BackStory

BackStory

By BackStory

BackStory is a weekly public podcast hosted by U.S. historians Ed Ayers, Brian Balogh, Nathan Connolly and Joanne Freeman. We're based in Charlottesville, Va. at Virginia Humanities. There’s the history you had to learn, and the history you want to learn - that’s where BackStory comes in. Each week BackStory takes a topic that people are talking about and explores it through the lens of American history. Through stories, interviews, and conversations with our listeners, BackStory makes history engaging and fun.

Episodes

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05/10/23·1m 23s

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04/10/23·1m 17s

331: The End of the Road: BackStory and the History of Finales in America

On this final episode of BackStory, Nathan, Brian, Joanne and Ed explore different kinds of finales throughout American history. They also consider what it’s like being a part of their own finale and how finales can sometimes lead to new beginnings. 
03/07/20·1h 19m

Teaser: BackStory and the History of Finales in America

Coach Tony Bennett knows a thing or two about big finales. He’s the head coach of the men’s basketball team at the University of Virginia. This is a clip from Brian's conversation with Coach Bennett about the power of sports and how you have to be able to accept the outcome of a big game, whether it’s a buzzer-beater win or a heartbreaking loss.  The full episode is coming to you this Friday, July 3. 
30/06/20·6m 21s

330: Best of BackStory: The Time the People Picked

As BackStory nears the end of its production, we’ve asked our listeners to call in with moments from the show’s history and compile their very own “Best of BackStory.” We got some great responses covering a range of topics, each of them meaningful to the present moment in their own way. So in this best of BackStory, we present three of our listener’s favorite interviews from the show. You’ll learn about the early U.S. Postal Service, and hear from residents of Hamlet, North Carolina as we explore the painful memory of a 1991 tragedy. Then, you’ll discover the long evolution of the Confederate flag’s design.
26/06/20·51m 13s

Introducing: Seizing Freedom

Coming Feb 2021… In most history classes, students learn that the Emancipation Proclamation and Union victories “freed the slaves.” But ending slavery in America required much more than battlefield victories and official declarations. Black people battled for their own freedom, taking incredible risks for a country that had actively denied their right to it. And after the Civil War, they made freedom real by organizing for equality and justice. On Seizing Freedom, you’ll hear stories of freedom taking and freedom making, in the words of those who did both. Drawing on stories from diaries, newspapers, letters, and speeches, we’ll recreate voices that have been muted time and time again. This excerpt is from the first episode of the series. It tells the story of those who escaped slavery to enlist with the Union Army—an army that wasn’t particularly interested in having them. Subscribe to the entire series here.
24/06/20·18m 39s

329: Great, Small and Other Expectations: Charles Dickens and His History with America

Charles Dickens died 150 years ago this month. A famous chronicler and critic of English industrial capitalism, Dickens was also immensely popular in the United States. But in an age of widespread debate about slave versus wage labor, his writings meant different things to different readers.  Music:  Bright White by Podington Bear Outmoded Waltz by Podington Bear Quatrefoil by Podington Bear Theme in G by Podington Bear Refraction by Podington Bear Stages of Awakening by Podington Bear Associations by Podington Bear Arboles by Podington Bear
19/06/20·39m 52s

328: The Clue of the Blue Bottle from "The Last Archive"

The Last Archive is a show from Pushkin Industries about the history of truth, and the historical context for our current fake news, post-truth moment. It’s a show about how we know what we know, and why it seems, these days, as if we don’t know anything at all anymore. The show is driven by host Jill Lepore’s work as a historian, uncovering the secrets of the past the way a detective might. On this episode, The Clue of the Blue Bottle, Jill tells the story of a Spring day in 1919, when a woman’s body was found bound, gagged, and strangled in a garden in Barre, Vermont. Who was she? Who killed her? Jill tries to solve the cold case—reopening a century-old murder investigation—as a way to uncover the history of evidence itself. Find out more about The Last Archive at their website. 
12/06/20·57m 3s

327: Another Burden to Bear: A History of Racial Health Disparities in America

The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately impacted  communities of color. According to the CDC, 33% of people who’ve been hospitalized due to the virus have been African-American, despite making up only 18% of the population. The ongoing crisis is a reminder of the racial health disparities that have plagued the United States throughout its history. So on this episode of BackStory, Joanne and Brian learn about how different communities have struggled to acquire adequate health care. NOTE: This episode was recorded before protests took place across the country in response to the killing of George Floyd by a white police officer. The protests, in addition to the death toll of COVID-19, serve as brutal reminders of the systemic inequalities afflicting communities of color.  Suggested Reading: Murray, Shaw, and Siegel’s Reproductive Rights and Justice Stories (Law Stories Series) Jim Crow in the Asylum: Psychiatry and Civil Rights in the American South by Kylie Smith Madness in the City of Magnificent Intentions: A History of Race and Mental Illness in the Nation’s Capital by Martin Summers
05/06/20·56m 9s

326: Mystery, Murder, and Mayhem: A History of True Crime in America

For the last decade or so, true crime has been everywhere -- Netflix shows like Making a Murderer and podcast series like Serial. All of them are a testament to the fact that for some strange reason, so many of us love stories about murder.  But this magnetism towards the morbid is far from new. Over the years, Americans have found fascination, repulsion and sometimes even comfort in true crime stories. So on this episode of BackStory, Joanne and Ed shine a light onto the dark history of true crime in modern American history. 
29/05/20·1h 6m

325: American Empire: From Scene on Radio

“America” and “empire.” Do those words go together? If so, what kind of imperialism does the U.S. practice, and how has American empire changed over time?   By host and producer John Biewen, with series collaborator Chenjerai Kumanyika. Interviews with Nikhil Singh and Daniel Immerwahr.   The series editor is Loretta Williams. Music by Algiers, John Erik Kaada, Eric Neveux, and Lucas Biewen. Music consulting and production help from Joe Augustine of Narrative Music.   Chenjerai Kumanyika, collaborator on the Seeing White series, is a researcher, journalist, and artist who works as an assistant professor in Rutgers University’s Department of Journalism and Media Studies. His research and teaching focus on the intersections of social justice and emerging media in the cultural and creative industries.   sceneonradio.org    Photo: U.S. Navy Seabees at Camp Morell, Kuwait, 2005. U.S. Navy photo by James Finnigan.
22/05/20·1h 15m

324: Best of BackStory: The Time Joanne Freeman Went to Congress

As BackStory moves towards the end of its production, we’ve asked our hosts to select memorable moments from the show that we’re publishing as episodes once per month.  Joanne Freeman joined BackStory in 2017, and has since had hundreds of conversations on a huge variety of topics. But during this time, a few of these interviews surprised and moved her as a historian, and as a woman in unexpected ways. So in this best of BackStory, Joanne presents three of these striking conversations from her time on the show. You’ll learn about a decades-old family secret, and find out why we can never truly recover the past. Then, you’ll hear from Senator Tammy Duckworth about changing the culture of Congress. We need listener submissions for our June Best of BackStory! Find out more in our announcement.
15/05/20·43m 4s

276: Red in the Stars and Stripes?: A History of Socialism in America

With the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and record levels of unemployment, the conversation around socialism in the U.S. has resurfaced in surprising ways. So we thought we'd revisit this episode from 2019.  Image: The cover art for the album "Power to the Working Class: Revolutionary songs written & sung by workers & students in struggle." Source: Library of Congress BackStory is funded in part by our listeners. You can help keep the episodes coming by supporting the show: https://www.backstoryradio.org/support
08/05/20·58m 27s

323: Zooming Ahead: How Virtual Learning is Shaping the College Classroom

Today, the word zoom has become synonymous with an application millions of people are using to learn, teach and work. COVID-19 has impacted every aspect of our lives, including how we teach and how we learn. So what does this all mean for the future of classroom learning? And where does it fit into the broader history of higher education?   On this episode of BackStory, Brian dives into the topic of teaching and where the virtual college classroom fits into the history of higher education in the United States. As Jonathan Zimmerman, author of the forthcoming book, The Amateur Hour: A History of College Teaching in America, tells Brian, Zoom and virtual learning are hardly the first time college students and professors have adapted to new technologies in the classroom.
01/05/20·20m 1s

322: 1980s Environmentalism and How the Reagan-Era Shaped the Natural World

This week, environmentalism was in the spotlight, thanks to the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. Over the decades, environmentalism has adapted to new challenges, like increasing levels of greenhouse gases and a swinging pendulum when it comes to federal policy. But the 1980s exemplified a notable and often consequential shift in how people - from protestors to the president - approached environmental issues. So on this episode of BackStory, Ed and Brian dig into the 1980s and explore how actions in both federal policy and grassroots movements shaped environmentalism.
24/04/20·59m 47s

321: Give Us the Ballot: From LBJ and the Great Society

By his own account, and by many others as well, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was Lyndon Johnson’s greatest achievement – the jewel in the crown of the Great Society, and widely considered the most effective piece of civil rights legislation in American history. This episode, "Give Us the Ballot," will focus on the extraordinarily eventful eight-month period — January to August 1965 — when the battle for Voting Rights was joined and ultimately fought to a successful conclusion. The outcome was hard won, and in doubt up until the last frantic weeks of negotiation and maneuvering. Why and how Johnson prevailed, where so many before him had failed, is the central story in this episode, which looks at the complex and precarious alliance forged between the President on the inside, and Dr. Martin Luther King and the civil rights movement on the outside.  Source notes: This episode includes interview excerpts from Washington University Libraries, drawn from the Henry Hampton Collection. This digitized resource includes complete video interviews with Civil Rights Movement leaders, known and unknown, captured for the influential and award-winning documentary film, Eyes on the Prize. LBJ and the Great Society was funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities and distributed by PRX. https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/lbj-and-the-great-society/id1276340470
17/04/20·50m 33s

320: Best of BackStory: The Time Nathan Connolly Had A Close Encounter

As BackStory moves towards the end of its production, we’ve asked our hosts to select memorable moments from the show that we’re publishing as episodes once per month.  Since joining BackStory in 2017, Nathan Connolly has interviewed a ton of different people about everything from Bruce Lee to Bison. But a handful of conversations are particularly memorable to Nathan because they unpacked issues that he cares deeply about. 
10/04/20·35m 47s

319: Overcoming An Outbreak: How San Francisco Survived the Plague

In this special bonus episode, Ed talks with David K. Randall, author of Black Death at the Golden Gate: The Race to Save America from the Bubonic Plague. David tells Ed about how Dr. Rupert Blue defied conventions to get an outbreak of the plague under control in San Francisco during the early 20th century. It’s a story that can offer us some important lessons as we wrestle with our own public health crisis today.     Music: Chainlink Melody by Podington Bear Going Forward, Looking Back by Podington Bear Winter Walk by Podington Bear Massive by Podington Bear Pounded Piano by Podington Bear Light Touch by Podington Bear Image: Screenshot of headline on page 5 of the Oroville Daily Register, Oroville, California, Wednesday, November 27, 1907. Source: Newspapers.com
09/04/20·23m 30s

281: Mind, Body and Spirit: The History of Wellness In America

In these trying times, we’re all trying to stay well mentally, emotionally, and physically. Naturally, that got us thinking about the history of health in America. It also reminded us that maybe we could all use a break from thinking about COVID-19. So this week BackStory explores the history of wellness, a story which involves breakfast cereal, aerobics, and Sigmund Freud.
03/04/20·54m 44s

318: Best of BackStory: The Time Brian Balogh Went to a Monastery

As BackStory wraps up production, we’ve asked our hosts to select memorable moments from the show.   A founding host of the show, Brian Balogh has discussed a range of topics with a lot of different people - academic historians, museum curators, and even politicians. But some of his favorite conversations have been with everyday people who have lived and engaged with history, sometimes in surprising ways.  So in this edition of the “Best of BackStory,” Brian brings you three of his favorite interviews from his time at BackStory. You’ll hear from a member of a prison work crew, and find out what life is like behind the walls of a Catholic convent. Finally, you’ll learn about the American twist on a classic Mexican dish. 
27/03/20·25m 49s

316: Fighting Jane Crow: The Multifaceted Life and Legacy of Pauli Murray

Pauli Murray might be one of the most influential but little-known figures in modern American history. Born in 1910 in Baltimore, Murray, who was a prominent lawyer and activist, went on to shape American law, society and culture throughout much of the 20th century. Publicly, Murray is remembered for contributions to feminist legal thought and in particular, the concept of “Jane Crow,” which recognized how black women struggle with racism and sexism. Meanwhile, in private, Pauli Murray’s fluid gender and sexual identity clashed with the era’s rigid categories. All of this made Pauli Murray a steadfast proponent of equality and a committed fighter against injustice of all kinds. It even led Murray to the ordained ministry, where the fight for a reconciled humanity could be waged in the spiritual realm. So for that reason -- and many more -- this week on BackStory, Ed and Joanne explore the life and legacy of Pauli Murray.  *Note: Pauli Murray often self-identified as a woman and used “she” and “her” pronouns. You can see this in public writings, like Murray’s autobiography. But, in private, Murray grappled with a nuanced gender identity. This identity was often at odds with the strict gender and sexual constructs of the 20th century, and it was often in flux. For that reason, the question of pronouns is a complicated one in the case of Pauli Murray. So after careful consideration, we decided to opt out of using any pronouns when referring to Pauli Murray throughout the episode. Instead, you’ll hear us say “Pauli Murray,” “Murray” or sometimes just “Pauli.” But you’ll hear our guests alternate between different pronouns. We’ve let each guest decide for themselves which pronoun they think best fits when talking about Pauli. 
20/03/20·1h 15m

Blacks and Indians: From What's Ray Saying?

What’s Ray Saying? is a podcast that takes a deeper view into Black life in America by examining the intersection of history, narrative, and experience.    This episode, “Blacks and Indians,” explores the complex relationship between Black Americans and Native Americans and attempts to separate  fact from fiction.    Ray Christian has an MA in Public History and an EdS/ EdD in Education. His stories have been heard on the Moth Radio Hour, Snap Judgment, Spooked and the Risk podcast. Learn more about Ray Christian at his website: http://drraychristian.com/   Find out more about What’s Ray Saying?: http://whatsraysaying.com/
13/03/20·38m 31s

Past Pandemics: What Can We Learn That May Help Us Today?

For several weeks, nothing has dominated national and international headlines more than the coronavirus. As of this week, authorities have identified approximately 113,000 cases worldwide, more than 4,000 deaths have been reported and the WHO is now calling the coronavirus outbreak a global pandemic.  The coronavirus might be new. But this is by no means the first time that America and the world have been in the grips of a deadly virus. Over a century ago, Spanish influenza caused a global pandemic, spread in large part by soldiers returning home from the First World War. The virus killed between 50 and 100 million people. But the story of the virus, and the lives it affected, has often been forgotten.   Back in 2018, BackStory looked at the history of Spanish influenza in an episode titled “Forgotten Flu: America and the 1918 Pandemic.” So in the wake of ongoing concerns about coronavirus, Ed revisits a couple segments from that show, to learn about how people from the past dealt with a terrifying and unpredictable virus.  Music: Hip Hop Piano Lounge by Bobby Cole/Audioblocks Sad and Reflective Hip Hop by Bobby Cole/Audioblocks Light and Laid Back Rap Beat by Bobby Cole/Audioblocks Fighting the Flu  Brian and historian Nancy Bristow explore the medical community’s response to the 1918 pandemic, and their inability to understand the virus.  Music:  Ones Left Behind by Ketsa Once and Future Flu Brian speaks with virologist John Oxford about how the 1918 influenza pandemic spread worldwide and why scientists think we should prepare for another pandemic.  Music: Live With No Fear by Ketsa
12/03/20·22m 51s

315: New Stories for an Old Conflict: Rethinking Civil War Narratives

Over the years, tens of thousands of books have been published about the Civil War. America’s most divisive conflict might be its most-written about. With stacks and stacks and stacks of books about the Civil War, it’s hard to know what else there is to say. But historians are coming up with new ways to look at conflict all the time.
06/03/20·34m 22s

314: People Making History: The Power and Perils of Telling History Through Individual Stories

We turn to history to make sense of the present…but how do you make sense of history? For many of us, it’s through stories -- individual tales of individual people. So on this episode of BackStory, Joanne, Ed and Brian present and discuss a particular person from their time period, someone who they think sheds much-needed light on our current moment.
28/02/20·33m 14s

313: Best of BackStory: The Time Ed Ayers Marched Into Richmond

As BackStory moves towards the end of its production, we’ve asked our hosts to select memorable moments from the show that we’re publishing as episodes once per month.  A founding host of the show, Ed Ayers has had hundreds of conversations on a huge variety of topics. But some of his favorite BackStory moments touched on anniversaries and events related to his own field in American history: slavery, the Civil War, and Reconstruction.  So in this best of BackStory, we will take a deep dive into what the Confederacy means today, and learn about the newly opened Civil War Museum. Then, we’ll hear tape from a BackStory live show at the 150th anniversary of the liberation of Richmond, Virginia.
21/02/20·37m 59s

312: From Music to Madiba: A History of U.S. Relations with South Africa

Thirty years ago this week, Nelson Mandela, the renowned civil rights and anti-apartheid leader, was released from prison. His release marked the beginning of the end of South Africa’s brutal apartheid regime and a new future for black South Africans. So on this episode of BackStory, Joanne, Ed and Brian take a look at the complicated and often contentious relationship American officials and anti-racism activists have had with South Africa. Image: President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela with members of the Congressional Black Caucus, including Representative Kweisi Mfume, at an event at the Library of Congress. October 1994. Source: Library of Congress
14/02/20·49m 29s

