American History Tellers

By Wondery

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Subscribers: 4312
Reviews: 22

Hank Hill
 Aug 13, 2020

 Apr 10, 2020

 Mar 18, 2020

Liberal view of America
 Mar 3, 2020
I enjoyed some of their shows but they all have an extreme liberal bias. I quit listening after I started the cold war, sorry but nothing about communism or socialism was good. You could ask the millions of victims but their dead.

 Nov 27, 2019
where is the proof for the spouting off about election interference? This has always been an amazing podcast, but keep the left wing never Trump conspiracy theorists off the show. Episode one of the new series on elections.....come on Lindsey.....the podcast is better than this clown.


The Cold War, Prohibition, the Gold Rush, the Space Race. Every part of your life -the words you speak, the ideas you share- can be traced to our history, but how well do you really know the stories that made America? We’ll take you to the events, the times and the people that shaped our nation. And we’ll show you how our history affected them, their families and affects you today. Hosted by Lindsay Graham (not the Senator). From Wondery, the network behind Tides Of History, Fall Of Rome and Dirty John.

Episode Date
The Supreme Court | The Cherokee Cases | 2

In the early 1800s, the United States was growing rapidly, seeking land and resources for its expanding population. But the growth threatened Native American communities throughout the East. In the southern Appalachia region, the Cherokee Nation held millions of acres of prime farmland and forests, managed by a centuries-old tradition and a thriving government. But the state of Georgia, and a relentless President Andrew Jackson, set their sights on seizing the land. 

When the Georgia statehouse declared political war, Cherokee advocates fought back. Newspaper publisher Elias Boudinot and Cherokee Chief John Ross took their challenge all the way to the Supreme Court, forcing Chief Justice John Marshall to weigh in on two monumental cases, Cherokee Nation v. Georgia and Worcester v. Georgia. 

At stake was a decision that would test the limits of the high court’s power -- and determine the future and sovereignty of a threatened nation. 

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Oct 28, 2020
Wondery Presents: Dr. Death Season 2

If someone you love is diagnosed with cancer you want them to get the best treatment from the best doctors. In 2013, patients in Michigan thought Farid Fata was that doctor. Between his prestigious education, years of experience and pleasant bedside manner, Fata was everything you could want in a doctor. But he was not who he appeared to be. From Wondery, this is the story of hundreds of patients in Michigan, a doctor, and a poisonous secret.

Laura Beil, returns with a second season of the award-winning series “Dr Death.”

Click to listen to Dr. Death Season 2:

Oct 27, 2020
The Supreme Court | The Predicament of John Marshall | 1

After the War of Independence, the new American government created the Supreme Court to be have the final word on disputes that the states couldn’t settle. But at first, the Court was anything but Supreme.

For nearly a decade, Congress and the President held the real power. In practice the Supreme Court was weak, ineffectual and disorganized – a post so unappealing that many men turned down nominations to serve on its bench. 

All that would change with the appointment of Chief Justice John Marshall and the arrival of a case called Marbury v. Madison — a political drama that would embroil the new President Thomas Jefferson, outgoing president John Adams, the U.S. Congress, and even the Chief Justice himself.

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Oct 21, 2020
Encore: Political Parties | The Reagan Revolution | 6

The year 1968 marked a watershed in American politics. Anti-war protests were roiling the country. Civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. was shot dead in Memphis. Democratic President Lyndon Johnson’s approval rating was plummeting. The assassination of Democratic presidential hopeful Robert Kennedy would throw the party into disarray, toppling the New Deal coalition built by Franklin Delano Roosevelt two generations earlier and leading to a conservative surge.

The political sea change would drive Republican nominee Richard Nixon to the White House in 1968. And it would eventually elect a former actor and California governor who would change the face of American politics in ways that are still being felt to this day. His name was Ronald Reagan.

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Oct 14, 2020
Encore: Political Parties | The New Deal Coalition | 5

The 1929 stock market crash saw 14 billion dollars vanish in a matter of hours — and with it, the Republican party’s decades-long grip on American politics. As Americans lost their livelihoods, they turned to President Herbert Hoover for relief. But the self-made man who had so successfully reversed his own fortunes seemed unable to do the same for his country. With discontent growing, Hoover turned on World War veterans demanding early bonus payouts to support their families. It would prove the last straw for many Americans.

The landslide election of 1932 would mark a profound realignment in U.S. politics, bringing urban centers under Democratic control for the first time in the party’s history. And it would propel into the White House Franklin Delano Roosevelt, whose sweeping New Deal would permanently transform the American political landscape.

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Oct 07, 2020
Wondery presents Kamala: Next In Line

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If she wins in November, Kamala Harris would become Vice President after one of the most consequential and tumultuous elections in American history. Harris would be the most significant player to help Joe Biden manage a country in crisis. So who is she?

Kamala: Next in Line goes inside the cross-cultural journey that led Harris from her humble roots to become the first African-American woman to represent California in the Senate and now the first African-American woman to be the Vice Presidential nominee for a major party. Hosted by MSNBC’s Joy Reid, the show features exclusive interviews with those who know her best, painting a picture of a woman who has fought her way to the top at every turn. From Oakland to Howard University, California to Washington DC, experience her story as it has never been told before. This is an intimate and immersive dive into who Kamala is, what her critics say about her, and how she arrived at this moment. 

Oct 05, 2020
Encore: Political Parties | The Golden Age of the GOP | 4

As the Civil War came to a close, the government set its sights once again on the future of the United States. Working closely with a Republican President, the Republican Congress expected a swift and peaceful road to Reconstruction. But then, a mere four weeks into his second term, Lincoln was assassinated, leaving the country in the hands of Andrew Johnson, a Southern Democrat who had personally owned slaves just three years before.

While Johnson’s unwavering commitment to states rights cultivated a fraught relationship with his Congress, the tumult would ultimately be short-lived. After just four years of a Democratic president, America’s Grand Old Party would ascend to power—and hold it—for over 70 years.

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Sep 30, 2020
Encore: Political Parties | The Turbulent 1850s | 3

The United States won the The Mexican–American War in the 1840s, and with it vast new stretches of western land. But in the 1850s, the question of what to do with this land – and whether to allow slavery in the new territories or not – became a redning issue for politicians of all stripes.

