear line. Each video was well thought out and well presented. And I love the stories and viewpoints he brought into each section to make them feel relatable. Truly a great course.
Date published: 2022-02-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing! This was the best course of all those I have watched. The professor's presentation was amazing.
Date published: 2021-11-21
  • y_2023, m_2, d_3, h_21
  • bvseo_bulk, prod_bvrr, vn_bulk_3.0.34
  • cp_1, bvpage1
  • co_hasreviews, tv_15, tr_154
  • loc_en_CA, sid_8580, prod, sort_[SortEntry(order=SUBMISSION_TIME, direction=DESCENDING)]
  • clientName_teachco
  • bvseo_sdk, p_sdk, 3.2.1
  • CLOUD, getReviews, 4.84ms
  • REVIEWS, PRODUCT

Overview

Relive the most groundbreaking moments in the story of the United States of America with Turning Points in American History. These 48 lectures by masterful historian and Professor Edward T. O'Donnell offer a different perspective on the sweeping narrative of U.S. history. Spanning the arrival of the first English colonists to the chaos of the Civil War to the birth of the computer age and beyond, this course is a captivating tour of those moments in the story of America after which the nation would never be the same again.

About

Edward T. O'Donnell

One central idea I try to communicate in my courses is that history is the study of choices. It follows no predetermined script. History is determined by the choices made by people both famous and unknown.

INSTITUTION

College of the Holy Cross

Dr. Edward T. O'Donnell is Associate Professor of History at College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA. He earned his Ph.D. in American History from Columbia University. Since 2002 Professor O'Donnell has worked extensively with the federal U.S. Department of Education program Teaching American History. He has served as the lead historian for several grants and has led hundreds of workshops and seminars and delivered multimedia lectures designed to help teachers devise innovative methods for teaching American history. Active in the field of public history, Professor O'Donnell has curated major museum exhibits on American history and has appeared in several historical documentaries. He has also provided historical commentary and insight for The History Channel, ABC, PBS, the BBC, and the Discovery Channel. A popular public speaker, he has delivered more than 100 invited talks and conducted more than 2,000 walking tours of various historical American neighborhoods. Professor O'Donnell is the author and coauthor of several works dealing with a broad range of American history, including Visions of America: A History of the United States and 1001 Things Everyone Should Know about Irish American History.

By This Professor

America in the Gilded Age and Progressive Era
854
1617 The Great Epidemic

01: 1617 The Great Epidemic

Discover why the North American continent was never the same after the Great Epidemic of 1617, which wiped out an estimated 90% of Native Americans and allowed British colonization to proceed virtually unchallenged. Then, take a step back and look at the defining characteristics of a historical "turning point."

31 min
1619 Land of the Free? Slavery Begins

02: 1619 Land of the Free? Slavery Begins

One of history's most troubling questions: How and why did a democratic America become a slaveholding society? Explore this paradox from its origins in 1619—with the arrival of slaves at Jamestown—to the influence of Bacon's Rebellion in 1676 to the expansion of slavery throughout the South in the 1800s.

30 min
1636 Freedom of Worship—Roger Williams

03: 1636 Freedom of Worship—Roger Williams

Here, Professor O'Donnell discusses Roger Williams's efforts to establish freedom of religion, a somewhat forgotten story from early colonial America. Focus on religious life in the early Massachusetts settlements (especially in the colony of Rhode Island), Williams's life and controversial ideas, his long-term influence on religious freedom in America, and more.

32 min
1654 Yearning to Breathe Free—Immigration

04: 1654 Yearning to Breathe Free—Immigration

One of the most symbolic expressions of the idea that all are welcome in America took place in 1654, when the Dutch West India Company allowed Jews from Brazil to settle in New Amsterdam. Learn why this seemingly unlikely turning point is a gateway to understanding immigration as a central theme in American history.

