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[Abridged] Presidential Histories

History Podcasts

From Yorktown to the Civil War, Pearl Harbor to 9/11, discover the pivotal moments that defined each president's life and legacy and the lessons we can draw from them. New episodes will be available the first day of each month.

From Yorktown to the Civil War, Pearl Harbor to 9/11, discover the pivotal moments that defined each president's life and legacy and the lessons we can draw from them. New episodes will be available the first day of each month.


United States


From Yorktown to the Civil War, Pearl Harbor to 9/11, discover the pivotal moments that defined each president's life and legacy and the lessons we can draw from them. New episodes will be available the first day of each month.




44.A) The Black President, an interview on Barack Obama with Claude A. Clegg

It's Obama time! We are skipping ahead in the narrative to talk with UNC professor Claude A. Clegg, author of the recently published book The Black President: Hope and Fury in the Age of Obama, about the Obama administration, race, and the challenges and opportunities that come with writing contemporary history. Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/AbridgedPresidentialHistories)


20.A.) Garfield and the Gilded Age Evolution of the GOP, an interview with Todd Arrington

James Garfield has been called, "The best president we never had." What did we lose when he was assassinated? A champion for the abandoned freedmen? A guiding light in an age of corruption? Or just another politician, same as the rest? Join me as I interview to Todd Arrington, a historian and site manager at the James A. Garfield National Historic Site in Mentor, Ohio, and author of The Last Lincoln Republican: The Presidential Election of 1880 , on what the nation lost when Garfield was...


20.) James A. Garfield 1881-1881

James Garfield didn't want to be president, but the 1880 Republican Convention nominated him against his will. And do you know what thanks he got for it? Assassinated within six months. But Garfield has a lot to teach us in his fascinating rags-to-riches life and the fierce political battles he waged during his short term in office for, in just a few months, he accomplished what his predecessor could not - the defeat of Lord Roscoe's corrupt New York political machine Follow along as...


19.A.) Hayes' evolving views on slavery, an interview with Dustin McLochlin

Rutherford B. Hayes is known to history as the President who ended Reconstruction, but is that a fair monicker? What did Hayes think of slavery, the freedmen, and Reconstruction, anyway? Join me as I interview to Dustin McLochlin, a historian at the Rutherford B Hayes Presidential Library and Museums in Fremont, Ohio, on Hayes' evolving views on slavery and how to best protect the former slaves, and bring peace, after the Civil War set them free. Support the show...


19.) Rutherford B Hayes 1877-1881

How do you lead a nation when half the country thinks you were fraudulently elected? I'm not talking about 2021, I'm talking about 1877, when Rutherford B Hayes emerged the winner of an election that was so vigorously contested, he wasn't even officially declared the winner until two days before inauguration day. But what did Hayes win? A nation that didn't fully accept him, and a party so rife with corruption that the longest daggers were in his fellow Republicans' pockets. Follow along as...


18.C.) Grant, Lincoln, and Reconstruction, an interview with Ron White

President Lincoln and General Grant formed one of the most successful president-general partnerships in American history, winning the Civil War and defeating the Confederacy. But before that partnership could turn to the challenge of reconstruction, Lincoln was assassinated, leaving the nation in the incapable hands of Andrew Johnson. Four years later, Grant was elected to pick up where Lincoln and left off and finish Lincoln's mission of healing the divided nation, and he'd lean on...


18.B.) The evolving myth and reputation of Ulysses S. Grant, an interview with Joan Waugh

Ulysses S. Grant's reputation has been through a lot. While he was still alive, he was very nearly our first three-term president; after he died, the Myth of the Lost Cause repainted him as a drunk and corrupt butcher; in the past 30 years, he's started to become a Civil Rights Icon as historians gave him a long overdue second look. Join me as I interview to Joan Waugh, UCLA professor of 19th-century America who specializes in the Civil War, Reconstruction, and the Gilded Age, and the author...


18.A.) The moments that shaped Ulysses S. Grant, an interview with Nick Sacco

Ulysses S. Grant led an Odyssey of a life. From the battlefields of the Mexican-American War, to the get-rich-quick frontier of the California Gold Rush, to years of poverty in St. Louis, Grant was shaped by a dizzying array of diverse experiences. Join me as I interview Nick Sacco, a park ranger at Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site in St. Louis and an author for The Journal of the Civil War Era, on the experiences that prepared Grant to win the Civil War and lead the nation through...


18.) Ulysses S. Grant 1869-1877

They say history is written by the victor. Ulysses S Grant may beg to differ. For nearly 100 years, Grant was derided as an inept and corrupt drunk who won the Civil War by recklessly sacrificing the lives of his men and who floundered in a presidency rife with corruption. In the past 30 years, that verdict has changed. Follow along as Grant goes from Mexican-American war veteran to failed businessman, victorious union general, and eventually president of the United States. Along the way,...


