Ben Franklin's World: A Podcast About Early American History

Liz Covart


This is a show about early American history. Awarded Best History Podcast by the Academy of Podcasters in 2017, it’s for people who love history and for those who want to know more about the historical people and events that have impacted and shaped ...Show More

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204 James Lewis Jr., The Burr Conspiracy

1:01:07 | Sep 18th, 2018

Aaron Burr: Revolutionary War hero, talented lawyer, Vice President, and Intriguer of treason? Between 1805 and 1807, Aaron Burr supposedly intended to commit treason by dividing the American union. How did Americans learn about and respond to thi...Show More

138 Patrick Spero, Frontier Politics in Early America

47:51 | Jun 13th, 2017

Did you know that Connecticut and Virginia once invaded Pennsylvania? During the 1760s, Connecticut invaded and captured the northeastern corner of Pennsylvania just as Virginia invaded and captured parts of western Pennsylvania. And Pennsylvania sto...Show More

137 Erica Dunbar: The Washingtons' Runaway Slave, Ona Judge

51:52 | Jun 6th, 2017

George Washington was an accomplished man. He served as a delegate to the First and Second Continental Congresses, Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army, first President of the United States, and on top of all that he was also a savvy businessma...Show More

230 Mitch Kachun, First Martyr of Liberty

58:53 | Mar 19th

Samuel Gray, James Caldwell, Samuel Maverick, Patrick Carr, and Crispus Attucks. These are the five men who died at the Boston Massacre on March 5, 1770. Of these five victims, evidence points to Crispus Attucks falling first, and of all the victi...Show More

229 Patrick Griffin, The Townshend Moment

1:00:57 | Mar 12th

Why did the Boston Massacre happen? Why did the British government feel it had little choice but to station as many 2,000 soldiers in Boston? And what was going on within the larger British Empire that drove colonists to the point where they provoked...Show More

228 Eric Hinderaker, The Boston Massacre

1:03:36 | Mar 5th

On the evening of March 5, 1770, a crowd gathered in Boston’s King Street and confronted a sentry and his fellow soldiers in front of the custom house. The confrontation led the soldiers to fire their muskets into the crowd, five civilians died. W...Show More

227 Kyle Courtney, Copyright & Fair Use in Early America

1:15:56 | Feb 26th

We create and use a lot of content. We take photos with our phones, generate blog posts, digital videos, and podcasts. We write books and articles. And nearly everyone contributes content to social media. Given all of the information and content w...Show More

226 Ryan Quintana, Making the State of South Carolina

1:01:07 | Feb 19th

What do we mean by “the state?” How is a “state” produced? Is “the state” something everyone can participate in producing? Ryan Quintana, an Associate Professor of History at Wellesley College and the author of Making a Slave State: Politica...Show More

225 Elaine Forman Crane, The Poison Plot: Adultery and Murder in Colonial Newport

51:12 | Feb 12th

In 1738, Benedict Arnold petitioned the Rhode Island General Assembly for a divorce from his wife Mary Ward Arnold. He claimed that Mary had taken a lover and together they had attempted to murder him with poison. How did this story of love, divor...Show More

224 Kevin Dawson, Aquatic Culture in Early America

57:00 | Feb 5th

The Atlantic World has brought many disparate peoples together, which has caused a lot of ideas and cultures to mix. How did the Atlantic World bring so many different peoples and cultures together? How did this large intermixing of people and cu...Show More

223 Susan Sleeper-Smith, A Native American History of the Ohio River Valley & Great Lakes Region

1:07:10 | Jan 29th

During the 17th & 18th centuries, many different Native American peoples prospered from the Ohio River Valley both in terms of the the land’s ability to produce a wide variety of crops and its support of a wide variety of small fur-bearing animals fo...Show More

222 Adam Costanzo, The Early History of Washington, D.C.

1:10:08 | Jan 22nd

The banks of the Potomac River represent an odd place to build a national city. Still in 1790, the United States Congress mandated that it would establish a new, permanent capital along the banks of the Potomac River. Why? Adam Costanzo, author of...Show More

221 Rae Eighmey, The Culinary Adventures of Benjamin Franklin

54:35 | Jan 15th

Can food help us better understand the people and events of the past? Can we better understand a person like Benjamin Franklin and who he was by the foods he ate? Rae Katherine Eighmey, an award-winning food historian, author, and cook, joins us t...Show More

220 Margaret Newell, New England Indians, Colonists, & the Origins of American Slavery

1:14:25 | Jan 8th

Did you know that one of the earliest practices of slavery by English colonists originated in New England? In fact, Massachusetts issued the very first slave code in English America in 1641. Why did New Englanders turn to slavery and become the fi...Show More

219 Adrian Covert, Taverns in Early America

51:01 | Jan 1st

Inns and taverns played prominent roles in early American life. They served the needs of travelers who needed food to eat and places to sleep.They offered local communities a form of poor relief. And they functioned as public spaces where men could g...Show More

218 Peter G. Rose, How the Dutch Brough Us Santa, Presents, & Treats

41:38 | Dec 25th, 2018

Have you ever wondered where the Christmas traditions of stockings, presents, and cookies come from? What about jolly, old Saint Nicholas? Who was he and why do we often call him Santa Claus? Peter G. Rose, author of Delicious December: How th...Show More

217 Jessica Millward, Slavery and Freedom in Early Maryland

49:17 | Dec 18th, 2018

How do you uncover the life of an enslaved person who left no paper trail? What can the everyday life of an enslaved person tell us about slavery, how it was practiced, and how some enslaved people made the transition from slavery to freedom? W...Show More

216 Lisa Wilson, A History of Stepfamilies in Early America

43:33 | Dec 11th, 2018

What do George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and Abraham Lincoln have in common? They all grew-up in blended or stepfamilies. Lisa Wilson, the Charles J. MacCurdy Professor of American History at Connecticut College and author of A History of ...Show More

215 Rachel Hope Cleves, A Same-Sex Marriage in Early America

52:00 | Dec 4th, 2018

We tend to view gay marriage as a cultural and legal development of the 21st century. But did you know that some early Americans lived openly as same-sex married couples? Rachel Hope Cleves, a Professor of History at the University of Victoria...Show More

214 Christopher Grasso, Skpeticism and American Faith

55:59 | Nov 27th, 2018

Was the early United States a “Christian nation?” Some scholars argue early America was a religious place and even those who did not attend church were on the same basic page as those who did. While other scholars argue early America boasted an in...Show More

213 Rebecca Fraser, The Pilgrims of Plimoth

58:12 | Nov 20th, 2018

In 1621, the Pilgrims of Plimoth Colony and their Wampanoag neighbors celebrated their first harvest. Today we remember this event as the first Thanksgiving. But what do we really know about this holiday and the people who celebrated it? So muc...Show More

212 Researching Biography (Doing History)

1:09:02 | Nov 13th, 2018

How do historians and biographers reconstruct the lives of people from the past? Good biographies rely on telling the lives of people using practiced historical methods of thorough archival research and the sound interrogation of historical source...Show More

Bonus: Erica Dunbar, The Washingtons' Runaway Slave, Ona Judge

52:36 | Nov 9th, 2018

As part of the Omohundro Institute's Doing History series on biography, Episode 212 offers us a new conversation with Erica Dunbar, the author of Never Caught: The Washington’s Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave Ona Judge. The new episode w...Show More

211 Considering John Marshall, Part 2 (Doing History)

1:10:46 | Nov 6th, 2018

Can a biography help us explore big historical questions? Can knowing about the life of John Marshall, the fourth Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, help us better understand the Supreme Court and how it came to occupy the powerful ...Show More

210 Considering John Marshall, Part 1 (Doing History)

1:15:46 | Oct 30th, 2018

For 34 years, John Marshall presided as the Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court. During his service, Marshal transformed the nation’s top court and its judicial branch into the powerful body and co-equal branch of government we know it a...Show More

209 Considering Biography (Doing History)

1:35:59 | Oct 23rd, 2018

Biography. Since the earliest days of the United States, Americans have been interested in biography. But why? What is it about the lives of others that makes the past so interesting and fun to explore? This episode marks the start of the Omohu...Show More

208 Nathaniel Philbrick, Turning Points of the American Revolution

55:18 | Oct 16th, 2018

2018 marks the 241st anniversary of the American victory at the Battle of Saratoga and the 240th anniversary of the Franco-American Alliance. But was the victory that prompted the French to join the American war effort, truly the "turning point" of t...Show More

207 Nick Bunker, Young Benjamin Franklin

1:02:33 | Oct 9th, 2018

What in the first 40 years of his life made Benjamin Franklin the genius he became? Ben Franklin serves as a great window on to the early American past because as a man of “variety” he pursued many interests: literature, poetry, science, business,...Show More

206 Katharine Gerbner, Christian Slavery: Conversion and Race in the Protestant Atlantic World

57:19 | Oct 2nd, 2018

Between 1500 and the 1860s, Europeans and Americans forcibly removed approximately 12 million African people from the African continent, transported them to the Americas, and enslaved them. Why did Europeans and Americans enslave Africans? How did...Show More