311: "The Gay Agenda" from American Hysteria

American Hysteria is a podcast exploring the fantastical thinking and irrational fears of Americans through the lens of moral panics, urban legends, and conspiracy theories, how they shape our psychology and culture, and why we end up believing them. Poet-turned-podcaster Chelsey Weber-Smith explores the sometimes hilarious, sometimes horrifying stories of historical and modern American freak-outs, and the real social issues they act to cover up. An in-depth alternative history as well as a sociological experiment, the show analyzes how issues of race, gender, sexuality, and class have informed our beliefs from the Puritans to the present.   Written, produced, and hosted by Chelsey Weber-Smith Produced and edited by Clear Commo Studios   www.americanhysteria.com Instagram: @americanhysteriapodcast // twitter: @amerhysteria https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/american-hysteria/id1441348407
07/02/20·43m 20s

310: Seminoles, Retirees and Florida Man: A Brief History of the Sunshine State

As most of America is bundled up in the dead of winter - we’re wearing our flip-flops, slathering on sunscreen, and basking in the history of the Sunshine State. On this episode of BackStory, Joanne, Nathan and Brian learn about the social media phenomenon called “Florida Man,” explore the often overlooked story of the Seminoles, discover how the state became a mecca for retirees, and find out about the remarkable efforts of one woman to preserve Florida’s natural environment. Image: Welcome to Florida Sign by DonkeyHotey via Flickr available under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)
31/01/20·1h 13m

309: Best of BackStory: The Time Peter Onuf Declared Independence

For close to ten years, Peter Onuf hosted BackStory along with Ed Ayers and Brian Balogh. Now, with the show coming to a close, Peter is back to help kick off a new series we’re doing on the show. These are episodes in which all five of our hosts will look back on their time with the show and highlight some of their favorite moments.  With so much time at the show, Peter had a lot of material to work with. But he has narrowed it down to three conversations that still stick out in his memory today. Each one captures something that he considers to be unique about BackStory. 
24/01/20·29m 39s

235: The Real Martin Luther King: Reflecting on MLK 50 Years After His Death

Had he lived, Martin Luther King, Jr. would have celebrated his 91st birthday this week. King is regarded as an American hero and championed in children’s books and inspirational posters, but have Americans lost sight of the real MLK? Image: Martin Luther King press conference by Marion S.  Trikosko, March 26, 1964. Source: Library of Congress
17/01/20·49m 57s

308: The U.S. and Iran: A Brief History of an Often Tense Relationship

Last weekend, an American airstrike killed Iranian General Qasam Soleimani, at the direction of President Trump. Iran vowed to retaliate and launched more than a dozen missiles at two American military bases in Iraq. In response, President Trump addressed the nation on Wednesday, saying the US will impose new economic sanctions on Iran. Only time will tell what Solemani’s death means for U.S./Iran relations, and the future of the Middle East. But how did we get here?  On this episode of BackStory, Brian speaks with Hussein Banai, author of “Becoming Enemies: U.S.-Iran Relations and the Iran-Iraq War, 1979-1988,” about what the history of US/Iran relations can teach us about the current moment -- and where we might be headed. Image: A staff member removes the Iranian flag from the stage after a group picture with foreign ministers and representatives of Unites States, Iran, China, Russia, Britain, Germany, France and the European Union during the Iran nuclear talks at the Vienna International Center in Vienna, Austria Tuesday July 14, 2015. Source: AP Images
10/01/20·30m 58s

307: Those Were The Days: Nostalgia in American History

It’s common for folks to look back on a time gone by and romanticize it as “better days.” But is nostalgia a harmless yearning for the past, or a distraction from what’s happening in the present?  Image: Memory Lane sign by Martin Bennett / Stockimo Source: Alamy Stock Photo
03/01/20·1h 8m

257: Stuffed - Taxidermy in the History of America

The holidays are upon us and we're more than a little obsessed with stuffing - just not the kind you eat. On this episode of BackStory, Brian, Ed and Nathan find out about the father of American natural history dioramas, talk to a man with a condor in his freezer, discover how a mischievous raven connects Edgar Allan Poe to Charles Dickens and unravel the extraordinary story of the man who proposed stuffing the Founding Fathers. Image: "In the workroom," photograph shows occupational portrait of taxidermist Martha A. Maxwell with animal specimens, palette, and rifle. Oct. 27, 1876 Source: Library of Congress BackStory is funded in part by our listeners. You can help keep the episodes coming by supporting the show: https://www.backstoryradio.org/support
27/12/19·1h 9m

306: The Best of BackStory 2019

On this episode of BackStory, Brian brings you a sampling of some of our favorite segments from the past year.  BackStory is funded in part by our listeners. You can help keep the episodes coming by supporting the show: https://www.backstoryradio.org/support
20/12/19·45m 23s

305: From BackStory to You: A History of Giving and Receiving

‘Tis the season for giving. Whether it’s the latest gadget or the coziest sweater, many Americans are spending the month of December searching for that perfect gift. But throughout American history, gift giving has taken on many different forms. And the act of giving and receiving has allowed bonds to form across social, political, and cultural divides.  On this episode of BackStory, Brian, Joanne and Nathan bring you two very different stories of giving and receiving. One starts in Ireland, and the other looks at a time when lending a helping hand resulted in more harm than good. BackStory is funded in part by our listeners. You can help keep the episodes coming by supporting the show: https://www.backstoryradio.org/support
13/12/19·57m 36s

304: Telling Stories About the Past: Historians on Historical Fiction

On Christmas Day, the sixth film adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s beloved 1868 novel Little Women hits theaters nationwide. The movie reflects the ongoing popularity of historical fiction, a genre that has captivated audiences for decades and shows no signs of slowing down. BackStory is funded in part by our listeners. You can help keep the episodes coming by supporting the show: https://www.backstoryradio.org/support
06/12/19·43m 5s

225: What's Cooking? A History of Food in America

It’s the holidays — that time of the year when food is everywhere. So, Brian, Joanne, and Nathan sit down to discuss some of America’s many homegrown culinary traditions and what the food we eat says about American identity. In this episode we talked to Pati Jinich of “Pati’s Mexican Kitchen.” Find her recipe for Chilorio Burritas (and more) on her website. We also talked about Maida Heatter’s “Best Damn Lemon Cake.” Learn more about Heatter and find her lemon cake recipe (as well as a few other desserts) in this 1982 story from the Washington Post. BackStory is funded in part by our listeners. You can help keep the episodes coming by supporting the show: https://www.backstoryradio.org/support
29/11/19·48m 39s

303: Sunny Days: The History of Sesame Street in America and the World

This month marks the 50th anniversary of Sesame Street, the children’s television show that has made an indelible mark on American culture, not to mention people all over the world. So on this episode of BackStory, Brian, Ed and Joanne explore the history of Sesame Street and what made a show about muppets and their neighbors so revolutionary. Image: A scene of the US children's series "Sesame Street" with puppets Ernie and Bert, photographed in March 1976. Photo by Dieter Klar/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images BackStory is funded in part by our listeners. You can help keep the episodes coming by supporting the show: https://www.backstoryradio.org/support
22/11/19·54m 39s

Sponsored: Introducing Clearstory, from This Old House

Host Kevin O'Connor digs into the systems, structures and materials in our homes from unexpected angles. Why is the window the ultimate machine? What can Las Vegas teach us about lowering our water bills? How did the Great Chicago Fire change the way we frame houses today? You’ll hear from This Old House experts, as well as industry leaders, historians, and builders.  Find Clearstory in Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen, and learn more at thisoldhouse.com/clearstory
20/11/19·25m 6s

302: The End of an Era: History That Was Made - and Unmade - in the 2010s

The calendar is nearing closer and closer to the end of 2019. Which has us thinking about the end of the decade and how the United States has changed since the start of the 2010s. So on this episode, Brian, Nathan and Joanne dive into an extended conversation about the memorable moments of the last 10 years and what future historians might say about the decade. Image: "Tuesday morning the police evicted the Occupy Wall Street protesters and cleaned the park." by David Shankbone, November 11, 2011. Source: Wikimedia Commons BackStory is funded in part by our listeners. You can help keep the episodes coming by supporting the show: https://www.backstoryradio.org/support
15/11/19·28m 9s

301: The Chinese in American History: How Afong Moy, Mayling Soong and Bruce Lee Changed the Narrative About China

Conversations about US-China relations often revolve around tariffs, trades and recently, President Donald Trump’s tweets. So on this episode of BackStory, Nathan, Joanne and special guest host Erika Lee go beyond the standard narrative of US-China relations and learn about three Chinese and Chinese American people who worked to change American perceptions of China. Support for this podcast comes from International Education at the University of Richmond and The Rose Chen Group for Cultural Understanding. BackStory is funded in part by our listeners. You can help keep the episodes coming by supporting the show: https://www.backstoryradio.org/support
11/11/19·1h 5m

195: Call To Arms: Enlistment in America

It's Veteran's Day weekend, when we in the US honor those who have served in our Armed Forces. In this episode of BackStory, Ed, Joanne and Brian look at the many reasons for joining the US armed services - from a sense of patriotism, to escaping poverty, to earning American citizenship. They’ll discuss the struggles of the Continental Army to find enough soldiers during the Revolutionary War and how thousands of Filipinos became American citizens by enlisting in the US Navy after World War II. BackStory is funded in part by our listeners. You can help keep the episodes coming by supporting the show: https://www.backstoryradio.org/support
08/11/19·41m 19s

300: Blasts from the Past: A History of Dynamite in the United States

In the 19th century, dynamite helped transform the nation. It led to the construction of important milestones like the transcontinental railroad and helped create iconic American monuments like Mt. Rushmore. But some people also saw these small explosives as potential weapons and used dynamite to promote violence. Learn more about Smithsonian's Sidedoor podcast and find episodes: https://www.si.edu/Sidedoor BackStory is funded in part by our listeners. You can help keep the episodes coming by supporting the show: https://www.backstoryradio.org/support
01/11/19·34m 0s

Coming Up: The History of Dynamite in America

More than 154 million treasures fill the Smithsonian’s vaults, but where public view ends, Sidedoor begins. With the help of biologists, artists, historians, archaeologists, zookeepers, and astrophysicists, host Lizzie Peabody sneaks listeners through Smithsonian’s side door to search for stories that can’t be found anywhere else. Follow Sidedoor at @SidedoorPod or sign up for the e-newsletter at www.si.edu/Sidedoor
29/10/19·4m 44s

299: Haunted Histories: A BackStory Halloween Special

Image: Alleged 1911 spirit photograph of Emma Hardinge Britten taken by William H. Mumler. BackStory is funded in part by our listeners. You can help keep the episodes coming by supporting the show: https://www.backstoryradio.org/support 
25/10/19·35m 44s

298: Rallying Behind Racism: The Women of White Supremacy

White supremacy has been in the news a lot recently. It is often seen as a movement at the fringes of American society, and discussion of it rarely includes white women. But women play a critical, if overlooked, role in the white supremacy movement, and examining their involvement shows it to be far less fringe than many think. So on this episode of BackStory, Brian, Nathan and Joanne dig into the little known history of white women and white supremacy. Image: Attention has been focused on the almost mythical Ku Klux Klan organization in the United States, following the allegations that Senator Black, the new Supreme Court judge, was a member of the sect. Virtually unknown, even in the U.S., a women’s branch of the Ku Klux Klan has grown into a powerful organization in the south. The women’s Klan salute to the cross at Atlanta, Georgia, on Aug. 18, 1937. Source: AP Images BackStory is funded in part by our listeners. You can help keep the episodes coming by supporting the show: https://www.backstoryradio.org/support
18/10/19·53m 59s

"The Schizophrenic Sixties" from episode "States of Mind"

Image: Woman in state of 'hysteria' (Wikimedia Commons). BackStory is funded in part by our listeners. You can help keep the episodes coming by supporting the show: https://www.backstoryradio.org/support
16/10/19·10m 40s

297: How Reconstruction Transformed the Constitution: A Feature Conversation with Pulitzer Prize-winning Historian Eric Foner

If you turn on the news, you’re likely to find a heated debate about big issues, from citizenship to voting rights. For Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Eric Foner, these issues are at the heart of what are often called the “Reconstruction Amendments”: the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments to the US Constitution. They were passed in 1865, 1868 and 1870, respectively. And if you ask Eric, they’ve been misinterpreted and overlooked for generations.  On this episode, Ed sits down with Eric Foner, a professor emeritus of history at Columbia University, to talk about public perceptions of Reconstruction, the landmark amendments to the Constitution and how they have the power to change the country today. Foner’s new book is The Second Founding: How the Civil War and Reconstruction Remade the Constitution. Image: February 18, 1865 Harper's Weekly cartoon depicting celebration in the House of Representatives after adoption of the Thirteenth Amendment. Source: Internet Archive. BackStory is funded in part by our listeners. You can help keep the episodes coming by supporting the show: https://www.backstoryradio.org/support
11/10/19·35m 23s

"Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight" from episode #0136 "Where There's Smoke"

On this day in 1871, the Great Chicago Fire swept through the city after starting, from unknown causes, the previous evening. The fire, and subsequent rebuild, shaped the city that exists today. But the new city had no room for many poorer Chicagoans.  Residents of San Francisco's Chinatown faced similar economic and political pressure as their own city recovered from the 1906 earthquake and resulting fires. But the city's Chinese community fought back, building a new, thriving Chinatown from the ashes.  Image: An artist's rendering of the Great Chicago Fire, Chicago in Flames -- The Rush for Lives Over Randolph Street Bridge. Originally from Harper's Weekly, 1871. BackStory is funded in part by our listeners. You can help keep the episodes coming by supporting the show: https://www.backstoryradio.org/support
09/10/19·12m 50s

Sponsored: Introducing American Elections: Wicked Game

American Elections: Wicked Game is a new podcast from the host of Wondery’s American History Tellers (Lindsay Graham) that will explore all 58 presidential elections, leading up to the big day in November 2020. From the inevitable election of George Washington in 1789, to Donald Trump’s surprise electoral victory in 2016, we’ll attempt to discover if there ever was a “good ol’ days,” or if presidential politics have always been played dirty. Listen now at wondery.fm/backstory
08/10/19·7m 10s

296: Darkness Over the Plain: The Bison in American History

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, there are over 28,000 threatened species in the world. But this is hardly the first time our planet has faced the prospect of mass extinction. In the beginning of the 20th century, America’s flora and fauna were seriously threatened by urban encroachment and over-hunting. And one animal at the center of this struggle was the bison.  So in celebration of World Animal Day, Brian and Nathan explore the history of bison in America. We’ll find out how the bison went from an animal in excess to near extinction and we’ll learn how Madison Grant’s work preserving the bison went hand and hand with his theories on eugenics. Plus, we’ll hear from the Buffalo Representative of the Eastern Shoshone about his efforts to restore the buffalo. Image: Buffalo at water circa 1904 by Denver Kendrick. Source: Library of Congress BackStory is funded in part by our listeners. You can help keep the episodes coming by supporting the show: https://www.backstoryradio.org/support
04/10/19·46m 27s

231: Life After the Oval Office: Presidential Legacies

This week, President Jimmy Carter turned 95, extending his status as the oldest-living American president. What has Carter, and other presidents, done with their time once they're out of office - and how do we remember them once they're gone?  BackStory is funded in part by our listeners. You can help keep the episodes coming by supporting the show: https://www.backstoryradio.org/support
02/10/19·47m 37s

295: Impeachment Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow: High Crimes and Misdemeanors in American History

On Tuesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced she’s launching a formal impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump. The announcement comes after news of a July phone call between Trump and Urkanian president Volodymyr Zelensky, in which Trump requested Zelensky launch an investigation into political rival and Democratic presidential contender, Joe Biden. So on this episode of BackStory, we’re bringing you a roundtable conversation with Joanne, Nathan and Brian about impeachment in the past, present and possibly future of American history. Image: A coalition of progressive activist groups, including MoveOn.org, hold a rally at the Capitol calling on Congress to impeach President Trump on Thursday, Sept. 26, 2019. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call via AP Images) BackStory is funded in part by our listeners. You can help keep the episodes coming by supporting the show: https://www.backstoryradio.org/support
27/09/19·28m 41s

Sponsored: Introducing Lost at the Smithsonian with Aasif Mandvi

Check out Lost at the Smithsonian, a new podcast from Stitcher! Comedian and pop culture fanatic Aasif Mandvi gets up close and personal with the most iconic artifacts at the National Museum of American History. Join Aasif and his guests as they explore how vintage clothing, ratty furniture, and mismatched shoes transformed into Fonzie's leather jacket, Archie Bunker's chair, and Dorothy's ruby slippers and became defining symbols of American culture along the way. Lost at the Smithsonian is out NOW - listen wherever you get your podcasts. Subscribe to Lost at the Smithsonian in Apple Podcasts: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/lost-at-the-smithsonian-with-aasif-mandvi/id1478 968631
26/09/19·6m 35s

294: The Long Shadow of the Plantation: How a Weighted Past Creates a Complicated Present

There are hundreds of plantations in the U.S. that have been repurposed for a variety of reasons. Many are museums for tourists to visit, while others have been transformed into event spaces. But how does the complicated and nuanced history influence the ways plantations are used today? Image: Slave Cabin at Whitney Plantation. Image courtesy of Whitney Plantation. Photographer: Elsa Hahne. BackStory is funded in part by our listeners. You can help keep the episodes coming by supporting the show: https://www.backstoryradio.org/support
20/09/19·56m 3s

218: Close Encounters: UFOs in American History

Alienstock, the event jokingly conceived by college student Matty Roberts to storm Area 51 on September 20, is officially canceled. When more than 500,000 planned to attend and another 500,00 indicated they were interested in the Facebook event back in July, the U.S. Air Force took notice and issued a strongly worded statement that discouraged the plan.   But that hasn’t stopped an unknown number of people from planning to descend on rural Nevada this weekend, leading the FAA to shut down airspace above Area 51 as a precaution. This interest in the unknown isn’t new and to shed some light, BackStory is republishing our 2018 episode about UFOs in American History. In “Close Encounters,” Nathan, Brian and Ed discuss the things in the sky we struggle to explain – unidentified flying objects. Image: Grainy B&W image of supposed UFO, Passaic, New Jersey. July 30, 1952. Source: www.cia.gov via Wikimedia Commons BackStory is funded in part by our listeners. You can help keep the episodes coming by supporting the show: https://www.backstoryradio.org/support
18/09/19·1h 1m

216: What’s in a Number?: Thirteen in American History

The 13th of any month is more likely to occur on a Friday than any other day of the week and it’s happened as many as three times in a single calendar year. So, why is it considered bad luck?  In this episode, Joanne, Nathan and Brian explore stories of superstition and the surprising roles the number 13 has played across American history. Image: Triskaidekaphobia stock photo. Source: iStock by Getty Images BackStory is funded in part by our listeners. You can help keep the episodes coming by supporting the show: https://www.backstoryradio.org/support
13/09/19·50m 45s

"Trade Winds" from episode #0141 “They Might Be Giants: China and the U.S.”

