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#84 America’s Forgotten War: The War of 1812 w/ Don Hickey

The War of 1812 isn’t an event most of us get excited about. The conflict between the US and Great Britain lasted almost 3 years, but like a lot of sequels, it didn’t live up to the original. When the war was over, little had changed for either country’s place in the world, and most of the grievances that began the war remained unsettled. So aside from the burning of the White House and Congress, the rise of Andrew Jackson as an American icon, the writing of the national anthem, and the...

Duration: 00:45:46

#83 Foreign Policy in American History w/ Joyce Kaufman

There is no question that Donald Trump’s approach to foreign affairs is nothing we’ve seen from the Presidents who preceded him. In a recent New York Times Op-Ed, Mark Landler argued that the Trump Administration has broken a 70-year tradition in America’s foreign policy. Whether this is an abrogation of America’s responsibility to the globe or a necessary change for the good of the country requires knowledge of what came before, so Bob & Ben caught up with Wittier College’s Joyce Kaufman...

Duration: 00:52:26

#82 The History of Santa Claus and Christmas Culture w/ James Cooper

Christmas is just a week away, so Ben and Bob caught up Christmas expert James Cooper to find out the origins of Santa Claus, Christmas trees, and all the other parts of Christmas that most of us take for granted. James explains how Santa Claus and Christmas traditions evolved around the world, and how a man who lived almost 2,000 years ago became one of the most recognizable characters in American culture. You can find out more about the history of Santa Claus and Christmas at James...

Duration: 00:33:25

#81 The History of Coffee w/ Mark Pendergrast

Americans love coffee. According to recent statistics, more than 60% of Americans drink at least one cup of coffee every day, and the market research firm Mintel predicts that coffee shops will take in more than $23 billion dollars in 2017. Our love for coffee ties us to people and countries around the world, and to those who lived long before us. In this episode of The Road to Now, we speak with Mark Pendergrast, author of Uncommon Grounds and Beyond Fair Trade to find out coffee’s...

Duration: 00:41:03

RTN Theology #1: The Intersection of Christianity & Culture in the United States

In the premier episode of our theology subseries, RTN Theology we welcome Christian philosopher James K.A. Smith to discuss the intersection of Christianity and culture in the United States. We also chat about his illuminating Op-Ed that appeared in the Thanksgiving edition of the Washington Post, which looks at ‘love of country’ from a religious perspective. Smith penned “Awaiting the King,” a new book that studies secularism and its impact on modern day religion. Ian Skotte tracked down...

Duration: 01:11:42

#80 Navajo Code Talkers, Pocahontas, & Native American History w/ Ashley Riley Sousa

A few days ago, President Donald Trump welcomed the Navajo Code Talkers to the White House. Instead of focusing solely on the veterans’ contributions during World War II, he used the event to take shots at Senator Elizabeth Warren, who he mocked as “Pocahontas” for her alleged unsubstantiated claims of Native American ancestry. He also held the ceremony in front of a portrait of President Andrew Jackson, who is a controversial figure for his policies toward Native Americans. In this...

Duration: 00:29:43

#47 The History of Christianity w/ Molly Worthen (Rebroadcast)

Are faith and reason compatible? How do people of faith reconcile themselves to a secular world? These are difficult and complex questions that have shaped America long before the founding of the United States. On this episode of The Road to Now, we sit down with Molly Worthen to talk about the development of Christianity in the United States, and its impact on American society, culture and government. For more on this episode and many others, please visit our website:...

Duration: 01:00:42

#79 The Russian Revolution w/ Lewis Siegelbaum

The Russian Revolution that began with the fall of Tsar Nicholas II in February of 1917 and continued into a second revolution the following October, is unquestionably one of the most significant events in modern history. The October Revolution brought Vladimir Lenin and the Bolshevik Party from relative obscurity to the leaders of the first communist nation, later called the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), and the economic and ideological system espoused by Soviet leaders...

Duration: 00:47:12

#77 Martin Luther & the Reformation with Donald Fortson

On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther delivered his 95 Theses to the Catholic Church. We don’t know for sure if Luther actually nailed them to the door of the Wittenberg Castle Church, but we do know that his work changed the world. In recognition of the five-hundredth anniversary of Martin Luther’s Theses, Bob and Ben are joined by Church Historian Dr. Donald Fortson. Dr. Fortson explains the reasons Luther chose to issue his Theses, the context in which he wrote them, and how a devout...

Duration: 00:40:39

#76 History of American Cemeteries with Tanya Marsh

Death is something that all humans have in common. How we dealt with death is not. The cemeteries that occupy prominent places in the American landscape, as well as the twenty-one thousand funeral homes in operation across the country, are products of the time and place in which they emerged. In this episode, we speak with Wake Forest’s Tanya Marsh, to learn about the historic forces at work in the creation of America’s death care industry. If you’ve ever wondered why we embalm our dead,...

