Episode 47 – The Stonewall Rebellion

Uncredited Photo from the protests that occurred in the wake of Stonewall.

On June 28, 1969, what would normally have been a rather routine police bust of an unlicensed bar on New York City’s west side, sparked a series a riots and protests that birthed the modern Gay Pride movement. Who was there, who started the riot, who did the police target and many other details surrounding the night of the 28th as well as the subsequent nights of rioting has been a point of contention within the LGBT community ever since. Join us this week as we discuss the origins of Pride Month and the complicated beginnings of the LGBT rights movement.

Episode 46 – Great Awakenings

Camp meeting of the Methodists in N. America
/ J. Milbert del. ; M. Dubourg sculp. 1819. LOC

This week we delve into a topic we’ve been promising to cover for some time, the Second Great Awakening. This was the religious movement in the United States that spawned the Mormons and Adventists as well as the evangelical factions of more mainline churches. It truly was a time when American Christianity came into its own. As always, though, we’ll complicate things a bit and talk about the First Great Awakening and other religious movements before the founding of the United States.

Episode 45 – A History of Mormonism in America – Part 2

The Brigham Young Monument (or Pioneer Monument, a bronzed historical monument located on the north sidewalk of the intersection at Main and South Temple Streets of Salt Lake CityUtah. It was originally erected in the center of the intersection of Main and South Temple streets in 1897, where it stood until 1993, when it was moved a few yards north to its present location near the Joseph Smith Memorial Building.

This week we wrap up a very brief introductory history of Mormonism in America. We continue the story from the previous episode with the church’s reaction to the murder of Joseph Smith. We trace the rise of Brigham Young and the infamous Utah War. We end with the twentieth century church and its transition from fringe group to conservative religion.

Episode 44 – A History of Mormons in America – Part 1

The Kirtland Temple was the first temple built by the LDS Church. Construction began in 1833 and was finished three years later. Only a few years after it was built, the LDS Church lost ownership of the temple to a break-off group, now known as the Church of Christ. The temple is still in use by the Church of Christ today.

Join us for the first in a two-part series about a uniquely American religion, the Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints, or Mormonism. In this episode we discuss the origins of the religion and the competing threads of official church history, non-official folklore, personal accounts, and governmental records and interactions to construct a more complete picture of how this religion developed.

Episode 43 – More Cults in the 20th Century

Hale Bopp Comet in 1997 – Philipp Salzgeber, CC BY-SA 2.0 AT

We continue our exploration of the history of cults in America this week with a discussion of two infamous groups from the 1990s: The Branch Davidians and Heaven’s Gate. Both cults ended in the deaths of their charismatic leaders, but the trajectories were quite different. If you’re interested in the militia movement, UFOs, Nike sneakers, Star Trek, the Book of Revelations, the FBI, or how to get cheap real estate in Southern California you should join us this week!

Episode 42 – Cults in 20th Century America


This week we continue the discussion we started last time about utopian experiments and cults by covering two of the most fascinating and disturbing figures of the twentieth century, Jim Jones and Charles Manson. What made these two men turn to violence and how did their lives and the people they convinced to do unspeakable things reveal deep fissures and anxieties in post-war America. Join us this week to find out.

American Utopias

Oneida Community Mansion – Ralph Kohler 2014 CC

So, this week we start a little series about cults in American history, but this first episode took a slight detour into a more general discussion of utopian communities in America, particularly in the nineteenth century. We discuss Oneida, Harmony, and New Harmony, among others. We also trace the way religion and the Second Great Awakening shaped utopian ideas including the concept of moral perfectionism.

Episode 40 – Baseball

To celebrate spring and the return of America’s pastime, we’re delving into the history of baseball this week. From its origins as a children’s game in England to a powerful tool of imperialism, baseball has it all.

This picture is of the new players who joined the New York Yankees in 1960: Kent Hadley, Joe De Maestri, Roger Maris, Elmer Valo, Fred Kipp. Wikimedia Commons

Episode 39 – Taxes

Pieter Breughel the Younger: English: Paying the Tax (The Tax Collector) 

Death and Taxes. Is that all we can be sure of? In honor of traditional Tax Day (April 15), we present a history of taxes in the United States. Tariffs, excises, income taxes, anti-government movements, rebellions, paying for the military and infrastructure, they’re all on the list of topics we cover in this week’s episode.

Episode 38 – The Vietnam War

United States Marine Private First Class Forrest M. Turner, Jr. provides security as two Sikorsky CH-53 helicopters land at the Defense Attaché Office compound during Operation Frequent Wind. Military helicopters dropped the ground security component at landing zones. Once on the ground they set up security positions.

Join us for a deep dive into the causes and effects of the United States’ involvement in the Vietnam War from 1954 to 1975. Along the way we’ll discuss the aftermath of WWII and French attempts at renewing their empire in Southeast Asia. We’ll also talk about what Dwight Eisenhower defined as the Military Industrial Complex and how the machine of war may have prolonged US involvement in Vietnam. Finally, we’ll talk about some well-known but often misunderstood moments in the war like the My Lai Massacre.