Second Decade

This is a historical show examining the momentous events and interesting people of the second decade of the 19th century, the 1810s. From Jefferson to Napoleon, from Iceland to Antarctica, historian Sean Munger will give you a tour of the decade's most fascinating highlights.

15: The War of 1812, Part I
A series of blunders, missteps and miscommunications sets the United States and Great Britain on the path to war in 1812—a war that only a few really wanted.
42 min
14: Down & Out at Harvard
In 1813-17, the lives and struggles of two introverted teenagers at Harvard paint a vivid picture of what it was like to go to college 200 years ago.
44 min
13: Kid Lincoln
In the first 12 years of his life, Abraham Lincoln’s legacy is shaped by hardscrabble poverty, family tragedy and a bizarre genetic disease inherited from his mother.
46 min
12: Napoleon in Russia, Part III
In fall 1812, self-deluded by hubris and baffled by Russian tactics, Napoleon withdraws his army from Moscow, triggering an epic disaster of incredible human suffering.
43 min
11: Napoleon in Russia, Part II
In 1812 Napoleon leads his disintegrating army into Russia, resulting in the bloodiest single-day battle of the 19th century and a cataclysmic fire that reduces Moscow to ashes.
42 min
10: Napoleon in Russia, Part I
Iron-willed rulers Napoleon and Alexander first become friends and then bitter enemies, setting the stage for one of the most destructive wars of the 19th century.
43 min
9: Theodosia
In early 1813, one of the most remarkable women in America vanishes without a trace. Decades later a mysterious painting, supposedly of her, appears in North Carolina.
43 min
8: Christmas 1814
Holiday special! Amidst Yuletide traditions old and new, peace is concluded between the U.S. and Great Britain on Christmas Eve, 1814.
41 min
7: Volcano
In 1815, the largest volcanic eruption in recorded history, Tambora, shatters the East Indies at an awkward time of political transition in the wake of the Napoleonic Wars.
43 min
6: Jefferson in Winter
After leaving the presidency, Thomas Jefferson returns to Monticello only to face the struggle of his life against an unrelenting series of personal, financial and environmental disasters.
43 min
5: Cast Away
An American sailor finds himself marooned on an uninhabited island in the South Atlantic by the same group of British shipwreck survivors he was trying to rescue.
41 min
4: Hawaii
After King Kamehameha’s epic struggle to unify the islands, the nation of Hawaii suddenly finds itself in cultural collision with American missionaries who arrive unexpectedly.
44 min
3: The Last Frost Fair
The brutal winter of 1813-14 turns London into an apocalyptic wasteland, but also unleashes a magical winter festival that only happens once or twice in a lifetime.
40 min
2: Barbados Vault and Dead Tea Woman
Coffins reportedly moving around by themselves in Barbados and a strange case of corpse disposal in Nevis are two unsolved mysteries from the Caribbean in the 1810s.
38 min
1: The Election of 1816
In 1816, the President is chosen not so much by an election at the polls, but by a group of self-interested Congressmen distracted by other issues.
38 min