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Join host Dr. Anthony Comegna on a series of libertarian explorations into the past. Liberty Chronicles combines innovative libertarian thinking about history with specialist interviews, primary and secondary sources, and answers to listener questions.

Join host Dr. Anthony Comegna on a series of libertarian explorations into the past. Liberty Chronicles combines innovative libertarian thinking about history with specialist interviews, primary and secondary sources, and answers to listener questions.
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Join host Dr. Anthony Comegna on a series of libertarian explorations into the past. Liberty Chronicles combines innovative libertarian thinking about history with specialist interviews, primary and secondary sources, and answers to listener questions.








Ep. 105: The Last Liberty Chronicles

Today Anthony Comegna (@DrLocoFoco) leaves us with one final message as we end chronicling liberty: “I certainly will continue my own end of the deal we have struck here—you couldn’t drag me away from my Locofocos, my Spiritualists, my Free Love anarchists, or my radical English Dissenters, to name just a few—but I’ll close with one final plea to each of you: History is not an instruction manual; it is a cautionary tale. No intellectual tradition, no set of good or just ideas, no heroes nor...


Ep. 104: The United States as a Young Foreign Power, Part Two, with Christopher A. Preble

Last week we left off with selections from William Graham Sumner and we pick up right there today with Christopher Preble. Preble’s new book was released today on our site and it not only explores America imperialist tendency in the past, but also recognizes our foreign policy blunders of today. Does the U. S. think they are in a perfect position to solve the problems of other countries? How did the war against Spain turn out? Does the American imperial empire exist today? When did the U. S....


Ep. 103: The United States as a Young Foreign Power, with Christopher A. Preble

Christopher A. Preble joins us for the first episode of a 2-part discussion about early America’s role in the world. Comegna and Preble focus their conversation around two historical documents that are cited in Preble’s new book Peace, War, and Liberty. The first document is John Quincy Adam’s “Address Delivered at the Request of the Committee for Arrangements for Celebrating the Anniversary of Independence”. The second document is, “The Conquest of the United States by Spain”. Be sure to...


Ep. 102: What it Takes to be a Bankster

Can you imagine people getting themselves all worked up over banks and money today? Having that intensely boring issue so thoroughly dominate political life that presidents and parties rise and fall on this one subject alone? No one today knows anything about the Fed and no one wants to know about the Fed. People back in the 1830s and ‘40s, were in a constant state of agitation about it. It seemed to Jacksonian Americans that the individual pursuit of self interest was natural and...


Ep. 101: Edgar Allan Poe on Mushrooms and Men

Edgar Allen Poe was far from being defined as a Locofoco. He was no lover of democracy. He idolized the “devoted loyalty” of old Virginia gentry. As a dark romanticist poet, he believed the America’s Old World aristocracy was fighting the noble cause of attempted to preserve the elevated cultures of the past. What did Edgar Allen Poe think of the class struggle? Did Edgar Allen Poe think that Americans were spoiled? How did Poe think America erected an aristocracy? Was Edgar Allen Poe a...


Ep. 100: Quakertarianism, with Caleb Brown

For our 100th episode we interviewed Caleb Brown to gain a better understanding of how Quakerism aligns with libertarianism. He discusses his own experience as a Quaker, but he also makes larger claims about how Quakerism can foster a sense of community to the life of an average libertarian. What is attractive about Quakerism? What is a ‘true-believer’ Christian? How does Quakerism mesh with libertarianism? Are there a lot of communitarian elements to Quakerism? How do Quaker meetings take...


Ep. 99: Mushrooms & Men

For classical liberals and libertarians, class is a social phenomenon marked by largely artificial distinctions between people based mainly on their access (or lack of access) to raw physical force and a willingness to use force against other people. Classes do not form in society simply because some people have more material wealth racked up than others, nor because some people are better at drawing or sewing or rollerblading than others. Even ideological content of the mind is not really...


Ep. 98: The Civil War as Corporatist Conquest

It is a mistake to think of the Civil War a just a conflict between slavery and freedom. Planters and industrialists were interrelated groups that were dependent on the output of one another. The Civil War was not a clear contest between two groups as many academics make it out to be. What was at stake during the Civil War? What impact did the Civil War have on America in the years following? Did the Civil War make the Federal Government to powerful? How did the Union use the Constitution...


Ep. 97: Resisting Leviathan, with Nicholas Mosvick

Anthony interviews Nicholas Mosvick to discuss the issue of conscription during the Civil War and its’ lasting impact. During the time of the Civil War, conscription was certainly a strain on constitutional authority. Originally a state power to force citizens into fighting, but by the summer of 1862 the Union was growing desperate for manpower & volunteerism was on the decline. What is conscription? Did it change the outcome of the Civil War? Is conscription an abuse of federal power? What...