205 Jeanne Abrams, First Ladies of the Republic

52:42 | Sep 25th, 2018

La Presidente? The Presidentess? The First Lady of the Land? The United States Constitution defines the Executive Branch of the government, the powers it has, and the role of the chief executive. But what about the position of the President’s...Show More

203 Joanne Freeman, Alexander Hamilton

1:01:53 | Sep 11th, 2018

Hamilton the Musical hit Broadway in August 2015 and since that time people all around the world have been learning about a man named Alexander Hamilton. Or, at least they’ve been learning about the musical’s character Alexander Hamilton. But who ...Show More

202 The Early History of the United States Congress

1:13:36 | Sep 4th, 2018

Matt Wasniewski, the Historian of the United States House of Representatives and Terrance Ruckner, a Historical Publications Specialist in the Office of the Historian at the United States House of Representatives, lead us on an exploration of why and...Show More

201 Catherine Kelly, Art, Politics, and Everyday Life in Early America

1:04:10 | Aug 28th, 2018

How do you unite the disparate peoples of the United States into one national people? Americans grappled with many questions about what it meant to be an American after the American Revolution. Catherine Kelly, author of Republic of Taste: Art...Show More

200 Everyday Life in Early America

1:25:04 | Aug 21st, 2018

What would you like to know about Early American History? It turns out, you wanted to know about the establishment of schools, how the colonial postal service worked, and about aspects of health and hygiene in early America. In this listener-i...Show More

199 Coll Thrush, Indigenous London: Native Travelers at the Heart of the Empire

39:53 | Aug 14th, 2018

Today, we explore early American history through a slightly different lens, a lens that allows us to see interactions that occurred between Native American peoples and English men and women who lived in London. Our guide for this exploration is Co...Show More

198 Andrew Lipman, Saltwater Frontier: Native Americans and the Contest for the Northeastern Coast

54:45 | Aug 7th, 2018

When we think of Native Americans, many of us think of inland dwellers. People adept at navigating forests and rivers and the skilled hunters and horsemen who lived and hunted on the American Plains. But did you know that Native Americans were sea...Show More

197 Brett Rushforth, Native American Slavery in New France

56:53 | Jul 31st, 2018

When we think about early American slavery, our minds evoke images of plantations where enslaved men and women were forced to labor in agricultural fields and inside the homes of wealthy Americans. These images depict the practice of chattel slave...Show More

196 Alejandra Dubcovsky, Information Exchange in the Early Southeast

41:58 | Jul 24th, 2018

We live in an age of information. The internet provides us with 24/7 access to all types of information—news, how-to articles, sports scores, entertainment news, and congressional votes. But what do we do with all of this knowledge? How do we sift...Show More

195 Morgan Bengel, Old Newgate Prison and Copper Mine

40:38 | Jul 17th, 2018

In 1705 a group of colonists in Simsbury, Connecticut founded a copper mine, which the Connecticut General Assembly purchased and turned into a prison in 1773. How did an old copper mine function as a prison? Morgan Bengel, a Museum Assistant ...Show More

194 Garrett Cloer, Longfellow House-Washington's Headquarters National Historic Site

1:00:26 | Jul 10th, 2018

As part of its mission, the National Park Service seeks to protect and preserve places saved by the American people so that all may experience the heritage of the United States. These places include those with historical significance. Supervisory ...Show More

Bonus: Behind the Scenes of the Adams-Jefferson Letters

39:33 | Jul 6th, 2018

In 1959, the Omohundro Institute and UNC Press published Lester J. Cappon’s The Adams-Jefferson Letters: The Complete Correspondence between Thomas Jefferson and John and Abigail Adams. It was the first time that all 380 letters between Jefferson and...Show More

193 Partisans: The Friendship and Rivalry of Adams and Jefferson

1:23:08 | Jul 3rd, 2018

John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. Two drafters and signers of the Declaration of Independence, two diplomats who served the United States abroad, and two men who served as vice president and president of the United States. Both men left indelible mark...Show More

192 Brian Regal, The Secret History of the Jersey Devil

56:44 | Jun 26th, 2018

The Jersey Devil is a monster legend that originated in New Jersey’s early American past. How and why did this legend emerge? And, what can it tell us about New Jersey’s past? Brian Regal, an Associate Professor of History at Kean University an...Show More

191 Lisa Brooks, A New History of King Philip's War

1:04:45 | Jun 19th, 2018

King Philip’s War is an event that appears over and over again in books about colonial America. So when you have an event that has been as studied as King Philip’s War has been, is there anything new that we can learn about it by re-examining it ...Show More

190 Jennifer Goloboy, Origins of the American Middle Class

50:58 | Jun 12th, 2018

As many as 70 percent of Americans consider themselves to be members of the middle class. If you consider income, only about 50 percent of Americans qualify for membership. So what does it meant to be middle class and why do so many Americans want...Show More

189 Sam White, The Little Ice Age

51:42 | Jun 5th, 2018

We’re living in a period of climate change. Our Earth has been getting warmer since the mid-19th century. So how will humans adapt to and endure this period of global warming? Will they adapt to it and endure? Sam White, an Associate Professor ...Show More

188 Terri Halperin, The Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798

56:37 | May 29th, 2018

The Alien and Sedition Acts consisted of four laws enacted by the United States government in 1798. The U.S. passed these laws during a time of great uncertainty. Why did Americans fear for the United States’ existence and why did they think four ...Show More

187 Kenneth Cohen, Sport in Early America

50:47 | May 22nd, 2018

American culture is obsessed with sports. More than 67,000 fans attend each National Football League game and more than 30,000 fans attend each Major League Baseball game. Millions of fans watch these sports on television. When did America become ...Show More

186 Max Edelson, The New Map of the British Empire

1:05:34 | May 15th, 2018

As a result of Great Britain’s victory in the Seven Years’ War, British North America expanded so that it stretched from the Atlantic seaboard to the Mississippi River and from Hudson Bay south to Florida. How exactly would Great Britain govern t...Show More

185 Joyce D. Goodfriend, Early New York City and its Culture

56:29 | May 8th, 2018

Culture is important. It impacts how we think and act as members of families, local communities, states, and nations. So who sets the unwritten social rules and ideas we adopt and live by? Joyce Goodfriend, author of Who Should Rule at Home? C...Show More

184 David Silverman, Thundersticks: Firearms and the Violent Transformation of Native America

56:09 | May 1st, 2018

Early North America was a place rife with violent conflict. Between the 17th and 19th centuries we see a lot of conflict between Native American peoples, colonists, and American settlers. David J. Silverman, author of Thundersticks: Firearms and t...Show More

183 Douglas Bradburn, George Washington's Mount Vernon

1:06:37 | Apr 24th, 2018

George Washington served as the Commander in Chief of the Continental Army, the President of the Constitutional Convention, and as the first President of the United States. In addition to these important public roles, Washington also served as a farm...Show More

182 Douglas Winiarski, Darkness Falls on the Land of Light: The Great Awakening in New England

59:00 | Apr 17th, 2018

The 1740s and 1750s proved to be an extraordinary time for many ordinary New Englanders. It was a period when itinerant preachers swept through the region and asked its people to question the fundamental assumptions of their religion. Douglas Wini...Show More

181 Virginia DeJohn Anderson, The Martyr and the Traitor: Nathan Hale & Moses Dunbar

54:08 | Apr 10th, 2018

Why did early Americans choose to become patriots or loyalists during the American Revolution? How did they make the decision to either stand with or against their neighbors? In this episode, we explore answers to these questions about how and wh...Show More

180 Kate Elizabeth Brown, Alexander Hamilton and the Making of American Law

59:40 | Apr 3rd, 2018

The legacy of Alexander Hamilton tells us that he was Thomas Jefferson’s political rival, a man who fought to secure strong powers for the national government, and the first Secretary of the Treasury. What Hamilton’s legacy doesn’t tell us is that...Show More

Bonus: Listener Q&A About Religion in Early New England

09:12 | Mar 30th, 2018

Douglas Winiarski answers your questions about religion in early New England with details from his book, Darkness Falls on the Land of Light. Darkness Falls on the Land of Light is the story of how ordinary New Englanders living through extraordin...Show More

179 George Van Cleve, After the Revolution: Governance During the Critical Period

1:04:41 | Mar 27th, 2018

Between 1781 and 1789, the Confederation Congress established by the Articles of Confederation had to deal with war, economic depression, infighting between the states, trouble in the west, foreign meddling, and domestic insurrection. George Willi...Show More

178 Karoline Cook, Muslims and Moriscos in Colonial Spanish America

49:59 | Mar 20th, 2018

The jurisdiction of New Spain included areas of upper and lower California and large areas of the American southwest and southeast, including Florida. Karoline Cook, author of Forbidden Passages: Muslims and Moriscos in Colonial Spanish America, h...Show More

177 Martin Brückner, The Social Life of Maps in America

55:40 | Mar 13th, 2018

Did you know that maps have social lives? Maps facilitate a lot of different social and political relationships between people and nations. And they did a lot of this work for Americans throughout the early American past. Martin Brückner, a P...Show More