While the Whig Party collapsed over the issue, Democrats split into Northern and Southern factions, and a new Republican Party tried to bind the Union with an appeal to old Jeffersonian values. But in the houses of Congress and across the nation, negotiations fail, compromise is abandoned; and the issue of slavery will overshadow all else, leading to Civil War.

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Sep 23, 2020
Encore: Political Parties | Jacksonian Democracy | 2

Andrew Jackson lost the 1824 presidential election to John Quincy Adams through what some called a “corrupt bargain” in the House of Representatives. The maneuver was masterminded by hot-headed but politically savvy Henry Clay, who with Adams, announced their intent for far-reaching new federal programs. Fierce opposition to these policies united pro-Jackson supporters who formed a new party, the Democrats, to rally around their hero and elect him to president in 1828.

But while Adams was defeated, Henry Clay had no intention of leaving the fight. He helped lead a new party which gathered together anti-Jackson, fiscal conservatives, and pro-states rights factions. The rise of Clay’s new Whig party seemed unstoppable–they captured both houses of Congress and the presidency–until, on April 4, 1841, president William Henry Harrison died in office and gave John Tyler the power of the veto.

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Sep 16, 2020
Encore: Political Parties | A Tale of Two Parties | 1

In the earliest days of the United States, there was no such thing as an organized political party. George Washington, elected twice to the presidency unanimously in the Electoral College, warned the new nation against political factions, writing that organized parties would become, “potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men subvert the power of the people.”

But immediately after Washington vacated the Presidency, factions did spring up and bitter personal rivalries began to shape the nation. The two first political parties–the Federalists and the Republicans–had very different views of what America should become, and were led by very different men: Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson.

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Sep 09, 2020
The Gilded Age | What America Failed to Learn from the Gilded Age | 7

Throughout our series, corporate giants and their exploitation of workers was disturbing evidence of capitalism run amok. That greed and disregard for the working class defined the Gilded Age. 

But the problems of that era haven’t disappeared. The economic disparities that were forged in the Gilded Age are still affecting our country. And monolithic companies like Facebook and Apple continue to grow, leaving a burning question of whether big tech has too much power. 

Today, Lindsay speaks with Tim Wu, a Columbia law professor and author of “The Curse of Bigness: Antitrust in the New Gilded Age,” about the economic and social changes that took place then, and how they set the stage for modern America. 

For more on Tim Wu:

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Sep 02, 2020
The Gilded Age | Cross of Gold | 6

In the spring of 1894, hundreds of unemployed workers trudged through rain and snow on a 400-mile trek from Ohio to the nation’s capital. They joined armies of jobless men from all across the country to march on Washington, fed up with the government’s inaction in the face of the crippling Panic of 1893.

The century’s most punishing economic depression unleashed fierce political turmoil. A bitter debate over the gold standard consumed Americans nationwide. With the Treasury on the brink of collapse, President Cleveland made the desperate and controversial decision to turn to the nation’s top banker for a bailout.

The conflict over currency culminated in the emotional election of 1896, which pitted William McKinley against the charismatic reformer William Jennings Bryan, who electrified voters with his sensational “Cross of Gold” speech.

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Aug 26, 2020
The Gilded Age | Workers Revolt! | 5

As the century came to a close, labor unrest reached explosive new heights. Industrial expansion made businessmen and bankers rich. But workers faced low wages, long hours, and dangerous conditions. They sought strength in numbers, fighting for basic rights against the power of big business—and often faced violent pushback.

In May 1886, a bomb exploded at a peaceful labor protest in Chicago’s Haymarket Square. Police fired their guns into the crowds. Panic engulfed the city. And the nation’s most powerful labor union suffered a devastating blow. 

In Homestead, Pennsylvania, steelworkers waged a bloody battle against private security forces. And in Pullman, Illinois, railroad workers laid down their tools, sparking a nationwide railroad shutdown—one that President Grover Cleveland would crush with brutal force.

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Aug 19, 2020
The Gilded Age | Exclusion | 4

Amid the glamor and growth of the Gilded Age, racism and anti-immigrant hostility swept the nation. With the end of Reconstruction, white communities across the South stripped African Americans of their hard-won political rights and economic gains. But a new generation of activists fought the growing wave of discrimination and violence. Booker T. Washington championed black education, and journalist Ida B. Wells waged a fierce campaign against lynching.

In the West, labor groups fueled anti-Chinese resentment, building support for the first major federal law limiting immigration. In the mid-1880s, white mobs from Wyoming to Washington descended on Chinese neighborhoods, stoking hysteria and casting immigrants out of their homes.

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Aug 12, 2020
The Gilded Age | How the Other Half Lives | 3

In the spring of 1883, Mrs. Alva Vanderbilt threw the grandest party New York had ever seen, claiming her spot at the top of the city’s social hierarchy. The Gilded Age drove feverish growth in America’s cities. Populations swelled. Skyscrapers and steel bridges soared above city skylines. And the new economic elite poured their outrageous fortunes into magnificent mansions and lavish balls.

But there were two sides to Gilded Age cities. Less than a mile away from Manhattan’s elegant brownstones, the poor eked out a living in sooty factories and crowded slums. In the 1880s and 1890s, reformers rose up to challenge inequality—galvanizing workers and exposing the dark underbelly of urban growth.

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Aug 05, 2020
The Gilded Age | Rise of the Robber Barons | 2

In the 1870s and 1880s, businessmen clawed their way to the top of the new industrial economy, accumulating staggering fortunes. Oil tycoon John D. Rockefeller ruthlessly eliminated his rivals one by one, seizing control over the nation’s refineries. Steel magnate Andrew Carnegie revolutionized the industry with his relentless drive to cut costs. And banker J. P. Morgan conquered Wall Street, commanding vast amounts of capital to consolidate corporations.

But the concentration of wealth and power had dire consequences for ordinary Americans, and in the summer of 1877 frustrated workers fought back. They blocked freight trains, shut down major rail lines and crippled the nation’s economy.