17.A.) The impeachment of Andrew Johnson, an interview with David O. Stewart

Andrew Johnson is the only president to face a Senate impeachment in our first 200 years. What did he do to get impeached? Who were the men out to get him? And how did he beat his conviction and removal from office by a single vote? Join me as I interview David O Stewart, a lawyer, historian, and author of numerous books about presidential history, including Impeached: The Trial of President Andrew Johnson and the Fight for Lincoln’s Legacy, on the trial that some say altered the balance of...


17.) Andrew Johnson 1865-1869

In the wake of Abraham Lincoln's assassination, former vice president Andrew Johnson was faced with a tremendous challenge: How do you mend relations between the north and south, two regions that had spend the past four years killing each other on the field of battle? And what do you do about the south's 3.5 million newly freed former slaves who owned no land or property and who were surrounded by 5.5 million whites who feared and resented them. And, oh yeah, all those white guys have recent...


B.) Jefferson Davis, The Confederate President

Jefferson Davis was never president of all the United States, but he was president of half of them. Follow Davis as parlays his status as a Mexican-American war hero into a political career as a fiery southern radical, serves as Secretary of War, get's his dream job as general of the confederate Mississippi armies, and days later gets the job he never asked for nor wanted - President of the Confederacy. We'll take a close look at the major decisions he made that helped shape the outcome of...


16.E.) Lincoln, the Union Army, and the election of 1864; an interview with Jon White

Six of the seven presidents who followed Lincoln served in the Union Army during the Civil War. In our final look at Honest Abe, join me as I interview Jon White, an associate professor of American Studies at Christopher Newport University and author of Emancipation, the Union Army, and the Reelection of Abraham Lincoln , on Lincoln's relationship with the army and what its soldiers thought of Lincoln, the GOP, slavery, and the election of 1864. Support the show...


16.D.) Lincoln the lawyer; an interview with Brian Dirck

Abraham Lincoln is the most experienced trial lawyer we've ever elected president, with more than two decades of experience litigating in the courtroom. Join me as I talk to Brian Dirck, a professor of History at Anderson University in Anderson, Indiana, and author of Lincoln the Lawyer, as we discuss how those decades of practicing the law prepared Lincoln for the legal landmines he had to navigate to win the Civil War and free the slaves. Support the show...


16.C.) Lincoln and the partisan press; an interview with Harold Holzer

Think the press is biased today? Take a look at it in the 19th century, when papers were so partisan they were practically departments of their parties. Join me as I interview Harold Holzer, director of the Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute at Hunter College in New York City, Chairman of the Lincoln Forum, and author of The presidents vs. the Press: The endless battle between the white house and the media, from the founding fathers to Fake News on the tools Lincoln used to manage the...


16.B.) The history of the abolitionist movement and Lincoln's place in it; an interview with Kate Masur

The debate over slavery is was old as independence. What made Lincoln to end it with the emancipation of the slaves? Join me as I interview Kate Masur, an associate professor of 19th-century American History at Northwestern University and author of Until Justice Be Done: America’s First Civil Rights Movement, from the Revolution to Reconstruction, on the history of the abolitionist movement and Lincoln's place in it. Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/AbridgedPresidentialHistories)


16.A.) Lincoln's balancing act, emancipation and reconstruction, an interview with Louis Masur

How did Lincoln keep the slave-holding border states in the union while also advancing the cause of emancipation? Join me as I interview Louis Masur, a distinguished professor of American Studies and History at Rutgers University and author of Lincoln’s Hundred Days: The Emancipation Proclamation and the War for the Union , on the tightrope act Lincoln walked to save the union and end American slavery once and for all. Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/AbridgedPresidentialHistories)


16.) Abraham Lincoln 1861-1865

When Abraham Lincoln was elected, the south didn't take it too well. Before he was even sworn in, seven states had already seceded, and four more joined the confederacy in the months that followed. The fate of the union was at stake. Follow along as Lincoln goes from country lawyer to U.S. President and then leads the nation to reunification by winning the PR war, finding a general who can win the shooting war, and eventually ending slavery once and for all. Bibliography 1. Abraham...


15.A.) James Buchanan's life, legacy, and sexuality; an interview with Thomas Balcerski

Was James Buchanan secretly the nation's first gay president? Join me as I interview historian Thomas Balcerski, author of Bosom Friends, the intimate world of James Buchanan and William Rufus King, on the 150-year-old rumors about Buchanan's sexuality. We'll also dive into Buchanan's presidency and ask, what can we learn from a man widely considered one of the worst presidents we've ever had? Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/AbridgedPresidentialHistories)


15.) James Buchanan 1857-1861

In 1857, the debate over slavery had fractured Kansas, national political parties, and even national churches. It's easy to see why the country turned to James Buchanan, a man with one of the strongest resumes ever put in the white house. Unfortunately, he inherited 31 states, and left behind 27, as the pre-civil was secession crisis overwhelmed the nation during his final months in office. Follow along as Buchanan develops an affinity for southern slave culture, then vigorously advances...