176 Daina Ramey Berry, The Value of the Enslaved From Womb to Grave

50:11 | Mar 6th, 2018

What did it mean to be a person and to also be a commodity in early America? Daina Ramey Berry, author of The Price for Their Pound of Flesh: The Value of the Enslaved, from Womb to Grave, in the Building of a Nation, takes us behind the scenes of...Show More

175 Daniel Epstein, House Divided: The Revolution in Ben Franklin's House

45:47 | Feb 27th, 2018

Just how personal was the American Revolution? What could the event and war mean for individual people and families? Daniel Mark Epstein, author of The Loyal Son: The War in Ben Franklin’s House, guides as as we explore what the Revolution me...Show More

174 Thomas Apel, Yellow Fever in the Early American Republic

50:34 | Feb 20th, 2018

Doctors have declared 2018's seasonal flu epidemic to be one of the worst to hit the United States in over a decade. Yet this flu epidemic is nothing compared to the yellow fever epidemics that struck the early American republic during the 1790s and ...Show More

173 Marisa Fuentes, Colonial Port Cities and Slavery

54:22 | Feb 13th, 2018

The histories of early North America and the Caribbean are intertwined. The same European empires we encounter in our study of early America also appear in the Caribbean. The colonies of these respective empires often traded goods, people, and ideas ...Show More

172 Kenneth Daigler, Spies, Patriots, and Traitors: American Intelligence in the Revolutionary War

49:36 | Feb 6th, 2018

Intelligence gathering plays an important role in the foreign policies of many modern-day nation states, including the United States. Which raises the questions: How and when did the United States establish its foreign intelligence service?
 Our g...Show More

171 Jessica Stern, Native Americans, British Colonists, and Trade in North America

1:00:17 | Jan 30th, 2018

History books like to tell us that Native Americans did not fully understand British methods and ideas of trade. Is this really true? Did Native Americans only understand trade as a form of simplistic, gift exchange? Jessica Stern, author of T...Show More

170 Wendy Warren, New England Bound: Slavery in Early New England

42:50 | Jan 23rd, 2018

New England was a place with no cash crops. It was also a place that became known for its strong anti-slavery sentiment during the 19th century. So how did New England also become a place that practiced slavery? Wendy Warren, author of the Pulitze...Show More

169 Thomas Kidd, The Religious Life of Benjamin Franklin

51:12 | Jan 16th, 2018

We remember Benjamin Franklin as an accomplished printer, scientist, and statesman. Someone who came from humble beginnings and made his own way in the world. Rarely do we remember Franklin as a man of faith. And yet, Ben Franklin spent more time gra...Show More

168 Andrea Smalley, Wild By Nature: Colonists and Animals in North America

50:42 | Jan 9th, 2018

When we study the history of colonial North America, we focus on European colonists and their rivalries with each other and with Native Americans. But humans weren’t the only living beings occupying North America during the 16th, 17th, and 18th centu...Show More

167 Eberhard Faber, The Early History of New Orleans

52:33 | Jan 2nd, 2018

The French established New Orleans and the greater colony of Louisiana in 1717. By 1840, New Orleans had become the 3rd largest city in the United States. How did that happen? How did New Orleans transform from a sleepy, minor French outpost into ...Show More

166 Freedom and the American Revolution

57:09 | Dec 26th, 2017

The Declaration of Independence described “all men” as “created equal” when its authors knew they were not. Was the revolutionary idea of freedom dependent on slavery? In this last episode of the Doing History: To the Revolution series we speak w...Show More

165 The Age of Revolutions

1:19:06 | Dec 19th, 2017

Between 1763 and 1848, revolutions took place in North America, South America, the Caribbean, Africa, and Europe. Given that the American Revolution took place before all of these other revolutions, what was its role in influencing this larger “Age o...Show More

164 The American Revolution in the Age of Revolutions

1:01:51 | Dec 12th, 2017

What does the American Revolution look like when we place it within the larger context of the Age of Revolutions? Did it really help foment the many other failed and successful revolutions that took place during the period? Over the next two episo...Show More

163 The American Revolution in North America

1:04:21 | Dec 5th, 2017

In this episode of the Doing History: To the Revolution series, we explore what the American Revolution looked like within the larger context of North American history and how some of the continent's indigenous inhabitants viewed the Revolution with...Show More

162 Dunmore's New World: The Revolution and the British Empire

47:45 | Nov 28th, 2017

What did British imperial officials in London and their North America-based representatives make of the American Revolution? In this episode, we explore the American Revolution through the eyes of John Murray, 4th Earl of Dunmore, a British imperi...Show More

161 Smuggling and the American Revolution

1:21:39 | Nov 21st, 2017

At the end of the French and Indian, or Seven Years’ War in 1763, Great Britain claimed that smuggling was a BIG problem in its North American colonies and cracked down on the practice. But just how BIG of a problem was smuggling in North America?...Show More

160 The Politics of Tea

1:30:57 | Nov 14th, 2017

How did early Americans go from hosting social tea parties to hosting protests like the Boston Tea Party? Tea played a central role in the economic, cultural, and political lives of early Americans. As such, tea came to serve as a powerful symbol ...Show More

159 The Revolutionary Economy

50:49 | Nov 7th, 2017

How much merit do the economic factors behind the cry “No Taxation Without Representation” have when we consider the origins of the American Revolution? We begin a 3-episode exploration of different aspects of the early American economy and what r...Show More

158 The Revolutionaries' Army

1:45:03 | Oct 31st, 2017

An estimated 230,000 men served in the Continental Army with another approximately 145,000 men who served in state militia units. Who were the men who served in these military ranks? What motivated them to take up arms and join the army? And what ...Show More

157 Judith Van Buskirk, The Revolution's African American Soldiers (Doing History Rev)

53:33 | Oct 24th, 2017

In this episode of the Doing History: To the Revolution! series we begin a 2-episode exploration of some of the military aspects of the American Revolution by exploring the experiences of the approximately 6,000-7,000 African American men who served ...Show More

156 Power of the Press in the American Revolution (Doing History Rev)

1:21:52 | Oct 17th, 2017

How did Americans find out about the Revolution? What effect did printed materials like newspapers, pamphlets, and books have on shaping the debate about independence? And just how big of a role did Thomas Paine’s Common Sense play in causing Ame...Show More

155 Pauline Maier's American Revolution (Doing History Rev)

1:24:48 | Oct 10th, 2017

How much can the work of one historian impact how we view and study the American Revolution? We investigate the answer to this question by exploring the life and work of Pauline Maier, a historian who spent her life researching and investigating t...Show More

154 The Freedoms We Lost (Doing History Rev)

1:09:25 | Oct 3rd, 2017

Declaring independence from Great Britain required the formation of new governments. But why did Americans want and need new governments? And how did their interactions and experiences with their old, colonial governments inform their decisions t...Show More

153 Committees and Congress: Governments of the American Revolution (Doing History Rev)

1:39:20 | Sep 26th, 2017

How did the American revolutionaries organize and coordinate local, provincial, and intercolonial action? How did the revolutionaries form governments? In this episode of the Doing History: To the Revolution series we explore governance and ...Show More

152 Origins of the American Revolution (Doing History Rev)

51:55 | Sep 19th, 2017

What caused the American Revolution? Was it the issue of ‘No Taxation without Representation?’ Was it conflict and change in the social order of colonial and British society? Or, was the Revolution about differences in ideas about governance and ...Show More

151 Defining the American Revolution (Doing History Rev)

52:05 | Sep 12th, 2017

Our series exploring the history and histories of the American Revolution kicks off with the difficult task of trying to define the American Revolution. We do this by going behind-the-scenes of the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia.

150 Woody Holton, Abigail Adams: Revolutionary Speculator

1:01:21 | Sep 5th, 2017

Explore a different, largely unknown aspect of Abigail Adams' life: Her financial investments and speculation during the American Revolution.

149 George Goodwin, Benjamin Franklin in London

55:25 | Aug 29th, 2017

Benjamin Franklin spent nearly 18 years living in London, the heart of the British Empire, both as a private citizen and as a colonial agent. How did Franklin's experiences in London shape his opportunities and view of the world? George Goodwi...Show More

148 Marla Miller, Betsy Ross

47:33 | Aug 22nd, 2017

Explore how everyday men and women experienced life in colonial America and how the American Revolution transformed their personal lives and work by investigating the life of Betsy Ross.

147 Don Hagist, British Soldiers, American War

46:30 | Aug 15th, 2017

When we discuss the military history of the American War for Independence, we focus on specific battles or details about the men who served in George Washington’s Continental Army. Rarely do we ask questions about the approximately 50,000 men who ser...Show More

146 Robert Middlekauff, George Washington's Revolution

51:32 | Aug 8th, 2017

Explore how George Washington overcame the ill-trained and inexperienced troops, inadequate pay, and supply problems that plagued the Continental Army to win the War for American Independence.