The strike spread like wildfire and sparked deadly violence.

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Jul 29, 2020
The Gilded Age | Carnival of Corruption | 1

In 1869, America connected its vast, sprawling territory with its most ambitious project to date: the transcontinental railroad. The country had just emerged from the ashes of the Civil War, and the railroad galvanized people from coast to coast, offering opportunity and promise. But corruption soon cast a pall over the nation.

Scandal after scandal tainted the presidency of Ulysses S. Grant. A pair of unscrupulous investors schemed to drive up the price of gold, unleashing chaos from Wall Street to the nation’s farms. Prominent congressmen funneled public money into a sham corporation to profit off the railroad. And government agents conspired with whiskey distillers to defraud the Treasury of millions.

It was the dawn of the Gilded Age—an era of dramatic material progress and sordid greed and corruption.

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Jul 22, 2020
Stonewall | Eric Marcus Remembers the Voices of Stonewall | 5

When the events of Stonewall happened in 1969, Eric Marcus was just a boy away at a New Jersey summer camp. Nearly 20 years later, he would document the voices of revolutionary LGBTQ activists like Marsha P. Johnson, Sylvia Rivera and Frank Kameny for his book, “Making Gay History: The Half-Century Fight for Lesbian and Gay Equal Rights.” 

While his work started out as a printed oral history, Marcus knew that taping those interviews would “one day have value beyond my book.” And he was right. Many of those interviews can be heard on the Making Gay History podcast, which he founded and hosts. 

Today, Marcus talks about his conversations with people who shaped the early LGBTQ movement. He’ll also share what people who were patrons of the Stonewall Inn told him about their time there. 

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Jul 15, 2020
Stonewall | Pride | 4

After a late-night police raid on the Stonewall Inn in June 1969, the LGBTQ community fought back in the streets of Greenwich Village. Suddenly, the LGBTQ rights movement found itself catapulted onto the national stage.  

But questions of how radical an approach to take would pit young activists against the pioneers of the 1950s and 1960s. Even with the formation of new organizations like the Gay Liberation Front and the Gay Activists Alliance, questions emerged. Would it be better to take part in the political process? Or to stage confrontational “zaps?”

These new groups would soon be engulfed by in-fighting over goals, strategy, membership, and how the LGTBQ rights movement fit into the larger landscape of radical activism. Meanwhile, Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P. Johnson would form their own group – one that would speak directly to issues facing unhoused people, and the trans community in New York city.

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Jul 08, 2020
Stonewall | Why Don’t You Do Something? | 3

Resistance at restaurants in San Francisco and Philadelphia showcased the building tension as trans activists challenged long-standing policies of discrimination. But leading gay rights groups continued to stress a calm, non-confrontational approach to reform.

That all changed in the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, when police raided the Stonewall Inn. 

For police, it was just another raid, but this time would be different: the Stonewall’s patrons would fight back. The clashes on Christopher Street would become an uprising against police oppression with long-lasting reverberations for the LGBTQ rights movement.

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Jul 01, 2020
Stonewall | Turbulence | 2

As the 1960s dawned, LGBTQ activists began to voice frustration with the gradual approach to civil rights advocated by groups like the Mattachine Society. If LGBTQ people wanted to make real progress, they concluded, they would need to take direct action — starting with tactics shared with the Black civil rights movement. 

Through protests and sit-ins in places like New York, Washington DC, and San Francisco, LGBTQ activists started agitating for greater rights. They would tackle employment discrimination along with the widespread issues of police harassment, abuse, and entrapment, which targeted LGBTQ people nationwide. 

But as white gay activists pushed for acceptance by a white, middle-class American majority, transgender activists and people color faced even greater challenges related to their race and gender identity. They would respond by forging their own communities and strategies to protect themselves from harassment and violence. 

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Jun 24, 2020
Stonewall | Evolutionary, Not Revolutionary | 1

In the summer of 1969, a police raid on the Stonewall Inn sparked a riot on the streets of Greenwich Village. The protest marked a turning point in the gay rights movement. But the famed resistance in New York capped a movement that had been building for nearly two decades in America, as LGBTQ people mobilized to fight widespread and pervasive discrimination.

In the years following World War II, members of the LGBTQ community faced broad discrimination — from strict laws that oppressed them, churches that declared their very existence sinful, and a government that demonized them. They would push back against the American Psychological Association, the FBI and finally, the courts. Slowly, LGBTQ activism would emerge from out of the closet and onto the American scene.

This series follows strands of the gay rights movement in America from 1950 until 1970. But it’s just the beginning of a story about a fight for social and political equality — a battle that’s still being fought today.

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Jun 17, 2020
Encore: The Space Race | Photo Finish | 4

JFK said that nothing in the 1960s was "...more impressive to mankind, or more important for the long-range exploration of space..." than getting a man to the moon and back safely. As the Apollo 11 flight neared, the entire nation waited, enraptured. But back in the USSR, the Soviets were also making strides. Though the contest with the Soviets for technological superiority had always been a race, it was now a literal one - a U.S. manned spacecraft was about to chase down a Soviet robotic vessel. 

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Jun 10, 2020
Encore: The Space Race | Taking the Lead | 3

In times of crisis, Americans had always put their confidence in their country’s superiority in power, technology and leadership. America had never failed them. And in 1961, hope and faith in their country burned brighter than ever as NASA prepared to launch the first man into space. A month out from launch, that light was effectively snuffed. The Soviets beat them to it. On April 12, 1961, cosmonaut Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin became the first person in space and the first person to orbit Earth. The world was in awe. And America was in shock.

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Jun 03, 2020
Encore: The Space Race | Playing Catch Up | 2

Information sharing was normal in the global scientific community, but when it came to rockets, normal rules didn’t apply. If the details got passed along to civilian scientists, there was no telling where that intel might end up…

But for many Americans, the Eisenhower just wasn’t moving fast enough. Sputnik was still orbiting! The Soviets were winning! Eisenhower downplayed Sputnik,calling it “one small ball in the air,” but privately he was worried.

The U.S. had the ability to beat the Soviets to space. But they didn’t. And Eisenhower wanted to know why.

