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Plodding Through The Presidents

History Podcasts

Join history blogger Howard Dorre and his wife Jessica Dorre for a deep irreverent dive into lesser-known stories of the early American presidents. They dig into the myths, mysteries, scandals, and drama of the founders and their families.

Join history blogger Howard Dorre and his wife Jessica Dorre for a deep irreverent dive into lesser-known stories of the early American presidents. They dig into the myths, mysteries, scandals, and drama of the founders and their families.

Location:

United States

Description:

Join history blogger Howard Dorre and his wife Jessica Dorre for a deep irreverent dive into lesser-known stories of the early American presidents. They dig into the myths, mysteries, scandals, and drama of the founders and their families.

Language:

English


Episodes

Benjamin Rush To Judgment

11/16/2021
In our third season finale, we look at confounding founder Benjamin Rush—his outstanding humanitarian accomplishments, his controversial bleeding and purging treatments during the Yellow Fever epidemics, and the dramatic trial where he sued newspaper publisher William Cobbett for accusing him of killing his patients. Sources and more at plodpod.com but a special shoutout to the extremely helpful Law and Medicine in Revolutionary America: Dissecting the Rush v. Cobbett Trial, 1799 by Linda...

Duration:01:08:34

Mary Hellen's Petticoat Magic

11/9/2021
We explore the tragic stories of John Quincy Adams’s sons—George Washington Adams, John Adams II, and Charles Francis Adams—through the structure of their cousin Mary Hellen playing a real life game of "F*ck Marry Kill" with them. Show notes, photos, and sources at plodpod.com Consider joining our Patreon family (and our Season 3 patron party on November 14th) at https://www.patreon.com/ploddingthroughthepresidents for bonus content and perks! Check out our merch store at...

Duration:01:02:17

Ghosts of the White House & New England with Jeff Belanger

10/26/2021
We dig into the dubious story of Winston Churchill's naked encounter with the ghost of Abraham Lincoln. Then we welcome author, paranormal investigator, and New England Legends host Jeff Belanger for a fascinating conversation about the long history of reported hauntings in the White House, why New England has so many legends, and the value of ghost stories in teaching history. Show notes, photos, and sources at plodpod.com We'll be back November 9th! Consider joining our Patreon family...

Duration:01:08:54

The Haunted Hermitage & The Stone Library Heist

10/19/2021
First, the Hermitage’s director of interpretation Bryan Gilley shares a historical haunting from Andrew Jackson’s home and a hair-raising experience of his own. Then, Adams National Historical Park curator Kelly Cobble describes the hauntingly beautiful Stone Library built to house John Quincy Adams’s books. And then we dig deeper into something Cobble mentioned – a 1996 heist at the Stone Library where the priceless Mendi Bible was stolen. Show notes, photos, and sources at...

Duration:01:02:52

Conspiracy Theories & The Corrupt Bargain with Mark Cheathem

10/12/2021
We look at the role of the Illuminati in the Election of 1800 between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson before welcoming Dr. Mark Cheathem to the show. He teaches a course on conspiracy theories in American history at Cumberland University, and he joined us to talk about his course, his personal inspiration for teaching it, and conspiratorial thinking. Then we dig into a conspiracy theory about a rigged election and the men who rode it all the way to the White House – Andrew Jackson and Martin...

Duration:01:05:58

The Amistad, The Creole, and Madison Washington

10/5/2021
We explore the incredible story of the Amistad captives and the sensation sparked by their rebellion, along with the opportunities their situation offered to the abolitionist cause and the rabble-rousing John Quincy Adams. And we look at the impact of the Amistad rebellion on a man named Madison Washington who helped lead the most successful slave revolt in American history aboard a ship called The Creole. Show notes, photos, and sources at plodpod.com Consider joining our Patreon family...

Duration:00:57:13

Cara Finnegan & Photographic Presidents

9/28/2021
Author Dr. Cara Finnegan (Photographic Presidents: Making History From Daguerreotype to Digital) joins Howard for a conversation about the early days of photography and some of the most intriguing presidential photographs, including a photo of a painting of William Henry Harrison that looks eerily lifelike and a "spirit photograph" of Mary Lincoln and the ghost of Abraham Lincoln. Before the interview, Jess and Howard tackle Jimmy Carter's brief but devastating encounter with a "killer"...

Duration:00:54:33

The Mythology of Mary Ball Washington

9/21/2021
George Washington's mother Mary Ball Washington has been unfairly portrayed as a greedy shrew for decades. This week, we dig into the truth of the most popular allegations levied against her by biographers. We also trace the origins of two legends about her – the deadly lightning bolt said to have changed her and her founding fetus forever and the story of a wild horse (you thought we were done with animals?) that inspired the legend of young George and the cherry tree. Along the way we look...

Duration:00:59:11

Lindsay Chervinsky & Washington's Cabinet of Personalities

9/14/2021
Our very first guest, Dr. Lindsay Chervinsky, joins Howard for a conversation about her book The Cabinet: George Washington and the Creation of an American Institution and about the personalities and relationships of Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison, and Hamilton. And of course we talk a bit about our mutual love for John Quincy Adams. Jess and Howard kick off the episode with a look at the most famous story of George Washington's profanity. Note: Our interview with Chervinsky was...