145 Rosemarie Zagarri, Mercy Otis Warren and the American Revolution

1:00:40 | Aug 1st, 2017

Mercy Otis Warren wasn’t your typical early American woman. She was a woman with strong political viewpoints, which she wrote about and published for the world to see and consider. Did anyone take her views seriously? Did her writings sway public opi...Show More

144 Robert Parkinson, The Common Cause of the American Revolution

54:50 | Jul 25th, 2017

How do you get people living in thirteen different colonies to come together and fight for independence? What ideas and experiences would even unite them behind the fight? Patriot leaders asked themselves these very questions, especially as the Ameri...Show More

143 Michael Klarman, The Making of the United States Constitution

1:07:38 | Jul 18th, 2017

How did the framers draft the Constitution of 1787? What powers does the Constitution provide the federal government? Why do we elect the President of the United States by an electoral system rather than by popular vote? These are some of the many qu...Show More

142 Manisha Sinha, A History of Abolition

57:41 | Jul 11th, 2017

Most histories of American abolitionism begin just before the Civil War, during the Antebellum period. But the movement to end chattel slavery in America began long before the United States was a nation. Manisha Sinha, a professor of history at the U...Show More

141 A Declaration in Draft (Doing History Rev)

1:17:17 | Jul 4th, 2017

The Declaration of Independence stands first in a series of documents that founded the United States. It also stands as an early step in the long process of establishing a free, independent, and self-governing nation. Since 1776, more than 100 nation...Show More

140 Tamara Thornton, Nathaniel Bowditch: 19th-Century Man of Business, Science, and the Sea

53:24 | Jun 27th, 2017

Nathaniel Bowditch worked as a navigator, mathematician, astronomer, and business innovator. Over the course of his lifetime, his fellow Americans hailed him as the “American Sir Isaac Newton.” Tamara Thornton, a professor of history at the Universit...Show More

139 Andrés Reséndez, The Other Slavery: Indian Enslavement in the Americas

47:49 | Jun 20th, 2017

In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue. He also played a central role in the European adoption of Indian or Native American slavery. When we think of slavery in early America, we often think of the practice of African and African-American chattel sl...Show More

136 Jennifer Van Horn, Material Culture and the Making of America

54:14 | May 30th, 2017

What do the objects we purchase and use say about us? If we take the time to think about the material objects and clothing in our lives, we’ll find that we can actually learn a lot about ourselves and other people. The same holds true when we take th...Show More

135 Julie Holcomb, Moral Commerce: The Transatlantic Boycott of the Slave Labor Economy

41:38 | May 23rd, 2017

If early Americans desired slaves mostly to produce sugarcane, cotton, rice, indigo, and tobacco, what would happen if Europeans and early Americans stopped purchasing those products?
 Would boycotting slave-produced goods and starving slavery of its...Show More

134 Spencer McBride, Pulpit and Nation: Clergymen and the Politics of Revolutionary America

51:10 | May 16th, 2017

In Colonial America, clergymen stood as thought leaders in their local communities. They stood at the head of their congregations and many community members looked to them for knowledge and insight about the world around them. So what happened to the...Show More

133 Patrick Breen, The Nat Turner Revolt

59:01 | May 9th, 2017

The institution of African slavery in North America began in late August 1619 and persisted until the ratification of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States in December 1865. Over those 246 years, many slaves plotted and conspire...Show More

132 Coll Thrush, Indigenous London: Native Travelers at the Heart of the Empire

37:00 | May 2nd, 2017

When we explore the history of early America, we often look at people who lived and the events that took place in North America. But what about the people who lived and worked in European metropoles? What about Native Americans? Today, we explore ear...Show More

131 Frank Cogliano, Thomas Jefferson's Empire of Liberty

50:44 | Apr 25th, 2017

The United States has a complicated history when it comes to ideas of empire and imperialism. Since it’s earliest days, the United States has wanted the power that came with being an empire even while declaring its distaste for them. Therefore, it sh...Show More

130 Paul Revere's Ride Through History (Doing History Rev)

1:31:41 | Apr 18th, 2017

On April 18, 1775, Paul Revere rode to Lexington, Massachusetts to spread the alarm that the Regulars were marching. Revere made several important rides between 1774 and 1775, including one in September 1774 that brought the Suffolk Resolves to the F...Show More

129 John Bell, The Road to Concord, 1775

54:38 | Apr 11th, 2017

How did the colonists of Massachusetts go from public protests meant to shame government officials and destroy offending property, to armed conflict with British Regulars in Lexington and Concord? John Bell, the prolific blogger behind Boston1775.net...Show More

128 Alan Taylor, American Revolutions: A Continental History

48:25 | Apr 4th, 2017

Historians often portray the American Revolution as an orderly, if violent, event that moved from British colonists’ high-minded ideas about freedom to American independence from Great Britain and the ratification of the Constitution of 1787. But was...Show More

127 Caroline Winterer, American Enlightenments

56:27 | Mar 28th, 2017

In many ways, the Enlightenment gave birth to the United States. Enlightened ideas informed protests over imperial governance and taxation and over whether there should be an American bishop. If we want to understand early America, we need to underst...Show More

126 Rebecca Brannon, The Reintegration of American Loyalists

47:02 | Mar 21st, 2017

What happened to the loyalists who stayed in the United States after the War for Independence? After the war, 60,000 loyalists and 15,000 slaves evacuated the United States. But thousands more opted to remain in the new nation. Rebecca Brannon, an A...Show More

125 Terri Snyder, Death, Suicide, and Slavery in British North America

38:08 | Mar 14th, 2017

Early America was a diverse place. It contained many different people who had many different traditions that informed how they lived…and died. How did early Americans understand death? What did they think about suicide? Terri Snyder, a Professor of A...Show More

124 James Alexander Dun, Making the Haitian Revolution in Early America

54:02 | Mar 7th, 2017

What did the American Revolution mean and achieve? What sort of liberty and freedom did independence grant Americans and which Americans should receive them? Americans grappled with these questions soon after the American Revolution. They debated the...Show More

123: Revolutionary Allegiances (Doing History Rev)

1:34:07 | Feb 28th, 2017

In December 1773, the Cape Cod Tea Crisis revealed that the people of “radical” Massachusetts were far from united in their support for the American Revolution. An observation that leads us to wonder: How many Americans supported the Patriot cause? I...Show More

122 Andrew O'Shaughnessy, The Men Who Lost America

47:20 | Feb 21st, 2017

Did the Americans win the War for Independence? Or did the British simply lose the war? The history of the American War for Independence is complicated. And history books tell many different versions of the event, which is why we need an expert to gu...Show More

121 Wim Klooster, The Dutch Moment in the 17th-Century Atlantic World

39:38 | Feb 14th, 2017

The Spanish, French, and English played large roles in the origins of colonial America. But so too did the Dutch. During the 17th century, they had a “moment" in which they influenced European colonization and development of the Atlantic World. Wim K...Show More

120 Marcia Zug, A History of Mail Order Brides in Early America

51:54 | Feb 7th, 2017

How do you build colonies without women? Most of the colonial adventurers from England and France who set out for Jamestown, New France, and colonial Louisiana were men. But how do you build and sustain societies and spread European culture—in essenc...Show More

119 Steve Pincus, The Heart of the Declaration

54:27 | Jan 31st, 2017

On June 7, 1776, Richard Henry Lee of Virginia moved that the Second Continental Congress resolve “that these United Colonies are, and of right out to be, free and independent States…” The Second Continental Congress adopted Lee’s motion and on June ...Show More

118 Christy Clark-Pujara, The Business of Slavery in Rhode Island

55:59 | Jan 24th, 2017

How did the smallest colony and smallest state in the union became the largest American participant in the slave trade? Christy Clark-Pujara, an Assistant Professor in the Department of African-American Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison ...Show More

117 Annette Gordon-Reed, The Life and Ideas of Thomas Jefferson

46:18 | Jan 17th, 2017

Thomas Jefferson wrote about liberty and freedom and yet owned over six hundred slaves during his lifetime. He’s a founder who many of us have a hard time understanding. This why we need an expert to lead us through his life, so we can better underst...Show More

116 Erica Charters, Disease & The Seven Years' War

45:37 | Jan 10th, 2017

When we think of the French and Indian, or Seven Years’ War, we often think of battles: The Monongahela, Ticonderoga, Québec. Yet, wars aren’t just about battles. They’re about people and governments too. In this episode, we explore a very different ...Show More

115 Andrew Torget, The Early American History of Texas

53:48 | Jan 3rd, 2017

Like many states in the south and west, Texas has an interesting early American past that begins with Native American settlement followed by Spanish colonization. It's also a state that was an independent nation before being admitted to the United St...Show More

Bonus: Lonnie Bunch, History & Historians in the Public (Doing History)

35:25 | Dec 30th, 2016

Throughout the “Doing History: How Historians Work” series we’ve explored how historians find and research historical topics, how they identify and read historical sources for information, and how they publish their findings so others can know what t...Show More

114 Karin Wulf, The History of Genealogy (Doing History)

48:46 | Dec 27th, 2016

History has a history and genealogy has a history. And the histories of both affect how and why we study the past and how we understand and view it. Today, we explore why it’s important for us to understand that the practices and processes of history...Show More

113 Brian Murphy, Building the Empire State

46:47 | Dec 20th, 2016

After seven, long years of occupation, Americans found New York City in shambles after the British evacuation on November 25, 1783. Ten to twenty-five percent of the city had burned in 1776. The British used just about every building that remained to...Show More