Warning: this episode is packed with as much explosive power as is packed in the warhead of a ballistic missile.

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May 27, 2020
Encore: The Space Race | Starting Gun | 1

Remember Werner von Braun? We talked a little bit about him in our Cold War series. He was in charge of the German rocket program in World War II. First used to lob missiles and bombs all over Europe, von Braun always dreamed of something better for his rockets. As the Soviet and American forces were closing in on Germany to end the war, von Braun saw only one way out: surrender to the American forces and get to the States.

Amid the wreckage of the Third Reich, the first leg of the Space Race would be a sprint to locate von Braun.

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May 20, 2020
The WWII Home Front | United We Win | 2

As the nation’s factories and shipyards ramped up production for the war, the demand for labor exploded. Millions of women and minorities entered the workforce for the first time, finding a path to prosperity and opportunity. 

But as Americans joined in common purpose, strife and challenges hit the homefront.  

In 1943, half a million coal miners in West Virginia, Kentucky, and Pennsylvania went on strike, sparking nationwide uproar and threatening to derail the war effort. Cities erupted with tensions over housing and jobs as the largest migration in history transformed the nation. And deep questions over loyalty and belonging arose, as the federal government forced more than 100,000 Japanese Americans into detention camps.

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May 13, 2020
The WWII Home Front - Arsenal of Democracy | 1

On December 7, 1941, hundreds of Japanese warplanes rained death and destruction down on the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor—shocking the nation and drawing it into World War II. The U.S. had been ravaged by the Great Depression. Mobilizing the country for war would require unprecedented government intervention in industry, the economy, and American lives. But the crisis would also spark new opportunities, challenges and questions about what it meant to be a patriot and an American during a time of crisis.

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May 06, 2020
Rebellion in the Early Republic - How Early American Revolts Shaped Today’s Protests | 7

In 1799, the U.S. government imposed a new tax on houses, land, and slaves to fund an expanded military. A man named John Fries led Pennsylvania Dutch farmers in protest of the law. What became known as Fries’ Rebellion was the third major tax revolt in the nation’s short history. But President Adams quashed Fries’ Rebellion with military force—a response widely viewed as an overreaction. The protesters went on to help usher Adams out of office. 

Their actions proved that Americans could challenge their government without resorting to violence, and that popular dissent could exist within the rule of law…affirming a tradition of protest that exists now. 

On today’s episode, we hear from Pulitzer winning historian and legal scholar Edward J. Larson. Larson is a history professor and the Hugh and Hazel Darling Chair in Law at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California. He is also author of the new book “Franklin & Washington: The Founding Partnership” (William Morrow, 2020).

Larson takes us into a deeper dive into how the early American rebellions were resolved, and what that era of our nation’s history can teach us about how the government handles pushback from citizens now.

Additional books by Edward J. Larson:

The Return of George Washington: Uniting the States, 1783-1789” (William Morrow, 2015)

A Magnificent Catastrophe: The Tumultuous Election of 1800” (Free Press, 2008)

Apr 29, 2020
Rebellion in the Early Republic - Nat Turner’s Rebellion | 6

In February 1831, a solar eclipse caused the skies to darken over the isolated backwater of Southampton County, Virginia. An enslaved man and self-proclaimed prophet named Nat Turner saw it as a sign from God that it was time to rise up against slavery.

In the early morning hours of August 22, 1831, Turner and a small group of fellow slaves emerged from the woods armed with axes. They marched on the farm of Turner’s owner, where they struck the first fatal blows of their revolt. Over the next 48 hours, the rebels roved from farm to farm, killing dozens and sowing panic throughout the white community.

Nat Turner’s Rebellion was the bloodiest slave revolt in American history. It sparked widespread hysteria and deadly reprisals, further propelling the nation down the path to civil war.

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Apr 22, 2020
Rebellion in the Early Republic - Gabriel’s Rebellion | 5

As a new century dawned on the United States, an enslaved blacksmith named Gabriel began planning a bold plot to overthrow slavery in Virginia’s capital. The uprising would change the future of slavery in the South.

In the spring and summer of 1800, the charismatic Gabriel recruited an army of enslaved artisans, freedmen, and white laborers in Richmond and the surrounding countryside. They fashioned homemade weapons out of farming tools and scrap metal. They planned to attack white merchants, storm Richmond’s treasury, and kidnap Governor James Monroe. By August, hundreds of men had joined Gabriel’s Rebellion, making it the most extensive slave plot the South had seen yet.

But when the day finally came to seize Richmond, a late summer storm threatened to doom Gabriel’s plans.

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Apr 15, 2020
Rebellion in the Early Republic - Crisis in the West | 4

In 1794, anti-government protests grew into an all-out rebellion, and President Washington faced his first major test of federal authority. Some 7,000 armed Westerners marched on Pittsburgh and threatened its residents. Violent resistance to the whiskey tax soon spread from western Pennsylvania to Kentucky, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, and Georgia.

Washington and his cabinet held tense meetings to debate a response to the so-called Whiskey Rebellion. The country’s first president was determined to act quickly and decisively, despite divisions among his close advisers. Nothing less than the sovereignty of the young nation was at stake.

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Apr 08, 2020
Rebellion in the Early Republic - The Whiskey Rebellion | 3

Only a few years after Shays’ Rebellion was suppressed, a new revolt broke out in western Pennsylvania. Anti-government resentment had been growing on the frontier for years. Then in 1791, the U.S. government handed down a tax on domestic spirits. It became known as the Whiskey Tax. Many western farmers and distillers, already struggling under harsh conditions, refused to pay the tax and rose up in defiance. Armed gangs ambushed tax collectors—and anyone who supported them.

As resistance spread, authorities struggled to suppress the violence. Then, in the summer of 1794, hundreds of rebels went to battle against U.S. Army troops at Bower Hill, the mountaintop mansion of a wealthy tax collector. The rebels burned the manor to the ground and a popular rebel leader was shot dead, inflaming tensions.

The federal government had an unprecedented crisis on its hands.

