The American West: History, Myth, and Legacy [TTC Video]

The American West: History, Myth, and Legacy [TTC Video]
The American West: History, Myth, and Legacy [TTC Video] by Patrick N Allitt
Course No 8552 | MP4, AVC, 1250 kbps, 856x480 | AAC, 192 kbps, 2 Ch | 24x30 mins | + PDF Guidebook | 8.02GB

The brutal conflict of cowboys and Indians. Dusty, dangerous outposts policed by vigilante justice. The six-shooter showdown at high noon. Daring railroad heists and arduous cattle drives. These and other scenes from countless Western films have so shaped our conception of the American West that it’s impossible to separate myth from reality. But how wild was the West? Was it really ever “won”?

According to historian and award-winning Professor Patrick N. Allitt of Emory University, the historical approach to understanding the American West has moved far beyond pop culture in recent years. “Nearly all the clichés and bromides of the old Western history have been discarded,” he says. “We’re now much more aware of the histories, not just of the people who happened to end up on top—but also the histories of the diverse peoples who were defeated or displaced.”

It turns out that the legendary people and events we associate with the Wild West—the last stand at the Alamo, the Battle of Little Bighorn, the exploits of Calamity Jane and Kit Carson, the glories and hardships of the Gold Rush and the Oregon Trail—are just as exciting in the light of history as the tall tales that have defined our conception of them.

Explored chronologically, they form a story more thrilling than any Hollywood Western. And it’s a story not just of adventure and danger but a story about how the United States, as it acquired new territories and encountered new peoples, transformed a collection of newly independent states into a continent-bestriding colossus that would dominate the 20th century.

Designed to shine a light on truths about westward expansion and the American frontier (sometimes uncomfortable, always insightful), The American West: History, Myth, and Legacy is a way for you to experience the grit and grandeur of an epic period in American history. Professor Allitt’s 24 lectures, rich with historical detail, take you from the era of the American Revolution to the beginning of the 20th century and uncover new historical angles and perspectives about events and themes ranging from the Lewis and Clark expedition to the Indian Removal Act to the creation of America’s first national parks. Packed with period maps and artwork, photographs, diary entries, and more, this course is an entertaining, eye-opening, balanced look at the achievements and sufferings of a period and place as important as it was wild.

Over 200 Years of Frontier History

Central to Professor Allitt’s course is dispelling the idea of the American West as a single, monolithic place and idea. There is a great diversity to the American West that it is easy to overlook.

“It’s actually an area almost as big as Europe, incorporating some of the hottest and coldest places in the inhabited world,” says Professor Allitt. “The area we think of as the West today includes mountain ranges, deserts, canyons, badlands and some of the richest, most productive farmland in the world. At different times, it has been inhabited and claimed by indigenous peoples, Spaniards, Frenchmen, Britons, and Americans. Its people today have distinctive voices, clothes, traditions, and music, and they keep alive a distinct set of ideals and attitudes different from those of their fellow Americans back East.”

Befitting an area of such epic scope and diversity, The American West encompasses more than 200 years of history and the most important events, themes, and ideas that form the backbone of the frontier’s reality—and legend. Just some of the major topics you will explore in this course include:

  • The Transcontinental Railroad: Perhaps the most defining moment for the American West was 1869, when the two lines of the Transcontinental Railroad met at Promontory Point in Utah. While the system brought more people (including immigrants) and money out west, many sections were built so badly they had to be renewed almost at once.
  • The Trail of Tears: Named the “Trail of Tears” by the Cherokee, the forced migration of America’s “Five Civilized Tribes” in the 1830s resulted in the loss of traditional homes in the East in exchange for federal lands out West (referred to as “Indian Territory”). A central figure in this dark moment in American history: President Andrew Jackson.
  • Manifest Destiny: This phrase, coined by journalist John O’Sullivan regarding the nation’s claims on the Oregon territory in the 1840s, came to embody the spirit of westward expansion—and the conflicts it provoked. The idea behind Manifest Destiny was that it was America’s God-given right to spread liberty and democracy across the continent.
  • The Gold Rush: With the discovery of Californian gold in 1848, the American West, for the first time, became a destination of mass appeal for Americans. With the mad rush for quick wealth, however, came rampant fraud. Prospectors had to learn quickly how to distinguish gold from “fool’s gold” (iron pyrites). The simplest way to do so is now the most iconic: biting it.
  • Cowboys and Cattle: After the Civil War, American cowboys herded cattle to railheads across the West, from where they would eventually feed the industrial workers back East. The most famous cattle trail, the Chisholm Trail (named after a half-Cherokee cowboy) spanned over 500 miles between Texas and Kansas, and could take up to two months to traverse.

