It is no small choice, no simple feat of the will to uproot oneself and venture into the relative unknown. How many great stories have begun with a stranger in a strange land? How much more significant, then, are these true tales of movement en masse?

Our goal is simple: help us all follow our national “Origin Trail,” and see how we became the nation we are today.

There are histories of American wars, histories of American fashion, histories of agriculture and gender politics. This is a history of American migration. From Utah to utopians, the Wilderness road to Wyoming mining towns, the Trail of Tears to the Colorado beers, we’ll explore how we all got to where we are, and how those stories have shaped American culture and identity.

American migration is different. Even today, Americans move more than people in almost any other country on earth. And the history of American settlement is a history full of political, moral, and, for many Americans past and present spiritual significance. The “exceptional” American destiny has been carried through the decades by a roster of unlikely characters: dissidents, slaves, Native Americans, cowboys, fur traders, and farmers.

 

Friends of the Show

Joe Bandy

Herman and Phyllis Bays

Elijah Coleman

Zac Derenne

Gabriel E.

Jordan Kearns

Mario Lubenka

Pablo Navarro

"Steve"*

Andy Reynolds

Stacey Spears

Brian Troyer

Serena Williams**

10 other anonymous donors

 

* Not this person's real name.

** A different Serena Williams than the one you're thinking