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Apr 01, 2020
Rebellion in the Early Republic - A Constitution Shaped by Revolt | 2

Tensions reached a climax in the freezing winter of 1787, as Daniel Shays and 1,500 rebel soldiers stormed the federal arsenal in Springfield, Massachusetts. The rebels hoped to seize arms and ammunition and burn Boston to the ground. What they didn’t know was that a government army awaited them, setting off a dogged chase in the winter snow that lasted weeks.

The farmers’ revolt reverberated far beyond Massachusetts. Shays’s Rebellion stunned America’s political elite, even drawing a horrified George Washington out of retirement to return to public life. The uprising helped convince the nation’s power brokers to throw out the Articles of Confederation and devise a new Constitution. They were determined to create a strong federal government, one that they hoped could withstand domestic rebellion. But their efforts sparked a bitter dispute about the role of government in the new Republic.

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Mar 25, 2020
Rebellion in the Early Republic - Farmer Uprising | 1

The dust had barely settled on the American Revolution when new unrest erupted in western Massachusetts. Thousands of farmers and laborers rose up in protest against unjust taxes and a state government that seemed as oppressive as the British Crown. When their demands for reform fell on deaf ears, the protesters grew more desperate. They took up muskets, swords, and clubs and formed blockades to shut down local courthouses. The growing revolt became known as Shays’s Rebellion.

Boston’s government and merchant elites were horrified by the upheaval, fearing the specter of mob rule. They saw the uprising as democracy run amok, and moved to raise an army against the rebels. The showdown would test the very legacy of the American Revolution.

Mar 18, 2020
Encore: What We Learned from Fighting the Spanish Flu | 1

In light of growing concerns about the coronavirus, we’re revisiting an episode we ran last spring. 

One hundred years ago, the Spanish flu pandemic forever reshaped the way the United States responds to public health crises. At a time when people around the world were already dying on an unprecedented scale due to World War I, Spanish flu devastated American cities, killing more than 675,000 people in the U.S. alone. The virus had a profound effect on impact on medicine, politics, and the media, revealing deep flaws in the U.S. government’s ability to respond to such a disaster. But it would also lead to the creation of new public health institutions that still endure today, and it would help usher in a new era of global collaboration in the medical community.

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Mar 11, 2020
Tulsa Race Massacre Update: Excavating Mass Graves | 7

New archaeological evidence suggests mass graves holding the remains of victims of the Tulsa Race Massacre may exist on two sites in Tulsa. And now scientists plan to excavate portions of those sites to try and uncover the truth. Residents for years had asked the city to take similar steps but until now it hasn’t happened. On this episode we get an update on these developments from Hannibal B. Johnson, an attorney and historian who has written several books on the Massacre. He joins us from Tulsa to talk about what this excavation could uncover and what it means when a community reckons with the darkest part of its history.

Mar 04, 2020
California Water Wars - Los Angeles and the Future of Water | 6

UCLA environmental historian Jon Christiansen discusses Los Angeles, it's never-quenched thirst for water, and what that means for the future.

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Feb 26, 2020
California Water Wars - Collapse | 5

With the failure of the Watterson brothers’ banks, the Owens Valley community was forced to abandon its fight for water rights against the city of Los Angeles. William Mulholland, the Los Angeles water department superintendent, could finally breathe a little easier. The city now had full control over its water supply for the foreseeable future. 

But he would discover that some things can’t be foreseen. Construction had finished in 1926 on the last of the nineteen dams that lined the aqueduct. Standing 200 feet tall, the St. Francis dam held back billions of gallons of water. But by spring of 1928, troubling cracks were beginning to appear in the dam’s surface. The events of March 12, 1928, would lead not only to a terrible catastrophe, but would forever change the way the citizens of Los Angeles thought about William Mulholland -- the man who brought them water.

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Feb 19, 2020
California Water Wars - We Who Are About to Die Salute You | 4

After years of letting their water be used by the city of Los Angeles, the farmers and ranchers of the Owens River Valley decided to fight back. What would come to be known as California’s Civil War would mark the 1920s with a series of attacks and reprisals between the valley and the city two hundred miles south. 

With Los Angeles sending agents north to buy more land and secure yet more water rights, valley residents decided to take matters into their own hands. After several attacks damaged portions of the aqueduct, causing water to stream uselessly down into the valley, the city realized it had a desperate problem on their hands.

But all was not well with the citizens of the valley, as a long-running family feud threatens to tear apart the Owens Valley community from within.

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Feb 12, 2020
California Water Wars - “There It Is—Take It” | 3

By 1912, the Los Angeles aqueduct project was nearing completion. But as it approached the finish line, fears were growing among the public of a vast conspiracy, fanned by socialist Job Harriman. With the formation of the Aqueduct Investigation Board, engineer William Mulholland found his methods and his purpose suddenly under a microscope. Land deals from nearly a decade ago would threaten to derail the entire project, just a year shy of its completion.

As the roaring Twenties loomed, Los Angeles would grow exponentially. But far north, in Inyo County, the ranchers whose water had been taken from them were gearing up for the first of many retaliations.

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Feb 05, 2020
California Water Wars - Building the Dream | 2

By 1907, the city of Los Angeles had found a solution to its water problem. Two hundred miles north in the Owens River Valley was a never-ending source of water. Los Angeles Water Department superintendent William Mulholland set about constructing one of the largest public works projects the state of California has ever seen. But first, he would have to convince the voters of Los Angeles to approve the project. And then, he would have to build it himself. 

For five years construction crews filed into the desert, building a massive aqueduct system that would ferry the water all the way to the thirsty city. Along the way, Mulholland would encounter problems with bureaucrats, bad food, and dynamite. With the project hurtling towards completion, serious doubts would be raised about graft and self-interest. Was the Los Angeles aqueduct really just about water? Or was it set to make a handful of rich men even richer?

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Jan 29, 2020
California Water Wars - A River in the Desert | 1

By the turn of the twentieth century, Los Angeles had grown from a dusty, crime-ridden pueblo into a thriving metropolis. The only problem was that it was growing too fast. With no consistently reliable water source and a desert climate leading to a decade-long drought, the city would have to begin looking elsewhere.

