The American History Podcast

By Shawn Warswick

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Episode Date
2.31 The Battle of Mexico City

Today we get to the final major battle of the war: Mexico City.

Dec 09, 2019
2.30 the Battle of Cerro Gordo

The U.S. Army is on the march toward Mexico City.

Nov 25, 2019
Bonus Episode: Misha Leybovich and American Political History

In this bonus episode I interview Misha Leybovich, a tech entrepreneur and amateur historian who wrote a fascinating article on the cyclical nature of American political history. Check out the article here. 

You can follow Misha on twitter @Mishaley


Oct 03, 2019
2.29 The Siege of Veracruz

Today we start the bloodiest phase of the war. Scott lands at Veracruz and lays siege to the city.

Sep 25, 2019
Bonus Episode: 50th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing

In this episode we discuss the early years of the American Space Program and the Apollo 11 moon landing.

Mercury launch vehicle

Buzz Aldrin salutes the American flag.

Neil Armstrong on the moon.

Columbia as seen from the Lunar Module.

Apollo 11 crew.

Aug 28, 2019
2.28 The Battle of Buena Vista Pt 2

Aug 02, 2019
2.27 Buena Vista I

We transition into the second half of the war and set up the Battle of Buena Vista.

Jun 30, 2019
2.26 The War in New Mexico and California

General Kearny

Palace of the Governors, Santa Fe

John C. Fremont

May 29, 2019
Introduction to 1983: The Year the World Almost Ended

Here is the introduction to 1983: The Year the World Almost Ended. I hope you enjoy it. Further episodes of this new series will be available on Patreon. Just head over to Patreon and for $3.00/month you will have access to a minimum of one episode/month.

Apr 22, 2019
2.25 The Battle of Monterrey

The Battle of Monterrey. September 1846.
Our Patreon site is now live!

Apr 14, 2019
2.24 Early Stages of the War

The early stages of the war.

Apr 07, 2019
2.23 The US Army in 1845

Today we discuss the U.S. Army in 1845.

Mar 31, 2019
2.22 The Comanches!

Today we discuss the Comanche and their effects on Mexico’s ability to wage war.

Mar 17, 2019
2.21 Confrontation!

This week we finally get shots fired in the war as we go over the initial confrontation between Mexico and the United States.

Overall Map of the war.

The disputed territory between Mexico and the United States.

A view of the field where the Battle of Palo Alto took place, May 8, 1846.

General Zachary Taylor.

Mar 11, 2019
2.20 Manifest Destiny and the Election of 1844

In this episode we get right up to the eve of the War with Mexico. We cover the role of Manifest Destiny, the election of 1844 and a few other things.

Mar 06, 2019
2.19 Demographic Changes and the Industrial Revolution

Today we cover the demographic changes and economic changes in the years prior to the war with Mexico.

Feb 25, 2019
2.18 Slavery in Antebellum America

Slavery in Antebellum America.

Jan 21, 2019
2.17 Texas War for Independence

Finally Texas gains Independence.

Dec 31, 2018
Bonus Episode: Nullification and the U.S. Constitution

This bonus episodes discusses the nature of the American Union. I present the compact theory of the union and discuss why nullification is not only needed, but it was never used to protect slavery.

If you want more information on this topic there are a couple of great books I’d recommend, both of which are written in a way that makes them accessible to the general public.

First, Thomas E. Woods book on Nullification (that’s also the title) and his book “The Politically Incorrect Guide to American history.” He also has a book, co-written with Kevin Gutzman titled “Who Killed the Constitution.”

Another good book is Brion McClanahan’s book on Alexander Hamilton “How Alexander Hamilton Screwed Up America.” Again, Dr. McClanahan writes in a way that makes this book accessible to the general public without being dumbed down.

Nov 26, 2018
2.15 Texas part 3

Today we discuss the geography and climate of the region as well as take the tale up to the eve of Independence.

Here are some photos and two maps of the state.


Aug 17, 2018
2.14 Texas part 2

In this episode we continue to explore the history of Texas in the 1820s. We look at the Comanches, the Apaches and their raids on Mexico as well as the various groups who were living in Texas, including the development of the Texas mindset.