30 min
1676 Near Disaster—King Philip's War

05: 1676 Near Disaster—King Philip's War

In terms of per capita civilian losses, King Philip's War (1675–1676) was the deadliest war in American history. See how this unfamiliar war was critical in shattering the relationship between colonists and Native Americans and in uniting the British colonies in a shared American identity.

30 min
1735 Freedom of the Press—The Zenger Trial

06: 1735 Freedom of the Press—The Zenger Trial

How did the idea of a free press become a central principle of American democracy? The answer lies in the 1735 arrest and trial of New York printer John Peter Zenger, which, you learn, radically changed the political culture of the colonies and went on to shape the language of the Bill of Rights.

31 min
1773 Liberty! The Boston Tea Party

07: 1773 Liberty! The Boston Tea Party

Leap forward in time to the 1770s, in the first of three lectures on turning points in the American Revolution. In the first of these lectures, Professor O'Donnell makes the powerful case that the Boston Tea Party of 1773 was the real spark that ignited the American Revolution.

29 min
1776 We're Outta Here—Declaring Independence

08: 1776 We're Outta Here—Declaring Independence

The creation of the Declaration of Independence in 1776 is one of the most important turning points in American history. Focus on why the colonies decided to separate from Great Britain, how the Declaration evolved from a work of little significance into a central American document, and much more.

33 min
1777 Game Changer—The Battle of Saratoga

09: 1777 Game Changer—The Battle of Saratoga

Relive the 1777 Battle of Saratoga, a game-changing conflict between the American colonists and the British that became a turning point in the American Revolution for two reasons: It helped persuade France to join the colonial cause, and it convinced the colonists themselves that they could defeat the British Empire.

33 min
1786 Toward a Constitution—Shays's Rebellion

10: 1786 Toward a Constitution—Shays's Rebellion

Who was Daniel Shays? What political and economic dilemmas led to this famous farmer's rebellion of 1786? Most important: How did this event pave the way for a reconsideration of the Articles of Confederation and the creation of the U. S. Constitution? Find out here.

32 min
1789 Samuel Slater—The Industrial Revolution

11: 1789 Samuel Slater—The Industrial Revolution

Few people remember Samuel Slater as an important figure in U. S. history, but his introduction of cotton mill technology in 1789 unleashed the Industrial Revolution. Explore how this turning point came about and some of the many ways it reshaped virtually every aspect of American society.

32 min
1800 Peaceful Transfer—The Election of 1800

12: 1800 Peaceful Transfer—The Election of 1800

One of the dirtiest presidential elections in U. S. history was the election of 1800, which involved a struggle between Republicans and Federalists and a tie vote between Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr. Investigate how this dramatic crisis led to the first peaceful transfer of power between rival political parties in modern history.

29 min
1803 Supreme Authority—Marbury v. Madison

13: 1803 Supreme Authority—Marbury v. Madison

Marbury v. Madison, which established the principle of judicial review, is a landmark case in constitutional history. Explore the political dispute that led to this case, the Supreme Court's role in the early republic, how Chief Justice John Marshall crafted his famous decision, and how this principle has influenced the nation.

28 min
1807 On the Move—Transportation Revolution

14: 1807 On the Move—Transportation Revolution

Robert Fulton's steamboat trip up the Hudson River in 1807 announced a revolution in American transportation. In this lecture, learn how three key innovations in transportation—steamboats, canals, and railroads—helped Americans overcome obstacles impeding the nation's economic development and led to changes in politics, society, and more.

33 min
1816 One Man, One Vote—Expanding Suffrage

15: 1816 One Man, One Vote—Expanding Suffrage

Take a closer look at how early 19th-century Americans expanded the definition of democracy by dropping most restrictions on voting for white men. How did this important turning point lead to significant changes such as the rise of mass politics, the use of ballots, the potential for political corruption, and more?