This morning, China published a short list of products exempted from its tariffs on American made goods. This list comes about a month before scheduled talks between Chinese negotiators and Trump administration officials.   The current U.S. trade war with China is not unlike previous conflicts. In this segment from BackStory’s 2015 show, “They Might Be Giants: China and the U.S.,” host emeritus Peter Onuf talks to historian John Haddad about how Americans smuggling opium into China during the 19th century led the Chinese to crack down on trade that was already very restrictive. And learn how the Opium Wars were a turning point in Chinese history that still influences them today.   Image: President Nixon gamely tries out his chopsticks at a banquet given in his honor, 1972. Source: White House Photo Collection.   BackStory is funded in part by our listeners. You can help keep the episodes coming by supporting the show: https://www.backstoryradio.org/support
11/09/19·11m 28s

293: Standing Rock and the History of Indigenous Resistance in the United States

In 2016, protests broke out at Standing Rock - a reservation in North and South Dakota - to block the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. Indigenous peoples and other activists opposed the pipeline because they believed it violated sacred sites and threatened to contaminate the Missouri River, a major source of drinking water in the region. Taking social media by storm, the #noDAPL movement quickly became an international headline. On this episode, Nathan sits down with historian and activist Nick Estes to talk about his experience at Standing Rock, the history of Indigenous resistance, and the current state of the Dakota Access Pipeline. Estes’ new book is called “Our History is the Future: Standing Rock versus the Dakota Access Pipeline and the Long Tradition of Indigenous Resistance.” Image: Protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline by Fibonacci Blue via Flickr. (Used under CC BY 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/) BackStory is funded in part by our listeners. You can help keep the episodes coming by supporting the show: https://www.backstoryradio.org/support
06/09/19·36m 29s

"What We Have Here is a Failure to Communicate" from episode #043 "Weathering the Storm"

Hurricane Dorian struck the Bahamas this week, and east coast states from Florida to North Carolina are bracing for its impact. In preparation, governors are declaring states of emergency to allow emergency management teams to coordinate and act quickly. But in this segment from BackStory's 2012 show, "Weathering the Storm," host emeritus Peter Onuf learns from Oxford University professor Gareth Davies that responses to disasters are often fraught with politics. Image: Poseidon by Mark Rain (www.azrainman.com). Source: Flickr (CC BY 2.0)   BackStory is funded in part by our listeners. You can help keep the episodes coming by supporting the show: https://www.backstoryradio.org/support
04/09/19·11m 19s

292: BackStory’s Labor Day Special: A History of Work and Labor Relations in the U.S.

To mark the Labor Day holiday Brian presents a compilation of BackStory’s best stories about work and workers. Why were so many employers keen on hiring children in the 19th century? When was computing considered women’s work? And what happened when almost a million Mexicans were expelled from the US to free up jobs for white workers? Image: John Vachon photo of a Minneapolis employment agency, 1939. Source: Library of Congress BackStory is funded in part by our listeners. You can help keep the episodes coming by supporting the show: https://www.backstoryradio.org/support 
30/08/19·37m 29s

"Let Freedom Ring" from episode #075 "Fierce Urgency of Now"

On August 28, 1963, the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom - a demonstration held by civil rights leaders and attended by approximately 250,000 people – took place. It was during this protest, one of the largest in U.S. history, that Martin Luther King made his now famous speech at the foot of the Lincoln Memorial where he uttered the words, “I have a dream.”   In this segment from BackStory’s 2013 episode “Fierce Urgency of Now: The 1963 March on Washington,” Ed talks with historian David Blight about the continuing impact of the Civil War in shaping the context within which the march took place, and the particular importance of the Emancipation Proclamation in King’s speech, which had been issued 100 years before the march. Image: Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. at the "March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom," August 28th, 1963. Source: Library of Congress   BackStory is funded in part by our listeners. You can help keep the episodes coming by supporting the show: https://www.backstoryradio.org/support
28/08/19·9m 43s

291: 1619: The Arrival of the First Africans in Virginia

This month marks the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first Africans to land on what would become British North America. It wasn’t the first time Africans set foot in what became the United States - they’d arrived some 100 years earlier with Spanish colonists. But 1619 looms large in American history because it marks the beginning of slavery’s development in the Virginia colony and later the entire nation.  Image: "Landing Negroes at Jamestown from Dutch man-of-war, 1619," illustration in Harper's Weekly Magazine, January 1901. Source: Library of Congress BackStory is funded in part by our listeners. You can help keep the episodes coming by supporting the show: https://www.backstoryradio.org/support
23/08/19·58m 35s

Teaser: 1619: The Arrival of the First Africans in Virginia

On Friday's episode, BackStory digs into the complicated history of 1619 and the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first Africans to the English colonies.  In this preview, BackStory travels to Hampton, Virginia to meet with members of the Tucker family. Using oral history and official records, they’ve traced their lineage back to William Tucker, the first African American born in British North America in 1624.  Image: BackStory producer Melissa Gismondi speaks to Walter Jones, Vincent Tucker and Verrandall Tucker, at the Tucker family cemetery in Hampton, VA.
22/08/19·1m 50s

"Above the Law" from episode #104 "Serve and Protect?"

This week, NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo was fired for his involvement in the 2014 death of Eric Garner. The incident helped to stimulate the Black Lives Matter movement, and sparked public debate about the limits of and accountability for law enforcement. With these debates once again at the fore, BackStory revisits a segment originally published in 2016. In it, producer Nina Earnest explores how the professionalization of the Los Angeles Police Department ended up putting the department above the law they were supposed to enforce. BackStory is funded in part by our listeners. You can help keep the episodes coming by supporting the show: https://www.backstoryradio.org/support
21/08/19·11m 57s

290: Enlightened America?: A History of Buddhism in the United States

Today, Americans generally view Buddhists favorably, according to the Pew Research Center. Meanwhile, terms like “zen” and “mindfulness” are often used as buzzwords to evoke the religion. However, over the last century, Buddhism wasn’t always viewed as a peaceful practice by a mainstream population. On this episode, Brian, Joanne, and Nathan, explore the ways the religion adapted and evolved throughout the 20th century into a distinctive form of “American Buddhism.” Image: Lama in meditation, Sikkim, between 1965 and 1979. Source: Library of Congress BackStory is funded in part by our listeners. You can help keep the episodes coming by supporting the show: https://www.backstoryradio.org/support
16/08/19·1h 2m

184: Border Patrols: Policing Immigration in America

On the heels of what may have been the biggest single-day sweep of undocumented immigrants last week in Mississippi, this week the Trump administration released a new "Public Charge" rule. The idea of a public charge – an individual who isn’t considered capable of self-sufficiency – became a part of U.S. immigration law after the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. The new rule will make it harder for immigrants who fail the public charge test to obtain a Green Card.    Efforts to curb immigration in the U.S. are nothing new. This episode from BackStory’s archives looks at the origins of illegal immigration and how the government’s deportation powers have grown over time.   Image: Detention pen--on roof of main building, Ellis Island, where emigrants held for deportation may go in fine weather. Circa 1902. Source: Library of Congress   BackStory is funded in part by our listeners. You can help keep the episodes coming by supporting the show: https://www.backstoryradio.org/support 
14/08/19·37m 8s

289: Man Up: A Look at Masculinity in American History

It’s an age-old question: What makes a man? Americans have thought about it for generations. So this week on BackStory, we go back into the archives to look at past segments that explore the changing perceptions of American manhood. We’ll look at why so many men started growing beards in 19th century America, and we’ll explore how ideas about the perfect male body used to be very different from what you might think of today. Image: The “Manly art of self-defense” Newsboys’ Protective Association, Cincinnati, Ohio, August 1908. Source: Library of Congress BackStory is funded in part by our listeners. You can help keep the episodes coming by supporting the show: https://www.backstoryradio.org/support 
09/08/19·26m 41s

“Armed For Freedom” from episode #183 “Taking it to the Streets”

At least 31 people were killed this past weekend in mass shootings in the U.S. The violence that took place during the early morning hours of August 4 in Dayton, Ohio was the nation’s 251st mass shooting of 2019.    As the U.S. and its leaders once again debate gun control, BackStory revisits a segment originally published in 2013. In it, UCLA legal scholar Adam Winkler talks to Brian about the day in 1967 that 30 Black Panthers walked into the California State House in Sacramento carrying loaded guns. They were protesting a gun control bill that they said deprived them of their 2nd Amendment right to bear arms, but ended up being the target of early gun control laws.   Image: “The racist dog policemen must withdraw immediately from our communities, cease their wanton murder and brutality ...” from a Black Panther Party poster featuring Huey P. Newton, approximately 1965. Source: Yanker Poster Collection, Library of Congress.   BackStory is funded in part by our listeners. You can help keep the episodes coming by supporting the show: https://www.backstoryradio.org/support 
07/08/19·10m 21s

Sponsored: Introducing Sean Carroll's Mindscape

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05/08/19·8m 34s

252: Thar She Blows Again: The History of Whales and America (Part 2)

Whale deaths are reaching record numbers in 2019. According to the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Association, gray whale deaths are “notably greater than the average” and have led the NOAA to declare the occurrence an Unusual Mortality Event (UME). In addition, NOAA considers the death rates of North Atlantic right whales an urgent conservation crisis leading the U.S. to begin working with Canada this month to help protect the species.   This week, BackStory revisits our two episodes on the history of whales and America. We’re re-releasing part one, “Thar She Blows” on July 31. In this episode, Brian, Nathan and Joanne explore how Native American whalers faced stereotypes within the industry, how whaling went from boom to bust, and learn how a real white whale named Mocha Dick became the inspiration for Herman Melville’s novel.   In part two, “Thar She Blows Again” (releasing on Aug. 2), Ed joins the rest of the team to uncover the story of Cabin Boys who were women in disguise, find out why a traveling whale was turned away from a Midwestern Town, and learn all about the Black whaler and entrepreneur who became one of the wealthiest men in America. Images: Ep 1 - Jonathan Fisher woodcut, published in the 1833 book "Scripture Animals," courtesy of the Jonathan Fisher Memorial, Blue Hill, Maine. Ep 2 - "Whalers Heading Towards A Whale" Source: The New York Public Library Digital Collections BackStory is funded in part by our listeners. You can help keep the episodes coming by supporting the show: https://www.backstoryradio.org/support 
02/08/19·1h 3m

251: Thar She Blows: The History of Whales and America

Whale deaths are reaching record numbers in 2019. According to the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Association, gray whale deaths are “notably greater than the average” and have led the NOAA to declare the occurrence an Unusual Mortality Event (UME). In addition, NOAA considers the death rates of North Atlantic right whales an urgent conservation crisis leading the U.S. to begin working with Canada this month to help protect the species.   This week, BackStory revisits our two episodes on the history of whales and America. We’re re-releasing part one, “Thar She Blows” on July 31. In this episode, Brian, Nathan and Joanne explore how Native American whalers faced stereotypes within the industry, how whaling went from boom to bust, and learn how a real white whale named Mocha Dick became the inspiration for Herman Melville’s novel.   In part two, “Thar She Blows Again” (releasing on Aug. 2), Ed joins the rest of the team to uncover the story of Cabin Boys who were women in disguise, find out why a traveling whale was turned away from a Midwestern Town, and learn all about the Black whaler and entrepreneur who became one of the wealthiest men in America. Images: Ep 1 - Jonathan Fisher woodcut, published in the 1833 book "Scripture Animals," courtesy of the Jonathan Fisher Memorial, Blue Hill, Maine. Ep 2 - "Whalers Heading Towards A Whale" Source: The New York Public Library Digital Collections BackStory is funded in part by our listeners. You can help keep the episodes coming by supporting the show: https://www.backstoryradio.org/support 
31/07/19·43m 8s

288: Making the Team: Sports and Equality in American History

This month, the US Women’s Soccer Team won the Women’s World Cup for the fourth time since the tournament was established in 1991. But alongside the celebrations were calls for female players to be paid the same as their male counterparts. So, on this episode of BackStory, we’re revisiting past segments that explore the issue of sports and equality throughout American history. Image: Althea Gibson, U.S. and Wimbledon tennis champion, gives some pointers on the game which has brought her international fame, December 1957. Source: World Telegram & Sun photo by Ed. Ford via Library of Congress BackStory is funded in part by our listeners. You can help keep the episodes coming by supporting the show: https://www.backstoryradio.org/support 
26/07/19·27m 59s

"Jose Julio Henna & the Invasion of Puerto Rico" and "What is Puerto Rico?" from episode 248 "After Hurricane Maria"

On Monday, hundreds of thousands of people surged through the capital of Puerto Rico in the largest protest the island has ever seen. It is the latest in a series of demonstrations calling for the resignation of Puerto Rico's governor, Ricardo A. Rosselló, who is expected to finally resign today. While the recent unrest was sparked by the publication of messages between Rosselló and his friends and advisors in which they mocked an obese man, a poor man, a gay pop star, and several women, it was a demonstration of the long-simmering resentment over economic recession, corruption, and the management of recovery since Hurricane Maria. In this segment from BackStory's 2018 show, "After Hurricane Maria," Brian, Ed and Nathan take a look at the historical relationship between Puerto Rico and the United States, going back to the roots of the difficulties the island faces today, exploring the politics of the post-recovery process and looking at why many still don't see Puerto Ricans as Americans. BackStory is funded in part by our listeners. You can help keep the episodes coming by supporting the show: https://www.backstoryradio.org/support 
24/07/19·18m 14s

287: Moon, Man, and Myths: The 50th Anniversary of Apollo 11

We’ll hear from flight director Gene Kranz about what it was like in Mission Control during the moon landing. And we’ll explore a kind of Apollo nostalgia that has crept into movies and other forms of pop culture. Plus, stay tuned throughout the episode to hear from our listeners about their memories of the moon landing. Image: New York City welcomes Apollo 11 crewmen in a showering of ticker tape down Broadway and Park Avenue in a parade termed as the largest in the city's history. Source: NASA BackStory is funded in part by our listeners. You can help keep the episodes coming by supporting the show: https://www.backstoryradio.org/support 
19/07/19·1h 4m

286: Historians in the Press: Why Citation by the Media is Important, Even if it Rarely Happens

This is a special episode that’s a little bit different from our usual programming. For several years, BackStory hosts have appeared on WBUR’s Here & Now, discussing a range of topics that have been in the news. Last week, Nathan and Ed appeared on the program to talk about America’s relationship with tobacco. They relied on the research of Sarah Milov, an assistant professor of history at the University of Virginia, whose book, The Cigarette: A Political History, comes out in October.  As you may have seen reported in various media outlets, neither Nathan, nor Ed credited Prof. Milov on the air for her work. For that, we’re deeply sorry.  So in this special segment, Prof. Milov joins Nathan and Ed to talk about what happened last week, as well as broader issues facing historians who are regularly in the media. Image: A word cloud of this episode's transcript. *In the conversation, Nathan and Sarah Milov refer to the following historians: Nan Enstad, James Downs, Danielle McGuire and Silke-Maria Weineck. Thanks to Jessica Marie Johnson for providing hosts with some background reading on the topic. 
17/07/19·27m 20s

285: How Silicon Valley Remade America in Its Image: A History of Digital Disruption

