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Voici la cinquième et dernière saison de Hell on Wheels sur AMC.

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Le chemin de fer n’est toujours pas achevé et Cullen Bohannon se trouve toujours avec la Central Pacific Railroad.

Il est toujours déterminé à finir sa tâche, rallier la Californie à l’Utah, et espère toujours retrouver sa famille. Enfin, s’il arrive à ne pas se faire tuer ou à ne pas croiser les mauvaises personnes sur son chemin !

Cette dernière saison de quatorze épisodes sera diffusée en deux parties : sept épisodes durant l’été 2015, puis sept autres épisodes en 2016.

Voici la quatrième saison de la série Hell on Wheels sur AMC.

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Cette saison se centre encore et toujours sur l’expansion vers l’Ouest de l’Union Pacific Railroad.

Des conflits entre le gouvernement et des entreprises, des ranchers, des colons et la ligne de chemin de fer éclatent.

Tous ces intérêts différents entrent en compétition les uns avec les autres pour le contrôle de la ville de Cheyenne, dans le Wyoming, l’un des noeuds les plus importants de la ligne de chemin de fer en 1867.

Lorsque je fais ma séquence sur les Natives avec mes 3èmes, je leur montre quelques extraits de la série Hell on Wheels.

Cela leur montre les conditions de vie de l’époque, les tenues vestimentaires, le racisme et l’intolérance… bref, c’est très instructif et cela les fait parler.

Cette scène en particulier les touche beaucoup : il s’agit de la scène de l’épisode 1×09 où les Natives se font massacrer par les hommes du régiment :

La musique de Mumford & Sons est superbe et contraste avec la violence des images.

Hell on Wheels est de retour pour une troisième saison sur AMC.

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Cullen Bohannon revient au centre du show et abandonne son désir de vengeance pour sa famille pour continuer l’expansion vers l’ouest de l’Union Pacific Railroad, tout en combattant Thomas “Doc” Durant pour le contrôle.

La tagline de cette saison est : “Outlaw In Charge”.

Voici la seconde saison d’Hell on Wheels, diffusée sur AMC.

Cullen Bohannon continue sa quête à la recherche de ceux qui sont responsables de la mort de sa femme et de son fils, tout comme continue l’expansion vers l’ouest de l’Union Pacific Railroad, dirigée par Thomas “Doc” Durant.

Pendant ce temps, Durant envoie Elam s’occuper d’une bande qui vole la paie des employés.

La tagline de cette saison est : “still fighting … still searching … still raising hell”. Dix épisodes sont prévus pour cette saison.

Nous avions vu le trailer il y a quelques mois, voici le début d’Hell on Wheels sur AMC.

Dans cette série-western, Cullen Bohannan (Anson Mount), ancien propriétaire d’esclaves et soldat confédéré, est déterminé à venger le viol et meurtre de sa femme en traquant et tuant les soldats de l’Union responsables de cette infamie. Il voyage vers l’ouest et demande à travailler à la construction du premier chemin de fer transcontinental américain.

Moving west

In 1783, more and more settlers had set in the new territories between the Appalachian Mountains and the Mississippi River. Settlers journeyed across the mountains to create new settlements out of the wilderness. The problem was that Indians already lived there: settlers were perceived as thieves and this led to a struggle for land in the late 18th century.

The new Government tried to keep peace with the Natives by treaties but they were never respected, for obvious reasons. The President James Monroe wrote that the Natives” hunting way of life “required a greater extent of territory that is compatible with the progress of a civilized life and must yield to it. If the Indian tribes do not abandon that state and become civilized, they will decline and become extinct”.

Therefore, the only way to survive for Natives is to be moved further West in “Indian territories”. In 1830, the American Government passed a law to put this policy in practice, the Indian Removal Act. One of the most tragic example is that of the Cherokees, who were the first to suffer from this policy. The Cherokees had evolved into a civilized community and had followed the White rules: they had their own newspapers and their own constitution, modeled on the American one. But none of this saved them.

In the 1830’s, Congress decided their land belonged to Georgia and that it had to be sold to White settlers. The Cherokees were forced to march hundreds of miles to reach Oklahoma. With the terrible winter of 1830, their journey turned out to a nightmare that lasted 5 months. A quarter of the Cherokee nation perished: it was called the “Trail of Tears”.

The Federal Government started to organize the land for settlement: land should be surveyed and divided into square units called “townships” (about 6 x 6 miles). It marked the beginning of the gigantic expansion.

The War of 1812

In June 1812, Congress declared war to Britain. American ships won a number of battles at sea but the British Navy gained complete control and blockaded American harbors. The Americans also tried to invade Canada (territory ruled by the British) but they failed. British forces captured and burnt the city of Washington, capital of the USA: symbolic defeat.

In December 1814, the peace was signed in Europe but two weeks later, British forces attacked New Orleans because they did not know peace was signed.