112 Mary Beth Norton, The Tea Crisis of 1773 (Doing History Revolution)

45:53 | Dec 13th, 2016

On December 16, 1773, the colonists of Boston threw 342 chests of English East India Company tea into Boston Harbor, an act we remember as the “Boston Tea Party.” Have you ever wondered what drove the Bostonians to destroy the tea? Or whether they co...Show More

111 Jonathan Eacott, India in the Making of Britain and America, 1700-1830

51:23 | Dec 6th, 2016

Neither colonial North America nor the United States developed apart from the rest of the world. Since their founding, both the colonies and the United States have participated in the politics, economics, and cultures of the Atlantic World. And every...Show More

110 Joshua Taylor, How Genealogists Research (Doing History)

45:05 | Nov 29th, 2016

History tells us who we are and how we came to be who we are. Like history, genealogy studies people. It’s a field of study that can tell us who we are in a more exact sense by showing us how our ancestral lines connect from one generation to the nex...Show More

109 John Dixon, The American Enlightenment & Cadwallader Colden

54:11 | Nov 22nd, 2016

We’ve heard that the American Revolution took place during a period called “the Enlightenment.” But what was the Enlightenment? Was it an intellectual movement? A social movement? A scientific movement? Today, John Dixon, an Assistant Professor of Hi...Show More

108 Ann Little, The Many Captivities of Esther Wheelwright

48:49 | Nov 15th, 2016

Colonial America comprised many different cultural and political worlds. Most colonial Americans inhabited just one world, but today, we’re going to explore the life of a woman who lived in THREE colonial American worlds: Frontier New England, Northe...Show More

107 Mary Sarah Bilder, Madison's Hand: Revising the Constitutional Convention

51:00 | Nov 8th, 2016

When politicians, lawyers, and historians discuss the Constitutional Convention of 1787, they often rely on two sources: The promotional tracts collectively known as the Federalist Papers and James Madison’s Notes of the Constitutional Convention. Bu...Show More

106 Jane Kamensky, The World of John Singleton Copley

50:39 | Nov 1st, 2016

What can the life of an artist reveal about the American Revolution and how most American men and women experienced it? Today, we explore the life and times of John Singleton Copley with Jane Kamensky, a Professor of History at Harvard University and...Show More

105 Joshua Piker, How Historians Publish History (Doing History)

54:26 | Oct 25th, 2016

What do historians do with their research once they finish writing about it? How do historians publish the books and articles we love to read? This episode of our “Doing History: How Historians Work” series, takes us behind-the-scenes of how historia...Show More

104 Andrew Lipman, The Saltwater Frontier

52:11 | Oct 18th, 2016

When we think of Native Americans, many of us think of inland dwellers. People adept at navigating forests and rivers and the skilled hunters and horsemen who lived and hunted on the American Plains. But did you know that Native Americans were seafar...Show More

103 Sara Bon-Harper, James Monroe & His Estate Highland

46:51 | Oct 11th, 2016

On April 30, 1789, George Washington became the first President of the United States. Between 1789 and 1825, five men would serve as president. Four of them hailed from Virginia. Many of us know details about the lives and presidencies of Washington,...Show More

102 William Nester, George Rogers Clark

41:04 | Oct 4th, 2016

In the Treaty of Paris, 1783, Great Britain offered the new United States generous terms that included lands in between the Appalachian Mountains and the Mississippi River. Why did the biggest empire with the greatest army and navy concede so much to...Show More

101 John Demos, How Historians Write About History (Doing History)

44:49 | Sep 27th, 2016

How do historians write about the people, places, and events they’ve studied in historical sources? We continue our “Doing History: How Historians Work” series by investigating how historians write about history. Our guide for this investigation is J...Show More

100 Behind-the-Scenes with Liz Covart & Ben Franklin's World

38:02 | Sep 20th, 2016

Wow! Ben Franklin’s World has made it to episode 100. How do we celebrate and mark this special occasion? By your request, host Liz Covart answers your questions about history, podcasting, and time travel. Show Notes: http://www.benfranklinsworld.com...Show More

099 Mark Hanna, Pirates & Pirate Nests in the British Atlantic World

44:24 | Sep 13th, 2016

Pirates are alive and well in our popular culture. Thanks to movies like Pirates of the Caribbean and television shows like Black Sails, we see pirates as peg-legged, eye-patch wearing, rum-drinking men. But are these representations accurate? What d...Show More

098 Gautham Rao, Birth of the American Tax Man

48:16 | Sep 6th, 2016

Could customs collectors, the tax men of early America, be the unsung founders of the early United States? Today, we explore the creation of the United States customs service and its contributions to the establishment of the federal government with G...Show More

097 Billy Smith, How to Organize Your Research (Doing History)

46:31 | Aug 30th, 2016

What do historians do with all of the information they collect when they research? How do they access their research in a way that allows them to find the information they need to write the books and articles we enjoy reading? Billy Smith, a Professo...Show More

096 Nicholas Guyatt, The Origins of Racial Segregation in the United States

1:02:56 | Aug 23rd, 2016

Ever wonder how the United States’ problem with race developed and why early American reformers didn’t find a way to fix it during the earliest days of the republic? Today, Nicholas Guyatt, author of Bind Us Apart: How Enlightened Americans Invented ...Show More

095 Rose Doherty, A Tale of Two Bostons

38:48 | Aug 16th, 2016

The City Upon a Hill. The Athens of America. The Cradle of Liberty. Boston has many names because it has played important roles in the history of North America. But how did Boston, or “The Hub,” come to be? Why did the Puritans who sailed from Englan...Show More

094 Cassandra Good, Founding Friendships

42:36 | Aug 9th, 2016

Who are you friends with? Why are you friends with your friends? In the early American republic, men and women formed and maintained friendships for many of the same reasons we make friends today: companionship, shared interests, and, in some cases, ...Show More

093 Taylor Stoermer, Harvard University & Colonial North America

43:54 | Aug 2nd, 2016

What can the collections of the Harvard University Libraries teach us about our early American past? It turns out, quite a lot. Taylor Stoermer, a Visiting Fellow at the Harvard Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, takes us through the Harvard Librari...Show More

092 Sharon Block, How to Research History Online (Doing History)

53:37 | Jul 26th, 2016

How do historians conduct research online? This is your second-most asked question after how did everyday people live their day-to-day lives in early America. As the “Doing History” series explores how historians work, it offers the perfect opportuni...Show More

091 Gregory Dowd, Rumors, Legends, & Hoaxes in Early America

42:23 | Jul 19th, 2016

Did you know that George Washington’s favorite drink was whiskey? Actually, it wasn’t. Washington preferred Madeira, a fortified Portuguese wine from the island of Madeira. Why the false start to today’s exploration of history? Gregory Dowd, a Profes...Show More

090 Caitlin Fitz, Age of American Revolutions

44:34 | Jul 12th, 2016

The American Revolution inspired revolutions in France, the Caribbean, and in Latin and South America between the late 18th and mid-19th centuries. Naturally, Spanish and Portuguese American revolutionaries turned to the United States for assistance ...Show More

089 Jessica Millward, Slavery & Freedom in Early Maryland

48:51 | Jul 5th, 2016

How do you uncover the life of a slave who left no paper trail? What can her everyday life tell us about slavery, how it was practiced, and how some slaves made the transition from slavery to freedom? Today, we explore the life of Charity Folks, an e...Show More

088 Michael McDonnell, The History of History Writing (Doing History)

48:40 | Jun 28th, 2016

Historians rely on secondary historical sources almost as much as they rely on primary historical sources. But what are secondary historical sources and how do they help historians know what they know about the past? Michael McDonnell, an Associate P...Show More

087 Sean Condon, Shays' Rebellion

44:13 | Jun 21st, 2016

After achieving independence from Great Britain, the new United States and its member states had to pay war debts. As the national government lacked the power to tax its citizens, the problem of paying war debts fell to the states. Many states tried ...Show More

086 George Goodwin, Benjamin Franklin in London

51:07 | Jun 14th, 2016

Over the course of his long life, Benjamin Franklin traveled to and lived in London twice. The first time he went as a teenager. The second as a man and colonial agent. All told he spent nearly 18 years living in the heart of the British Empire. How ...Show More

085 Bonnie Huskins, American Loyalists in Canada

42:46 | Jun 7th, 2016

The War for Independence was a conflict between Great Britain and her 13 North American colonies. It was also a civil war. Not only did the war pit Briton against Briton when the conflict began in 1775, but it also pitted American against American. B...Show More

084 Zara Anishanslin, How Historians Read Historical Sources (Doing History)

49:31 | May 31st, 2016

What do historians do with historical sources once they find them? How do they read them for information about the past? Today, Zara Anishanslin, an Assistant Professor of History at CUNY’s College of Staten Island, leads us on an exploration of how ...Show More

083 Jared Hardesty, Unfreedom: Slavery in Colonial Boston

40:11 | May 24th, 2016

Colonial Bostonians practiced slavery. But slavery in Boston looked very different than slavery in the American south or in the Caribbean. Today, Jared Hardesty, an Assistant Professor of History at Western Washington University and author of Unfreed...Show More