Jul 14, 2018
2.13 First Anniversary Special

Celebrating the first anniversary of the show! Chris Fernandez-Peckham of the Age of Victoria podcast joins me to discuss the War for American Independence. It’s a bit of a long one, but that is appropriate considering we have made it to our first birthday, and many, if not most, podcasts don’t make it past 3-4 shows. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

Jul 01, 2018
2.12 Texas part I

Today we begin a multi part exploration of Texas and it’s complicated history leading up to, and including Texas Independence.

Some maps which will help the listener understand the geographical layout of Texas.

Jun 26, 2018
2.11 Mexico in the Age of Santa Anna

Today we discuss Mexico in the Age of Santa Anna.

Jun 01, 2018
2.10 Mexican Independence

Today we go into the Mexican War for Independence and look at Agustin de Iturbide as well as a momentary glimpse at Santa Anna.

May 20, 2018
2.9 The Spanish Borderlands in the 18th and 19th Century

In this episode we discuss the Spanish Borderlands in the 18th and 19th Century through the lenses of militarization and violence.

Apr 16, 2018
2.8 Andrew Jackson’s Second Term and Legacy

Today we discuss Andrew Jackson’s second term and his legacy. Was he a good president? Was he bad? Listen to the episode to find out.

Apr 10, 2018
2.7 Jackson’s First Term (or Jackson II)

Andrew Jackson’s first term. We discuss the kitchen cabinet, the Eaton affair and the Nullification Crisis.

Mar 26, 2018
2.6 Andrew Jackson 1

In this episode we introduce one of the most controversial of all American presidents, Andrew Jackson. We look at his life, his exploits as a general, and the election of 1824.

Mar 18, 2018
2.5 The New Democracy

A brief episode looking at the rise of the so-called “New Democracy” of the early 19th century.

Mar 15, 2018
2.4 The American Empire

In this episode we discuss the ideological roots of the American empire as well as a couple of examples of American imperialism which took place in the early 19th century.

Mar 14, 2018
2.3 The Missouri Compromise

A short crash course episode covering the Missouri Compromise.

Mar 13, 2018
2.1 Jefferson’s Legacy, Madison, and the War of 1812

In this episode we cover the legacy of Jefferson and Madison as well as the War of 1812.

Mar 13, 2018
2.2 The Era of Good Feelings

A Short look at the “Era of Good Feelings” with a focus on Henry Clay’s “American System” and the Panic of 1819.

Mar 12, 2018
2.1 Jefferson’s Legacy, Madison, and the War of 1812

In this episode we cover the legacy of Jefferson and Madison as well as the War of 1812.

Mar 11, 2018
Season 2 Introduction

Overview of season two, in which our topic is the war between the United States and Mexico.

Mar 11, 2018
Episode 15: British Colonial American Society

Overview of Colonial American society in the 18th century.

Mar 04, 2018
Episode 14: The Middle Colonies

Episode 14: The Middle Colonies (New York and Pennsylvania)

Feb 25, 2018
Episode 13: Puritan relations with the American Indians

In this episode we quickly cover the relationship between the Puritans and native peoples. We discuss land exchange as well as the Pequot War and King Phillip’s War. NOTE: This episode was re-recorded in mid March to fix sound issues.

Feb 20, 2018
Episode 12: Religion and Politics in New England

Religion and politics in seventeenth century New England.

Feb 13, 2018
Episode 11: Plymouth and Mass Bay Colony

The American History Podcast, episode 11. [Intro music]

