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How The States Got Their Shapes EpisodesSeason 1    

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  • Pilot
    The origins of the shapes of America's states are traced, with examinations of the geographical, political and social factors that determined the borders.

  • A River Runs Through It
    How water has literally shaped the States. The surprising history hidden in the blue, squiggly lines on the map: How the founding fathers might have made a mistake along the Georgia Tennessee border; how that boundary could actually change because of water; why Maine has so much -- and why Nevada was left high and dry. All told the unique shapes of these states.

  • The Great Plains, Trains And Automobiles
    The history of transportation hidden in the lines of the map. From canals to trains and cars, how getting around helped draw the American map. Why Chicago could have been in Wisconsin; why states out West or so big and boxy; and why we almost had a state called Forgottonia.

  • Force Of Nature
    How massive geological events helped create the American map. Long before the Founding Fathers drew the map, mother nature shape some states: how an asteroid created the border for three states and changed history; how glaciers plowed the great plains and how natural disasters continue to alter the map.

  • State Of Rebellion
    How the most rebellious states took shape. How they earned their outsized features and outspoken reputations; why Montana looks like it took a bite out of Idaho; why Texas wasn't broken up into five states; and why exactly we have not one but two Carolinas.

  • Living On The Edge
    What secrets are hiding in our map? What's behind the "blank spots" like Area 51? What possessed the citizens of Key West to throw down their margaritas and secede from Florida? And even in the heartland, there are those living on the edge - in Kansas, old missile bunkers are now five bedroom dream homes. And what about the county in Georgia that was left off the state's quarter?

  • Use It Or Lose It
    If you thought our borders were set in stone, you'd be wrong. Who stole a corner of Washington, DC? Is Ohio actually a state? And why isn't St. Louis our nation's capital? One thing's for sure -- our map could look very different. How did we create order out of so much chaos? With the vote.

  • Church And States
    Ever since the Pilgrims boarded the Mayflower, what we believe and how we believe has shaped the American map. Could Utah have been bigger than Texas? How did religion shatter New England into such odd little shapes? And did the Civil War actually begin... in Kansas?

  • A Boom With A View
    Did money make our map? Through boom and through bust, the sweet smell of profit has drawn and redrawn our states. How did Green Bay help carve our border with Canada? What does football have to do with fur? Is North Carolina the real "Golden State"? And why should we all move to North Dakota?

  • Culture Clash
    Will rivalries within our states break them into pieces? Cultures compete against each other all over the map. In extreme cases, they can divide states in two. How did World War II preserve the shape of California? Will part of Maine break off and become Northern Massachusetts? And as new cultures move into Florida, will the state's cowboy tradition get pushed off the map?

  • Mouthing Off
    We all live in the same country, so why do we sound do different? It's a matter of where you are on the map. Why didn't the southern accent exist until after the Civil War? How did California athletes end up coining so many new words? Why do we have so many different words for the same things -- like pop versus soda? Will one particularly strong accent cause New York to break up and create a 51st state?
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