Duration: 00:37:49

#75 William Walker, Historical Markers, and (Re)Writing History

On the corner of 4th Avenue and Commerce Street in Nashville, there’s a historical marker that reads: “William Walker; Grey-eyed Man of Destiny; Born May 8, 1824, Walker moved to this site from 6th Ave. N. in 1840. In early life he was doctor, lawyer & journalist. He invaded Mexico in 1853 with 46 men & proclaimed himself Pres., Republic of Lower Calif. Led forces into Nicaragua in 1855; was elected its Pres. in 1856. In attempt to wage war on Honduras was captured & executed Sept. 12,...

Duration: 00:29:24

#74 Gerrymandering and the Supreme Court w/ Brent Kendall

On Tuesday, October 3rd, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Gill v. Whatford, which challenged the constitutionality of Wisconsin’s political redistricting following the 2010 US Census. Americans have been crying foul over Gerrymandering since the term was coined for Massachusetts Governor Elbridge Gerry in 1812, but this is the first time in American history that the Supreme Court has taken up the matter, and their decision could have major implications for the future of American...

Duration: 00:36:17

#73 Bob, Ben, and Ian Catch Up

Bob, Ben, and Ian sit down to discuss what they’ve been reading, what they’ve learned so far from making The Road To Now, and what aspects of history they’ve found to be most interesting in light of recent events. They also follow up on a few points they discussed in their conversation with Jefferson Cowie (Episode 70), and Ben explains how Bob’s insights helped him better understand the current state of politics. This is the first time we've recorded an episode without a guest since Bob...

Duration: 00:37:21

#72 Coffee With The Avett Brothers

In this episode of The Road to Now, we sit down for coffee and conversation with Bob’s bandmates in The Avett Brothers for a discussion about art, technology, and challenges of creativity. We cover the historic relationship between genius and madness, the ways one’s self is reflected in what we create, and the how they’ve adapted to the changes that have come their way since they began playing music. The Avett Brothers was the nexus that brought Bob and Ben together in creating The Road to...

Duration: 00:36:32

#71 Gerd Schroth on Life as a Child of Nazi Germany, Refugee, Immigrant, And Now, American Citizen

The Nazi regime that came to power in Germany in 1933 unleashed the most brutal and comprehensive war that humanity has ever seen. The horrors of the Nazis and the destruction they left behind is something most of us learned about in history class, but for Gerd Schroth it is the story of his childhood. Born in Germany in 1938, Gerd came of age on the scorched earth left behind by the German war machine. Gerd’s father had joined the Nazi party because he thought Hitler could restore...

Duration: 00:47:08

#70 9/11 Sixteen Years Later: A Conversation With Jefferson Cowie

The terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 marked a turning point in history. But did the attacks fundamentally change the United States, or simply serve as a catalyst for developments that were already in place before the war on terror? In this episode of The Road to Now, Jefferson Cowie joins Bob and Ben for a discussion about the 9/11’s impact on American society and politics, and how that moment changed (or didn’t change) the course of American history. Dr. Jefferson Cowie is James...

Duration: 00:45:47

#69 Lance Armstrong on Moving Forward Without Forgetting the Past

Lance Armstrong is one of the most recognized names in modern American sports. He’s also one of the most divisive. He’s a man who helped raise almost half a billion dollars to help people suffering from cancer. He’s also a man who aggressively went after those who accused him of using performance-enhancing drugs. In this episode of The Road To Now, Bob and Ben sit down for a conversation with Lance about his origins, how he survived his fight with cancer, and the culture of cycling during...

Duration: 00:31:25

#68 The Politics of Immigration in American History with Andrew Gyory

In 1882, Congress passed the Chinese Exclusion Act, which was the first major legislative act in American history to restrict immigration. In this episode we talk with historian Andrew Gyory about the reasons that immigration became such a powerful political issue in the late 19th century, and how studying this period of history can help us better understand the politics of immigration in 2017. Dr. Gyory is an expert on the history of immigration and the author of Closing the Gate: Race,...

Duration: 00:43:33

#66 Randall Fuller on Charles Darwin's Impact on American History

Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species is one of the most controversial books ever written. For most Americans, Darwin’s theories are associated with the 1925 Scopes trial and the near century-long “evolution vs creation” debate has that emerged as a dominant theme in American society in the years since the trial. In this episode of The Road to Now, we speak with Dr. Randall Fuller about his new book The Book That Changed America: How Darwin’s Theory of Evolution Ignited America, and the...

Duration: 00:35:12

#65 Liz Covart on Early American History

At The Road to Now, we don’t just make history podcasts- we also listen to them. In this episode we’re excited to share our conversation with fellow history podcaster Dr. Liz Covart, whose podcast Ben Franklin’s World covers the history of early America. Bob, Ben and Liz discuss the concept of the frontier in American history, the work that goes into writing history and sharing findings, and why it’s a good idea to follow the evidence even when it makes you uncomfortable. We also talk...

Duration: 00:34:06

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