Whether its smartphones, laptops, or the Internet, there’s no doubt the products of Silicon Valley are a part of our daily lives. According to the Pew Research Center, 81% of Americans own a smartphone, and nearly three-quarters of adults have a desktop or laptop computer. But how did a slice of northern California turn into one of the most influential industries in history? Brian talks with historian Margaret O’Mara about the Valley’s rise to global tech capital. O’Mara’s new book is called “The Code: Silicon Valley and the Remaking of America.” Image: In this April 24, 1984 file photo, Steve Jobs, left, chairman of Apple Computers, John Sculley, center, president and CEO, and Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple, unveil the new Apple IIc computer in San Francisco, Calif. Apple has become the world’s first company to be valued at $1 trillion, the financial fruit of tasteful technology that has redefined society since two mavericks named Steve started the company 42 years ago. Source: AP Images BackStory is funded in part by our listeners. You can help keep the episodes coming by supporting the show: https://www.backstoryradio.org/support 
12/07/19·32m 11s

212: The Melting Pot: Americans and Assimilation

In the spirit of July 4th, BackStory revisits an episode on the abiding question: What does it mean to be an American? We’ll explore 19th-century notions of who could become an American and the ways they were expected to change. Plus, we’ll discuss how much room there was for a hyphenated American identity in the past and if there is any room for it today. Image: Cover of Theater Program for Israel Zangwill's play "The Melting Pot," 1916. Source: Wikimedia Commons BackStory is funded in part by our listeners. You can help keep the episodes coming by supporting the show: https://www.backstoryradio.org/support
05/07/19·1h

284: A History of Stonewall, the Riot That Started the LGBTQ Revolution

In the early hours of June 28, 1969, a riot broke out at a rundown gay bar in New York City. Today the Stonewall uprising is famous around the world as a clash that helped spark a gay political revolution. Brian and Nathan talk to scholars and participants and discover how Stonewall led to a wave of activism, protest and political agitation. Image: Marsha P. Johnson hands out flyers for support of gay students at N.Y.U., 1970. Source: New York Public Library Digital Collections BackStory is funded in part by our listeners. You can help keep the episodes coming by supporting the show: https://www.backstoryradio.org/support
28/06/19·49m 23s

283: In God We Trust? The History of Religious Identity in America

The Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment forms the basis for the separation of church and state: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” Yet, throughout American history, this principle hasn’t stopped Americans from using religious differences to draw boundaries around who is and isn’t American. Joanne digs into the BackStory archives to bring you a selection of segments that look at religious identity in America and how faiths, cultures and rituals adapted to American life. Image: "Church and state - No Union upon any terms" by Thomas Nast in Harper's Weekly, Feb. 25, 1871. Source: Library of Congress BackStory is funded in part by our listeners. You can help keep the episodes coming by supporting the show: https://www.backstoryradio.org/support
21/06/19·39m 24s

Sponsored Promotion: Bleeped

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18/06/19·10m 15s

282: The Many Lives of Roe v Wade: The Little Known History Behind the Famous Ruling

In 1973, the landmark ruling in Roe v. Wade decriminalized abortion. But since then, the court’s findings have been simultaneously celebrated and contested. Now, Roe is in the news again. States including Alabama and Missouri have passed laws that challenge the Roe decision, leading some to ask: Are we close to seeing the Roe v. Wade ruling overturned? On this episode, we dig into the history of Roe and explore the life and legacy of a case whose details are often forgotten or misunderstood. Image: Demonstrators demanding a woman's right to choose march to the U.S. Capitol for a rally seeking repeal of all anti-abortion laws in Washington, D.C., Nov. 20, 1971. On the other side of the Capitol was a demonstration held by those who are against abortion. (AP Photo) BackStory is funded in part by our listeners. You can help keep the episodes coming by supporting the show: https://www.backstoryradio.org/support
14/06/19·1h 4m

Sponsored Promotion: Unknown History Podcast

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11/06/19·15m 25s

281: Mind, Body and Spirit: The History of Wellness in America

Recent estimates have put the value of the “Wellness Industry” at $4.2 billion, with celebrities like Jay-Z and Gwyneth Paltrow offering advice on how to get, and stay, well. But being holistically healthy hasn’t always involved a daily dose of meditation. Ed and Brian explore the history of Wellness, a story which takes in breakfast cereal, leotards and Sigmund Freud.  Image: Aerobics created by Fotoburo de Boer between 1983 and 1985 Subscribe to American Hysteria on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts. BackStory is funded in part by our listeners. You can help keep the episodes coming by supporting the show: https://www.backstoryradio.org/support
07/06/19·56m 5s

280: Song of Ourselves? Walt Whitman and the American Imagination

May 31st marks Walt Whitman’s 200th birthday. In honor of the man known as America’s “bard of democracy,” we explore diverse aspects of Whitman’s life and legacy - from sexuality to spirituality, poetics to place. Image: Walt Whitman by George C. Cox, 1887. Source: Library of Congress BackStory is funded in part by our listeners. You can help keep the episodes coming by supporting the show: https://www.backstoryradio.org/support
31/05/19·1h 4m

279: Paying for the Past: Reparations and American History

Reparations for African-Americans has been a hot topic on the presidential campaign trail, with Democratic candidates including Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren coming out in favor of compensation for unpaid African-American labor. But the debate around reparations is nothing new. In fact, it goes back centuries. On this episode, Nathan, Ed and Brian explore the complicated - and often contentious - history of reparations, from the first mass reparations movement led by Callie House, an ex-slave, to a unique moment when African-Americans in Florida received compensation for the destruction of their community. Image: "The Freedmen's Bureau" Man representing the Freedman's Bureau stands between armed groups of Euro-Americans and Afro-Americans. Drawn by A.R. Waud. https://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/92514996/ BackStory is funded in part by our listeners. You can help keep the episodes coming by supporting the show: https://www.backstoryradio.org/support
24/05/19·1h 13m

Sponsored Promotion: Family Ghosts

Announcing Season 2 of Family Ghosts, a podcast that takes a closer look at the legendary tales that shape our family histories. Listen: https://megaphone.link/FG7245488954
20/05/19·8m 35s

234: You Have The Right to Remain Silent: A History of the Miranda Warning

When a man named Ernesto Miranda confessed to a rape and kidnapping on March 13, 1963, his trial went all the way to the Supreme Court becoming one of the most well-known cases of the 20th century: "Miranda v Arizona." Nathan and Joanne look at the interrogation that led to the Supreme Court decision and ask how the Miranda warning transformed from technical bit of police procedure to pop-culture lexicon. Download a full transcript of this episode. Image: Ernesto Miranda, 1963. Source: Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records, History and Archives Division, Phoenix, #00-0517. BackStory is funded in part by our listeners. You can help keep the episodes coming by supporting the show: https://www.backstoryradio.org/support
17/05/19·33m 38s

278: The Year of the Woman: A History of Women in Congress

Today, 131 women serve in the House and Senate, making Congress the most female and most diverse it’s ever been. But women in politics continue to face an uphill battle. Even after their election, Congresswomen such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib have faced criticism for their choice of clothing and language. One radio commentator in Atlanta even suggested Lucy McBath should quote “go back to the kitchen.”  We look at the history of “women in Congress,” how much progress we’ve made and how much work lies ahead.   Image: A composite of all available images of the 365 women who have served in Congress since 1917. Compiled using a search of pictures available via the Office of Art & Archives, Office of the Historian, United States House of Representatives: https://history.house.gov/People/Search?Term=Search&SearchIn=LastName&ShowNonMember=true&ShowNonMember=false&Office=&Leadership=&State=&Party=&ContinentalCongress=false&BlackAmericansInCongress=false&WomenInCongress=true&WomenInCongress=false&HispanicAmericansInCongress=false&AsianPacificAmericansInCongress=false&Dates=All&CongressNumberList=65-66-67-68-69-70-71-72-73-74-75-76-77-78-79-80-81-82-83-84-85-86-87-88-89-90-91-92-93-94-95-96-97-98-99-100-101-102-103-104-105-106-107-108-109-110-111-112-113-114-115-116&PreviousSearch=Search%2cLastName%2c%2c%2c%2c%2cFalse%2cFalse%2cTrue%2cAll%2c65-66-67-68-69-70-71-72-73-74-75-76-77-78-79-80-81-82-83-84-85-86-87-88-89-90-91-92-93-94-95-96-97-98-99-100-101-102-103-104-105-106-107-108-109-110-111-112-113-114-115-116%2cMostRecommended&CurrentPage=31&SortOrder=MostRecommended&ResultType=Grid&Command=1 BackStory is funded in part by our listeners. You can help keep the episodes coming by supporting the show: https://www.backstoryradio.org/support
10/05/19·53m 56s

277: The Civil War in the 21st Century: A New Museum Marks an Old Conflict

On May 4, 2019, the American Civil War Museum opens in Richmond, Virginia. It’s a historic endeavor, building upon a merger of several museums and historical sites in the region, including the former Museum of the Confederacy.  The museum’s goal is to tell an inclusive and balanced version of the Civil War. But for an event that’s arguably the most contentious conflict in American history, that’s a tall order. So on this episode, BackStory gets an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the museum to explore what it means to tell new narratives of the Civil War in public spaces.  Image: "Storming Fort Wagner," chromolithograph by Kurz & Allison-Art Publishers, shows Union soldiers storming the walls of Fort Wagner on Morris Island, South Carolina, and engaging some Confederate soldiers in hand-to-hand combat. Source: Library of Congress  BackStory is funded in part by our listeners. You can help keep the episodes coming by supporting the show: https://www.backstoryradio.org/support
03/05/19·54m 49s

275: Alternative Facts, Falsehoods and Delusions: The Lies We've Told Ourselves and Each Other in American History

Late last month, the Washington Post reported President Trump has made some 9,451 false or misleading claims throughout his term in office. Yet, Trump’s supporters have maintained he’s not lying — he’s presenting so-called alternative facts. No matter how you look at it, it’s clear we’re living in what many pundits are calling a post-truth moment — where misinformation, lies and alternative facts are everywhere. Nathan digs into the BackStory archives to bring you a selection of segments that look at alternative facts in American life.  Image: Feejee Mermaid, shown in P.T. Barnum's American Museum, 1842, as leased from Moses Kimball of the Boston Museum, papier-mache - Peabody Museum, Harvard University. Source: Wikimedia Commons BackStory is funded in part by our listeners. You can help keep the episodes coming by supporting the show: https://www.backstoryradio.org/support
19/04/19·28m 59s

274: Death on the Assembly Line: Industrial Tragedies in American History

On Wednesday an explosion from a gas leak in Durham, NC killed one person and injured 25 others. Local authorities say the leak started after a construction worker hit a gas line. The explosion occurred soon after. From explosions to pollution, tragedies like the one in Durham have wreaked havoc on Americans and their communities throughout history. This week, BackStory considers the history of industrial disasters and how they’ve changed the nature of American capitalism. Image: The front page of the Boston Daily Globe, January 16, 1919. Headline: "Molasses Tank Explosion Injures 50 and Kills 11." Source: newspapers.com, https://www.newspapers.com/image/430831009 BackStory is funded in part by our listeners. You can help keep the episodes coming by supporting the show: https://www.backstoryradio.org/support
12/04/19·1h 10m

273: All the Presidents’ Vetoes: A Brief History of Saying No to Legislation

To veto or not to veto? That was the question President George Washington wrestled with on this day in 1792. In honor of that decision, and the precedent it set for subsequent leaders, this week BackStory looks at presidential vetoes through two periods in American history. First, Joanne unpacks Washington’s complicated feelings about his first (and only) veto. Then, Brian speaks with historian Jeffrey Engel about how President Trump’s recent use of the veto pen fits into the big picture of presidents saying ‘thanks, but no thanks.’ Image credit: President Donald Trump signs the first veto of his presidency in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, March 15, 2019. Source: AP Images BackStory is funded in part by our listeners. You can help keep the episodes coming by supporting the show: https://www.backstoryradio.org/support
05/04/19·38m 47s

236: Teen Activists: A History of Youth Politics and Protest

This month, youth around the globe participated in Youth Strike 4 Climate, coordinated demonstrations by school students who are demanding action by world leaders to prevent further climate change. So, in this episode, Joanne, Brian & Ed talk about the role young people have played in American politics. They’ll look at how the desegregation movement in Virginia was sparked in part by a 16-year-old girl, how young Americans made it okay to be independent voters and thinkers in the early centuries, a 1945 student walkout against integration, and the story of a young Lakota activist who travelled to Standing Rock when she was in high school. The transcript for this episode is from the original broadcast and may contain some minor differences. BackStory is funded in part by our listeners. You can help keep the episodes coming by supporting the show: https://www.backstoryradio.org/support
29/03/19·1h 4m

272: Burnt Corks & Cakewalks: The Toxic Legacy of Blackface in American History

Ed, Nathan and Brian explore the history of blackface, from its heyday as the most popular form of entertainment in America to its afterlife in the controversial images that appear in college yearbooks. What explains the long life of blackface in American culture? BackStory is funded in part by our listeners. You can help keep the episodes coming by supporting the show: https://www.backstoryradio.org/support
22/03/19·1h 6m

243: Shore Thing: A History of the Beach

Spring Break is here and BackStory has gone to the beach. Ed, Joanne, and Brian dip their toes into four tales from America’s shoreline. We’ll talk about race, health, and daringly provocative woolen swimsuits. And the hosts will add their own experiences of the beach as a weird, magical place. Download a full transcript of this episode. BackStory is funded in part by our listeners. You can help keep the episodes coming by supporting the show: https://www.backstoryradio.org/support
15/03/19·50m 35s

271: Oh, Bloody Hell: BackStory’s History of Profanity in America

WARNING: THIS EPISODE CONTAINS UNCENSORED USE OF THE STRONGEST PROFANITIES. PLEASE DO NOT LISTEN IF YOU ARE LIKELY TO BE OFFENDED AND PLEASE DO NOT PLAY IF CHILDREN ARE LISTENING. This week, BackStory looks at the history of profanity in America. We’ll discover how soldiers returning from World War Two brought home more than just tales from the battlefield, explore what it really means to swear like a sailor, and discover how Lenny Bruce challenged and provoked the America of the 1950’s and 60’s. Plus Nathan talks to scholar Elizabeth Pryor, who just happens to be the daughter of comedian Richard Pryor, about the charged and painful history of the “n-word.”
08/03/19·55m 22s

270: Shattering the Glass Ceiling in America: BackStory Celebrates Women's History Month

In celebration of Women’s History Month, Brian showcases our favorite BackStory segments that highlight female achievement in American history. We’ll hear from a former switchboard operator about her experiences at New York Telephone in the 1970’s and learn how Ida B. Wells found her voice as an advocacy journalist. We’re also sharing a Radio Diaries story on Margaret Chase Smith, a Republican Senator from Maine whose 1964 presidential bid inspired a generation of women to enter politics.
01/03/19·38m 23s

269: Man vs. the Machine: Technophobia and American Society

What drives people to reject technology? Though American society has been driven by technological leaps forward, not everyone has come along for the ride. We explore the strain of technophobia in American society from Neo-Luddism to Sabbatarianism and the anti-technology terrorism of the Unabomber. About the image: Original Film Title: METROPOLIS. English Title: METROPOLIS. Film Director: FRITZ LANG. Year: 1927. Credit: U.F.A / Album. Source: Album / Alamy Stock Photo
22/02/19·40m 48s

268: Love Off Limits: A History of the Relationships Once Considered Taboo in America

In this episode, Joanne, Brian, and Nathan discuss stories of love that challenged social norms and transcended class, race, and gender. They explore how people subverted laws banning interracial marriage, and why a wave of heiresses running away with their coachmen caused a moral panic in the Gilded Age.
15/02/19·49m 39s

267: The Faces of Racism: A History of Blackface and Minstrelsy in American Culture

Nathan talks with historian Rhae Lynn Barnes about Virginia Governor Ralph Northam’s 1984 yearbook page and its link to a long and disturbing history of blackface minstrelsy. They discuss how white civic organizations used minstrel shows for fundraising, why the era known as Jim Crow is named after a minstrel character, and what must happen to prevent people from donning blackface going forward. THIS EPISODE CONTAINS SOME LANGUAGE THAT PEOPLE MIGHT FIND OFFENSIVE. 
08/02/19·35m 13s

266: BlackStory: BackStory Celebrates Black History Month with a Compilation

Nathan showcases some of BackStory’s best content about African American history in honor of Black History Month. In this episode, hear about one historian’s heartbreaking research into the human effects of lynching to the extraordinary story of Korla Pandit, the turban-wearing showman of California’s cocktail lounges. We’re also sharing a segment from “Scene On Radio” about the racial cleansing in Corbin, Kentucky that took place 100 years ago, but mostly remains hidden from the town’s official history. Note: This episode contains previously broadcast content. About the image: "Civil Rights mural at Martin Luther King Memorial Park in Atlanta,” May 18 2013 by denisbin via Flickr. Used under  CC BY-ND 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/) 
01/02/19·52m 3s

265: Nixon Beyond Watergate: A History of the Presidency Before the Scandal

Today the Presidency of Richard Nixon is mostly remembered for how it ended - with the Watergate scandal, impeachment and resignation. But what about early Nixon, the man sworn into office in January 1969? As Nathan, Ed and Brian discover, Nixon ran a more imaginative and ideologically flexible administration than its ignominious ending might suggest. 
25/01/19·1h 4m

264: When You Just Want to be Alone: The History of Solitude in America

We all have times when we want to be alone, but what is the history of solitude in America? How are experiments on dolphins connected with consciousness raising and isolation tanks? And what does Thoreau’s solitary experiment at Walden Pond have to teach us all in the digital age? 
18/01/19·53m 41s