In the Owens River Valley, over two hundred miles north of the city, a vast, rushing river, fed by Sierra mountain snow, lay the solution. But how to get the water from the Owens Valley to Los Angeles? City water superintendent William Mulholland and former Los Angeles mayor Fred Eaton devised a breathtakingly simple plan: they would build an aqueduct. As Mulholland began sketching out an engineering vision for the project, Eaton secretly purchased land rights in the Owens Valley.

But Eaton’s methods left many valley residents bewildered and angry, setting up a decades-long battle for survival that would pit a metropolis against a small ranching community.

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Jan 22, 2020
Kentucky Blood Feud - The Revenge of Bad Tom Baker | 2

The Civil War forced the warring families of Clay County into an uneasy truce. The Garrards, Whites, Howards, and Bakers found themselves allied as they fought for the Union. But the war brought new challenges: the Northern army destroyed Clay County’s salt mines in order to keep them out of the hands of the South, and the Emancipation Proclamation brought an end to slavery, which had helped make salt mining so profitable.

The Garrards and the Whites were so rich that they were able to withstand these pressures on their businesses. But the poorer Bakers and the Howards soon found themselves fighting over scraps of land and timber. And in 1898, a business dispute led “Bad Tom” Baker and “Big Jim” Howard to assassinate members of each other’s families, starting a wave of killings and arsons so bloody they would reshape the state.

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Dec 18, 2019
Kentucky Blood Feud - The Murder of Daniel Bates | 1

The longest and bloodiest feud in American history erupted in the 1840s in Clay County, Kentucky — where it raged for nearly a century and ultimately claimed more than 150 lives. The Clay County War, also known as the Baker-Howard Feud, pitted four families against each other: the powerful Garrads and Whites, who assembled vast wealth mining salt, and the less influential Bakers and Howards. In time, the Garrards would align with the Bakers, and the Whites with the Howards. 

At first, the families got along, cooperating in the back-breaking work involved with extracting salt in the Appalachian region. But as the economy collapsed and new technologies led to new competition from the outside, the families would find themselves increasingly competing for survival — and a single act of violence would be enough to spark a conflict that spanned generations. 

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Dec 11, 2019
A Look Back at The Newspaper Industry | 10

On Dec. 4, 1881 the Los Angeles Times published its very first edition. And while the paper ran into severe financial trouble just a year after its founding, it nevertheless survived and over its 138 year lifespan has been at the forefront of some monumental stories in American history. But, the news industry today is vastly different and extremely divisive. So how did we get here? The LA Times' Steve Padilla has worked at the paper for 32 years and he joins us to look back at the roots of the journalism industry and newspapers and how we go to where we are today.

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Dec 04, 2019
The Legacy of The Triangle Fire | 5

In September 2019 Democratic Senator and presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren invoked the memory of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire at a campaign rally just a few blocks from the site of fire in Manhattan. It was a powerful reminder of just how deep the legacy of the disaster runs. Organized labor and workplace safety have come a long way since the fire but after years of political opposition, unions and worker rights are on the decline. In the U.S., unions represent 6.4 percent of private-sector workers and just 10.5 percent of workers overall. That’s the lowest percentage in more than a century, and down from 35 percent in the 1950s. That's according to Steven Greenhouse, author of the new book Beaten Down, Worked Up: The Past, Present, and Future of American Labor. Greenhouse joins us to talk about the state of labor in America today and why after years of decline, labor is starting to gain steam.

Nov 20, 2019
The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire - In America They Don’t Let You Burn | 4

In the wake of the biggest workplace catastrophe in the city of New York, the survivors of the Triangle fire and the families of the victims could only watch from the sidelines as the case against the Triangle bosses went to trial. The 146 deaths resulting from the fire had been sifted through the state’s legal machine and condensed into a single woman: a 24-year-old sewing machine operator named Margaret Schwartz. 

In December 1911, the general sessions court presided over by Judge Thomas Crain heard the People of New York vs. Max Blanck and Isaac Harris. The prosecution had a strong piece of physical evidence and a compelling witness. But Harris and Blanck had a lawyer whose courtroom rhetoric might get his clients off scot-free. 

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Nov 13, 2019
The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire - Sixteen Minutes | 3

Two years after the labor strikes that shook the city of New York, the workers of Triangle factory returned to better wages and lower hours. But when a fire broke out near closing time on a Saturday afternoon, these same workers found themselves swept up in a catastrophe. Some would escape, but many would not. 

In the weeks that followed, a city mourned and began to wrestle with questions of responsibility. Where did the blame for the tragedy lie? With the city? With the factory owners? Or with the workers themselves? 

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Nov 06, 2019
The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire - Revolt of the Girls | 2

Inspired by the labor strikes at Triangle and other factories in Lower Manhattan, more than 30,000 garment workers took to the streets of New York in protest in late 1909. For the first time, an industry of women sought not to just halt production at one factory — they wanted to put the brakes on an entire trade. 

With over four hundred garment factories shut down, factory owners banded together with police and the courts to fight the striking workers. But as the labor movement attracted new high-society allies, internal politics began to fracture the labor movement, threatening to derail the entire cause.

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Oct 30, 2019
The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire - Wildcat | 1

On March 25, 1911, a fire broke out at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in Manhattan, claiming the lives of 146 garment workers — mostly women and girls. It was one of the deadliest workplace disasters in American history. Caused by a combination of carelessness and poor safety measures, the fire eventually set off a wave of workplace reforms that changed industry in America and sent New York party politics in a totally different direction.

But in the years before the fire, the workers of the Triangle factory were focused on a different issue — advocating for higher pay. Facing long hours and unsympathetic bosses unwilling to implement change, the women decided they had only one option left. 

It was time to go on strike.

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Oct 23, 2019
Dutch Manhattan - The Dutch Influence Today | 7

New York City was founded on the Dutch principles of tolerance and capitalism, both of which were new ideas at the time. But much of the city's early history was lost until the 1970s, when a renewed interest in the Dutch period led to the founding of the New Netherland Center. Here, thousands of previously untranslated records shed new light on this crucial moment in Gotham’s history. Our guest today is Greg Young, who co-hosts the Bowery Boys, a popular podcast about all things New York City history. Young visited the New Netherland Center, and he joins us to share what he found there and where Dutch influence can still be seen in New York today.