29 min
1821 Reborn—The Second Great Awakening

16: 1821 Reborn—The Second Great Awakening

This lecture focuses on the Second Great Awakening, the powerful evangelical revival movement started in 1821 by the preacher Charles Grandison Finney. Two of the important impacts of this turning point you consider are the democratization of religion and the rise of social reform movements (specifically, the temperance movement).

30 min
1831 The Righteous Crusade—Abolition

17: 1831 The Righteous Crusade—Abolition

Both William Lloyd Garrison's entry into abolitionism and Nat Turner's violent slave rebellion made 1831 a pivotal year in the growing national conflict over the issue of slavery. Learn how the abolitionist crusade made slavery the central question in American politics from the 1830s until the Civil War.

30 min
1844 What's New? The Communication Revolution

18: 1844 What's New? The Communication Revolution

An often overlooked turning point in American history is the communication revolution. Here, discover how widespread literacy and an expansive post office network aided advances in communication; explore three key technological breakthroughs at the heart of the revolution; examine its effects on politics, economics, and society; and more.

32 min
1845 The Ultimate American Game—Baseball

19: 1845 The Ultimate American Game—Baseball

Go back to the year 1845 and the birth of the quintessential American sport: baseball. What are baseball's origins? How did it evolve from a gentlemen's sport into a professional enterprise? What about baseball makes it the nation's ultimate game? And how has it both reflected and shaped American culture?

32 min
1846 Land and Gold—The Mexican War

20: 1846 Land and Gold—The Mexican War

What were the underlying roots of the Mexican-American War? Why was there so much controversy surrounding newly acquired territories? How did the discovery of gold in 1848 force Congress to confront once again the contentious issue of slavery? Learn the answers to these and other questions in this lecture.

31 min
1862 Go West, Young Man! The Homestead Act

21: 1862 Go West, Young Man! The Homestead Act

Professor O'Donnell dispels myths about one of the federal government's most extraordinary programs: the Homestead Act of 1862. This landmark event sparked the largest wave of migration in U. S. history and played a major role in the birth of the American West as a central aspect of America's identity.

30 min
1862 Terrible Reality—The Battle of Antietam

22: 1862 Terrible Reality—The Battle of Antietam

Go into the heat of one of the Civil War's most important battles: the Battle of Antietam in 1862. Investigate how this Union victory underscored the need for capable military leadership, allowed Lincoln to issue the Emancipation Proclamation, diminished chances of foreign support for the Confederacy, and announced the arrival of modern war.

29 min
1868 Equal Protection—The 14th Amendment

23: 1868 Equal Protection—The 14th Amendment

Many legal scholars and historians have argued that the 14th Amendment, which promises equal protection under the laws, is the most important addition to the Constitution after the Bill of Rights. Here, Professor O'Donnell retells the fascinating story of how this amendment was ratified in 1868—and its turbulent history in the 20th and 21st centuries.

30 min
1872 Open Spaces—The National Parks

24: 1872 Open Spaces—The National Parks

In the 1870s, amid the wave of American industrialization, a movement emerged to preserve for all time large sections of wilderness as national parks—the first time this had been done in history. Investigate the political struggle to protect the nation's natural wonders in places such as Yosemite Valley and Yellowstone.

30 min
1873 Bloody Sunday—Ending Reconstruction

25: 1873 Bloody Sunday—Ending Reconstruction

Make sense of the complexities of Reconstruction with this lecture on the period's bloodiest incident, the Colfax Massacre of 1873. Why is this particular period the turning point of the "counter-revolutionary" period of Reconstruction? And how did it pave the way for the rise of the Jim Crow South?

29 min
1876 How the West Was Won and Lost—Custer

26: 1876 How the West Was Won and Lost—Custer

Follow the story of 1876's Battle of Little Big Horn, one of the most devastating defeats ever suffered by the U. S. military. Despite a Sioux and Cheyenne warrior victory, this turning point marked the beginning of the end of Native American military resistance—and to much of the traditional Native American way of life.

