Making the World Safe for Democracy : Manifest Destiny

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  • As the United States reshaped Manifest Destiny for use in the 20th century, the concept came to be equated not with conquest and expansion, but with the spread of American values and institutions. Focusing on World War I and the Russian Revolution, the section "A New World Order" traces the deflected trajectory of President Wilson's idealistic plan to export democracy - a plan that ended in compromises and broken dreams. "Containment," which begins with World War II, examines the spread of communism in Asia and U.S. opposition to it via the Kennan policy of containment and the Truman Doctrine. And "Quagmire" discusses how the Kennedy and Johnson administrations felt duty-bound to escalate American political and military involvement in Vietnam as a part of an ideological proxy war between East and West. Historians Jeremi Suri, Erez Manela, H. W. Brands, George C. Herring, Jessica Elkind, Walter LaFeber, John Milton Cooper, and Mark Philip Bradley are featured. Produced by Lucasfilm Ltd. A part of the series Manifest Destiny.


  • Encoded with permission for digital streaming by Films Media Group on November 08, 2012.
  • Films on Demand is distributed by Films Media Group for Films for the Humanities & Sciences, Cambridge Educational, Meridian Education, and Shopware.
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  • Presidents and Manifest Destiny (0:47) -- Johnson Justifies Vietnam War (2:02) -- Wilsonianism (1:44) -- Wilson Asks for War Declaration (0:57) -- World War I, America and Imperialism (2:31) -- Woodrow Wilson (1:17) -- Wilson and Mexican Revolution (1:36) -- America Moves Toward War (1:55) -- World Safe for Democracy (2:28) -- Wilson's Thinking on Russian Revolution (2:17) -- Wilson's Fourteen Points (1:52) -- Wilson in Paris (2:47) -- Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam and France (2:34) -- Big Four at Paris (2:39) -- League of Nations (1:26) -- Wilson's Flexibility on Self-Determination (2:09) -- Treaty of Versailles (0:45) -- Ho Driven to Communism (1:11) -- Wilson's Vision Dies (2:56) -- America's Embrace of Global Role (2:41) -- Ho Chi Minh Fights Japanese (2:12) -- Ho Declares Independence (2:13) -- Early Cold War U.S. Approach to Vietnam (1:52) -- Competing Ideologies in Cold War (1:36) -- Stalin's Motives and America's Change (2:29) -- Truman Doctrine (2:13) -- Korean War (1:34) -- Division of Vietnam (1:57) -- American Fear of Vietnamese Elections (2:31) -- Ngo Dinh Diem (2:42) -- North and South Vietnam (1:40) -- Diem's Corruption (1:06) -- Kennedy and America's Vision (2:26) -- Reasons for Vietnam War (1:08) -- Kennedy and Diem (3:12) -- Kennedy on Day of Assassination (1:11) -- Johnson Inherits Vietnam Problem (2:14) -- Johnson's Decision on Vietnam (2:42) -- American Idealism and Vietnam (1:34) -- Vietnam (1:51) -- Vietnam Failure (1:57) -- Ambiguous Impact of Vietnam Defeat (2:51) -- Legacy of Wilsonian Idealism (2:01) -- Credits: Making the World Safe for Democracy: Manifest Destiny (1:03)
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