Oct 16, 2019
Dutch Manhattan - New York | 6

In the years after Adrian Van der Donck won a municipal charter for New Amsterdam, and under Peter Stuyvesant's stern but capable rule, the city flourished. Even English residents of New England and Virginia sent their goods to Europe via the future New York Harbor, because the Dutch were so good at the business of shipping. Dutch features that would become part of American culture — from cookies and cole slaw to Santa Claus — became ingrained. Most importantly, the Dutch notions of tolerance, which fostered a multi-ethnic society, and free trade, became rooted in Manhattan. 

But in London, King Charles II and his brother, James, the Duke of York, were eager to build an empire. Their plan involved taking over slaving posts in West Africa, reorganizing their American colonies, and taking the Dutch colony, with its strategically located capital. And soon, they would send a squadron of warships to Manhattan.

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Oct 09, 2019
Dutch Manhattan - The One-Legged Soldier | 5

Peter Stuyvesant was fresh from losing a leg in battle against the Spanish when he arrived in Manhattan in 1647. He was a tough soldier who was ready to take charge of the unruly population of New Amsterdam. He soon clashed with Adrian Van der Donck, the leader of the opposition, who was secretly crafting a formal legal complaint that would compel the Dutch government to give the colony a form of representative government. When Stuyvesant discovered that Van der Donck had been spearheading an effort to overthrow his rule, he had him arrested for treason. 

But after a public faceoff revealed the Dutch government had come down on the side of colonists, Van der Donck was released. He returned to Europe and traveled to The Hague, where he argued that the Dutch government should take over the colony from the West India Company. At first, the Dutch government supported Van der Donck’s cause. It granted New Amsterdam a charter, giving the colony official status as a Dutch city, and ordered Stuyvesant's recall. But then order was abruptly rescinded. Oliver Cromwell’s English government was declaring war on the Dutch republic.

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Oct 02, 2019
Dutch Manhattan - The Sheriff Comes to Town | 4

Just as it was becoming a New World success story, disaster came to New Amsterdam. Willem Kieft, the Dutch leader appointed by the West India Trading Company, declared war on local tribes, sending soldiers to slaughter them in their villages. The tribes responded with waves of death and destruction that would set the European settlers back decades in their development. 

A new colonist named Adriaen Van der Donck arrived to find the place in chaos. The colonists were furious at Kieft for endangering their settlement with his attacks. Van der Donck had been trained as a lawyer, and he soon found a role organizing the colonists against Kieft. He lobbied Kieft to permit the formation of a council to give the residents a say in their government. But when it became clear Kieft had no intention of giving the council any real power, Van der Donck responded by going over Kieft’s head and appealing directly to the leaders of the West India Company for intervention. 

The response wasn’t what he expected. It would lead to the appointment of a new Dutch leader, a hardliner tasked with wrestling the wayward colonists back under control. His name was Peter Stuyvesant.

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Sep 25, 2019
Dutch Manhattan - Pirates and Prostitutes | 3

New Amsterdam was a desperate place. For the first decade of its existence, the Dutch city on the tip of Manhattan Island served as a haven for pirates, prostitutes and smugglers. That was because the West India Company, which ran New Amsterdam, insisted on controlling all trade — something it simply couldn't manage effectively. Finally, in 1640, the Company gave up its monopoly, and what had been a rag-tag, Wild West kind of town quickly took on the hallmarks of Dutch capitalism. 

Trading firms in Amsterdam opened branch offices on Manhattan, and business boomed. Merchants traded in everything from furs to tobacco to Caribbean sugar and salt. Soon, Manhattan became a brash, free-wheeling pioneer settlement where visitors could hear some 18 different languages — at a time when the city’s population numbered only about 500. The ingredients were in place for an American success story utterly unlike the English colonies to the north. 

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Sep 18, 2019
Dutch Manhattan - Buying Manhattan | 2

Twelve years after Henry Hudson's 1609 trip charting the Hudson River, the Dutch used his voyage as the basis for a new colony, which would be wedged between the English colonies in New England and Virginia. New Netherland began with tiny numbers of people from different backgrounds. They settled the entire region that Hudson had traveled, from Delaware to New York to Connecticut. But being spread out so thinly exposed them to danger. In 1626, in the area around the future Albany, New York, a small party became embroiled in a fight between two native tribes, and some settlers were killed.

In the aftermath, the colonists chose a new leader. Peter Minuit's first decision was to call all the settlers together for strength. Then he selected a location for a capital city, one that was strategically located in a world-class harbor and at the mouth of the colony's central river—a wilderness island called Manhattan. 

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Sep 11, 2019
Dutch Manhattan - Henry Hudson’s Big Mistake | 1

In 1609, a headstrong English sea captain named Henry Hudson set out on behalf of the Dutch East India Company to find a trade route to Asia — and promptly found himself and his crew stranded in icy waters off the coast of Norway. As supplies dwindled, Hudson announced to his frostbitten crew that the ship would change course. They set off across the Atlantic Ocean in search of an alternative route through the North American continent.

Hudson never found the Northwest Passage, but he did come across something else on that journey — a small island the native people called Manna-hatta. That settlement would eventually give rise to a new Dutch colony called New Netherland, with Manhattan Island, or New Amsterdam, as it would come to be known, as its capital. New Amsterdam would come to be defined by two key Dutch values: tolerance and capitalism. This series by Russell Shorto, based on his book The Island at the Center of the World, traces how Manhattan’s brief chapter as a Dutch colony shaped the city for centuries to come.