263: The BackStory Prize: Our Choice for the Best Public History Project in America

BackStory is ten years old, and to celebrate our birthday we’ve created an important new prize - the BackStory Prize for Public History. Join Ed, Brian, Joanne, Nathan and special guest judges Margot Lee Shetterly (author of Hidden Figures) and actor Chris Jackson (who played George Washington in “Hamilton” on Broadway) as they discuss the exhibitions, books, websites and museums competing to become the winner of the first ever BackStory Prize. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
11/01/19·35m 23s

262: Finding Americana: Butter Sculptures, Tiny Towns and Other Irresistible Gems

What could be more American than . . . butter carving? Maybe miniature roadside towns or perhaps a dead whale on a train. On this episode of BackStory, Ed, Brian and Nathan explore the best of Americana, finding the unique and the kitschy in American culture. (This show features two segments from previous episodes.) Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
04/01/19·53m 46s

225: What’s Cooking? A History of Food in America

It’s the holidays -- that time of the year when food is everywhere. So, Brian, Joanne, and Nathan sit down to discuss some of America’s many homegrown culinary traditions and what the food we eat says about American identity. In this episode we talked to Pati Jinich of "Pati's Mexican Kitchen." Find her recipe for Chilorio Burritas (and more) on her website. We also talked about Maida Heatter's "Best Damn Lemon Cake." Learn more about Heatter and find her lemon cake recipe (as well as a few other desserts) in this 1982 story from the Washington Post. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
28/12/18·50m 27s

261: Playing the Past: Video Games and American History

The Department of Defense developed the very first video game and the Oregon Trail taught a generation to live as a pioneer. Red Dead Redemption 2 might be a major commercial success, but how historically accurate is it of the Old West? On this episode, Brian, Nathan and Ed explore the relationship between history and video games in America. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
21/12/18·56m 36s

260: The BackStory Holiday Book Show: 19 History Books for the Holiday Season

What history books should you gift - or get- this holiday season?  BackStory’s hosts and special guests share their recommendations of the history page turners you should pack for the holidays. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
14/12/18·1h 1m

259: Out of the Closet: The LGBTQ Community in American History

Brian, Nathan and Joanne explore the history of the LGBTQ community in the US, from tales of gender fluidity in the Old West to early gay liberation, and from the political career of Harvey Milk to the barrier breaking career of one SFPD cop.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
07/12/18·1h 19m

230: Forgotten Flu: America & the 1918 Pandemic

The CDC recommended flu shots for all this year after more than 80,000 Americans succumbed to influenza in 2017 - a four-decade high. But 100 years ago, a strain of H1N1 that was first found in soldiers in the spring of 1918 rapidly spread across the United States killing about 675,000 by 1919 and making it “the most severe pandemic in recent history,” according to the CDC. Brian, Nathan, and Joanne look back at the so-called “Spanish Flu,” how it affected the U.S., and why it’s often overlooked today. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
30/11/18·43m 40s

257: Stuffed: Taxidermy in the History of America

This Thanksgiving week BackStory is all about stuffing and being stuffed. We’ll find out about the father of American natural history dioramas, talk to a man with a condor in his freezer, discover how a mischievous raven connects Edgar Allan Poe to Charles Dickens and unravel the extraordinary story of the man who proposed stuffing the Founding Fathers. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
23/11/18·1h 9m

256: Divided States of America? The History of An Often Disjointed Union

Google the phrase “divided America” and you’ll find numerous, stories, opinion pieces and even psychological theories on why we’re so disconnected. From race and class to gender and politics, it seems that Americans can’t see eye-to-eye - to the point that a recent NBC News headline stated, “Americans are divided over everything except division.” On this episode, Ed, Nathan and Joanne look at other times in history when Americans were split. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
16/11/18·57m 15s

255: Lincoln the Lawyer: Abraham Lincoln’s Early Life and Career

Abraham Lincoln wasn’t the first lawyer to occupy the Oval Office (and he wouldn’t be the last). Lincoln came to national prominence after a long career settling disputes between farmers and representing litigious railway companies. So what did this enterprising lawyer pick up along the way and how did his legal career influence the President he became? Ed and guest host Lindsay Graham of the American History Tellers podcast explore the career of Lincoln the Lawyer. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
09/11/18·54m 43s

184: Border Patrols: Policing Immigration in America

Thousands of Central American migrants, dubbed the “migrant caravan,” have traveled north on foot towards the U.S. border since mid-October. Originating in Honduras, the group includes men, women and children attempting to escape high poverty, violence and corruption. In response, President Trump deployed 5,200 active duty troops to the U.S. border with Mexico this week and indicates that number could reach 15,000. On this episode of BackStory, Brian, Nathan and Joanne consider the origins of illegal immigration and look at how the government’s deportation powers have grown over time. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
02/11/18·37m 37s

254: The War to End All Wars: Remembering WWI

On November 11, 1918, Germany formally surrendered to the Allied Powers, about 19 months after the United States entered the conflict. On this episode, Brian and Nathan reflect on how, 100 years later, “the war to end all wars” is still with Americans. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
26/10/18·48m 59s

253: To be a Citizen? The History of Becoming American

Around three quarters of a million people applied to be American Citizens in 2017. But what does citizenship actually mean? The way Americans have defined citizenship has changed over time and many have found their citizenship challenged, undermined, resisted and even revoked. On this episode of BackStory, Brian, Nathan and Joanne discover the path to citizenship has never been easy. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
19/10/18·54m 30s

250: Land of the Free? The History of Incarceration in the U.S.

(Contains archival audio in segments 1 and 3 (see backstoryradio.org for details).) The United States imprisons more of its citizens than any other nation in the world. This month prisoners across the U.S. took part in a National Prison strike protesting how they are used as cheap labor, and calling for an end to “prison slavery.” In this episode, Brian, Nathan and Joanne reflect on the history of prison labor and learn more about the challenges facing those behind bars.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
28/09/18·38m 59s

249: Who Wants to be a Millionaire? The History of America’s Wealthy Elite

It’s been ten years since the collapse of Lehman Brothers shook the world’s economy. Today Ed, Nathan and Brian explore the iconic figure of the American Millionaire, telling the story of one of the first African American Millionaires, delving into the ambiguities around Andrew Carnegie’s philanthropy, and finding out that there is more to the board game Monopoly than just rolling the dice and passing “Go.” Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
14/09/18·46m 34s

248: After Hurricane Maria: The History of Puerto Rico and the United States

In August of 2018, officials in Puerto Rico reported that over 3,000 people died in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. One year after the disaster, Brian, Ed and Nathan take a look at the historical relationship between Puerto Rico and the United States. Are Puerto Ricans really Americans in the eyes of the federal government? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
07/09/18·53m 5s

181: Fit to Print?: A History of Fake News

As we approach the midterm elections, concerns about fake news - widely circulated news stories that are inaccurate, misleading, or completely made-up – continue to dominate the headlines. The topics, targets, and sources of this content continues to expand, while labelling stories as “fake news” has become a commonplace tactic to blur the lines between fiction and reality. On this episode, Nathan, Joanne and Ed will look at other times in history when Americans had to be a bit more careful about what they read. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
31/08/18·33m 59s

247: Hot Enough For You? The History of Climate Change

According to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), 2018 is on pace to be the fourth hottest year on record. So, on this week’s episode, Nathan, Brian and Joanne talk about how Americans understood climate and weather in centuries past. They also explore how the invention of air conditioning changed America forever.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
24/08/18·31m 29s

246: In the Shadow of the Mushroom Cloud: A History of the Atomic Age

In 1942, American scientists created the first sustained, controlled nuclear reaction, under the bleachers of a football field. Needless to say, it was the beginning of a new era. On this week’s show, Brian, Joanne and Ed talk atomic power, and the indelible mark it left on American culture.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
17/08/18·55m 24s

187: A More Perfect Union? The Reconstruction Era

Lately, Americans feel the country is more divided (at least politically) than ever and often wonder how to go about repairing our divisions. Those same questions were asked when the nation started to come back together after the very real split of the Civil War. When Congress passed the first Reconstruction Acts, paving the way for Confederate states to rejoin the Union after the war, many also asked who belonged in the country and what rights they would have. So, in this episode, Ed, Nathan and Joanne explore the central questions of the Reconstruction Era.
10/08/18·43m 24s

245: The Battle for Charlottesville's Soul: One Year Later, A Community Looks Back

On August 11 & 12, 2017, a “Unite the Right” rally brought chaos, violence and death to the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia. To mark the anniversary, BackStory broadcasts an episode of “A12,” a new podcast series presented by historian, writer and podcaster Nicole Hemmer.  “A12” looks at the legacy of August 12th in Charlottesville and beyond. In it Hemmer, who witnessed the rally and attack, brings together city leaders, activists, scholars, and witnesses to make sense of all the forces surrounding the events. It’s a sprawling story, covering everything from Confederate statues to white nationalists to questions of policing and law. But it’s also an intimate one: a story of trauma, loss and healing. “A12,” a six-episode series, releases in full on Aug. 6. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
03/08/18·45m 30s

244: Elementary Mr. President: Sherlock Holmes, the Supreme Court and Dr. Spock

Ed, Joanne and Brian explore the history of filling vacant seats on the Supreme Court, discover the secret connections between 221B Baker Street and 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, and find out why the publication date of a successful child rearing manual is a Day that Changed America. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
27/07/18·38m 11s

212: The Melting Pot: Americans & Assimilation

This week, Brian, Joanne, and Nathan wrestle with a long-running tension in our country’s history: what it means to assimilate and “become American.” We’ll explore the 19th-century notions of who could become an American and the ways they were expected to change. Plus, we’ll discuss how much room there was for a hyphenated American identity in the past and if there is room today. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
20/07/18·1h 1m

216: What’s in a Number? Thirteen in American History

The 13th of any month is more likely to occur on a Friday than any other day of the week and it's happened as many as three times in a single calendar year. So, why is it considered bad luck?  In this episode, Joanne, Nathan and Brian explore stories of superstition and the surprising roles the number 13 has played across American history. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
06/07/18·50m 2s

191: Saving American History

How is the history of a nation remembered? Well -- it all depends on what you keep. We’re talking about recipes, your old record collection, wedding dresses, newspapers, family letters or even your own personal diary. These are the types of documents future generations depend on to understand past American culture. On this episode, Joanne, Ed and Nathan talk about the people who decided to take it upon themselves to collect stuff they knew people would care about someday -- even if others thought they were weird.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
29/06/18·39m 37s

242: Summer Reading List: 14 History Books You’ll Want to Read

What should you be reading this summer? BackStory’s hosts and special guests share their recommendations of the history page turners you should pack for the beach. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
22/06/18·53m 39s

241: The Camera Never Lies? History Through the Viewfinder

In the 21st century, we often assume that a picture captures what really happened in a given moment. But on this week’s show, Joanne and Brian look at the early days of photography - when Americans had to figure out how to ‘read’ images - and learn if photos should be trusted at all. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
15/06/18·35m 26s

210: Death Before Dishonor: Shame and Reputation in American History

This week, Ed, Nathan and Joanne discuss the importance of honor throughout American history. We’ll explore how 19th-century honor culture demanded that a man’s good name be saved by any means necessary — even murder. And we’ll consider how the concept lives on today. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
08/06/18·45m 52s

205: Are We There Yet? Americans On Vacation

As Americans hit the road and take to the skies for summer vacation, Joanne, Ed, and Nathan explore the ways Americans have spent their time off. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
01/06/18·34m 22s

240: Reflecting on Darkness: Lynching; Americans and the Holocaust

On this week’s episode, Nathan, Brian, Joanne & Ed talk about how Americans remember and reckon with systematic violence, and how we keep this difficult history alive and in the public eye. Historian Kidada Williams reads letters from a man seeking justice for his son who was lynched, and Brian visits an exhibit at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
25/05/18·39m 16s

239: Upward Nobility: American-Made Royalty

The marriage of England’s Prince Harry to American actress Meghan Markle is making headlines around the world. U.S. women marrying into aristocracy has a surprisingly long history. This week, Ed, Brian, and Joanne look at the outsized political impact these marriages often have around the globe.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
18/05/18·44m 18s

238: Shock of the New: The Legacy of the 1893 World’s Fair

The World’s Columbian Exposition opened 125 years ago this month. Known today as the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, it put the emerging United States and its host city on shining display. So, on this episode, Joanne, Ed, and Nathan explore the fairgrounds. They’ll discuss how electric power - a new experience for many Americans - illuminated the White City. And they’ll consider how this presentation of American progress came at a cost.     Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
11/05/18·56m 15s

199: Crowning Glory: A History of Hair in America

It’s been fifty years since “Hair” debuted on Broadway. The groundbreaking play featured an integrated cast and defined the rock musical genre. On this episode, Brian, Joanne and Nathan explore some of the many meanings Americans have attached to hair - as a marker of personal identity, a living connection to distant loved ones, and even as the root of business empire.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
04/05/18·50m 31s

237: “Dear Mr President…”: Letters to FDR, #twitterstorians, and one man's experience of slavery's legacy

Joanne talks about the letters that flooded into FDR’s Whitehouse and how historians reach the public using social media. Also, Justin Reid, director of African American programs at Virginia Humanities, reflects on his family’s experience of slavery. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
27/04/18·29m 36s

185: Behind the Bylines: Advocacy Journalism in America

In 2015, Fox News host Bill O’Reilly challenged Univision journalist Jorge Ramos on his role as a voice for Latinos in America. In an interview with the reporter on the O’Reilly Factor, he called Ramos “an advocate for people who enter the U.S.A. illegally.” In recent decades, however, more journalists have vocally advocated for underrepresented communities. Websites like the theGrio.com are unapologetic about finding stories the mainstream media aren’t picking up.  On this episode, Nathan, Joanne, and Brian look at the deep roots of advocacy in journalism. They’ll also explore the recent origins of objectivity and debate the duty of the Fourth Estate. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
20/04/18·48m 8s

193: The Habit: Opioid Addiction in America

As the opioid epidemic continues, Surgeon General Dr. Jerome M. Adams said this week that Americans should carry and learn to use naloxone, an overdose antidote. In this episode, Nathan, Ed and Brian look at America's long history with opioids - like opium, morphine and heroin. They’ll discuss how late 19th century doctors spurred the nation’s first addiction crisis and how race and class have shaped our perception of addicts and addiction. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
06/04/18·40m 42s

235: The Real Martin Luther King: Reflecting on MLK 50 Years After His Death

Civil rights leader Dr Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated 50 years ago. Today he is celebrated as an American hero and championed in children’s books and inspirational posters. But have Americans lost sight of the real MLK? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
30/03/18·50m 16s

233: Wherever Green is Worn: The Irish in America

On this St. Patrick’s Day special, Brian, Joanne and Nathan explore Irish American culture and identity.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
16/03/18·51m 22s

52: Turf War: A History of College Sports

On this episode, Brian, Peter, and Ed unpack the origins of college sports and the ways universities originally justified athletics on campus. From the first collegiate PHYS ED program at Amherst College to the little-known story about the integration of the University of Alabama’s football team - the hosts discover why college sports even exist in the first place. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
09/03/18·49m 29s

204: Too Good To Be True?: Myths in American History

On this week’s episode, Brian, Joanne, and Nathan explore some of the stories Americans tell about our past and find the kernels of truth that lie at the heart of a few American legends.   Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
02/03/18·54m 58s

232: Billy Graham, Black Panther and Haiti, and Thomas Edison’s Reputation

The BackStory hosts look back on the rise of influential pastor Billy Graham, who died this week. Nathan probes how Black Panther’s mythical kingdom of Wakanda is a fully realized dream of a black-led country. And Joanne introduces a new segment, in which the hosts reevaluate American icons and their reputations. First up, Thomas Edison: gifted inventor or corporate thief? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
23/02/18·32m 37s

231: Life After the Oval Office: Presidential Legacies

In honor of President’s Day, Joanne, Brian, and Nathan explore the ‘afterlives’ of presidents: what do they do with their time once they’re out of office -- and how do we remember them once they’re gone? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
16/02/18·47m 46s

138: Catholics in America

Ed, Brian and Nathan mark the beginning of Lent with an exploration of American Catholicism—recounting the struggles, triumphs, and unique impact of Catholics on the history of the United States. From Spanish missionaries on the California coast and early converts among the Mohawk, to JFK and modern nuns living in the Blue Ridge Mountains - BackStory considers how what it means to be Catholic in America has changed over time. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
09/02/18·46m 51s

99: US vs Them: Sports on the World Stage

This year’s Winter Olympics have already seen their share of drama -- and political jockeying -- and the games haven’t even begun. So, BackStory is digging into the history of the power of international sports. We’ll discuss how sports have been tangled up in what’s going on off the field, from Cold War politics to Americans’ sense of ourselves at home and abroad. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
26/01/18·54m 26s

229: All that Glitters? Legacies of the California Gold Rush

Gold was discovered in California 170 years ago this month. It set off a mad rush from across the United States -- and around the world. Ed, Joanne, and Nathan delve into what happened in California after gold was found and some of the lasting impacts of the Gold Rush. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
19/01/18·51m 55s

228: Presidents in the Public Eye, Slogans, and the Value of History

In this week’s roundtable conversation, Ed, Joanne, and Brian focus on President Trump’s Twitter habit and look back at how presidents have interacted with the public. They discuss this year’s Golden Globes, the scene of very public activism around the #TimesUp campaign - how have slogans affected the causes we’ve championed? Finally, how do we put a price on history? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
12/01/18·35m 33s