The West in Popular Culture

A vivid popular culture sprang up around the American West as the area developed. While Professor Allitt uses these lectures to lay bare the often harsh realities of life out west, he also points out how popular culture—books, paintings, films—can help us understand the intimate details of life for everyday men and women. By looking critically at popular depictions of the West, you will:

  • Learn about one of the best accounts we have of the cowboy way of life: the 1885 biography A Texas Cowboy, or Fifteen Years on the Hurricane Deck of a Spanish Pony.
  • Open an illuminating window into the emotional lives of homesteaders on the Great Plains through novels including My Ántonia and Little House on the Prairie.
  • See how paintings by iconic American artist Frederic Remington emphasized the adventurous men who pitted themselves against the landscape of the West.
  • Discover how historian Frederick Jackson Turner’s “frontier thesis” (that the frontier defined American democracy) had an immense influence on generations of historians.
  • Break down the main plots of Western films and understand how new historical understanding has led to a shift in the genre’s plots and characters.

A Clearer Picture of the Wild West

Over the years, Professor Allitt has brought his incredible historical knowledge and his engaging teaching style to multiple Great Courses popular with our lifelong learners. The American West is no exception to this tradition. Professor Allitt imbues every single lecture not only with insight and knowledge, but with a contagious passion for the American West—both the heroic idea of it and the more complex historical reality.

Additionally, the lectures in The American West are enriched with historic photographs and illustrations, period artworks and maps, and quotes from first-person accounts and history-changing documents.

“Anyone who studies the subject of the American West quickly discovers that the myths sometimes had a more tenacious grip on Westerners’ minds than the realities,” says Professor Allitt. “But with a close look at the facts and how they’ve been stretched and spun over time, the muddled picture of the place that many people have in their minds will become clearer.”

Saddle up for an exciting adventure in learning.

The American West: History, Myth, and Legacy [TTC Video]

The Everyday Gourmet: Cooking with Vegetables [TTC Video]

The Everyday Gourmet: Cooking with Vegetables [TTC Video]
The Everyday Gourmet: Cooking with Vegetables [TTC Video] by Bill Briwa
Course No 9275 | M4V, AVC, 1000 kbps, 1280x720 | AAC, 162 kbps, 2 Ch | 24x35 mins | + PDF Guidebook | 7.03GB

Too often, vegetables are an afterthought when we cook. Whether served as a side dish or mindlessly heated from a frozen package, they have long been relegated to second-class status. But with the widespread appeal of the farm-to-table movement and chefs everywhere featuring seasonal produce and innovative cooking techniques to set their menus apart, vegetables have officially graduated from something we have to eat to something we want to eat.

Complex, vibrant, and versatile, vegetables are deeply satisfying when given the proper attention. But cooking them at home, however, can be daunting. Confusion can start right in the grocery store or farmers’ market. Should you choose that photo-worthy, overgrown zucchini or the smaller, less remarkable one? How do you know if an artichoke is past its prime? And once you bring your bounty home: Do the tomatoes go in the crisper or on the counter? How can you speed up the ripening of that rock-hard avocado—or keep a soft one from spoiling before you can use it?

The Everyday Gourmet: Cooking with Vegetables answers your questions and more about selecting and storing produce while revealing how you can take the same fresh ingredients, bright flavors, and unexpected combinations you love at restaurants and easily prepare them in your own kitchen every night of the week. Presented in 24 easy-to-follow lessons by Chef Bill Briwa, an award-winning Professor of Culinary Arts at the esteemed Culinary Institute of America at Greystone, this course provides the expert insight and techniques you need to elevate vegetables from supporting player to star attraction, no matter what your skill level. With step-by-step demonstrations of delicious main dishes, sides, soups, stews, and even desserts and cocktails, you’ll develop a culinary repertoire based on produce that is more varied, pleasurable, and nourishing than ever before.

