My History Can Beat Up Your Politics

Since 2006, this podcast has been using history to elevate today's political debates.  "The perfect antidote to bloviating talking heads, My History is thoughtful, nuanced, and highly engaging." -Columbia Journalism Review

The Space Shuttle Challenger Explosion and Othe...
The story of the Challenger Explosion 35 years ago, along with the crowning of the USS Princeton during the Tyler administration and the resulting explosion as well as other Disasters.
23 min
The Iranian Side of Iran Contra, Gladstone and ...
The Iran-Contra Scandal was a significant moment of the Reagan Administration and the 80's, but its rarely seen from the other country's side. In Iran, the event was not insignificant. A mix of unreleased content and some long-lost episodes that were quite popular in their time and still have some points today on this podcast.
57 min
The History Behind a Holiday: Martin Luther Kin...
This was a holiday that was not obtained without struggle including strikes, shaming and strange political bedfellows. In one of the first casts on MHCBUYP from 2007, We took a look at this history and some well-known and lesser known actors in its occurrence.
8 min
Drug Legalization Before it Was Cool: The Story...
timore Mayor Kurt Schmoke was called a madman, a "brilliant spokesman for a bad idea," and e even the most dangerous man in America when he called for drug legalization in the late 80s and early 90s. Those were forbidden ideas then. Yet Schmoke's statements seem prophetic now, and his radical plans are the basis of drug policy in many cities.
40 min
Disorder at the Capitol in History
Comments from Jan 7, 2021 about the events of 1/6 and the historical context of the Capitol and safety of the government on this episode, previously unreleased.
50 min
The Forgotten Forage War of 1777: Realities of ...
Did New Jersey Save the Revolutionary Cause? Maybe. Amid a sea of troubles, irregular units fight off the British and make their stay less than hospitable. A bit about George Washington's offensive campaign to be sure that the new nation would not be garrisoned. And it happened in New Jersey (we should be clear with a large contingent of soldiers from all across the Eastern Seaboard).
21 min
Tricornes and Tomahawks - Realities of the Revo...
Previously only available to premium subscribers, this podcast on the Revolution talks about the everyday equipment. Including the piece of clothing that just scared the heck out of the enemy.
25 min
About Those Hessians: Realities of the Revolution
It's easy to forget that Hessians were people too, with the way they are discussed in history. A bit about the German "mercenaries" for the British Side in the Revolution in this episode. We discuss their true purpose and story, the impact on the Revolution and American motives. How some Hessians switched sides, or just settled down in the country they were assigned to conquer. And we tell one Hessian's story, found in his diary by German relatives. Since Hessians figure prominently in the Battle of Trenton, a special treat: Bob Crawford and Ben Sawyer make a brief appearance on the show. Their podcast Road to Now is a favorite of My History Can Beat Up Your Politics. Check 'em out at Road to Now ( And Road to Now Theology - We are part of Airwave Media Network. To advertise on this podcast, contact
50 min
Shooting Behind Trees? Realities of The Revolu...
We look at a unsung Revolutionary War battle, The Battle of Camden, a loss for the American side that would nonetheless have some positive long-term effects, and demonstrate a common theory about the Revolution is wrong.
31 min
What Would Cicero Say? Interview with Professo...
Through most of American history, calling someone a Cicero was the highest democratic honor. John Adams wrote of the Roman orator, that “as all the ages of the world have not produced a greater statesman and philosopher united in the same character, his authority should have great weight.” Thomas Jefferson said Cicero was “the father of eloquence and philosophy” John Quincy Adams dramatically said that if he did not have book of Cicero at hand it was having to live without "of one of my limbs.” And a young Abraham Lincoln reading from a borrowed library benefited greatly from his works, as well as others. We talk to Ryerson University professor of politics and author of Words on Fire Rob Goodman about these topics. Through close readings of Cicero – and his predecessors, rivals, and successors – political theorist and former speechwriter Rob Goodman tracks the development of this ideal, in which speech is both spontaneous and stylized, and in which the pursuit of eloquence mitigates political inequalities. For cicero, speech was essential. More than just talking or Cicero referred to speech as “what has united us in the bonds of justice, law, and civil order, this that has separated us from savagery and barbarism”. Speech was to Cicero a sign of humanity’s inherently communal and cooperative nature and one of our greatest tools in creating a prosperous life for ourselves. "Be no Atticus," John Quincy Adams told his good friend Charles Sumner when he thought he got to reclusive and too bookish and didn't get out there in the debate. He almost could of said, be more like Atticus's friend Cicero. Cicero got out and spoke, took controversial positions in defense of republic and eventually was executed. Rob Goodman's book Words on Fire is available here - We are part of Airwave Media Network. Check out the other shows there - airwave
38 min
Lincoln on Infrastructure
Known in history for his role in ending slavery and prosecuting the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln's most important issue in his time as an elected official was infrastructure. And in that, he was little different than his pioneer constituents. In this episode, we talk about Lincoln's roots, his arguments countering objections to improvement projects (that have relevance today), and how it shaped slavery and other political issues of his time.
43 min
Harris and the Vice Presidency in a Historical ...
Office or incumbent? The office has been described as a nullity and a spare tire. The historic incumbents include many 'also-rans' and some did very little to speak of in office. Some didn't even get to talk to the President. So can you judge an occupant? The media certainly has made Kamala Harris a topic of attention. Is this fair? On one hand, there's an overall critical tinge to coverage that seems to have started January 21st. On the other there are some historic facts behind it, as Harris has the best predictable chance of becoming President of any modern VP, and comes from less years experience in Washington than recent incumbents? Spurred on by an article from Bill Scher in Washington Monthly - check it out [] we look at this question. Is it, as Scher suggests, the office and we need to cut its newest incumbent slack? Or does the incumbent drive? Is there any way to judge a Vice President? Short answer - We think there can be VP success and failure, but in the end, it's a political job with political goals, and that's what watchers of politics should be focused on.