227: Schism: The Branch Davidians at Waco

This year marks the 25th anniversary of one of the most infamous law enforcement confrontations in American history: a bloody stand-off between federal agents and an apocalyptic Christian group known as the Branch Davidians near Waco, Texas. In this episode, Brian and Ed explore the 51 day siege, and what the Branch Davidians actually believed. This episode is sponsored by Paramount Network’s presentation of WACO.   Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
05/01/18·36m 55s

226: History for the Headlines: 2017 in Review

On this episode, Brian, Ed, Joanne, and Nathan look back at the stories we produced in 2017. Topics include fake news, the opioid crisis, and the August 12th white supremacist rally in Charlottesville. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
29/12/17·46m 51s

133: Untrammeled: Americans and the Wilderness

With President Trump moving to drastically reduce the size of two national monuments in Utah, Brian, Ed, and Nathan return to our episode on Americans’ fascination with wild places. They explore how early European arrivals actually created wilderness out of a landscape long shaped by human intervention, how humans impact even the most remote corners of our country, and ask how our ideas about wild places have changed over time.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
22/12/17·49m 30s

224: Man of The People: A New Technology Falls Into the Wrong Hands

BackStory features a guest podcast this week, from Reply All. The episode, Man of the People, first aired on January 19, 2017.  It’s about the rise and fall of an American demagogue.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
08/12/17·42m 39s

223: Men Apologizing, Alabama Senate Race, Net Neutrality

In this week’s roundtable conversation, Ed, Joanne, Nathan and Brian focus on three stories in the news: famous men apologizing (or not) for bad behavior,  the Alabama Senate race between Roy Moore and Doug Jones, and the FCC’s plans to repeal net neutrality. In this episode, Brian mentions Richard Nixon's "Checkers" speech. View the full speech (with transcript) via the Miller Center. And to hear the segment of Brian interviewing Tyrone Jones, a Black Santa, check out "Being Santa." Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
01/12/17·36m 38s

222: On the Take: Corruption in America

With allegations of corruption flying on both sides of the aisle in Washington, Brian, Joanne, and Nathan return to our episode on how Americans have wrestled with political corruption. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
24/11/17·48m 50s

221: The Thin Light of Freedom

Brian sits down with Ed to talk about a project of his that’s been twenty-five years in the making. We’re talking about Ed’s series on the American Civil War and Reconstruction. The first volume, In The Presence of Mine Enemies came out in 2003, and won the Bancroft Prize.  It opened with John Brown’s raid on Harpers Ferry in 1859, and ended just before the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863.  Ed has just published the second volume in the series: The Thin Light of Freedom: The Civil War and Emancipation in the Heart of America. He picks up the story in 1863, and continues through 1870 and the ratification of the 15th Amendment.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
17/11/17·45m 23s

220: Red Dawn: Americans and the Bolshevik Revolution

One hundred years ago, Vladimir Lenin and his Bolshevik Party seized power in a revolution that would change the world. They would establish the world’s first Marxist state, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, a few years later. As the 20th century wore on, the USSR became the United States’s chief military and ideological foe. On this episode of BackStory, Brian, Joanne, and Nathan explore how that distant revolution had an immediate impact in the United States.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
10/11/17·54m 14s

219: Other People’s Battles: American Volunteer Soldiers

An estimated 200 American volunteer soldiers have joined the fight against the Islamic State. They’re part of a much longer tradition of freelance fighters, like early 19th century American privateers who fought in Latin America’s wars of independence and those who participated in the Spanish Civil War. On this episode, Ed, Brian and Joanne explore when and why Americans signed up to fight for other countries’ causes. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
03/11/17·52m 16s

217: Boy Scouts Welcome Girls, Trump Drums Up Support for War, America as a Judeo-Christian Nation

In this week’s roundtable, the hosts tackle three stories that have been in the news: the Boy Scouts’ decision to include girls, growing GOP support for war with North Korea, and America’s identity as a Judeo-Christian nation. Advisory: the footnote segment contains references to sexual assault. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
20/10/17·33m 29s

215: It is So Ordered: 4 Landmark Decisions of the Supreme Court

This month, the Supreme Court hears oral arguments for cases that may have a profound impact on the lives of everyday Americans -- ranging from cell phone privacy and the rights of workers during labor disputes, to whether a baker has the right to turn away same-sex couples because of his religious beliefs. So this week, Joanne, Ed, and Nathan dip into the BackStory archive to look at four rulings that shaped public life in America. survey.panoply.fm Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
06/10/17·45m 41s

214: Enemies: A History of Bad Blood

As tensions rise with North Korea, Brian, Ed, and Nathan return to our episode on enemies. What distinguishes friend from foe - both at home and abroad - and how has America dealt with our adversaries across time? survey.panoply.fm Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
29/09/17·44m 16s

213: Longer Commutes, Equifax Data Breach, and Income Inequality

In this week’s roundtable discussion, Brian, Joanne and Ed discuss the history behind 3 stories in the news: our lengthening work commutes, the massive data breach at Equifax, and the Census Bureau’s latest numbers on income inequality in America.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
22/09/17·36m 34s

212: The Melting Pot: Americans & Assimilation

This week, Brian, Joanne, and Nathan wrestle with a long-running tension in our country’s history: what it means to assimilate and “become American.” We’ll explore the 19th-century notions of who could become an American and the ways they were expected to change. Plus, we’ll discuss how much room there was for a hyphenated American identity in the past and if there is room today.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
15/09/17·1h 2m

211: A Conversation with Karl Rove

Brian Balogh sits down with Republican political strategist Karl Rove to talk about his book, “The Triumph of William McKinley: Why the Election of 1896 Still Matters.” They also discuss Rove’s former boss President George W. Bush, the election of 2016, and how his study of history has guided his work as a Republican party strategist.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
08/09/17·39m 4s

Starry-Eyed: A History of the Heavens

Why do we want to travel to the moon, to Mars, or beyond? We’re saluting this week’s total solar eclipse by looking at how Americans in the past have made sense of meteors, eclipses, and the stars.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
25/08/17·49m 21s

207: Charlottesville: Our Town, Our Country

Brian, Ed, Joanne, and Nathan share their personal reactions to last week’s violence in Charlottesville, when white supremacists and Neo-Nazis showed up in town, some of them heavily armed.  Violent clashes left one counter protester dead, and 34 injured.  The BackStory hosts also discuss the meaning of Confederate statutes, and why they’re suddenly so polarizing. They conclude the conversation with why we’re seeing this resurgence in white nationalist activism in 2017.   
18/08/17·28m 11s

Revisionist Climate: Americans & the Atmosphere

On this week’s episode, Nathan, Brian and Ed, talk about how Americans have interacted, dealt with, and tried to actively change the North American climate.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
11/08/17·45m 27s

Skin Deep: Whiteness in America

This week, BackStory looks at whiteness in America by broadcasting segments from podcasts we admire. These stories -- from the podcasts Scene on Radio and What’s Ray Saying along with a segment from BackStory’s archives -- explore what it means to be white in America, and how the concept of whiteness has fundamentally shaped our country.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
14/07/17·52m 16s

Hometown History: Local Stories From Across The Country

This week, BackStory looks at local history by broadcasting segments from podcasts we admire. These stories -- from Chicago, New Orleans, St. Louis and San Francisco -- illuminate big themes in American history and tell us something about what makes these places so unique.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
07/07/17·1h 9m

Contested Landscape: The Battle over Confederate Monuments

Communities from New Orleans to Charlottesville, Virginia have been debating the presence of Confederate monuments. On this episode of BackStory, Ed, Nathan and Brian discuss when and why many of the nation’s Confederate statues were erected, and what they stood for.  They’ll examine the many meanings of the Confederate flag and hear a Civil War re-enactor take a closer look at his Southern heritage.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
16/06/17·45m 20s

Prying Eyes: Privacy in America

Is privacy a guaranteed American right? Or is it just continually under threat? On this episode, Joanne, Ed and Nathan explore the places where the private and the public collide. We’ll look at voting in the 19th century, surveillance of gay employees in the federal government, the newsworthiness of your private life, and find out if there was ever a golden age of privacy in America. Image credit: The Right to Privacy by Unarmed Civilian via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
09/06/17·53m 32s

Body Politics, JFK at 100 and African American Memorials

In this episode of BackStory, Brian’s off, but Joanne, Ed, and Nathan are holding it down and talking about the history behind items in this week’s news. They’ll discuss the art of the Presidential Handshake, John F. Kennedy’s 100th birthday and public monuments of African Americans. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
02/06/17·34m 53s

National Lampoon: A History of American Satire

The election of Donald Trump has been a boon to political satirists.  Saturday Night Live is enjoying its highest ratings in 20 years, andThe Late Show with Stephen Colbert is now the most successful late night program on TV.  Joanne, Ed and Brian look at the long history of political satire in America - how Mark Twain became the country’s most famous satirist by mostly sticking to safe subjects, a look at the 1987 Supreme Court case that made political satire protected speech, and talk to the star and director of “Ask a Slave”, the satirical web series. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
19/05/17·34m 6s

The Habit: Opioid Addiction in America

Opioid addiction is a national epidemic. According to the U.S Department of Health & Human Services, "drug overdose deaths are the leading cause of injury death in the United States." In this episode, Nathan, Ed and Brian look at America's long history with opioids - like opium, morphine and heroin. They’ll discuss how late 19th century doctors spurred the nation’s first addiction crisis and how race and class have shaped our perception of addicts and addiction.   Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
12/05/17·41m 49s

Over There: America Enters WWI

This April marks the 100th anniversary of the United States’s entry into World War I. So on this episode of BackStory, Brian, Joanne, and Ed discuss how this oft-forgotten war set the stage for the American century.  We’ll explore how Woodrow Wilson led a decidedly isolationist country into war. We’ll also discuss the repressive ways Wilson and his administration cracked down on anti-war sentiment.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
14/04/17·45m 0s

Seeing Red: A History of U.S./Russia Relations

In recent years, the White House’s relationship with the Kremlin has dominated the headlines in America --  from Syria to Ukraine. According to CNN, Vladimir Putin denounced last night's U.S. airstrike against Syria (a response to a Syrian chemical weapons attack earlier this week) as "aggression against a sovereign state in violation of the norms of international law." In addition, an FBI probe into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russians in the 2016 election has turned into a full-blown political scandal.  It can be tempting to view these events through the familiar lens of the Cold War, but in this episode, Joanne, Ed and Brian probe the deeper history of our relationship with Russia — and discover moments of comity as well as conflict. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
07/04/17·40m 47s

Border Patrols: Policing Immigration in America

President Donald Trump recently announced his plans to crackdown on undocumented immigration. In his first address to Congress, the president claimed: “We are removing gang members, drug dealers and criminals that threaten our communities and prey on our very innocent citizens. Bad ones are going out as I speak.” Coupled with his second attempt at a travel ban from Muslim-majority countries and his promise to build a border wall, the president and his team are focusing the nation’s attention on who gets in and who the government will kick out. In the second episode of our two-part series on immigration, we explore how the federal government monitors and polices the undocumented. We’ll consider the origins of illegal immigration, as well as how the government’s deportation powers have grown over time. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
10/03/17·38m 52s

Taking it to the Streets: Protest in America

The election of Donald Trump set off a seemingly continuous wave of protests across the country. This is just the latest surge of resistance. Past protests have included varied groups - from the Tea Party to Occupy Wall Street. 
03/03/17·41m 9s

On the Outs: Restricting American Immigration

On Thursday, a federal appeals panel unanimously rejected President Trump’s move to reinstate the ban on travel from seven largely Muslim nations into the United States. The restriction, put into effect by executive order on Jan. 27, is commonly believed to be a ban on Muslims. So, on this episode of BackStory, Ed, Brian, and Joanne look back at sweeping immigration restrictions in the 19th and 20th centuries, and how immigrant communities navigated these changing rules. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
10/02/17·30m 25s

Worlds Apart: Urban/Rural Divides in America

According to the New York Times, the 2016 election “highlighted a growing rural-urban split.” So, on this episode of BackStory, Brian, Ed and Nathan look at what happens when urban and rural Americans collide. They’ll tell the story of one coastal couple’s proposal to make part of the Great Plains a vast nature preserve and how it wasn’t received too kindly by the residents of those states. They’ll look at how attitudes towards small town voters shaped American politics in the 1920s. Finally, they’ll explore the urban/rural divide during the Founding Era, when city slicker Alexander Hamilton challenged Thomas Jefferson’s vision of a country composed of humble yeoman farmers. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
04/02/17·50m 17s

PREVIEW - Worlds Apart

According to the New York Times, the 2016 election “highlighted a growing rural-urban split.” So, on this episode of BackStory, Brian, Ed and Nathan look at what happens when urban and rural Americans collide. They’ll tell the story of one coastal couple’s proposal to make part of the Great Plains a vast nature preserve and how it wasn’t received too kindly by the residents of those states. They’ll look at how attitudes towards small town voters shaped American politics in the 1920s. Finally, they’ll explore the urban/rural divide during the Founding Era, when city slicker Alexander Hamilton challenged Thomas Jefferson’s vision of a country composed of humble yeoman farmers. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
31/01/17·2m 34s

Best of BackStory Pt. 2

Best of BackStory Pt. 2 by BackStory with the American History Guys Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
26/01/17·51m 48s

Preview

BackStory is going through some big changes. Take a listen to this preview and learn about everything that's going into the new BackStory - premiering on Feb. 3! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
20/01/17·1m 35s

Best Of BackStory Pt. 1

We’ll spend our last regularly scheduled broadcasts reviewing some of BackStory’s most memorable moments. We’ll revisit BackStory interviews with history makers, the Guys’ expeditions to see history being made, and the unexpected stories behind some of the 21st century’s most basic assumptions. You’ll hear portions of the very first broadcast of BackStory in 2008, Brian Balogh’s roadside conversation with a man from a jail’s work gang, Ed’s interview with a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, and Peter’s epic turn as a movie director for a film version of the War of 1812. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
19/01/17·51m 45s

Four More Years: Presidential Inaugurations [rebroadcast]

As Washington prepares for the next four years, BackStory looks back at some of the more dramatic presidential transitions from the past. On this show, the Guys explore several high-stakes presidential inaugurations and learn what each one tells us about the social and political forces at work at the time. From George Washington’s trembling voice while taking the Oath of Office to the general apathy surround Lincoln’s second inauguration, we’ll remember why inaugurations really matter. p3v647s9 Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
09/01/17·51m 33s

Health Nuts: A History of Nutritional Advice [rebroadcast]

Health Nuts: A History of Nutritional Advice [rebroadcast] by BackStory with the American History Guys Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
05/01/17·57m 41s

Judaism In America [rebroadcast]

On Dec. 24th, Jewish communities across the country begin celebrating Hanukkah. The annual holiday celebrates the victory of the Jews over the Greeks, and marks the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem in the 2nd century BC. Roughly 2% of the U.S. population is Jewish, but the influence of American Jews far outweighs their relatively small numbers. In this episode of BackStory, the Guys (along with guest host Joanne Freeman of Yale University) explore the history of Judaism in America. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
21/12/16·58m 39s

Counter Culture: A History of Shopping [rebroadcast]

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Or is it? The holiday season is notorious for bringing out the beast in shoppers. On this episode of BackStory, the Guys plunge into the history of shopping in America—the glitz and glamour, the overflowing shelves, and the cheesy Muzak. They’ll consider the role that consumption played in the revolutionary politics of the colonies, look at the curious rash of shoplifting among well-heeled women in the country’s first department stores, and reveal the connection between the Wizard of Oz and window shopping. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
15/12/16·51m 35s

Separation Anxiety: Church & State In America

From the persecution of Quakers in colonial Massachusetts, to 21st century battles over nativity scenes in public squares, the wall separating church and state is hardly set in stone. On this episode of BackStory, the History Guys explore the often blurry line between church and state in America - from Congress’ attempts to block the first Mormon Senator in the early 1900’s, to the federal government’s imprisonment of religious pacifists who refused to fight in the first world war. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
08/12/16·55m 25s

Short Take: Native Americans, the U.S. Government, and a History of Treaties

On Sunday, the Army Corps of Engineers refused to issue a permit for the Dakota Access Pipeline. The water protectors, which includes members of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and other tribes (as well as climate activists), celebrated the decision. But the celebration was brief as the opposition realized that this might be just another battle won in an ongoing war that has spanned centuries. In this Short Take, Brian talks to Robert T. Anderson, a Professor of Law and Director of the Native American Law Center at the University of Washington, about the history of colonization and treaties between the government and indigenous people. (Image credit: Protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline by Fibonacci Blue via Flickr.) Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
06/12/16·14m 19s

New & Improved: Advertising in America [rebroadcast]

Nieman-Marcus’ 2016 Christmas Book, which was first published nearly a century ago as a 16-page leaflet, is 300 pages long. According to Advertising Age, catalogs remain an effective way to reach consumers all year round. This episode of BackStory tackles the tangled history of American advertising - from the nation’s first billboards to catchy radio and TV jingles. When did the industry come into being and how did advertising executives sell Americans on the idea of lunar exploration? We’ll answer these questions and more. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
01/12/16·59m 4s