That was a lesson for the Americans, especially for the industry: Americans began to make their goods on their own. America was to become a manufacturing industry. Even Jefferson, who was against manufactory, turned about when he realized how much important it was. War became an economic development and there was a need to “place the manufacturer at the side of the agriculturer”.

“Old Hickory” : Andrew Jackson

Andrew Jackson was a hero of the Frontier and was nicknamed “Old Hickory”. He differed from the former Presidents, who were all rich and coming from the Atlantic settlements. Indeed, he was from a poor family from the West Coast who fought for the Frontier and who became a rich land-owner. Jackson was elected in 1828 and he is one of the founders of the Democratic Party: the Government should be organized to benefit the “Great Body” of the USA. He was mainly elected (and re-elected in 1832) by planters, farmers, mechanics and laborers because the keyword of his policy was “cheap”:

  • money: low rates of interests
  • land: forcing Indians West
  • manufacturing goods: reducing import duties

Jackson was responsible for the slow annihilation of the Natives. His attitude is controversial today: some historians think he was concerned with his own interest (a populist). Those who stand for him, on the contrary, highlight the fact that Jacksonian Democracy was an important landmark in the American history.

A few notions…

Puritanism is a radical version of Protestantism, which is rooted in the movement called the Reformation (16th century). American Puritanism and English Puritanism are fairly different. American Puritanism became the ultimate, most coherent of Protestantism because it grew in a virgin soil. It is an experiment in America with European roots. The most famous characters are Luther and Calvin, who both had a great influence first in Europe and then in America.

The most radical movement was led by the Separatists. For them, the Church was hopelessly corrupted. Only the elect, “God’s invisible saints”, could be Church members. They believed in personal religious rebirth and to the regenerating experience. This puritan version is prompted by the notion of sin: people are sinful, especially women. It is the basic corrupt notion of human nature. For Puritanism, it is impossible to reach perfection: “in Adam’s fault we sinned all”.

Puritanism is not only a matter of theology but also a matter of social organization: God also rules the collective life of the people. Man is linked up to God with a covenant. By respecting this covenant, man could get rid of his depravity (covenant of Grace). These notions were puritan before America. Puritans were looking for a place to experiment this system. In 1620, the Pilgrim Fathers landed in America: they were separatists and belonged to a cult (kind of sect). What they did is to sign a covenant: the “MayFlower Compact”, which is not only religious but also civic and politic. Between 1630 and 1640, 20 000 English puritans settled down in the Massachusetts colony. Many people were University trained, especially in theology. The power of the Church was so profound that some people talked about “Theocracy” (Government of God).

The puritans moved to America because they were persecuted in Europe. Theocracy was so strict that there were a growing discontent in the colonies: settlers started to criticize and question the system.

Roger Williams was for the separation of the State and the Church. In 1635, Williams was banned. He created his own colony called “Providence”, who became the heaven of religious tolerance (later known as Rhode-Island). Anne Hutchinson arrived in America in 1634. She organized private meeting, commented on sermons and stressed the importance of “inner light” (private experience of Grace towards genuine regeneration) stating that the Church was too formal. She had followers called Antinomians (against the laws). In 1638, she was trialed and she had to find refuge in Providence.

How long did Puritanism last in America ?

Until the late 16th century but Puritanism went on and on in American mentality. It had many factors for its decay, the most important were:

  1. the religious competition
  2. people’s belief in freedom and tolerance
  3. 1692 knew a witch hysteria in Salem. Thousands of witches were burnt in Europe in the Middle-Ages in Germany and in England (some in France). The immigrants who came in America brought with them this fear of witchcraft. In 1692, some 20 people were sentenced to death for witchcraft.

All these reasons embodied and materialized the decay of Puritanism. It can be interpreted as a desperate effort to resist change (die-hard Puritanism) and to block the emergence of a more open and tolerant society. This is the first failure in the American system.

Link between Puritanism and Expansionism ?

Puritan settlement were located on the East Coast and all the rest of the territory was part of the “terra incognita”. This was a dilemma for the puritans: the big question of that time could be resumed by ‘should I stay or should I go?”, showing the hesitation of the settlers to expand. Indeed, the wilderness was devilish and dangerous. It was a no-man’s land inhabited by nothing but Indians and animals. But the puritans had a mission: converting the Indians and trespassing their border. This turn-over was made possible thanks to William Bradford and the propagation of the Gospel. The puritans believed they were entitled to settle this land.

Civilization had a religious definition: “the Lord’s Gardens”. Bringing civilization to wilderness was like converting the Indians and settling God’s Gardens in the Wilderness. The main goal was enlarging the Kingdom of Christ. Hence, expansion had a religious basis and 3 levels:

  1. hesitation
  2. temptation to go beyond the settlement
  3. desire to form a civilization

But most puritans refrained this idea because they were frightened. American civilization is based on FEAR.

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