This course delivers a broad range of ideas that can be accomplished quickly when time is limited as well as more elaborate preparations that you can experiment with when time allows or impress with at a dinner party. While these lessons do incorporate fish, chicken, and pork, they are also packed with vegetarian and vegan recipes that will delight carnivores and herbivores alike. You will find unique and surprising techniques to:

  • Transform summer squash into a “pasta” studded with pecorino, almonds, tomatoes, and garlic.
  • Reinterpret classic meat dishes without the meat in vegetable pot pie, carrot osso buco, cauliflower shawarma, celery root tonkatsu, and carrot tartare.
  • Make guacamole tacos using thinly sliced jicama as your tortillas and tamales stuffed with maitake, trumpet royale, and button mushrooms.
  • Turn out salads bursting with flavor, from kale with tapenade and pecorino to an esquites salad inspired by Mexican street corn.
  • Prepare unexpected snacks such as yucca chips tinted with beet juice and pinzamonio, an Italian dish featuring thinly shaved vegetables.
  • Create indulgent desserts, including carrot cake with parsnip frosting, corn ice cream with blackberry swirl, and maple custard baked in a pumpkin.

With an array of dishes from around the world—from Thai soup to chili rellenos to tabbouleh salad—your taste buds will never get bored.

Approach Cooking from a Plant-based Perspective

Filmed at the CIA’s Greystone campus in Napa Valley, California, each lesson brings you closer to achieving a new level of comfort with cleaning, cutting, seasoning, and cooking an enormous array of vegetables, from the common ones you may be in a rut with (think carrots, potatoes, and corn) to the more unusual and perplexing ones you might typically avoid (such as turnips, beets, and spaghetti squash).

Here’s just a taste of what you’ll become more confident working with.

  • Fruit we treat as vegetables: While not technically vegetables, tomatoes, avocados, eggplant, peppers, and cucumbers are a savory addition to any meal.
  • Inflorescents: Actually flowers, this category includes cauliflower, broccoli, broccolini, squash blossoms, Romanesco broccoli, and broccoli rabe.
  • Summer and winter squash: Found in varieties from the ultra-delicate to the creamy and hearty, squash can be roasted, grilled, sautéed, or fried.
  • Root vegetables: Representing celery root, parsnips, and carrots, these veggies will surprise you with their versatility in everything from snacks to desserts.
  • Beets: While part of the root vegetable family, beets are worthy of their own lesson, with novel preparations from fresh-pressed juice to roast beet in salt crust.
  • Mushrooms: Packed with vitamins, protein, and savory umami flavor, this “meaty” vegetable is uniquely satisfying.
  • Herbs: Delicate yet packed with flavor, herbs brighten everything from cocktails to pizza.

The What, the How, and the Why

In addition to inventive recipes you’ll be anxious to try, this course is filled with expert insights into why you’re doing what you’re doing. You’ll develop an understanding of why you need to continue frying vegetables until the oil stops bubbling and how you need to prepare fibrous food such as lemongrass, rhubarb, and asparagus to make them palatable. In fact, Chef Briwa takes the fear factor out of dealing with a great deal of what may be considered intimidating produce, including fresh artichokes, leeks, and celery root, as well as more exotic vegetables such as cactus paddles, yucca, and purslane.

From proper knife skills to how to store and cook leftovers safely, he delivers numerous tips, tricks and techniques you’ll use in the kitchen every day. Learn how to:

  • cut herbs like mint and basil without damaging the leaves;
  • chop vegetables to uniform sizes for even cooking;
  • create vinaigrettes that complement your salad greens;
  • slice a lime so it releases the most juice;
  • keep leafy greens from wilting in your refrigerator;
  • determine when pasta is done; and
  • give your everyday meals a chef’s visual panache.