30 min
1886 The First Red Scare—Haymarket

27: 1886 The First Red Scare—Haymarket

This lecture deals with the 1886 Haymarket bombing of a Chicago workers' rally. Look at the state of Gilded Age America in the 1880s, examine how the American labor movement emerged, experience the events of this tragic attack, and survey the event's larger impact on the rapidly industrializing nation and its politics.

31 min
1898 The End of Isolation—War with Spain

28: 1898 The End of Isolation—War with Spain

American isolationist foreign policy ended in 1898 with the Spanish-American War. Discover how this turning point—spurred by lurid journalism and intense political pressure—transformed a nation long committed to isolationism into a grand imperial power determined to take a more aggressive role in world affairs.

28 min
1900 The Promised Land—The Great Migration

29: 1900 The Promised Land—The Great Migration

The movement of around 7 million African Americans into northern cities. A flourishing of African American culture that brought about the Harlem Renaissance. The rise of activist organizations fighting harder than ever for civil rights. These are some of the effects of the "Great Migration" of the early 1900s, which you learn more about here.

31 min
1901 That Damned Cowboy! Theodore Roosevelt

30: 1901 That Damned Cowboy! Theodore Roosevelt

The presidency of Theodore Roosevelt—the youngest man to assume the presidency—left a powerful mark on the office and, more important, brought the ideals of the emerging Progressive movement to the national stage. Among the ones you explore here: trust busting, labor rights, and conservation.

31 min
1903 The Second Transportation Revolution

31: 1903 The Second Transportation Revolution

Automobiles and airplanes—two innovations that ushered in a new era in American transportation. Place these revolutionary vehicles in the context of the year 1903, when the Ford Motor Company made automobiles affordable and accessible, and when the Wright brothers performed their successful flights at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.

31 min
1909 The Scourge of the South—Hookworm

32: 1909 The Scourge of the South—Hookworm

Even diseases can instigate historical turning points. Discover how the hookworm parasite—which caused a debilitating disease that affected millions of Americans—was destroyed through the efforts of the Rockefeller Sanitary Commission and other public health initiatives—efforts that helped transform and improve life in the American South.

32 min
1917 Votes for Women! The 19th Amendment

33: 1917 Votes for Women! The 19th Amendment

In 1917, after decades of struggle, a group of radical women decided to do the unthinkable: picket the White House to demand the right to vote. Three years and many protests later, American women finally won the right to vote. Get a fresh perspective on the origins of the suffrage movement and the profound impact it had on American politics.

31 min
1919 Strikes and Bombs—The Year of Upheaval

34: 1919 Strikes and Bombs—The Year of Upheaval

Why was 1919 such a chaotic year in American history? Find out the answer by investigating three key events that led to the "Red Scare": a series of massive labor strikes, growing fears about the international spread of Russian Communism, and a surge of anarchist bombings and race riots.

31 min
1933 Bold Experimentation—The New Deal

35: 1933 Bold Experimentation—The New Deal

During his first 100 days, President Franklin D. Roosevelt set out on a massive, whirlwind project of legislative activity and policymaking—the New Deal—to save the nation from the worst ravages of the Great Depression. Learn why this period was such a breakthrough moment in the role of government in the American economy.

29 min
1939 Einstein's Letter—The Manhattan Project

36: 1939 Einstein's Letter—The Manhattan Project

The origins of the atomic bomb go back to 1939, when scientists and military leaders undertook an operation to create the world's first successful atomic weapon before the Nazis could. Investigate how the Manhattan Project began, and follow its legacy through the bombing of two Japanese cities that ended World War II.

30 min
1942 Surprise—The Battle of Midway

37: 1942 Surprise—The Battle of Midway

What is the most critical battle in World War II? The Battle of the Bulge? D-Day? Here, Professor O'Donnell makes the case for the Battle of Midway as the critical battle—specifically because it ended major Japanese offensive operations in the Pacific and allowed America to focus on defeating Nazi Germany.