082 Alejandra Dubcovsky, Information & Communication in the Early American South

40:18 | May 17th, 2016

We live in an age of information. The internet provides us with 24/7 access to all types of information—news, how-to articles, sports scores, entertainment news, and congressional votes. But what do we do with all of this knowledge? How do we sift th...Show More

081 Don Glickstein, After Yorktown: The Final Struggle for American Independence

37:04 | May 10th, 2016

When did the fighting of the American War for Independence end? In school we learn that the war came to an end at Yorktown. But, this lesson omits all of the fighting that took place after Charles, Earl Cornwallis’ surrender in October 1781. Today, D...Show More

080 Jen Manion, Liberty's Prisoners: Prisons & Prison Life in Early America

35:24 | May 3rd, 2016

American prisons are overcrowded. The United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world and nearly 2.5 million Americans are serving prison sentences. Nearly all politicians agree that we need to reform the American prison system, but the...Show More

079 James Horn, What is a Historical Source? (Doing History)

49:41 | Apr 26th, 2016

Historians research the past through historical sources. But what are the materials that tell historians about past peoples, places, and events? Today, James Horn, the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Jamestown Rediscovery Foundation, hel...Show More

078 Rachel Shelden, Washington Brotherhood: Politics, Social Life, and the Coming of the Civil War

44:22 | Apr 19th, 2016

The United States is in midst of a political and cultural divide. The last time the United States faced this deep of a division, the nation descended into Civil War. Can history help us solve our present-day political and cultural crisis? Today, we i...Show More

077 Rinker Buck, The Oregon Trail

45:14 | Apr 12th, 2016

Do you have what it takes to be a pioneer? If offered the opportunity, would you undertake a journey across the Oregon Trail in a mule-pulled covered wagon? Today, we explore the Oregon Trail past and present with Rinker Buck, author of The Oregon Tr...Show More

076 Nathan Perl-Rosenthal, Citizen Sailors: Becoming American in the Age of Revolution

46:13 | Apr 5th, 2016

What did it mean to be a citizen during the late-18th and early-19th centuries? Why and how did early American sailors seem intent on proving their citizenship to the United States? In this episode, we explore citizenship and maritime life during the...Show More

075 Peter Drummey, How Archives Work (Doing History)

54:17 | Mar 29th, 2016

Historians research history in archives. But how do you gain access to one? And how do you use an archive once you find that it likely contains the information you seek? In this third episode of our “Doing History: How Historians Work” series, we inv...Show More

074 Mary Wigge, Martha Washington

34:55 | Mar 22nd, 2016

George Washington stands as one of the most famous Americans in history, but what do we know of his helpmeet and partner, Martha? Who was the woman who stood beside and encouraged Washington? How did she assist him as he led the Continental Army and ...Show More

073 Mark Noll, The Bible in Early America

50:56 | Mar 15th, 2016

What role did the Bible play in the development of British North America and the early United States? How did the settlement of numerous religious groups in the thirteen American colonies affect the politics and religion of both the colonies and earl...Show More

072 Ari Kelman, The American Civil War

45:17 | Mar 8th, 2016

The American Civil War took place over 150 years ago. The war claimed over 600,000 American lives and its legacy affects the way present-day Americans view civil rights and race relations. The Civil War stands as an important, watershed event in Unit...Show More

071 Bruce Venter, Saratoga and Hubbardton, 1777

56:23 | Mar 1st, 2016

Historians refer to the Battle of Saratoga as the “turning point” of the American Revolution. They argue the Patriot Army’s defeat of British General John Burgoyne’s forces convinced the French to enter the War for Independence. Together, the Franco ...Show More

070 Jennifer Morgan, How Historians Research (Doing History)

43:32 | Feb 23rd, 2016

How did enslaved African and African American women experience slavery? What were their daily lives like? And how do historians know as much as they do about enslaved women? Today, we explore the answers to these questions with Jennifer L. Morgan, a ...Show More

069 Abby Chandler, Law, Order, and Sexual Misconduct in Colonial New England

49:06 | Feb 16th, 2016

Law and order stood as a sign of civilization for many 17th-century Europeans, which is why some of the first European settlers in North America created systems of law and order in their new homeland. Today, we explore the legal history of colonial N...Show More

068 Richard Brookhiser, Founders' Son: A Life of Abraham Lincoln

47:54 | Feb 9th, 2016

Abraham Lincoln grew up as the son of a poor farmer. Yet, he became the 16th President of the United States. How did the son of a poor farmer achieve election to the presidency? Today, we investigate the life of Abraham Lincoln and his journey to the...Show More

067 John Ryan Fischer, An Environmental History of Early California & Hawaii

48:09 | Feb 2nd, 2016

Aside from nice weather, what do California and Hawaii have in common? Spanish longhorn cattle. Today, we explore how Spanish longhorn cattle influenced the early American and environmental histories of California and Hawaii with John Ryan Fischer, a...Show More

066 Simon Newman, How Historians Find Their Research Topics (Doing History)

43:34 | Jan 26th, 2016

How did average, poor, and enslaved men and women live their day-to-day lives in the early United States? Today, we explore the answers to that question with Simon P. Newman, a Professor of History at the University of Glasgow and our guide for an in...Show More

Bonus: Why Historians Study History (Doing History)

26:01 | Jan 22nd, 2016

History is about people, but what do we know about the people behind history’s scenes? Who are the people who tell us what we know about our past? How do they come to know what they know? Today, we begin our year-long “Doing History” series with a sp...Show More

065 Alexander Rose, Washington's Spies: The Story of America's First Spy Network

41:11 | Jan 19th, 2016

Today, we explore espionage during the American Revolution and the origins and operations of the Culper Spy Ring with Alexander Rose, author of Washington’s Spies: The Story of America’s First Spy Ring and a historian, writer, and producer for AMC’s ...Show More

064 Brett Rushforth, Native American Slavery in New France

56:53 | Jan 12th, 2016

Most early Americans practiced chattel slavery: the practice of treating slaves as property that people could buy, sell, trade, and use as they would draught animals or real estate. But, did you know that some early Americans practiced a different ty...Show More

063 Megan Kate Nelson, Ruin Nation: Destruction and the American Civil War

55:46 | Jan 5th, 2016

The American Civil War claimed more than 620,000 American lives. Did you know that it also cost American forests, landscapes, cities, and institutions? Today, we explore the different types of ruination wrought by the American Civil War with Megan Ka...Show More

062 Carol Berkin, The Bill of Rights

48:09 | Dec 29th, 2015

Did you know that when James Madison originally proposed the Bill of Rights, it consisted of 36 amendments and that the House of Representatives did not want to consider or debate Madison’s proposed amendments to the Constitution? Today, we explore t...Show More

061 Edward Larson, George Washington in Retirement

54:24 | Dec 22nd, 2015

If you had only six years to enjoy retirement what would you do? Would you improve your plantation? Build canals? Or work behind-the-scenes to unite your country by framing a new central government? These were just some of the activities undertaken b...Show More

060 David Preston, Braddock's Defeat: The Battle of the Monongahela and the Road to Revolution

56:12 | Dec 15th, 2015

Did Washington really start the French and Indian War? Why should we remember a battle that took place over 260 years ago? In this episode, we investigate the answers to those questions as we explore the Battle of the Monongahela with David Preston, ...Show More

059 Eric Foner, Gateway to Freedom: The Hidden History of the Underground Railroad

42:12 | Dec 8th, 2015

Between the 1830s and 1860s, a clandestine communications and transportation network called the “Underground Railroad” helped thousands of slaves escape to freedom. Today, we will investigate and explore this secret network with Eric Foner, a Pulitze...Show More

058 Andrew Schocket, Fighting over the Founders: How We Remember the American Revolution

33:14 | Dec 1st, 2015

Why do we refer to the men who founded the United States as the “founding fathers?” Why do we choose to remember the American Revolution as a glorious event that had almost universal, colonial support when in fact, the Revolution’s events were bloody...Show More

057 Max Edling, War, Money, and the American State, 1783-1867

48:33 | Nov 24th, 2015

Do you know what we have in common with our early American forebears? Taxes. As Benjamin Franklin stated in 1789, “nothing is certain but death and taxes.” Given the certainty of taxes it seems important that we understand how the United States’ fisc...Show More

056 Daniel J. Tortora, The Anglo-Cherokee War, 1759-1761

43:28 | Nov 17th, 2015

Between 1754 and 1763, North Americans participated in the French and Indian War; a world war Europeans call the Seven Years’ War. As this world war raged, many South Carolinians, Virginians, Britons, and Cherokee people also fought a war for land, ...Show More

055 Robb Haberman, John Jay: Forgotten Founder

42:30 | Nov 10th, 2015

Who was John Jay? Jay played important and prominent roles during the founding of the United States and yet, his name isn’t one that many would list if asked to name founding fathers. Today, we explore John Jay and his contributions to the founding...Show More

054 John D. Wilsey, American Exceptionalism: The History of an Idea

52:24 | Nov 3rd, 2015

The United States is a diverse nation of immigrants and their ancestors. With such diversity, and no one origination point for its people, how do we describe what the United States is and what its people stand for? What is the underlying ideological...Show More