Perhaps the most beneficial aspect of this course is the knowledge it arms you with when food shopping. No longer will you stand in the produce section with an item in hand, wondering what you’re supposed to be looking for and what you should avoid. Once you know what to buy and how to store it, you’ll extend the shelf life of your vegetables and waste less in the long run.

Enter the Kitchen of an Acclaimed Chef

Taught by a culinary educator who has spent three decades teaching audiences around the world, Chef Briwa empowers you experiment, offering ideas on how to translate methods and components across recipes and to create dishes around whatever vegetable you happen to find at the farmers market. Culinary novices will appreciate his detailed, methodical instruction while more experienced home cooks will find inspiration in the templates he provides.

Cooking with Vegetables broadens your concept of what vegetables are capable of and how they can fit into your life. Let it turn the vegetable skeptics in your home into vegetable believers once and for all.

The Everyday Gourmet: Cooking with Vegetables [TTC Video]

Law School for Everyone [TTC Video]

Law School for Everyone [TTC Video]
Law School for Everyone [TTC Video] by Molly Bishop Shadel, Joseph L Hoffmann, Peter J Smith, Edward K Cheng
Course No 2012 | MP4, AVC, 1000 kbps, 1280x720 | AAC, 128 kbps, 2 Ch | 48x30 mins | + PDF Guidebook | 12.03GB

To many people, the law is both powerful and mysterious. We depend on lawyers to help us navigate rules, standards, and procedural codes that have been around for hundreds of years. Because we depend on their specialized skills in argumentation, logic, and critical thinking, we may wonder how they come to know so much about the inner workings of the law.

The answer: law school. The refined skills lawyers wield every day in courtrooms across the country are the result of years of study. As much as we’d like to cultivate these very same skills, the truth is that you cannot know how a lawyer thinks and works without studying the law itself.

Even if you have no intention of joining the legal profession, learning how American law works, and how lawyers and judges operate within that law, is a critical part of any well-rounded citizen’s understanding of one of the central foundations of the American experiment.

Two things, however, keep many of us from attending law school: money and time. Law school is notoriously costly and typically results in hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt. Also, students are required to give years of their lives to studying how the law works—a commitment that involves tackling mountains of required reading every night.

Law School for Everyone brings four exceptional professors from four of the nation’s most distinguished law schools right to you, providing you with much of the foundational knowledge of expert lawyers without the enormous time and financial commitments. Over the span of 48 lectures, these experienced lawyers and teachers recreate key parts of the first-year student experience, introducing you to four main areas of law most every beginning student studies:

  • litigation and legal practice,
  • criminal law and procedure,
  • civil procedure, and
  • torts.

Enriched with famous cases from the annals of American law, powerful arguments by some of history’s most successful lawyers, and Supreme Court rulings that provide insights into how our legal system has evolved since the nation’s founding, Law School for Everyone will teach you how to approach the law from the perspective of the best attorneys and high-court judges. Most important: No law degree is required for you to gain access to this intimidating—but surprisingly rich and exciting—field.

Litigation and Legal Practice

Law School for Everyone is organized into four 12-lecture sections that explore, in-depth, one of the cornerstones of a first-year law school student’s experience. Each section is delivered by a law professor who specializes in teaching their respective subjects.

You’ll start with 12 lectures on litigation and legal practice. Delivered by Professor Molly Bishop Shadel of the University of Virginia School of Law, this section offers a valuable orientation to the study of law. You’ll explore how our legal system is the direct result of democratic values, how the system works, and why we teach law the way we do.

“Over time, our system has achieved some amazing things: protections for civil rights, free speech, equal protection, due process, the right of each citizen to vote—innovations which keep our social fabric strong,” Professor Shadel says. “And each one of these social goods is the direct result of litigation.”

These lectures offer eye-opening answers to many questions about the subtle art and craft of litigation and the behind-the-scenes lives of lawyers. Questions like:

  • What are some dilemmas a lawyer can face when representing clients?
  • How does a lawyer craft an exceptional opening and closing argument?
  • How do lawyers handle issues like jury selection and problematic evidence?
  • When—and why—do lawyers raise objections during a trial?