Hello, and welcome to the American history podcast episode 11, the Plymouth and Massachusetts Bay Colonies. Today we continue the story of the New England colonies in the seventeenth century. Before we get started, as always, I’d like to invite you to follow the podcast on social media. We are on twitter @americanhiscast. You can also follow my personal twitter, but I warn you I don’t only tweet about history on that one. For my personal feed look up @shawnwarswick. You can also go to the website where you will find the sources I’ve used to create the episodes and, soon, I’ll have transcripts up for each episode. go to www.the American history podcast dot com. You also can sign up for our email list, which allows you to get email updates whenever a new episode is released.
The first colony founded in New England was the Plymouth Colony, founded by the group of people we know as “pilgrims.” The pilgrims were actually the first wave of separatists who had left Britain for Holland where they felt they would be able to practice Calvinism in the way they wanted. Led by Rev. John Robinson, they would soon become unhappy with the “dutchification” of their children. They wanted, most of all, the chance to practice their religion as Englishmen without interference from others (and without having to see their children infected by the popular culture around them).
Thus, the separatists secured rights to settle within the Virginia Company’s jurisdiction in Virginia. The agreement was that the pilgrims would work for seven years in return for support of the joint stock company which was made up of non-separatist investors. After seven years any profit realized by the venture would be shared between the settlers and the investors. While religion was a motivating factor in the settlement of the pilgrims in the New World, it also had an economic aspect which is sometimes forgotten or overlooked. The idea was, of course, that the pilgrims would practice their religion while, at the same time, providing profit for themselves and the Virginia Company.
The plan was for the Mayflower to set sail for North America in early September. Now, if you pay any attention to the weather off the east coast of the United States, the late summer/early fall can be an interesting time. In September of 1620 the weather was, to say the least, non-cooperative and sailing the North Atlantic was quite dangerous. Nonetheless, the ship set sail from Plymouth on September 6, 1620. There were 102 passengers, plus about 30 officers and sailors on board. The voyage was, quite honestly, miserable for the passengers, and, finally, on November 9, 1620, the ship sighted present-day Cape Cod.
Realizing they were far north of their intended landfall, the ship attempted to head south, to no avail. The heavy seas forced the ship to return to Cape Cod and, on November 11 they dropped anchor. Some historians have suggested that the Pilgrims “hijacked” the ship and, in order to gain the consent of the non-separatists, issued the Mayflower Compact. Whatever the case may be, the settlers eventually chose Plymouth Bay as their initial settlement site. This had been an American Indian community ravaged by a great plague a few years earlier, suggesting that the natives in this area had contact with Europeans or with other natives who had contact with Europeans.
Because Plymouth was outside the jurisdiction of the Virginia Company, the settlers were squatters. They had no legal right to the land and no recognized government. They were not authorized to settle in this area which explains why they never gained a charter from the crown.
I mentioned the Mayflower Compact a few moments ago, so lets briefly discuss it. It was NOT a constitution, but an agreement. The purpose of the compact was to legitimize the fact that the settlers had created a colony outside Virginia by creating a...

Jan 08, 2018
Episode 10: The Protestant Reformation and the Puritans

Okay, so the Protestant Reformation. In 1517, Martin Luther began his break from the Catholic church and this is the birth of the Protestant movement. Now I have no intention on going into this in too much depth, as this is a podcast dedicated to American history, not European history. But it is helpful to understand Protestantism. So, with that in mind, what do you really need to know about Luther and the reformation?
First, Luther declared the Bible alone was the source of God’s word. This is different from the Church, which holds that tradition is important. Luther dismissed church tradition and holds that the word of god alone, as presented in the bible, is all that matters. And in this Luther denounces the authority of the pope. Secondly, salvation is determined by faith alone, not by works. Not by donating money to the church. This is Luther responding to the corruption that he saw taking place in Germany, specifically when it comes to the selling of indulgences. The last thing you really need to understand is that the reformation comes to dominate European politics well into the 17th century.
Luther, however, was not the only protestant reformer. After Luther you get John Calvin who elaborated on Luther’s ideas and founded the Calvinist movement when he published the Institutes of the Christian Religion in 1536. In this book Calvin argued that God was all powerful and all good. Humans, due to their original sin, were weak and wicked beings. Further, he postulates the idea of predestination, arguing that god, who is all knowing, already knows who will go to heaven and who will end up going to hell. Those who were going to heaven were referred to as “the elect” and they were chosen by god for eternal salvation.
According to Calvin, “good works” such as following the sacraments of the Catholic Church, did not determine salvation. Of course, this is similar to what Luther was arguing. Having said that, while your final disposition was already decided, one could not simply act immoral, as no one knew their status before god. The fourth major aspect of Calvin’s’ theology was that a conversion experience was seen as a sign from God that you had been chosen. After this experience you were expected to lead a “sanctified” life as a model for the community. These people were referred to as the “visible saints.”
Luther and his followers and Calvin and his were not the only protestants. More central to the story of American history, of course, would be the Church of England and the Puritans. The Church of England broke ties with the Roman Catholic church in the 1530’s in the English reformation. This was the point at which the monarch of England, who at this time was Henry VIII, became the head of the church.
The problem with the Anglican church, at least in the minds of some of the more ardent protestants in England, was that it did not go far enough in breaking with the Catholic church. These “puritans” were fellow protestants who wanted to reform the Anglican church, to purify it of its’ Catholic elements and exclude people who were not committed to this goal. If they weren’t radical enough, there was a group known as the Separatists, an extreme group of Puritans who desired to completely break from the Anglican church, rather than reform it. It was this group who would become known to us as Pilgrims.
The Separatists specifically, were problematic for the English monarch, who at this time, in the early 17th century, was James I. He was concerned that these people were challenging his role as the leader of the Church of England. Their inability to conform was, at least in his mind, a direct challenge to his authority. Further, James as a believer in the idea of the “divine right” of kings. He claimed, when the Calvinists argued against the existence of bishops, that “no bishop” meant “no king.” Thus, he would not allow for the elimination of the system of bishops in the Church...