053 Emerson W. Baker, The Salem Witch Trials of 1692

44:36 | Oct 27th, 2015

Do you believe in the supernatural? In ghosts, zombies, or perhaps witches? Today we celebrate All Hallows Eve with an exploration of the specters and witches that haunted 17th-century Massachusetts. Our guide for this exploration is Emerson W. Bak...Show More

052 Ronald A. Johnson, Diplomacy in Black and White: Early United States-Haitian Relations

48:51 | Oct 20th, 2015

Much like the United States, the colonists of Saint Domingue (present-day Haiti) sought their independence from France by fighting a war and waging a revolution. However, unlike the Americans, the San Dominguans who fought the war and waged the revol...Show More

051 Catherine Cangany, Frontier Seaport: A History of Early Detroit

53:33 | Oct 13th, 2015

Located 600 miles inland from Philadelphia and over 700 miles from Québec City, early Detroit could have been a backwater, a frontier post that Europeans established to protect colonial settlements from Native American attacks. Yet Detroit emerged a...Show More

050 Marla Miller, Betsy Ross and the Making of America

44:04 | Oct 6th, 2015

How did every day men and women experience life in colonial America? How did the American Revolution transform their work and personal lives? Today, we explore the answers to those questions by investigating the life of Betsy Ross with Marla Miller...Show More

049 Malcolm Gaskill, How the English Became American

40:49 | Sep 29th, 2015

Why did England want to establish colonies in North America and how did Englishmen go about establishing them? Today, we explore the early days of English settlement in North America with Malcolm Gaskill, Professor of History at the University of Ea...Show More

048 Ken Miller, Dangerous Guests; Enemy Captives During the War for Independence

40:51 | Sep 22nd, 2015

When we think about the War for American Independence many of us conjure images of Washington crossing the Delaware, Cornwallis’ surrender at Yorktown, or perhaps the freezing winters at Valley Forge or Jockey Hollow. What we don’t tend to think abo...Show More

047 Emily Conroy-Krutz, Christian Imperialism: Converting the World in the Early American Republic

48:27 | Sep 15th, 2015

Where did the United States fit within the world between 1810 and 1847? After the United States secured its independence from Great Britain, many Americans looked at the world and wondered about their place within it. What role would early American...Show More

046 John Ferling, Whirlwind: The American Revolution & the War That Won It

56:27 | Sep 8th, 2015

What caused the American Revolution? Can we use the term “American Revolution” to describe both the revolution and the War for Independence? What was the greatest challenge that George Washington and his Continental Army faced during the War for In...Show More

045 Spencer McBride, Joseph Smith and the Founding of Mormonism

43:46 | Sep 1st, 2015

Many Americans associate the state of Utah with Mormons. But did you know the Mormons almost settled in Texas? Spencer McBride, an editor with the Joseph Smith Papers Documentary Editing Project, joins us to explore the life of Joseph Smith, founde...Show More

044 Adam Shprintzen, The Vegetarian Crusade: The Rise of an American Reform Movement

48:11 | Aug 25th, 2015

Do you know which early American reform movement pushed for abolition, women’s rights, pacifism, and economic growth? Today, Adam Shprintzen, Assistant Professor of History at Maywood University and author of The Vegetarian Crusade: The Rise of an A...Show More

043 Matthew Osborn, Rum Maniacs: Alcoholic Insanity in the Early Republic

52:30 | Aug 18th, 2015

How and when did doctors become respected professionals in American society? The answer lies in early Americans’ fascination with delirium tremens, or alcoholic insanity, and the Temperance Movement of the early-to-mid 19th century. Today, Matthew ...Show More

Bonus: The Boston Stamp Act Riots

46:31 | Aug 14th, 2015

“No Taxation Without Representation!” August 14, 2015 marks the 250th anniversary of the first Boston Stamp Act riot. Today’s bonus episode commemorates the anniversary with a conversation about the Stamp Act, the Boston riots, and the American Rev...Show More

042 Heather Cox Richardson, A History of the Republican Party

1:07:50 | Aug 11th, 2015

Is the Republican Party, the party of Abraham Lincoln? The United States has entered presidential primary season, which means it won’t be long before a Republican presidential candidate or a reporter mentions the birth of the ‘Grand Old Party’ in 18...Show More

041 Bruno Paul Stenson, Canada and the American Revolution

45:03 | Aug 4th, 2015

Did Canada almost join the American Revolution? In September 1775, Major-General Philip Schuyler launched the Patriot’s invasion into Canada. The Patriots hoped to end the threat of a British invasion from the north by occupying Canada and bringing ...Show More

040 For Fear of an Elective King: George Washington & the Presidential Title Controversy of 1789

43:49 | Jul 28th, 2015

Today we address the President of the United States as “Mr. President.” But did you know that the proper title for the office was almost “His Highness the President?” In this episode, Kathleen Bartoloni-Tuazon, author of For Fear of an Elective King...Show More

039 Eric Nelson, The Royalist Revolution: Monarchy and the American Founding

51:06 | Jul 21st, 2015

The American Revolution was a revolution against Parliament not a king. This is the idea offered by Eric Nelson in his new book The Royalist Revolution: Monarchy and the American Founding.  Today, we explore the royalist revolution and how it affec...Show More

038 Carolyn Harris, Magna Carta & Its Gifts to North America

50:33 | Jul 14th, 2015

Are you ready to time travel? 2015 marks the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta, a document created to limit the powers of King John of England and his successors in 1215. Today, Magna Carta and its four key principles continue to influence and inspi...Show More

037 Kathleen DuVal, Independence Lost: Lives on the Edge of the American Revolution

45:02 | Jul 7th, 2015

What battle proved to be the turning point of the American War for Independence? If you answered Saratoga, you are in general agreement with most scholars of the American Revolution. General John Burgoyne’s surrender to the Continental Army on Octo...Show More

036 Abigail Swingen, Competing Visions of Empire

51:23 | Jun 30th, 2015

How and where did the colonies of North America and the Caribbean fit within the British Empire? The answer to this question depends on whether you explore the views of a British imperial officer, such as the King of England, or a colonist who lived...Show More

Bonus: Lafayette & the Hermione

29:01 | Jun 26th, 2015

Who was the Marquis de Lafayette? How did he make the Patriots’ success in the American Revolution possible? And why did a group known as the Friends of Hermione-Lafayette in America build an exact replica of the French frigate that brought Lafayette...Show More

035 Michael Lord, Historic Hudson Valley and Washington Irving

37:40 | Jun 23rd, 2015

Washington Irving was an historian and writer. Some historians and biographers have called him the first great American author.  Today, Michael Lord, Director of Education at Historic Hudson Valley, joins us to explore the life of Washington Irving,...Show More

034 Mark R. Cheathem, Andrew Jackson, Southerner

50:07 | Jun 16th, 2015

The Hero of New Orleans. Old Hickory. General. President of the United States. Andrew Jackson held and embodied all of these titles and nicknames.  During his lifetime, Jackson served as one of the most popular presidents and yet, today we remember ...Show More

033 Douglas Bradburn, George Washington and His Library

58:29 | Jun 9th, 2015

When you think about George Washington, what image comes to mind? Washington the general? Washington the president? Perhaps, Washington the gentleman farmer of Mount Vernon? But did you know that George Washington loved to read? In this episode,...Show More

032 Michelle Marchetti Coughlin, One Colonial Woman's World

51:05 | Jun 2nd, 2015

What was everyday life like for average men and women in early America? Listeners ask this question more than any other question and today we continue to try to answer it. Michelle Marchetti Coughlin, author of One Colonial Woman's World: The Life ...Show More

031 Benjamin Franklin and the Papers of Benjamin Franklin Editorial Project

50:23 | May 26th, 2015

Benjamin Franklin’s life spanned almost the entire 18th century.  Between his birth on January 17, 1706 and his death on April 17, 1790, Franklin lived well-traveled and accomplished life. Michael D. Hattem, research assistant for the Papers of Ben...Show More

030 Shelby M. Balik, Rally the Scattered Believers: Northern New England's Religious Geography

1:01:37 | May 19th, 2015

You may know the stereotype of the “busibody New Englander,” the person who knows all about their neighbors’ private affairs.  This stereotype comes from the New England town-church ideal: The idea that ministers and congregants of the town church h...Show More

029 Colin Calloway, The Victory with No Name: The Native American Defeat of the First American Army

54:47 | May 12th, 2015

Can you name the battle that took place between the United States Army and the Miami Confederacy on November 4, 1791? It's a trick question. You can’t name the battle because the victory has no name. Colin Calloway, Professor of History and Native ...Show More

Bonus: We Are One: Mapping America's Road from Revolution to Independence

40:55 | May 8th, 2015

What can maps tell us about the past?  How do maps affect the way we view events such as the American Revolution? The Norman B. Leventhal Map Center at the Boston Public Library has a new, traveling exhibition called We Are One: Mapping America’s R...Show More

028 Janice Fontanella, Building the Erie Canal

42:45 | May 5th, 2015

A “little short of madness.” That is how Thomas Jefferson responded when two delegates from New York approached him with the idea to build the Erie Canal in January 1809.  Jefferson’s comment did not discourage New Yorkers. On January 4, 1817, New Y...Show More