You’ll also be prompted to rethink – and perhaps change – previously held conceptions about how lawyers work, and about the issues they struggle with each and every time they step in the courtroom.

Professor Shadel’s lectures prompt you to think about:

  • the place our judicial system occupies in the balance of powers;
  • the importance of credibility, logic, and pathos in the construction of an argument;
  • whether or not someone who committed a crime should be released on appeal due to procedural errors; and
  • why some trials, such as the Scopes trial or the O.J. Simpson case, capture the public imagination while others don’t.

By the time you finish these lectures, you’ll realize with startling clarity why legal training is valuable well beyond the courtroom and the other places lawyers work.

“If you can think like a lawyer, you have gained valuable insight into how things get done in this country,” Professor Shadel says. “And if you can think like a courtroom lawyer, then you are able to apply that knowledge quickly and use it to articulate your positions aloud. That’s a valuable skillset for anyone to have, particularly in a representative democracy such as ours.”

Criminal Law and Procedure

Government power is at its absolute maximum when a person is arrested and charged with a crime, and when the government tries to take away that person’s property, their liberty, or even their life. It’s an awesome power, one that must always remain subject to the rule of law.

In the second part of Law School for Everyone, Professor Joseph L. Hoffmann of Indiana University’s Maurer School of Law guides you through his area of expertise: criminal law and procedure. It’s an area of law dramatized by countless television shows and films, and in these lectures, Professor Hoffmann reveals how it all works in real life.

You’ll explore:

  • how our legal system defines a crime, both historically and today;
  • how lawyers, courts, and juries work together to bring about justice; and
  • how legal rules and standards try to make criminal cases as fair as possible.

Criminal law is anything but simple. For hundreds of years, we’ve been enmeshed in fierce debates about how it works—and how it doesn’t work. Never shying away from difficult topics, Professor Hoffmann gives you the background behind some of criminal law’s most defining issues, including:

  • the role of mens rea, or the guilty mind, in criminal cases, a concept developed centuries ago as part of the common law of crimes and defined as everything from “vicious will” to “general intent”;
  • the constitutional enigma of the “cruel and unusual punishments” clause, rooted in the language of the Eighth Amendment, which regulates the punishments society can inflict upon those who are convicted of crimes;
  • the legal pyramid (and moral culpability) of homicidal crimes, which don’t require an affirmative act (for example, you can commit homicide by failing to do something you’re legally required to do, like failing to feed your infant child);
  • the creation and evolution of due process and Miranda rights, a special form of advance protection designed to insure custodial police interrogations don’t violate the Fifth Amendment privilege against compelled self-incrimination.

“We’ve constructed such a complicated system of constitutional criminal procedure rights to help ensure that criminal investigations and criminal adjudications are fundamentally fair,” says Professor Hoffman. “And that’s also why our criminal law provides so many opportunities for different actors – the prosecutor, the defense lawyer, the courts, and the jury – to do the right thing and thereby fulfill the ends of justice.”

Civil Procedure

All first-year law students are required to take a course in civil procedure, which focuses on some of the most important Supreme Court cases of all time. Whether you’re a lawyer or a private citizen, understanding how civil procedure works is important for two key reasons. First, regardless of how much substantive law knowledge lawyers have, if they can’t navigate through procedural rules to vindicate their clients’ interests, their knowledge is useless. Second, private citizens should understand why lawsuits turn out the way they do, and what their procedural rights are should they find themselves in one.

In these 12 lectures by Professor Peter J. Smith of The George Washington University Law School, you’ll investigate the myriad procedures courts follow to resolve disputes about substantive rights. Rather than focus on the mechanics of actual trials, you’ll examine a broader set of questions any system of litigation must address—questions whose answers turn out to be hugely consequential for people seeking justice. Delve into important issues like:

  • How many defendants can you sue in one suit?
  • When can a judge resolve a case before the jury has heard any evidence?
  • Why is the discovery process, despite its lack of drama, so vital to civil procedure?
  • What rules prevent parties from re-litigating matters a court has already decided on?