37 min
The 1890's Part IV: Imperialism Just Happened
112 min
Near-President Bob Dole? Biden v. Dukakis, Gar...
Bob Dole's passing has us thinking again about the fateful 1988 election and its consequences. Extra's from a series of podcasts we did on that election that were not aired to the main audience. After the series of episodes on the 1988 election, Bruce discussed the making of those episodes and some leftover stories that didn't make it in. Among them - the Kitty Dukakis story, one that focuses needed attention on the personal toll of politics. Also a re-emphasis on the forgotten fact that it was Dukakis who beat Biden in that primary, in a way that made Biden supporters mad - and they let him know it. Also more about Gary Hart, and what may have been the reason for his woes, put together decades after the election.
40 min
The 1890's Part III: No, Not That Winston Churc...
A look at the cultural 1890's decade. Science fiction, A new form of voiced patriotism, Exploding growth in cities. And an American Winston Churchill.
58 min
The 1890's Part II: Tin Man
In this second look at the decade of the 1890's. Economic disaster and marching citizens. Pitchfork and tin making rebellion. Competing metals and ideas. An election only makes clearer the divisions in society - it does not create them. An author struggle to captures these modern conflicts and develop a new fairy tale. Music by the excellent Kevin MacLeod (find him on free music and Lee Rosevere (find him on Bandcamp). We are part of Airwave Media Podcast Network We have a patreon if you'd like to support us; Want to advertise on this podcast? Contact
61 min
The 1890's: Part I : Mauve Decade
How did things get modern in America? The popularity of a color derived from coal tar is just one of the ways. A look at the 1890's, a decade where America developed in many ways. A look at the 1890's, a decade where America developed in many ways. This is part of a FOUR PART series of podcasts on My History Can Beat Up Your Politics. X-rays, flying machines, oyster pirates and basketball. Also strikes, war, populism and long-forgotten literature. How did things get modern in America? The popularity of a color derived from coal tar is just one of the ways. Of course Modern doesn't mean all upside, necessarily, and we get into the conflicts during the time. This is part of a FOUR PART series of podcasts on My History Can Beat Up Your Politics. Support us on Patreon: Music by the excellent Lee Rosevere - We are part of Airwave Media Network. Interested in advertising on the podcast? Contact
62 min
Inflation Gardens and Other Stories
It's the most abstract of the economic stats and yet, it's the most personal. It's the one that often has turned Presidents into crusaders. And sometimes turned the American people into the critical actors, volunteers or even 'the problem'. Pins, gardens and tough talk on this episode about Presidents, shrinking dollars, and rising prices.
31 min
News Stories From 1921 That Matter Today - with...
Auctioning people for paid jobs, Resisting smoking and liquor bans, Actors in trouble, Fistfight in Congress, Prosperity around the corner and News articles spreading fear and encouraging violence. With Jon Blackwell, Wall Street Journal Editor and creator of the Twitter handle This Day in 1921, we discuss significant news stories of 1921 that have meaning for today involving racism, poor economic times, censorship, government mandates and attacks on science, among others. Jon's twitter publishes every day with a news story from 1921. He's also the author of Notorious New Jersey. We did a 1921 episode earlier in the year, with Jon we cover new ground.
65 min
Introducing "Smoke Screen: The Sellout"
14 min
Ashamed in the Day of Judgment - Resistance to ...
Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren's policy of Indian population removal, which lead to the Trail of Tears and thousands of deaths, was not uncontested or passively allowed at the time. Nearly half of Congress opposed it, as did petition writers all over the nation. So did one of the President's former friends and of course, most of the elected representatives of the Cherokee people. These debates happened not in modern times but then. One of Jackson's friends voted against so he would not be Ashamed in the Day of Judgment and sought the Presidency in his stead. Support our sponsor Inkl - Support the Podcast on Patreon: Music by Lee Rosevere Email to enquire about advertising on the podcast We are part of Airwave Media Podcast Network. -
44 min
The Miserable Daniel D. Tompkins, Vice President
Vice President under Monroe, Tompkins was a popular populist republican governor of New York and symbol of young America. But he had a problem. Tim Pearson's book on Vice Presidents is Second Fiddle - This episode's sponsor - Light Stream credit card consolidation And a unique news service that helps you get through news paywalls. Want to advertise on the program? sales@advertisecast We are part of Airwave Media network.
31 min
The Anti-Masonic Party and Conspiracy Theory Po...
We look at the Anti-Masonic Party of the 1820s and 1830s from backwater movement to national stage and its lasting influence on one of the two major parties today, and on political conventions. Was it truly a conspiracy theory-based movement? What can it say about today's politics. And a candidate who didn't want to run for President. We look at all that.
38 min
Elephant in the Room: Former Presidents and Th...
About Presidents and their parties, particularly situations where a former President who was not re-elected is still in the political picture. There can be some interesting challenges for the party. We look at four cases in history, Gerald Ford's golfing and soft-pedaling in 1980, Truman's attack on a front-runner in 1956, Bush's largely successful exeunt from the stage in 1993 and Carter's absence in 1981-3 which still became an invisible influence.
40 min
Joe Manchins of History, Clinton's 50-50 Senate...
We take a look at a few topics, the "Joe Manchins" of History, Senators who have disagreed with their own parties Presidents, while also helping in some ways. FDR, Clinton and Lyndon Johnson dealt with their own versions of the dynamic in politics today. We are also reminded in telling this story that Clinton had a 50-50 Senate, in a form. And a bit about British Prime Minister Harold Wilson and his idea for a University of The Air, long before today's online learning.
49 min