Duration:01:02:44

Potty-Mouthed Parrots

9/7/2021
We continue the theme of naughty animals and dive into the stories of two parrots named Polly – Dolley Madison’s violently jealous macaw and Andrew Jackson’s purportedly potty-mouthed parrot. We dig into the plausibility of the popular story that Jackson’s parrot had to be removed from his funeral for swearing, and along the way we explore the burning of the White House and the history of profane parrots in the United States. Show notes and sources at plodpod.com Consider joining our...

Duration:01:03:55

Thomas Jefferson's Killer Ram

8/31/2021
This episode is all about Thomas Jefferson's lust for wool and how it caused him to ignore the violence of a particular four-horned Shetland ram until it was too late. Come for the killer ram, stay for the sheep breeding and a quiz that could save you from getting rammed. Show notes and sources at plodpod.com Consider joining our Patreon family at https://www.patreon.com/ploddingthroughthepresidents Check out our brand new merch store at...

Duration:00:59:44

Season 3 Trailer

8/19/2021
Season 3 premieres Tuesday, August 31! Enter our book giveaway to win books by our first two guests, The Cabinet by Lindsay Chervinsky and Photographic Presidents by Cara Finnegan at https://kingsumo.com/g/aiwbpi/plodding-through-the-presidents-podcast-season-3-book-giveaway. And check out our brand new MERCH STORE at https://www.teepublic.com/stores/plodding-through-the-presidents?ref_id=24294

Duration:00:01:45

Intelligent Speech Conference 2021 Announcement

4/9/2021
Howard will be appearing at this year's Intelligent Speech Conference on April 24, 2021! This year's conference features David Crowther of History of England, Liz Covart of Ben Franklin's World, Rudyard Lynch of What if alternative History and around 40 other great content creators. Howard will be on a panel alongside Jerry Landry of the Presidencies of the United States podcast, Elizabeth Rees of the FLOTUS podcast, and Kenny Ryan of Abridged Presidential Histories. Interact with your...

Duration:00:04:43

The Sauciest Presidential Love Letters

2/11/2021
In this Valentine's Day/Presidents Day bonus episode, we discuss a few sweet and weird love letters from early presidents like John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson before diving into the raunchy trove of letters borne of Warren G. Harding's semi-treasonous affair with Carrie Fulton Phillips. Listener discretion advised. Show notes and sources at plodpod.com Join our Patreon family at https://www.patreon.com/ploddingthroughthepresidents for exclusive bonus content!

Duration:00:48:03

The Peacemaker and the Cradle Robber

12/8/2020
In our Season 2 finale, we take on the single deadliest disaster to befall a presidential cabinet – the explosion aboard the USS Princeton in 1844. We look at four of the key players aboard and how they got there - President John Tyler, Secretary of State Abel Upshur, Captain Robert Stockton, and Julia Gardiner, "The Rose of Long Island" – and how this tragedy shook up Tyler's plans for love and Texas. Show notes and sources at plodpod.com Join our Patreon family at...

Duration:01:04:51

Gouverneur Morris and the Vampire of Bizarre

12/1/2020
We delve into the big penman energy of founding father Gouverneur Morris, the peg-legged sex-positive anti-slavery aristocrat who penned multiple constitutions and sailed through life with care-free confidence. We also explore the story of his wife, Ann Cary "Nancy" Randolph Morris and the sensational scandal at Bizarre that she struggled to overcome. Show notes and sources at plodpod.com Join our Patreon family at https://www.patreon.com/ploddingthroughthepresidents for exclusive bonus...

Duration:01:16:57

Finding Madison's Funny Bone

11/24/2020
We go on a hunt for the often-mentioned but little-documented wicked sense of humor of James Madison. That hunt includes his abusive college poetry, his weird experimentation with animals and humans, and his special relationship with Thomas Jefferson. Show notes and sources at plodpod.com. Join our Patreon family for exclusive bonus material at https://www.patreon.com/ploddingthroughthepresidents

Duration:00:46:08

Died On The Fourth Of July

11/17/2020
We explore the unbelievable "coincidence" of John Adams and Thomas Jefferson both dying on the Fourth of July on the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the uncomfortable fact that James Monroe also died on the Fourth of July five years later, and the circumstances surrounding James Madison's deliberate choice to break with this weird tradition. Show notes and sources at plodpod.com. Join our Patreon family for exclusive bonus material at...

Duration:00:50:51

Elizabeth Jefferson's Earthquake Drowning

11/10/2020
We explore the mysterious deaths of Thomas Jefferson’s sister Elizabeth and her enslaved body servant Little Sall, who both drowned just days after the first recorded earthquake in Virginia’s history. We also dig into how Elizabeth’s apparent intellectual disabilities were handled by biographies over the years. Show notes and sources (like Susan Kern’s The Jeffersons at Shadwell) detailed at plodpod.com Join our Patreon family at https://www.patreon.com/ploddingthroughthepresidents for...

Duration:00:42:35

Alexander Hamilton & John Adams: A Superabundance of Hate

11/3/2020
Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical Hamilton barely touched on the relationship between Alexander Hamilton and John Adams, and we dive into the many reasons these men HATED each other. It all started with their differences during the Revolutionary War and the hate only grew during their power struggles in the Quasi-War and the viciously contentious Election of 1800. Not even Hamilton's untimely death could stop their feud, as Adams continued smearing Alexander's memory with a pseudo-medical theory...

Duration:01:04:53