29 min
1945 The Land of Lawns—Suburbanization

38: 1945 The Land of Lawns—Suburbanization

This lecture covers an overlooked turning point in American history, post–World War II suburbanization. Look at the origins of the "suburban ideal," examine early versions of suburbanization, learn about the five federal policy initiatives that led to the extraordinary housing boom, meet the "Henry Ford of middle-class housing," and more.

31 min
1948 The Berlin Airlift and the Cold War

39: 1948 The Berlin Airlift and the Cold War

The year 1948 signaled the dawn of the cold war between the United States and the Soviet Union. Discover how this epic geopolitical conflict spurred a dramatic militarization of the United States, promoted a culture of fear over Communist spies and nuclear war, and reaffirmed the nation's commitment to internationalism.

34 min
1950 Tuning In—The Birth of Television

40: 1950 Tuning In—The Birth of Television

Television was first thought to be just a fad—but by the 1950s it had exploded into a pervasive cultural force with the power to help politicians win elections, support national sports franchises, bring the violence of war into people's living rooms, and create shared national experiences. Find out how here.

31 min
1960 The Power to Choose—The Pill

41: 1960 The Power to Choose—The Pill

Grasp the historical significance of the birth control pill in American society by considering the central role played by women in its development and subsequent FDA approval in 1960. Also, follow the heated public debate that emerged over the ethics and morality of "the Pill."

30 min
1963 Showdown in Birmingham—Civil Rights

42: 1963 Showdown in Birmingham—Civil Rights

Turn now to 1963, a critical year in the civil rights movement. First, look at the status of African Americans in the early 1950s and the early stages of this human rights struggle. Then, examine the protests and violence that rocked Birmingham, Alabama, in 1963 and led to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

27 min
1968 Losing Vietnam—The Tet Offensive

43: 1968 Losing Vietnam—The Tet Offensive

Why did America get involved in the affairs of Vietnam and eventually commit to massive military escalation in the mid-1960s? Why, after a huge buildup, did the United States suddenly pull out? Uncover the answers to these provocative questions by looking at the 1968 Tet Offensive—the turning point of this controversial war.

30 min
1969 Disaster—The Birth of Environmentalism

44: 1969 Disaster—The Birth of Environmentalism

Investigate how a disastrous oil spill in Santa Barbara and a dramatic fire on Ohio's Cuyahoga River in 1969 led to the modern environmental movement in America. The subsequent wave of legislation would lead to two major accomplishments: a cleaner environment and improved public efforts to combat pollution nationwide.

32 min
1974 An Age of Crisis—Watergate

45: 1974 An Age of Crisis—Watergate

The Watergate scandal of 1974 is one of the most notorious examples of political corruption in modern American politics. Experience the flurry of paranoia, political intrigue, and investigative reporting from this momentous event, and witness it forever shake the confidence of the American people in their political leaders.

31 min
1975 The Digital Age—The Personal Computer

46: 1975 The Digital Age—The Personal Computer

The world's first personal computers undoubtedly revolutionized America's social, political, and cultural landscape. As you explore the three stages of this turning point in U. S. history—the hobbyist phase, the mass production phase, and the user-friendly phase—you see just how essential these machines are in 21st-century life.

31 min
1989 Collapse—The End of the Cold War

47: 1989 Collapse—The End of the Cold War

Go back to November 9, 1989, when the whole world watched as the Berlin Wall fell, bringing the cold war—and later the Soviet Union itself—to an end. While this epic moment changed the landscape of Europe, it also had several ripple effects on American life and politics as well.

30 min
2001 The Age of Terror—The 9/11 Attacks

48: 2001 The Age of Terror—The 9/11 Attacks

In this final lecture, investigate the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and the dawn of the "age of terror." While the implications of this recent turning point may not be clear for years to come, Professor O'Donnell helps you put this traumatic event in a larger national—and even international—context.

30 min