The Mississippi River
The Mississippi River is a sort of timeline of American history. From the earliest settlers to the modern day Army Corps of Engineers, Americans have both thrived on and been consumed by the river's size and power. There have been attempts to control it, to escape by way of it – the river can be seen as a sort of canvas on which many of America's most important internal struggles have played out; from sectarian divisions, to racial violence, to environmentalism. We want stories about how the river has both changed and been changed by Americans over time. Remember, we're a history show. As much as we love stories of people who are threatened by the river today, we need to know why this matters in the greater context of American history. We would love some placed-based material (maybe a really great story happened at this one point in the river nobody talks about). This show may also be a good candidate for some family history. There are a lot of stories to be told about the southern portions of the river, so stories from the northern regions would be most welcomed.
The End of War
One thing we've been puzzling over is how we decide that wars are officially "over." Who makes that decision? And on what basis? Under what conditions? It's the 10th anniversary of President George W. Bush's "Mission Accomplished" speech aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln, and we're looking for stories about the end of American wars. We're not so much looking for stories about how war "never really ends," because, yes, we know, war lingers. But, "officially", most wars end. We want the interesting stories that led to those moments – the official proclamations, the laying down of the guns, the speeches on the aircraft carrier. Maybe there's a story about how not a proclamation, but an image signaled a war was over. So few things in history actually have "endings," and we're interested in why we try to impose that on wartime.
With lawmakers again taking up the subject of immigration, we’re devoting a show to its flip-side — emigration. From the Late Loyalists who fled to Canada after the Revolution in search of tax-free living, to the free blacks who sailed to Liberia in search of liberty (and a spot at the top of the racial hierarchy), to the thousands of defeated Confederates who set out for lands where slavery was still legal, we’ll consider the stories of people who left the U.S. in search of a better life elsewhere… but took some part of America with them. We're more interested in groups of people who left the US en masse, but if we'd consider a great story about a particular individual too. Give us a sense of how these people saw America, and what they thought they stood to gain by leaving.