Jan 02, 2018
Episode 9: Southern Culture

Southern Culture is the topic of today’s episode, and I think it is one that you will find informative and fascinating. First, the south is America. Plain and simple. To understand America you need to understand the south.

Dec 12, 2017
Show Update

An update on the show and the upcoming season 2.

Dec 08, 2017
Episode 8: Bonus Episode, The Vietnam War, the American Empire and the Cold War

Hello, and welcome to the American history podcast episode 8: Bonus Episode, The Vietnam War. First, let me apologize for having been gone for about two months. If you are a regular listener at this time (it is 2017) you know I’ve not released an episode since early October. There are two major reasons for my absence. First, I changed schools and, indeed, moved to a school in an entirely different school district. This change was a long time in coming. I’d been unhappy with the leadership at my previous school for at least a year. While a year isn’t all that long, the amount of change was just too much, and I felt it was time to get out. Lucky for me, I have friends in other districts all over the city and a couple of them really helped me out.
The second reason I’ve been gone for two months is that my oldest dog, Chuck, passed away in early November after a 10-day illness. He was 13.5 and the light of our lives. I had planned on recording an episode on October 31st and releasing it the next day, but that was when Chuck was ill so I was unable to do so. He then passed away on November 7 and I was a mess, so recording was out of the question. So hopefully we can now get back on track. On with the show!

Dec 05, 2017
Episode 7: The Southern Colonies 2, Maryland and the Carolinas
Oct 09, 2017
Episode 6: The Southern Colonies part 1: Virginia

Today we begin our discussion of the Southern colonies, starting off with Virginia. We will touch on the Virginia Company, Jamestown and how Virginia was actually first in many regards, contrary to the conventional wisdom which tends to place New England at the forefront of the colonies.

Sep 24, 2017
Episode 5: Overview of the British North American Empire

We discuss the drive for colonies, the British experience in Ireland as a blueprint for their North american colonies. We also discuss the importance of mercantilism and the desire to centralize power.

Sep 23, 2017
Episode 4: European Empires in the New World II

Today we discuss New France and wrap up our discussion of New Spain.

Sep 04, 2017
Episode 3: Bonus Episode

Secession, thanks to California, seems to be in the news lately, but so is the idea of what Jefferson referred to as state interposition, or the ability of a state to nullify an unconstitutional federal law. This has had me thinking about the union and its nature, and how most Americans don’t even understand this anymore, if they ever did. Then, recently, I was listening to a podcast which sent me into meltdown (I’m not going to name the offenders so please don’t ask!). They said secession was not constitutional and that Abraham Lincoln, when he asserted that the Declaration of Independence created one nation, the United States, was correct. This is so incorrect that I swear my head exploded. Thus, episode 3 was born.