Sep 04, 2019
Remembering Emmett Till | 7
Aug 28, 2019
The Bastard Brigade - Showdown in the Alps | 6
Aug 21, 2019
The Bastard Brigade - The Most Wanted Men | 5
Aug 14, 2019
The Bastard Brigade - The Strangest Man | 4
Aug 07, 2019
The Bastard Brigade - The Kennedy Curse | 3
Jul 31, 2019
The Bastard Brigade - The Juice | 2
Jul 24, 2019
The Bastard Brigade - The Accidental A-Bomb | 1
Jul 17, 2019
The Statue of Liberty | 6
Jul 03, 2019
Tulsa Race Massacre - Legacy and Lessons | 5
Jun 26, 2019
Tulsa Race Massacre - Rebirth | 4
Jun 19, 2019
Tulsa Race Massacre - The Invasion | 3
Jun 12, 2019
Tulsa Race Massacre - The Powder Keg | 2
Jun 05, 2019
Tulsa Race Massacre - The Promised Land | 1
May 29, 2019
Sponsored | American Epidemics - Dark Days In Dallas | 3
May 24, 2019
J. Edgar Hoover's FBI - Humanizing History with David McCullough | 7
May 22, 2019
J. Edgar Hoover's FBI - Citizens Resistance | 6
May 15, 2019
Sponsored | American Epidemics - The Great Pandemic | 1
May 10, 2019
J. Edgar Hoover's FBI - Black Bag Job | 5
May 08, 2019
J. Edgar Hoover's FBI - Controlling the Message | 4
May 01, 2019
J. Edgar Hoover's FBI - The Bobby Sox Bandit Queen | 3
Apr 24, 2019
J. Edgar Hoover's FBI - Giant Among G-Men | 2
Apr 17, 2019
J. Edgar Hoover's FBI - The Department of Easy Virtues | 1
Apr 10, 2019
America's Anthem | 7
Apr 03, 2019
The Great Depression: Justice and Infamy | 6
Mar 27, 2019
The Great Depression - Progress and Pushback | 5
Mar 20, 2019
The Great Depression - Dust | 4
Mar 13, 2019
The Great Depression - A New Deal | 3
Mar 06, 2019
The Great Depression - Brother, Can You Spare a Dime | 2
Feb 27, 2019
The Great Depression - The Crash | 1
Feb 20, 2019
Does History Repeat Itself? | 4
Feb 13, 2019
The 1968 Chicago Protests - I Regret Nothing | 3
Feb 06, 2019
The 1968 Chicago Protests - The Trial of the Chicago 8 | 2
Jan 30, 2019
The 1968 Chicago Protests - The Battle of Michigan Avenue | 1
Jan 23, 2019
1865 versus 2018 and Why History Matters | 7
Jan 02, 2019
Political Parties - The Reagan Revolution | 6
Dec 26, 2018
Political Parties - The New Deal Coalition | 5
Dec 19, 2018
Political Parties - The Golden Age of the GOP | 4
Dec 12, 2018
Political Parties - The Turbulent 1850s | 3
Dec 05, 2018
Political Parties - Jacksonian Democracy | 2
Nov 28, 2018
Political Parties - A Tale of Two Parties | 1
Nov 21, 2018
History of the Lincoln Motor Company
Nov 20, 2018
Civil Rights - Interview with Peggy Trotter Dammond Preacely | 7
Nov 14, 2018
Civil Rights - The Unfinished Journey | 6
Nov 07, 2018
Civil Rights - On The March | 5
Oct 31, 2018
Civil Rights - Prairie Fire | 4
Oct 24, 2018
Civil Rights - Jim Crow Fights Back | 3
Oct 17, 2018
Civil Rights - Strides Towards Freedom | 2
Oct 10, 2018
Civil Rights - New World A’Comin | 1
Oct 03, 2018
National Parks - Interview with Parks Superintendent Greg Dudgeon | 7
Sep 26, 2018
National Parks - Fire and Ice | 6
Sep 19, 2018
National Parks - Playgrounds of the People | 5
Sep 12, 2018
National Parks - The Great Disaster | 4
Sep 05, 2018
National Parks - Rough Rider | 3
Aug 29, 2018
National Parks - Calling In The Cavalry | 2
Aug 22, 2018
National Parks - The Business of Nature | 1
Aug 15, 2018
Revolution | Interview with Author Russell Shorto | 7
Aug 08, 2018
Revolution | The Populist | 6
Aug 01, 2018
Revolution | The Free Man | 5
Jul 25, 2018
Revolution | The Independent Woman | 4
Jul 18, 2018
Revolution | The Iroquois Diplomat | 3
Jul 11, 2018
Revolution | The Empire Builder | 2
Jul 04, 2018
Revolution | The Virginia Planter | 1
Jun 27, 2018
Hearst vs Pulitzer | The Headless Torso | 2
Jun 20, 2018
The Space Race| Photo Finish | 4
Jun 06, 2018
The Space Race | Taking the Lead | 3
May 30, 2018
The Space Race | Playing Catch Up | 2
May 23, 2018
The Space Race | Starting Gun | 1
May 16, 2018
History Through Innovation | Interview with Steven Johnson | 1
May 10, 2018
The Age of Jackson | Manifest Destiny | 6
May 02, 2018
The Age of Jackson | The Little Magician | 5
Apr 25, 2018
The Age of Jackson | Great White Father | 4
Apr 18, 2018
The Age of Jackson | King Mob | 3
Apr 11, 2018
The Age of Jackson | Good Feelings | 2
Apr 04, 2018
The Age of Jackson | Washington Burns | 1
Mar 28, 2018
Prohibition | Interview with Lillian Cunningham | 7
Mar 21, 2018
Prohibition - We Want Beer | 6
Mar 14, 2018
Prohibition - Down and Out | 5
Mar 07, 2018
Prohibition - Poisoning the Well | 4
Feb 28, 2018
Prohibition - Speakeasy | 3
Feb 21, 2018
Prohibition - Drying Out | 2
Feb 14, 2018
Prohibition - Closing Time | 1
Feb 07, 2018
The Cold War - Interview with Audra Wolfe and Patrick Wyman | 7
Jan 31, 2018
The Cold War - Last Man Standing | 6
Jan 24, 2018
The Cold War - The Long 1960s | 5
Jan 17, 2018
The Cold War - The Nature of Risk | 4
Jan 10, 2018
The Cold War - Nuclear Fear | 3
Jan 03, 2018
The Cold War - Hearts and Minds | 2
Jan 03, 2018
The Cold War - An Ideological War | 1
Jan 03, 2018
Introducing American History Tellers
Dec 13, 2017