Ep. 96: Seward's "Little Bell”

On the one hand, Seward’s “little bell” was a wonderful encapsulation of Republican excess and the wartime erosion of liberties which Democrats prided themselves on vigilantly protecting. On the other hand, it was a fabrication, an example of the Democrats’ own penchant for excess and the dramatization of their sufferings during Lincoln’s war—but even if Seward never actually said it, he well could have. What was Seward’s “little bell”? How was Seward a poor Secretary of State? Why was...


Ep. 95: The Politics of the Confederacy

The Confederacy, being far less developed industrial-wise than the Union, had to revolutionize their approach to the war before they could ever hope to win it. Therefore, they had to create the conditions that allowed for the expedition of war-effort necessities. For example, some southern railroads companies existed almost entirely to service the government’s military efforts. During the Civil War, what was the difference between a ‘conservative’ and a ‘revolutionary’? Were the confederates...


Ep. 94: Was the Civil War a Libertarian Moment?

We have a tendency to treat the past as some sort of ideal world where historical actors played out their ideal scenarios under ideal conditions. We grant Lincoln the superhuman powers of creating the war all by himself and being responsible for everything done in the Union’s name. We go to some wild efforts to place historical agency in the hands of particular people or groups to avoid blaming the historical actors with whom we identify personally. There was a time when historians found it...


Ep. 93: Freeborn John, with Michael Braddick

Michael Braddick joins us to discuss John Lilburne’s legacy of political activism. Lilburne did not want to be considered a martyr. He fought for what we now understand as the English legal tradition, which is really the backbone of American democracy. He defended political freedom when very few mechanisms existed to mobilize support. Who is John Lilburne? What influence did Lilburne have on the English legal tradition? What is Christian Egalitarianism? How did mobilization work during the...


Ep. 92: Profiles in Locodom: William Cullen Bryant

In today’s episode, we shift to the radical end of the spectrum to investigate the life of another Locofoco archetype: William Cullen Bryant, who played the role of venerable, wise, old sage, whose ancient knowledge and cool demeanor kindled radical flames for generations. We explore his early life that led him to write for the Evening Post. Also, we explain how he formed a mentor relationship with William Leggett, which inspired the Evening Post to turn to radical views of politics. Who was...


Ep. 91: Lincoln the Colonizationist Part 2, with Phil Magness

Lincoln was a proponent of gradual compensated emancipation. He hoped that between 1860 and 1900 that slavery would be eliminated. However, he wanted the the dissolving of slavery to be tied to colonization abroad. He believed that slaves who would willingly move to the Caribbean and Central America would not only give the former slaves a place to go, but would also strengthen America’s present abroad. Did Lincoln view slavery as the the irritant that culminated in the Civil War? Why did the...


Ep. 90: Lincoln the Colonizationist Part 1, with Phil Magness

Colonization was the process to actually remove the freed slaves and settle them elsewhere, other parts of the world that whites thought were more suited for the African-American race. Lincoln was a supporter of the Colonization Society and it is debated whether or not he helped start a chapter in Illinois. Lincoln was first and foremost a Whig who viewed Henry Clay as a hero. However, going into the 1860 election Lincoln was viewed as an underdog candidate. What was the “Whig formula”? Why...


Ep. 89: What did the Civil War Smell Like? with Mark Smith

All history is a string of sense perceptions linked together by individual minds in meaningful patterns we call moments, minutes, hours, days, months, years, wars, eras, periods, ages, and so on. History is sensation, and all sensation is done by the fundamental units of the human species; the individual. In this episode, we explore the Civil War through sensor history in order to fully understand what it was actually like on the battlefield and at home from the perspective of all 5 senses....


Ep. 88: The Secession Conventions

We dive into the secession winter of 1860-1861 when politicians sacrificed unity and stability for personal power. The story of secession cannot be defined as simply an abolitionist versus slaveholders story. There were many factions of people in between the two extremes who were anti-slavery, deportationists, and everywhere in between. It was not as cut and dry as many historians tend to argue. Who were the “fire-eaters”? What were the differences between the U. S. Constitution and the...


Ep. 87: Profiles in Locodom: Fernando Wood

Nicholas Mosvick joins us to detail the life of Fernando Wood and how he was the mayor of New York who wished the state would have seceded during the Civil War. Wood was best known for being an ideologue rather than a political agitator. Was Fernando Wood a Van Buren man or a Calhoun man? Did Fernando Wood represent a glorious American future? Was Wood sympathetic to the South?Further Reading:Fernando Wood: A Political Biography, written by Jerome MushkatMayor Wood’s Recommendation of the...


Ep. 86: Eggnog Riot!!!!

Every family has Christmas traditions, some are more conventional than others. On Christmas Eve in 1826, the cadets at the West Point Military Academy decided they would create a little tradition of their own with some holiday spirits, in both senses of the word. Unfortunately, what started out as some Christmas cheer with a young Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee, ended as a full on riot against the bureaucracy. What is the history of Christmas? Who was Jonathan Pintard and what research...