Short Take: A History Of Rigged Elections

President-elect Donald Trump said the election was rigged because millions of non-citizens voted (although there is no evidence to support the claim), 2016 Green Party Presidential Candidate Jill Stein has requested audits in multiple swing states with Wisconsin being the first to begin a recount, and Hillary Clinton's campaign is willing to go along with a recount despite that Clinton allies are, according to Politico, "irritated with Jill Stein." Even with all of the talk of tampering, the actual chances of voter fraud are very slim now. The past, however, is a different story. In this BackStory short take, the Guys take a look at the history of rigged elections. (Image credit: Voting Machine Bumpersticker by GalacticWanderlust via Flickr) Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
30/11/16·16m 38s

American As Pumpkin Pie: A History Of Thanksgiving [rebroadcast]

If a Pilgrim were to attend a contemporary Thanksgiving celebration, he or she would probably be stunned by our “traditional” foods. In this episode of BackStory, The Guys discuss Puritan foods with historian James McWilliams, and religion scholar Anne Blue Wills reveals the surprising, 19th century origins of our national holiday. We’ll also hear from legendary NFL quarterback Roger Staubach about what it was like to spend every turkey day on the football field. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
23/11/16·51m 33s

A Whole New World: A History of Utopias

In his recent book “Utopia for Realists,” Rutger Bregman advocates a 15-hour workweek, universal basic income, and open borders. Sounds like paradise to us! From the Oneida Community’s dream of open, or “complex marriage” to the rise and spectacular fall of Pullman’s model company town, the Guys look at why the idea of “utopianism” has such strong appeal to Americans. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
17/11/16·51m 45s

American Exodus: A History of Emigration [rebroadcast]

With Donald Trump vowing to keep undocumented Mexicans out of the U.S. with a wall and Hillary Clinton promising the same immigrants a path to citizenship, immigration was a big issue in the 2016 presidential election. But what about the flip side – emigration? In this episode of BackStory, we ask who’s chosen to leave the U.S. and what parts of their American identities they took with them - from the free blacks who sailed to Liberia in search of true freedom to the Depression-era refugees who moved to the Soviet Union. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
11/11/16·51m 23s

Short Take: The 2016 Election

Early this morning, Donald J. Trump was declared president-elect and will become the 45th President of the United States. The victory came as a surprise to many and it feels like a rupture in American history. Just what should we make of this and how can we draw lessons from the past? In this BackStory short take, Brian and Ed look to add perspective to this historic event. (Photo credit: Gage Skidmore via Wikimedia Commons) Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
09/11/16·13m 7s

Pulling the Curtain: Voting in America [rebroadcast]

If the record TV viewership of the Clinton-Trump presidential debates is any guide, voter turnout for the November election could reach levels not seen since the Gilded Age. It’s easy to be nostalgic for the consistently high voter turnout in the late 19th century, until you consider all the people who weren’t eligible to vote back then. In this episode of BackStory, the History Guys look at voting trends - from the changing mechanisms of voting to how the electoral college system maintained racial hierarchies in the South. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
03/11/16·52m 5s

Short Take: FBI and U.S. Elections

Last Friday, FBI Director James Comey informed Congress of a potential link between a device owned by disgraced former Congressman Anthony Weiner and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. The disclosure effectively reopened the investigation into Clinton's private server and email activity during her time as Secretary of State. It also set off a firestorm of protests from both sides of the aisle. Just what is the role of the FBI when investigating politicians and did Comey cross a line with a move that many are interpreting as interfering with a presidential election within two weeks of Americans voting? In this BackStory short take, the Guys talk to Yale historian Beverly Gage about the history of the FBI's involvement in U.S. elections.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
02/11/16·15m 59s

Bridge For Sale: Deception In America [rebroadcast]

America has a long and colorful history of confidence men and counterfeiters. On this episode of BackStory, we go back to the time when fake money and fly-by-night banks dominated the economy, and uncover the origins of the lie detector test, known as “the truth compelling machine.” We’ll also try to sell you the Brooklyn Bridge. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
20/10/16·51m 31s

A History of Manufacturing in 5 Objects

Both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have talked about loss of manufacturing jobs, and the importance of having things “Made In America.” In this episode of BackStory, we take a look at the history of American manufacturing by exploring several objects that transformed American life. From 18th century colonists struggling to produce that most coveted of tems -- porcelain -- to the invention of nylon stockings and the TV picture tube in the 20th century, Peter, Ed, and Brian explore the surprising history behind five inventions and innovations. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
13/10/16·57m 19s

Fighting Words: A History of Debate in America

With the presidential debates between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton dominating the final weeks of the 2016 campaign, we’re taking a look at the history of political debate in America. Do Americans like to argue with –or past – each other? From the popularity of amateur debate clubs among young men in the late 18th century, to the famed Lincoln-Douglas debates in 1858, and Gerald Ford’s infamous gaffe in the 1976 presidential debate, Ed, Brian, and Peter unpack the central role of debating in American democracy. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
06/10/16·59m 10s

Keeping Tabs: Data & Surveillance in America [rebroadcast]

Calls to pardon Edward Snowden, the former CIA contractor who blew the whistle on the NSA’s secret internet and phone surveillance programs, have increased with the recent release of the “Snowden” movie. As the country once again debates whether Snowden is a traitor or a hero, BackStory takes a look at the changing ways we’ve collected information on each other – and when it crosses from a matter of national security into something more sinister. (Photo credit: Uncle Sam wants your privacy. Source: Jeff Schuler via Flickr (https://secure.flickr.com/photos/jeffschuler/2585181312/in/set-72157604249628154)) Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
29/09/16·52m 43s

Banned: A History of Censorship [rebroadcast]

Americans have sought to censor all kinds of expression: political speech, music, radio, TV, film, even books. In this episode, Peter, Ed, and Brian mark the annual Banned Books Week with an uncut account of censorship in American politics, media, and culture. We look at efforts to prevent the discussion of controversial subjects from slavery to sex, Hollywood’s production code and how the line between free speech and censorship has changed over time. LANGUAGE ADVISORY: PROFANITY IS USED IN “THE ABSOLUTE TRUTH” AND “UP TO CODE." ALL INSTANCES ARE BLEEPED. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
21/09/16·57m 52s

Believer-In-Chief: Faith & The Presidency

American presidential candidates are expected to proclaim their religious faith and the 2016 election is no exception. In this episode of BackStory, Peter, Ed, and Brian explore the complicated relationship between American presidents and their spiritual beliefs. We’ll look at how many early leaders, like Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln, didn’t belong to a particular church, and how Democratic presidential candidate Al Smith’s Roman Catholicism was a flashpoint in the 1928 election. We’ll also hear how evangelical preacher Billy Graham became the spiritual advisor to a dozen Presidents. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
14/09/16·57m 5s

Body Politics: Disability in America [rebroadcast]

In 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act made everything from parking lots to bathrooms accessible. But before this legislation, disabled people found their own ways to navigate society. On this episode of BackStory, we explore the history of disability in America. From the “ugly laws” that barred the disabled from public spaces to the grassroots activism that set the stage for the passage of the ADA, the Guys consider how people with disabilities shaped America and how attitudes towards disability have changed. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
08/09/16·37m 40s

Nose to the Grindstone: A History of American Work Ethic

The Labor Day holiday offers some of us a much-needed break from work, but most Americans don’t get much vacation time. In this episode, the Guys look at American attitudes towards the value, meaning, and importance of work. We examine the meaning of the Puritan work ethic, and how race and class are often more important than hard work in determining achievement. We also ask why a strong work ethic has long been a key part of what it means to be American. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
01/09/16·58m 9s

Untrammeled: Americans and the Wilderness [rebroadcast]

BackStory is quitting the city and heading into the wild. In this episode, Brian, Ed, and Peter revisit America’s fascination with wild places and learn how humans have impacted even the most remote corners of our country. The Guys explore how the first European settlers encountered a landscape long shaped by human intervention, and later, how the city of San Francisco found a way to control the remote Hetch Hetchy valley, hundreds of miles away. They also consider how our ideas about wilderness have changed over time. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
25/08/16·51m 38s

104: Serve & Protect? A History of the Police

For many Americans, police shootings in Louisiana and Minnesota earlier this summer were strikingly reminiscent of similar instances across the nation in recent years. The prominence of both the shooting--and the retaliation--has sparked a new round of questioning about the role of local police in their communities. On this episode, we’ll explore how the first municipal police departments were assembled to quell riots in the 1840s, not fight crime. And we’ll consider what happens when the police don’t protect those they serve. 
17/08/16·51m 31s

Wish You Were Here: A History of American Tourism

As summer winds down, millions of Americans are packing their bags and hitting the road. In this episode of BackStory, Peter, Ed and Brian explore the history of American tourism.  We’ll hear how asylums and prisons were popular tourist destinations in the 19th century, and how the tiny community of Gettysburg, PA became a tourist town just days after the bloody battle. We’ll also look back on a western mountain resort that catered exclusively to black Americans during the era of segregated travel, and we’ll explore the links between tourism and the development of a national identity. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
11/08/16·57m 57s

Another Man’s Treasure: A History Of Trash [rebroadcast]

Let’s just call this episode trashy. The Guys pick through America’s history of garbage - from the filth-eating pigs that once ran free in New York City and kept the city clean, to the soda industry’s promotion of  recycling to boost their bottom line - we’ll learn why Americans produce so much garbage and the different ways we’ve disposed of it. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
04/08/16·51m 47s

You've Come A Long Way?: A History Of Women In Politics

Hillary Clinton moved a giant step closer to becoming the first woman elected President of the United States when she accepted the Democratic nomination at the party’s convention in Philadelphia. Clinton stands on the shoulders of generations of women who fought for the right to vote. On this episode of BackStory, we look at the different ways women have influenced American politics, including: • The bread riots by Confederate soldiers' wives. • The 1913 Women's Suffrage Parade in Washington, D.C. • Shirley Chisholm's historic 1972 presidential campaign. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
28/07/16·1h

Conventional Wisdom: A History of American Political Conventions [rebroadcast]

The 2016 presidential race switches into high gear this month with the back-to-back Republican and Democratic party conventions.  Before they became heavily scripted affairs for TV, conventions were where some of the most critical policy questions were resolved, and where political careers were made or ruined. On this episode, we venture into the back rooms, chaotic halls, and streets where these political clashes unfolded. The History Guys bring us the voices of anti-corruption crusaders in the 1820s, women’s rights activists at Seneca Falls, and civil rights workers in 1964 - all of whom turned to conventions to push for change. Through it all, we’ll ask how well American political conventions have lived up to their promise of representing constituents back home. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
22/07/16·51m 37s

The GOP: A History Of The Republican Party

Donald Trump has clinched the Republican party presidential nomination, and some political pundits wonder if his nomination represents a watershed for the GOP. On this episode of BackStory, we unpack the origins, evolution, and reinvention of the Grand Old Party. From its birth in 1854 by anti-slavery activists in the North, to the party of small government and low taxes, we look at how theRepublican party has reinvented itself at various points in its history. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
14/07/16·1h 3m

Rare History Well Done: Meat In America [rebroadcast]

Eating meat is a time-honored tradition in America. Whether it's a 4th of July BBQ, a TV dinner of Salisbury steak or a plate of Hawaiian musubi, meat has always had a big place on the national platter. But over the years, changing technologies and tastes have altered which meats Americans consume. As millions of folks fire up their grills this summer, the Guys will look back on America's long love affair with all things meat. How did we get from smokehouses and stockyards to cellophane-wrapped meat in supermarkets? Why do we love hot dogs so much? And in the era of modern appliances, why do we still insist on grilling steak, wings and burgers on on open flame? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
08/07/16·58m 25s

Independence Daze: A History of July 4th [rebroadcast]

In the early days of our nation, July Fourth wasn’t an official holiday at all. In fact, it wasn’t until 1938 that it became a paid day-off. So how did the Fourth become the holiest day on our secular calendar? This episode offers some answers. With perspective from guests and taking questions from listeners, Peter, Ed, and Brian explore the origins of July Fourth. They highlight the holiday’s radical roots, look at how the Declaration’s meaning has changed over time, and consider how the descendants of slaves embraced the Declaration’s message of liberty and equality. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
04/07/16·52m 43s

The Pursuit: A History Of Happiness [rebroadcast]

Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness - it’s a phrase we’ve all heard. But do we really know what Thomas Jefferson meant by that? For that matter, did Jefferson place a period or comma after happiness? In this episode, Peter, Ed and Brian begin by exploring Jefferson’s intent with his choice of punctuation. Along the way, they will consider how Americans have defined success, prosperity and contentment. They’ll also look at the many ways we’ve pursued happiness, and learn if history squares with our lofty goals. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
30/06/16·51m 58s

Above The Fray?: Ideology & The Court

As of June 2016, the Republican controlled Senate is still refusing to consider President Obama’s nominee for the Supreme Court. Supreme Court nominees, and the sitting justices have often been at the center of political storms. From Marbury v. Madison, which elevated the court to a co-equal branch of government, to FDR’s infamous court packing plan, and the failed nomination of conservative judge Robert Bork in the 1987 - the Guys look at how political pressures have shaped the country’s highest court. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
24/06/16·51m 33s

Committed: Marriage In America [rebroadcast]

The month of June gets its name from Juno, the Roman goddess of marriage. This could be part of the reason why June continues to be the most popular month to get married. In this hour of BackStory, we look at how generations of Americans have defined and redefined marriage. We explore the surprising 20th century origins of marriage counseling, as well as a panic over child brides that swept the nation in the late 1930s. The Guys take a look at how the experience of marriage changed for enslaved people after Emancipation. And we visit a modern-day wedding in Elkton, MD — the former get-hitched-quick capital of America. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
17/06/16·51m 19s

Hamilton: A History

Alexander Hamilton is living large these days! Lin-Manuel Miranda’s hit musical about the Founding Father won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and scored a record-breaking 16 Tony award nominations. In addition, Hamilton’s surge in popularity helped keep his face on the front of the $10 bill. Peter, Ed and Brian take apart the Hamilton phenomenon by considering who Alexander Hamilton was, his legacy (and how it was remade) and why a white migrant from the British West Indies appeals to so many Americans in 2016. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
10/06/16·51m 38s

Politically Incorrect: Speech In American Politics

***CONTENT ADVISORY: THIS EPISODE CONTAINS STRONG, UNBLEEPED LANGUAGE*** Donald Trump has clinched the Republican presidential nomination for the 2016 election. On issues including immigration, race, and terrorism, supporters applaud Trump for saying what many Americans think but are afraid to say, while opponents charge him with inciting bigotry and hatred. On this episode of BackStory, the Guys look at how American society and culture has shaped what topics could-- or couldn't-- be talked about, and how Americans have both celebrated and tried to restrict "politically incorrect" speech. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
03/06/16·51m 43s

The Beasts Within Domesticated Animals In America [rebroadcast]

This past March, Sea World announced it will stop breeding orca whales in captivity, and is phasing out its killer whale shows. Meanwhile, the elephants of Ringling Bros. held their last performance earlier this month. Americans have always loved animals and pets, but the history of human-animal interaction hasn’t always been pretty. In this episode, the Guys will look at the contributions of pigs to the colonization of America, our complicated feelings about animal performers and explore what pets have meant to us throughout history. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
27/05/16·51m 44s

All Hopped Up: Drugs In America [rebroadcast]

To date, four states have legalized recreational marijuana, 23 states allow it for medical purposes and at least another five are expected to pass marijuana-related legislation this year. Meanwhile, heroin addiction and abuse of prescription painkillers are becoming a national epidemic. We have a checkered past where drug usage is concerned. Brian, Ed and Peter start this episode by looking at the 19th century, when opium and cocaine were legal. Along the way, we’ll explore the influence of the medical establishment, as well as the role of drugs in popular culture. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
20/05/16·52m 20s

Watch The Throne: America & Royalty

Queen Elizabeth celebrates her 90th birthday this June and royal watchers around the globe will join the festivities. Despite the Founding Fathers rejecting the British monarchy, Americans have always been fascinated by royalty. For this episode of BackStory, the History Guys will consider what happened when Napoleon’s little brother married an American teenager, whether Americans had more or less freedom after independence from Great Britain, and why Americans sometimes try to emulate royal families. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
13/05/16·57m 56s

All In: A History of Gambling in America

This May, thousands of Americans will bet on the Kentucky Derby, the most heavily-wagered horse race in the U.S. On this episode of BackStory, the Guys explore the history of gambling in America, from 18th century horse racing to cards, lotteries and the birth of Las Vegas. We’ll hear how lotteries help raise money for the Virginia colony, and when horse racing was America’s most popular spectator sport. We’ll also learn how gambling, once outlawed in much of the U.S., has also been a major source of revenue for cash-strapped communities. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
06/05/16·52m 30s

On The Money: A History Of American Currency [rebroadcast]

This month, the U.S. Treasury announced that Harriet Tubman would replace Andrew Jackson on the front of the $20 bill. In this episode, we evaluate America’s relationship with money, exploring the transformations of currency over the centuries. The Guys and their guests discuss the profusion of currencies in the past, and consider how Americans decided which ones to trust. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
29/04/16·51m 23s

Judaism in America

This month, Jewish communities across the country celebrate Passover, a holiday that marks the end of the Israelites’ enslavement by the Egyptians. Only about 2% of the U.S. population is Jewish, but the influence of American Jews far outweighs their relatively small demographic size. In this episode of BackStory, the Guys explore the history of Judaism in America, from George Washington’s famous letter to the Jewish congregation of Newport, Rhode Island, to efforts to establish a Jewish city of refuge, near Buffalo, New York in the l820’s, and the importance of delis in Jewish American culture. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
22/04/16·58m 52s

