How The States Got Their Shapes

  • 2011
  • TV Show
  • None

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

Where to Watch

Available to Stream

How The States Got Their Shapes Season 2
The U.S. is like a giant jigsaw puzzle, where every line on the map tells a different story.
Urban Life vs. Rural Life
02:17 — Brian Unger looks at the divide (and the difference in coffee shop density) between "city" and "country" in the United States of America.
Tennessee-Georgia Border Disorder
02:23 — The border between Tennessee and Georgia remains the subject of heated debate to this day.
How The States Got Their Shapes Season 1
The U.S. is like a giant jigsaw puzzle, where every line on the map tells a different story.
Season 2 - Sneak Peek
02:00 — The new season of How The States Got Their Shapes premieres on Saturday, September 29 at 8/7c, but a special sneak peek is available now!
Washington, D.C.
02:29 — George Washington picked out the location and laid out a perfect diamond shape for the city, spanning parts of Maryland and Virginia. But a looming fi (more…)
Nevada
01:40 — Nevada became a state long before it was eligible in order to boost Abraham Lincoln’s reelection chances. To give the desert state access to the Color (more…)
Illinois
02:22 — The Illinois Territory’s northern boundary originally ended at the southernmost point of Lake Michigan, leaving it with no port on the Great Lakes, an (more…)
How Texas Got Its Shape
02:40 — Texas may have a “go-it-alone” reputation, but the state needed the United States much more than the nation needed the state. The Republic of Texas ha (more…)
West Virginia
01:53 — Culture, economics and geography separated western Virginia from then rest of the state. The Civil War drove the final wedge between east and west, wi (more…)
Maine
02:53 — Once part of Massachusetts, Maine joined the Union as a free state in 1820 to counterbalance the admission of Missouri, a slave state. But Maine’s nor (more…)
Florida
02:18 — Florida was once Spanish and much larger. Its panhandle stretched from the Savannah River to the Mississippi, but, over time, the Spanish relinquished (more…)
The Rebels of South Carolina
Did the American Revolution start in Charleston, South Carolina?
State of Jefferson
In the 1940s, a group of Northern California residents planned to secede from the United States.In the 1940s, a group of Northern California residents (more…)
Ohio
Ohio was the first state to be carved out of the expanding western territories.
Central Air
The invention of air conditioning allowed settlers to move west into the country's hotter regions.
Puritanism
How did the differences between Pilgrims and Puritans help shape the states of New England?
A Mormon State
After the Mexican-American War, the Mormon settlement of Deseret was claimed by the U.S. government.
Silicon Prairie
The winters can be harsh, but North Dakota may be the next technological boom town.
The Quaker Pen
Quakers built Eastern State Penitentiary to reform prisoners through quiet introspection, but the results were surprising: Many inmates were driven in (more…)
Hatfields and McCoys
One of the country's most famous family feuds began over a simple case of a stolen pig.

Cast & Details See all »

  • Premiered: May 3, 2011
  • Rating: None
  • Premise: The origins of the shapes of America's states are traced, with examinations of the geographical, political and social factors that determined the borders. (more)

Show More »

Trending TonightSee all »