Aug 27, 2017
Episode 2: European Empires in the New World pt. 1

During the late 15th century to about the 18th century Europe would be engaged in extensive overseas exploration and would also emerge as the “center” of the world, at least in regard to its power, militarily and economically. This is the start of the age of European colonialism, sometimes referred to as the first age of empires (the second one starting in the late 19th century with the “scramble for Africa” and ending in the wake of World War II). A question that we need to address is why? Why did Europe suddenly become so interested in the rest of the world, and why did it come to dominate it?
First of all, the emerging nation-states in Europe began seeking power in the competition against their rivals. Competition was fierce in the 15th century, but it would become even more so with the addition of a religious component thanks to the Protestant reformation. That would make it to some extent a rivalry between Protestant and Catholic nations.

Map of the Spanish Treasure Fleets

The Plaza Mayor and the Cathedral in Lima, Peru (Viceroyalty of Peru)

Treaty of Tordesillas

Jul 30, 2017
Episode 1: The Americas Before Columbus

Covering the Americas prior to Columbus, we destroy some myths about native American peoples, including how they arrived and the size of native American population.


Some of the resources used to create this episode:

  1. Charles Mann, 1491. 
  2. Stuart J. Fiedel, “The Peopling of the New World: Present Evidence, New Theories, and Future Directions”  in Journal of Archeological Research, Vol. 8, No. 1, 2000. 
  3. Robert Remini, A Short History of the United States.
Jul 16, 2017
Episode O: Introduction

Hello, and welcome to the American History podcast: episode 0, Introduction. My name is Shawn Warswick, your host for this podcast which will explore the history of the United States.

In this first episode, my goal is to simply lay the foundation for the podcasts which will follow, and to answer two simple questions. What is this and why? This is a podcast about the history of the United States, starting BEFORE the political entity known as the United States existed. We will cover many of the familiar topics of American history, but also many things which, perhaps, are not so well known. And we certainly will be covering them in far more depth than what is often done in say, a history course in school.

The second question, why am I doing a podcast, is quite easy to answer. Just as probably almost every other history podcaster, I love history and have since I can remember. I loved going on family vacations to places like Yellowstone or the Grand Canyon and stopping along the way at different historical locations.

As a teacher, I really hate being answerable to some distant education board and having to teach the things they say are important. The beauty of this podcast is that I can focus on what I think is important and interesting. I can also go at my own pace. Furthermore, as a professional historian and teacher, I despise how oftentimes the mainstream culture, and even some of my own professionals, caricature people and events, boiling them down into almost a cartoon version of history.

In general, I love podcasts, and have been inspired by both podcasters in general and history podcasters specifically. First, I need to thank Tom Woods. He has been an inspiration when it comes to podcasting, and if it weren’t for his advice, this show would not exist. Hopefully I do him justice. Secondly, the folks at podcastwebsites deserve a major bit of my gratitude. There is certainly no way this show would exist without their technical expertise. I might know history, but I do NOT know the technical aspects of the internet. They have been amazingly helpful with things I knew nothing about. Finally, some of the history podcasters who’ve inspired me are Robin Pearson of the History of Byzantium podcast, which, if you haven’t listened to, you really should. Others include Jaime Jeffers of the British History Podcast and the History of English podcast’s Kevin Stroud.

The way the show will work, at least the plan of the way it will work, is for a new episode to come out once a month, on the 1st of the month, so you will have a new episode quite soon. The reason for the month delay is to allow me to research and write the episode. While I lecture on these things all the time, I want to make sure I’ve given you a narrative that is in depth and worth your time. I also hope to do some bonus episodes from time to time on subjects that are either a. not covered in the narrative or b. a topic that is going to be covered in the narrative at some far off future date. Ideally, if the interest is there, I’d like to do two episodes each month at some point. But for now I’m able to commit to one per month.

I’d also like to mention the website, Every episode will have a page with the show notes as well as links to any sites which I mention as well as a list of resources used to create the episode. I also would like to invite you, when you visit the site, to sign up for email updates on the show.

So, a little about myself and my credentials. I’m a historian. I have a B.A. and an M.A. in history and I’m currently two courses away from finishing coursework on my Ph.D., also in history. I teach history at the high school level. The courses I’ve taught are Geography, World History, U.S. history, US Government, Economics, Advanced Placement World history, AP US history and AP European history. I’ve also taught IB history of the Americas for the last three school...

Jul 16, 2017