Stuck: A History of Political Gridlock [rebroadcast]

While Senate Republicans refuse to consider President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland, the History Guys review the history of gridlock in American politics. In this episode, Peter, Ed and Brian will look at other moments when our system of checks and balances devolved into open warfare between political factions. They’ll discuss how the Missouri Compromise failed to resolve the political battle over the expansion of slavery. They’ll also look at the war within the Democratic party over Prohibition in the l920’s, and how Southern Democrats used the filibuster to block civil rights bills in the l950’s and 60’s. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
15/04/16·51m 41s

Pass/Fail: An American History of Testing

This spring, millions of American high school students are taking the newly redesigned SAT, which was first administered in 1926. It’s just one of many types of tests Americans have devised to measure and sort ourselves. In this episode, the Guys delve into the history of testing in America, from duels and religious tests in colonial New England to the development of the civil service exam in the wake of President James Garfield’s assassination in 1881 by a disgruntled job seeker. They’ll also look at the role of eugenics in the development of standardized tests for students, and corporate America’s fondness for the Myers-Briggs personality test.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
08/04/16·51m 52s

TURF WAR [2016]: A HISTORY OF COLLEGE SPORTS [rebroadcast]

With less than 2% of ESPN March Madness brackets still perfect, the madness may be more like sadness for many college basketball fans right now. In this episode, the American History Guys unpack the origins of college sports and the ways universities originally justified athletics on campus. From the first collegiate PHYS ED program at Amherst College to the little-known story about the integration of the University of Alabama’s football team, Peter, Ed and Brian discover why college sports even exist in the first place. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
01/04/16·51m 30s

Little Caesars: Local Power in America

As the presidential candidates continue their contentious path to the White House, it’s easy to overlook what’s happening at the local level. For this episode of BackStory, the Guys take a break from the race for the White House and examine local power brokers; from big city political bosses and small town sheriffs to some of the social reformers who’ve shaped their communities from the ground up. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
28/03/16·58m 13s

Small Island, Big Shadow Cuba and the U.S. [rebroadcast]

No sitting U.S. president has visited Cuba in nearly 90 years, but this month President Obama will do just that. This historic visit could signal a new chapter in U.S.-Cuban relations. In this episode, Peter, Ed and Brian consider dramatic moments in U.S.-Cuba relations that reflect Cuba’s outsized influence throughout American history. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
18/03/16·51m 35s

Well-Regulated Militias: A History Of Armed Protest

Earlier this year, tensions between federal officials and anti-government militia occupying a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon came to a somewhat violent end. Federal agents shot one of the protesters, while the rest surrendered to the FBI. It’s hardly the first time in our history that American citizens have staged armed protests. In this episode of BackStory, the Guys will consider different groups who have taken up arms - from Revolutionary War veterans protesting taxes, to the birth of the Ku Klux Klan and violent labor protests in the 20th century. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
11/03/16·53m 21s

The Middling Sort: Visions of the Middle Class [rebroadcast]

On this BackStory, we’ll take a look at what it means to be “middle-class” in America. Who belongs to the middle class? Who doesn’t? The Guys explore the rise and fall of the middle class and why so many Americans consider themselves members of this group. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
04/03/16·51m 45s

Hard Times: A History Of Unemployment

President Barack Obama claims that the country’s low unemployment rate shows that we’ve rebounded from the Great Recession. But presidential candidates Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders say the “real” unemployment rate is much higher. During this episode of BackStory, the Guys will look at the invention of the official unemployment rate, discuss the struggle among Baltimore’s working classes in the early 19th century to find and keep work, and uncover the hidden history of unemployment in the U.S. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
26/02/16·51m 35s

Contagion: Responding to Infectious Disease [rebroadcast]

As the Zika virus spreads across the Americas, it’s worth looking at how the U.S. has responded to past epidemics. In this episode of BackStory, the Guys consider the impact of smallpox on New York City’s 19th century immigrant communities, and explore the rampant spread of diseases in the wake of the Civil War and the first World War. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
19/02/16·51m 29s

Real To Reel 2016: History At The Movies

The 2016 Academy Awards are just around the corner, and Peter, Brian, and Ed are taking a trip to the movies, considering likely Oscar contenders from Trumbo to The Hateful Eight to find out how history made its mark on the silver screen this year. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
12/02/16·55m 0s

New & Improved: Advertising In America [rebroadcast]

More than 100 million Americans will tune in to watch the Denver Broncos and the Carolina Panthers duke it out at Super Bowl 50. And in between the plays, we’ll be bombarded by dozens of commercials, all competing for our attention. The next episode of BackStory tackles the tangled history of American advertising, from the nation’s first billboards to catchy jingles. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
05/02/16·59m 5s

PROMO - New & Improved: Advertising In America [rebroadcast]

More than 100 million Americans will tune in to watch the Denver Broncos and the Carolina Panthers duke it out at Super Bowl 50. And in between the plays, we’ll be bombarded by dozens of commercials, all competing for our attention. The next episode of BackStory tackles the tangled history of American advertising, from the nation’s first billboards to catchy jingles. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
02/02/16·35s

Court Of Public Opinion: Trial Watching In America

On this episode of BackStory, the Guys will explore our fascination with courtroom drama. What makes for a compelling case and why have some landmark proceedings received little attention? We’ll consider why so many Americans followed the trial of a young clerk accused of murdering a New York City prostitute in 1836, and why we’re still talking about Sacco and Vanzetti nearly a century after they were sentenced to death. From public hanging in Puritan Massachusetts, to the murder trial of Black Panther leader Huey Newton in the late 1960’s, the Guys will reveal the deep-seated issues beneath American trial-watching. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
29/01/16·51m 55s

City Upon A Hill: A History Of American Exceptionalism [rebroadcast]

In his final State of the Union address, President Obama called America “the most powerful nation on Earth,” saying, “When it comes to every important international issue, people of the world do not look to Beijing or Moscow to lead—they call us.” President Obama is hardly the first leader to talk about American exceptionalism. But just how “exceptional” is America? And why does it matter? In this episode of BackStory, we’ll go behind the rhetoric to unpack the history and meaning of the term and assess the changing meanings of “American exceptionalism” over time. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
22/01/16·52m 58s

Color Lines: Racial Passing In America

On this episode of BackStory, the Guys will consider how and why Americans throughout the centuries have crossed the lines of racial identity, and find out what the history of passing has to say about race, identity, and privilege in America. We’ll look at stories of African-Americans who passed as white to escape slavery or Jim Crow and find out how the “one-drop rule” enabled one blonde-haired, blue-eyed American to live a double life without ever arousing suspicion. We'll also explore the story of an African-American musician who pioneered a genre of exotic music with a bejeweled turban and an invented biography, and examine the hidden costs of crossing over. CORRECTION: This show includes a story about Sylvester Long, a man of mixed descent who styled himself as a pure-blooded Native American named Chief Buffalo Child Long Lance. We refer to him as a movie star who published a famous autobiography. In fact, Long Lance published his autobiography first—the popularity of the book catapulted him into movie stardom. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
15/01/16·1h 5m

The Future Then: Visions of America Yet to Come [rebroadcast]

For as long as anyone can remember, Americans have imagined the future—from the flying cars and 3-hour workdays of The Jetsons to World War III and nuclear holocaust. Sometimes we’ve even made those dreams come true, or at least we’ve tried. On this episode of BackStory, Brian, Ed and Peter kick off the new year by asking what past visions of the future tell us about the times that conjured them. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
08/01/16·51m 26s

Cheers and Jeers: Alcohol in America [rebroadcast]

A new year has dawned, and we’re willing to bet that Americans across the nation are fighting off hangovers after ringing it in with a drink—or three. On this episode of BackStory, we’re raising our glasses to the long history of alcohol in America. The Guys will consider how and why the consumption and production of alcohol have ebbed and flowed throughout the centuries. We’ll learn how rum became the drink of choice among revolutionary troops, explore why Native Americans were rejecting alcohol two centuries before the rest of the country, and follow the long march toward Prohibition. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
31/12/15·51m 41s

History for the Headlines: 2015 in Review

Here at BackStory, we’re always on the lookout for stories from the past that help us make sense of our lives today. As 2015 comes to a close, we’re winding back the clock to find out what some of our favorite BackStory moments have to say about the year’s major news stories. What does the 19th century populist movement tell us about the 2016 presidential campaign? And how does the 1897 battle over America’s first long-distance oil pipeline connect to the Keystone XL debate? In this episode, we’ll take a second look at 2015—and turn up a few surprises along the way. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
25/12/15·51m 36s

Islam and the United States [rebroadcast]

On this episode of BackStory, we’ll take a look at the long and surprising history of America’s relationship with Islam, from the Barbary Wars of the early 19th century to the clash between American-born Muslims and more recent immigrants from the Middle East. What does it mean to be Muslim in America? And how has the practice of Islam in the U.S. changed over time? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
18/12/15·54m 24s

American Prophets: Religions Born in the U.S.

History textbooks often argue that the United States was founded on the principle of religious freedom, beginning with the Pilgrims who sought refuge from the Church of England. But the America of centuries past was more than a safe haven for religious dissenters. It was also fertile ground for many new religious faiths. In this hour of BackStory, the History Guys will consider religions that originated or transformed in America, from Christian Science to Scientology. They’ll find out how the threat of colonization briefly united 18th-century Native Americans under a single deity, and how the Nation of Islam found converts among African-Americans in the civil rights era. What makes a religion “American”? Why do so many new faiths sprout from American soil? And what role will 21st century America play in the history of religious innovation? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
11/12/15·51m 37s

Counter Culture: A History of Shopping [rebroadcast]

On this episode of BackStory, the Guys jump headlong into the history of shopping in America—the glitz and glamor, the overflowing shelves, and the cheesy muzak. They’ll consider the role consumption played in the revolutionary politics of the colonies, look at the curious rash of shoplifting among well-heeled women in the country’s first department stores, and reveal the connection between the Wizard of Oz and window shopping. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
04/12/15·51m 35s

Three Squares: Mealtime in America [rebroadcast]

Three square meals a day. Three to five servings of fruits and vegetables, two to three servings of milk, yogurt, or cheese. Avoid fats and sugar. Red meat in moderation. We’re used to hearing these kinds of instructions. But eating isn’t just about finding the perfect nutritional balance—it has profound social implications, too. On this episode of BackStory, the Guys recover from their Thanksgiving feasts by looking back over the history of mealtime in America. From Victorian table manners to the school lunch program, how have our ideas about what, when, and how we eat our meals evolved? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
24/11/15·51m 38s

Contested Landscape: Confederate Symbols in America

In July of this year, the murder of nine African-American parishioners at the Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, South Carolina reignited a longstanding debate about the Confederate flag. Soon after the shooting, South Carolina lawmakers voted to remove the flag from the State House building, and many other states followed suit. But while some Americans applaud the decision as a victory against racism and hatred, others argue that the flag’s removal dishonors the memory of those who died defending the South. On this episode of BackStory, we’re looking at how memories of the Confederacy have shaped the nation’s landscape, from the rebel flag to the silver screen. The Guys will hear what symbols of the Confederacy mean to African Americans, explore Hollywood’s love affair with Confederate heroes, and find out why one Civil War re-enactor changed his mind about his heritage. How have generations of Americans revered and renounced the Confederacy since its defeat 150 years ago? Correction: In an earlier version of this episode we stated that Richmond's Monument Avenue is the only street on the National Register of Historic Places. There are several streets on the list. We regret the error. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
20/11/15·58m 4s

Body Politics: Disability in America

The impact of the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act is visible in parking lots, bathrooms, and public buildings across the country. But for centuries before the ramps and signs were erected, disabled people had to find their own ways to navigate American society. This week on BackStory, we’re exploring the history of disability in America, from the “ugly laws” that barred the disabled from public spaces to the grassroots activism that set the stage for the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The Guys will consider how the inventor of the telephone tried to stamp out American sign language, and how enslaved people found ways to exploit white fears of physical disability. How have people with disabilities shaped 21st century America? And how have American attitudes towards disability changed? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
13/11/15·57m 10s

Coming Home: A History of War Veterans [rebroadcast]

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have created tens of thousands of new combat veterans. But what happens to these soldiers once they return home? In honor of Veterans Day, BackStory looks at the experiences of veterans across American history. What kinds of challenges did veterans face in the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries? How did Americans understand the psychological effects of war before PTSD was a diagnosis? What was expected of soldiers’ wives and mothers from one war to the next? Are veterans only as popular as the wars they’ve fought in? On this episode of BackStory, the Guys will tackle these and other questions. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
05/11/15·53m 40s

People's Choice: A History of Populism

Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders have packed stadiums as they make their case for the 2016 Republican and Democratic presidential nominations. Many pundits have labeled them 21st century “populists,” but invoking the “voice of the people” is a tradition as old as the country itself. In this episode, the Guys trace populism’s influence on American politics—from mob justice in Revolutionary Boston to the original presidential outsider, Andrew Jackson. BackStory will explore how farmers built a mass movement around monetary reform in the late 19th century and how the Trumps of their day capitalized on a tradition of riling up the masses. How have populist movements inspired, and sometimes alarmed, the electorate? And how does populism affect our politics today?  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
23/10/15·56m 45s

Green Acres: A History of Farmers in America [rebroadcast]

As the fall harvest comes in, BackStory takes a look at how farmers came to wield so much influence in American politics and life. In the 18th century, Thomas Jefferson viewed farmers as ideal citizens,their agricultural lifestyle providing the foundation for a virtuous republic. Just two percent of Americans live on farms today, but farmers still occupy a special place in the national identity. In this episode, BackStory considers why the ideal of the self-sufficient, independent American farmer is still so powerful (even as the reality has largely disappeared) and who has invoked that ideal over time. From railroad companies to anti-imperialists, the image of the “yeoman farmer” has served many different ends and anchored one of the most successful government lobbies in history. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
16/10/15·52m 7s

They Might Be Giants: China and the U.S.

Americans have traded with China since the earliest days of the Republic. During the colonial era and for early Americans, China was a source of luxury goods like tea, porcelain, and silk. For some of their descendants, it was the destination for an illicit and lucrative trade in opium. Later, Chinese immigrants helped to build the American West. But the relationship between the two countries has often been fraught, with each side fearing that the other is seeking the upper hand. In this episode, Brian, Ed and Peter explore the long and often turbulent history between the two countries, now the top economies in the world. How does our past history with China color our present relationship? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
09/10/15·57m 2s

Little Feet: Children Starting Over in America [rebroadcast]

Tens of thousands of refugees have been arriving in Western Europe, fleeing civil war and unrest in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. Many of the migrants making these perilous border crossings are children. This is hardly the first time minors have made such treacherous journeys. This week, BackStory revisits our episode on the many paths of child migrants in our own country. Some were thought of as innocents to be saved, whether from the Nazi bombing of London or from overcrowded urban orphanages. Others were hailed as pint-sized heroes of the Cold War, or scorned as child savages in need of civilizing — a justification once used to tear Indian children away from their families. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
02/10/15·52m 7s

Banned: A History of Censorship

September 27 marks the beginning of Banned Books Week, an annual event celebrating literature and the freedom to read, by highlighting and exploring efforts around the country to remove or restrict access to certain books. Indeed, Americans have sought to censor all kinds of things: music, radio, TV, and film have also run up against assumed limits on what is acceptable to say or portray. In this episode, Peter, Ed, and Brian offer an uncut account of censorship in American politics, media, and culture—from rules designed to prevent the discussion of controversial subjects ranging from slavery to sex via the mail, to Hollywood's production code and censorship today. Recalling materials and individuals that have been suppressed or once incurred a censor’s wrath, we explore how the line between free speech and censorship has changed over time. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
25/09/15·55m 21s

Catholics In America

On September 22, Pope Francis will begin his first American tour, making stops in Washington, Philadelphia, and New York along the way. In this episode, the BackStory Guys explore American Catholicism—recounting the struggles, triumphs, and unique impact of Catholics on the history of the United States. From Spanish missionaries on the California coast and early converts among the Mohawk, to JFK and modern nuns living in the Blue Ridge Mountains, BackStory considers how what it means to be Catholic in America has changed over time. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
18/09/15·53m 27s

Fear Tactics: A History of Domestic Terrorism [rebroadcast]

As Americans wrestle with the aftermath of the mass shooting at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, and as we observe the 14th anniversary of terror attacks on New York and Washington, BackStory returns to our episode on domestic terrorism. What are the origins of domestic terrorism in the United States? And what kinds of people and movements have been labeled as “terrorist?” Brian, Ed, Peter and their guests explore the relationship between terror and the state and ask when, if ever, terrorism is justified. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
11/09/15·53m 57s

Rare History Well Done: Meat in America

Eating meat is a time-honored tradition in America. Whether it’s Thanksgiving Day turkey, a TV dinner of Salisbury steak, or a plate of Hawaiian Spam musubi, meat has been a constant presence on the national platter. But over the years, changing technologies, tastes, and policies have altered not only which meats Americans consume but also how they consume them. As millions of Americans fire up their grills this Labor Day, the Guys will look back on America’s love affair with all things meat. How did we get from smokehouses to supermarkets? Why do we love hot dogs so much? And in the era of modern appliances, why do we still insist on grilling steak, wings and burgers on an open flame? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
04/09/15·58m 26s
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