027 Lisa Wilson, A History of Stepfamilies in Early America

42:52 | Apr 28th, 2015

What do George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and Abraham Lincoln have in common? They all grew-up in blended or stepfamilies.  Lisa Wilson, the Charles J. MacCurdy Professor of American History at Connecticut College and author of A History of Ste...Show More

026 Robert Middlekauff, Washington's Revolution

48:24 | Apr 21st, 2015

What drove George Washington to become a Patriot during the American Revolution? How did he overcome the ill-trained and inexperienced troops, inadequate pay, and supply problems that plagued the Continental Army to win the War for American Independ...Show More

025 Jessica Parr, Inventing George Whitefield

45:33 | Apr 14th, 2015

Do you know who George Whitefield was? George Whitefield stood as one of the most visible figures in British North America between the 1740s and 1770. He was a central figure in the trans-Atlantic revivalist movement and a man whose legacy remains i...Show More

Bonus: Longfellow's Wayside Inn

27:01 | Apr 10th, 2015

In this bonus episode, we explore a listener requested topic of colonial inns and taverns by investigating the history of the oldest inn still in operation: Longfellow’s Wayside Inn.  The Wayside Inn served as the inspiration for Henry Wadsworth Lon...Show More

024 Kimberly Alexander, 18th-Century Fashion and Material Culture

57:46 | Apr 7th, 2015

What can John Hancock’s suit tell you about the man who wore it? The clothing a person wears tells you a lot about them: Whether they are rich or poor, what kind of work they do, what colors they like, and what they value. We know that John Hancock...Show More

023 Early American History with the JuntoCast

1:03:44 | Mar 31st, 2015

Have you ever wondered what happens when four historians get together to talk about early American history? In this episode, we chat with three young and promising historians of early America: Michael Hattem, Roy Rogers, and Ken Owen. All three scho...Show More

022 Vivian Bruce Conger, Deborah Read Franklin & Sally Franklin Bache: Benjamin Franklin's Women

49:39 | Mar 24th, 2015

Have you heard the saying that behind every great man stands a great woman? Vivian Bruce Conger, the Robert Ryan Professor in the Humanities at Ithaca College, joins us to explore the two great women that Benjamin Franklin had standing behind and be...Show More

021 Eugene Tesdahl, Smuggling in Colonial America & Living History

59:46 | Mar 17th, 2015

Do you know that John Hancock was a smuggler? Smuggling presented a large problem for the imperial governments of Great Britain and France during the colonial period. Dr. Eugene Tesdahl, an Assistant Professor of History at the University of Wiscon...Show More

020 Kyle T. Bulthuis, Four Steeples Over the City Streets

49:42 | Mar 10th, 2015

Have you ever wondered about how early American men, women, and slaves worshipped? Religion played a large role in why some Europeans settled in British North America.  The Puritans of New England, the German Protestants of the Mid-Atlantic region,...Show More

019 Kenneth Turino, The Colonial Boston Marketplace

47:05 | Mar 3rd, 2015

Have you ever wondered where colonial Americans purchased their food? Although many colonial Americans lived in rural areas or on farms where they could grow fruits, vegetables, and herbs, graze their livestock, or hunt wild game, many others lived ...Show More

018 Danielle Allen, Our Declaration

46:33 | Feb 24th, 2015

Do you know who authored the Declaration of Independence? If you answered “Thomas Jefferson,” you would be wrong. Jefferson merely wrote the first draft of a document others created. In this episode, Danielle Allen, Foundation Professor at the Inst...Show More

017 François Furstenberg, When the United States Spoke French

52:06 | Feb 17th, 2015

Parlez-vous Français?  Do you speak French? Believe it or not in the 1790s many Americans spoke French. They may not have spoken the French language, but they understood and embraced French culture, art, and culinary traditions.  Early Americans e...Show More

016 Alan Taylor, The Internal Enemy: Slavery and War in Virginia, 1772-1832

42:20 | Feb 10th, 2015

The United States claimed victory in the War of 1812, but did you know that the British nearly won the war by promising freedom to escaped slaves in Virginia and Maryland? In this episode, 2-time Pulitzer Prize winner Alan Taylor reveals how Virgini...Show More

015 Joyce E. Chaplin, Round About the Earth: Circumnavigation from Magellan to Orbit

42:53 | Feb 3rd, 2015

In 1492, Christopher Columbus sailed the ocean blue as part of the great European quest to find new routes and shortcuts to the spice islands and territories of Asia. Spain and Portugal led this quest during the 15th and 16th centuries and their rac...Show More

014 Claudio Saunt, West of the Revolution: An Uncommon History of 1776

41:11 | Jan 27th, 2015

Did you know that Russian activities in North America caused the Spanish to colonize California? When we think of North America in 1776, our minds take us to the Atlantic seaboard where inhabitants in thirteen colonies fought Great Britain for indep...Show More

013 Rachel Hope Cleves, Charity & Sylvia: A Same-Sex Marriage in Early America

54:03 | Jan 20th, 2015

We tend to view gay marriage as a cultural and legal development of the 21st century.  But did you know that some early Americans lived openly in same-sex marriages? In this episode, Rachel Hope Cleves, an Associate Professor of History at the Univ...Show More

012 Dane Morrison, True Yankees: The South Seas and the Discovery of American Identtity

47:39 | Jan 13th, 2015

Did you know that Americans undertook their first trade mission to China in February 1784? In fact, a mercantile partnership led by Robert Morris sent the Empress of China, a 360 ton ship to Canton, China one month and eight days after the Congress ...Show More

011 Jessica Baumert, The Woodlands Historic Site of Philadelphia

42:11 | Jan 6th, 2015

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania plays host to many historic sites associated with our early American history: Carpenters Hall, Independence Hall, and the Betsy Ross House represent just a few of this city's historic holdings. But have you ever heard abou...Show More

010 Don N. Hagist, British Soldiers, American War: Voices of the American Revolution

43:09 | Dec 30th, 2014

What about the British Redcoats? When we discuss the military history of the American War for Independence, we tend to focus on specific battles or details about the men who served in George Washington’s Continental Army.  Rarely do we take the opp...Show More

009 Peter G. Rose, Delicious December

41:02 | Dec 16th, 2014

“’Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house/ Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse./ The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,/ In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there.” Undoubtedly, you have heard, or read, ...Show More

008 Gregory O'Malley, Final Passages: The Intercolonial Slave Trade of British America, 1619-1807

45:17 | Dec 2nd, 2014

The Middle Passage forced millions of African men, women, and children to migrate across the Atlantic Ocean, but did you know that there existed an even more deadly voyage for slaves? For many Africans the journey into slavery did not end with their...Show More

007 Sara Georgini, John Adams & The Adams Papers Editorial Project

54:59 | Nov 18th, 2014

The United States declared independence from Great Britain in July 1776, but the King and Parliament of Great Britain did not recognize this independence until April 9, 1784.  On June 1, 1785, King George III received his first diplomat from the Uni...Show More

006 Gregory N. Flemming, At the Point of a Cutlass

38:20 | Nov 4th, 2014

Arrr, so ye like pirates do ye? Did ye know that as much as 33% of pirate crews were made up of captured seamen, not pirates? We’ll be talkin about the “Golden Age” of pirates in this here episode of Ben Franklin’s World with historian and pirate e...Show More

005 Jeanne Abrams, Revolutionary Medicine

36:40 | Oct 21st, 2014

You likely know the names of George and Martha Washington, John and Abigail Adams, and James and Dolley Madison, as the names of a few of the founding mothers and fathers of the United States.  You may have heard of some of their deeds and political...Show More

004 Thomas A Foster, Sex and the Founding Fathers

31:38 | Sep 30th, 2014

Did you know that most biographies about the founders of the United States reveal more about the Americans who wrote the biographies than about the true character of the founders themselves? Thomas A. Foster, Professor of History at DePaul Universit...Show More

003 Richard S. Newman, Future of the Library Company of Philadelphia

37:32 | Sep 28th, 2014

Benjamin Franklin founded the Library Company of Philadelphia in 1731. Today, you can visit his library and its amazing collections, which begs the question: How has the Library Company managed to stay open, and remain relevant, for over 283 years? ...Show More

002 Cornelia King, Exhibitions at the Library Company of Philadelphia

22:44 | Sep 28th, 2014

Have you ever walked through a museum and wondered why its staff chose to feature the artifacts you saw? Cornelia King, Chief of Reference at the Library Company of Philadelphia discusses “That’s So Gay: Outing Early America,” an exhibition that she...Show More

001 James N. Green, History of the Library Company of Philadelphia

40:42 | Sep 27th, 2014

Dd you know that Ben Franklin founded the first successful lending library in North America? With James N. Green, Librarian at the Library Company of Philadelphia, we explores the role Franklin played in the founding of the Library Company of Philad...Show More

000 Pilot- Ben Franklin's World with Liz Covart

07:16 | Sep 27th, 2014

Host Liz Covart welcomes you to Ben Franklin's World: A Podcast About Early American History. Liz describes the show and reveals what what you can expect to discover in future episodes.  Show Notes: http://www.benfranklinsworld.com/000 Ask the Hist...Show More