States of Mind: Mental Illness in America [rebroadcast]07/18/14
Recent estimates suggest that more than 50% of Americans will suffer from a "mental disorder" at some point in their lifetime, making the once "abnormal" - well, normal. So in this episode, BackStory looks back over the history of mental illness in...
U.S. vs. Them: Sports on the World Stage
The World Cup has put the spotlight, once again, on Americans’ decidedly mixed relationship with soccer. Have Americans finally succumbed to the lure of the world’s most popular sport? Or do we like to stand apart when it comes to international...
Independence Daze A History Of July Fourth [rebroadcast]
In the early days of our nation, July Fourth wasn’t an official holiday at all. In fact, it wasn’t until 1938 that it became a paid day-off. So how did the Fourth become the holiest day on our secular calendar? This episode offers some answers. With...
America, Inc.: A History of Corporations
The Supreme Court will soon rule on whether Hobby Lobby, a chain of craft stores, can be exempted from parts of the Affordable Care Act on account of the corporation’s religious beliefs. Raising questions about “corporate personhood,” and coming just...
Splintered Parties: A History of Political Factions [rebroadcast]
Eric Cantor’s shock primary defeat has left the Republican establishment reeling, and breathed new life into the Tea Party movement within the party. It’s another reminder of the powerful role that party factions can play, and have often played in...
Mission Accomplished: How Wars End [rebroadcast]
At the end of May, President Barack Obama told the graduating class at West Point that “we are winding down our war in Afghanistan,” having committed to withdraw most US troops by the end of the year, and all of them by 2016. Ending the United States’...
The Departed: Extinction In America
Some 20,000 species across the globe are at high risk of extinction, experts say – many here in the United States – and some of our natural fauna have already disappeared. So in this Earth Day episode, the American History Guys explore how Americans...
Responsibility to Protect? A History of Humanitarian Intervention...
In 1898, President McKinley called for war with Spain to liberate Cuba from the “barbarities, bloodshed, starvation, and horrible miseries now existing there”—offering a humanitarian justification that has underpinned other interventions, from Haiti...
Turf War: A History of College Sports 
As the nation plunges into March Madness 2014, betting on who will make it to the Final Four and claim college basketball’s championship, we're offering some historical perspective on college sports. Why do sports programs even exist at colleges and...
The Green Show
With St. Patrick’s Day on the horizon, the color green seems to be everywhere we look. So BackStory sets out to celebrate the holiday with an offbeat, wide-ranging, and colorful look at green in American history… From the Green Mountain Boys in...
On the Clock: A (Brief) History of Time 
As we all get ready to switch the clocks and "spring forward," we're taking a look at time itself in American history. In this episode, we explore the changing ways Americans have experienced the 24-hour day - from pre-industrial times right on up...
Real to Reel: The 2014 Oscars Show
The Academy Awards are right around the corner, and so BackStory is heading to the movies! With Oscar-nominated movies like "12 Years A Slave" bringing the antebellum United States to the fore, and others like "American Hustle" or "Dallas Buyer’s...
On The Money: A History of American Currency
There’s a lot of talk about Bitcoin these days—the digital currency that's been gaining ground. Bitcoin allows online payments to be made person-to-person, instead of via a bank, and sidesteps government involvement, too. Is it a more democratic...
Contagion: Responding to Infectious Disease [rebroadcast]
It’s the height of the flu season, and federal agencies have been spending millions of dollars trying to keep this year’s virus under control. But when yellow fever struck Philadelphia in 1793, the entire federal government picked up and left town,...
Outed: Sexual Identity in America
As the Winter Olympics in Sochi approach, countries around the world have expressed concerns over Russian legislation outlawing LGBTQ “propaganda.” The Obama administration called the law offensive, and the president pointedly chose several openly gay...
Four More Years: Presidential Inaugurations
As the rest of Washington looks forward to the next four years, BackStory is looking back at the last 224 years of presidential transitions. On today’s show, the History Guys focus in on several of the most high-stakes presidential inaugurations, and...
All Hopped Up: Drugs in America
In December, recreational marijuana use became legal in Washington and Colorado. But back in the early 20th century, both states were among the first to ban the drug.If that seems like a radical change, well – it’s hardly the first time a drug has...
Thenceforward and Forever Free [Rebroadcast]
We look at the narratives surrounding the Emancipation Proclamation and try to unpack its legacy. How can we best understand emancipation - as a moral imperative, a military necessity, a political strategy, or all of the above?
Best of Times: BackStory Year in Review
In May of 2012, we re-launched BackStory as a weekly program. In this special year-end episode, we listen back to some of our favorite moments from the show since then. Do you have a favorite BackStory segment that wasnt included in this show? Let us...
Naughty & Nice: A History of The Holiday Season [rebroadcast]
The History Guys trace the evolution of Christmas in America from a public festival of rowdy excess to a child-centered celebration of church and family.
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