These lectures are filled with Supreme Court cases essential to any well-rounded understanding of American law. Among them are:

  • Ashcroft v. Iqbal, the 2009 case which established a new standard for evaluating complaints that does not automatically assume all a plaintiff’s factual allegations are true;
  • Guaranty Trust Co. v. York, a 1945 case concerning statutes of limitations that said if the difference between a state and federal procedural rule can dictate the parties’ choice between federal or state court, the federal court has to apply the state’s rule;
  • Beacon Theatres v. Westover, a dispute between two movie theaters that ended with the Supreme Court’s 1959 decision that a jury’s resolution of common questions should bind the judge, not the other way around; and
  • Hansberry v. Lee, the 1940 decision in which the Supreme Court explained a class action can bind absent class members only if they’re adequately represented by the class representatives.

Civil procedure, as you’ll soon learn, is relevant in every single lawsuit. In fact, the same rules of civil procedure apply regardless of whether the suit is about torts, contracts, antitrust laws, or any other legal subject.


From slips on wet supermarket floors to missed medical diagnoses, tort law, according to Professor Edward K. Cheng of Vanderbilt Law School, often proves that fact is stranger than fiction. Torts, in a sense, deal with the law of everyday life, and over the course of 12 lectures you’ll get a whirlwind tour of this exciting, perplexing, and occasionally bizarre area of legal study.

“Tort law,” says Professor Cheng, “is frequently at the core of some of today’s biggest and most sensational lawsuits in the media. It governs an incredibly broad range of lawsuits from everyday life.”

Broadly defined, torts are private wrongs. The defendant is accused of behaving badly in some way and causing some kind of harm or injury to the plaintiff. The plaintiff sues the defendant, usually for money, but occasionally for an injunction, where the court forces the defendant to do something or stop doing something.

Importantly, torts are different from crimes, which are public, as opposed to private wrongs. In a tort case, the plaintiff is a private party who sues to vindicate a private interest.

Throughout his lectures, Professor Cheng reveals:

  • what kind of behavior tort law expects from each of us;
  • what, exactly, a plaintiff has to prove in tort cases to win and get damages; and
  • which parties are responsible for what types of harms and why.

Along the way, you’ll learn about some of the classic tort cases and the puzzles they present.

  • If the defendant sees someone drowning in a lake, does the defendant have a legal obligation to save the plaintiff?
  • If a baseball leaves a stadium and hits a bystander in the head, is the stadium liable? Does it matter if this was the first baseball hit that far in 50 years?
  • What happens when two quail hunters accidently fire their shotguns in the direction of a third, wounding him, but we can’t tell precisely whose shot pellet hit the victim?

Whether you’re following cases involving hot cups of fast-food coffee, drunken sailors, dangerous amusement park rides, or pet snakes, you’ll find yourself better able to make sense of the intricate legal arguments and distinctions that make up torts.

Ultimately, you’ll discover that, beneath these seemingly odd and surprising cases lies an essential humanity that makes this area such a compelling and worthy area of study.

A Civically Important Course

Law School for Everyone is packed with some of the most important, decisive, and controversial court cases in American history. Each of the cases you explore illuminates, in its own unique way, the inner workings of the nation’s judicial system and its malleability.

Here are just a few of the many cases you’ll examine, from multiple legal angles, in these 48 fascinating lectures:

  • State of Florida v. George Zimmerman (2013)
  • Citizens United v. FEC (2010)
  • Marbury v. Madison (1803)
  • State of California v. O.J. Simpson (1995)
  • Miranda v. Arizona (1966)

Additionally, the lectures benefit from specially commissioned courtroom illustrations, informative animations, helpful on-screen text, photographs, video footage, and voice acting that recreates the drama of the courtroom.

Law School for Everyone puts you in the hands of four masterful law professors who’ve built their entire careers around understanding and teaching the law in all its forms. Whether you want to continue studying how the law works, or whether you just want to join the debate over today’s (and tomorrow’s) important legal cases, let this course be your authoritative guide to one of the most fascinating and civically important professions out there.

Law School for Everyone [TTC Video]

Law School for Everyone [TTC Video]

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