The Civil War: Season 1, Episode 1

The Cause (1861) (23 Sep. 1990)

TV Episode  -   -  Documentary | History | War
8.5
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Ratings: 8.5/10 from 91 users  
Reviews: 3 user | 1 critic

Slavery began to flourish in the U.S. at the end of the 18th century with Eli Whitney's invention of the cotton gin. Whereas it would take one person a day to produce a pound of clean ... See full summary »

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Title: The Cause (1861) (23 Sep 1990)

The Cause (1861) (23 Sep 1990) on IMDb 8.5/10

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Cast

Episode cast overview, first billed only:
David McCullough ...
Himself - Narrator (voice)
...
Himself - Writer
Barbara Fields ...
Herself - Historian
Ed Bearss ...
Himself - Historian
...
...
Mary Chestnut (voice)
...
...
Paul Roebling ...
Joshua L. Chamberlain / Sullivan Ballou (voice)
...
Walt Whitman (voice)
George Black ...
Robert E. Lee (voice)
...
...
Pvt. Elijah Hunt Rhodes (voice) (as Chris Murney)
Charles McDowell ...
Pvt. Sam Watkins (voice) (as Charley McDowell)
Horton Foote ...
Jefferson Davis (voice)
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Storyline

Slavery began to flourish in the U.S. at the end of the 18th century with Eli Whitney's invention of the cotton gin. Whereas it would take one person a day to produce a pound of clean cotton, the cotton gin could produce 1000 lbs per day. Business boomed and the demand for slaves to work new cotton fields rose accordingly. Serious objections to slavery began as early as 1831 and the abolitionist movement in the North grew quickly. There was particular concern about whether new States entering the Union would be free or slave States. Some, like John Brown, added religious zealotry to the cause and his raid on the federal at Harper's Ferry in 1859 ended in failure. The Southern States were genuinely concerned that the Union would outlaw slavery altogether. There were 21 million people living in the North compared to only 9 million in the South, which included 4 million slave. The turning point came in the election of 1860 which essentially became a referendum on slavery. The South ... Written by garykmcd

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23 September 1990 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Shelby Foote: It was because we failed to do the thing we really have a genius for, which is compromise. Americans like to think of themselves as uncompromising. Our true genius is for compromise. Our whole government's founded on it. And, it failed.
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Episode 1: The Cause
2 November 2012 | by (Louisville, KY) – See all my reviews

The Civil War: The Cause (1990)

**** (out of 4)

The first episode in Ken Burns' documentary takes a look at the events that led up to what would become the bloodiest war in American history. The events of 1861 are covered and include such topics as: Bull Run, the impact of 1793's cotton gin, how in 1860 one out of every seven Americans was owned by someone else, John Brown, Thomas Jackson, the election of Abraham Lincoln and the first battles of the war. History buffs are certainly going to love this episode as it takes its time but fully explains everything that was happening in the country during 1860 and 1861 and it gives you a clear idea of why both sides thought war was the only hope for their sides. The documentary also does a terrific job at showing why both sides also thought that the war would only last a few months with even a few people thinking that no one would have to die. The film uses narration to tell its story as well as actors (Jason Robards, Morgan Freeman) to do parts of various characters. This here has always been a very effective way for Burns to tell the story and connect with the viewer. There are also a great collection of photos from the era including some very haunting ones dealing with the amputations that were rampant throughout the war.


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