The Age of Jackson Podcast

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Sacred Liberty: America's Long, Bloody, and Ongoing Struggle for Religious Freedom offers a dramatic, sweeping survey of how America built a unique model of religious freedom, perhaps the nation’s “greatest invention.” Steven Waldman, the bestselling author of Founding Faith, shows how early ideas about religious liberty were tested and refined amidst the brutal persecution of Catholics, Baptists, Mormons, Quakers, African slaves, Native Americans, Muslims, Jews, and Jehovah’s Witnesses. American leaders drove religious freedom forward--figures like James Madison, George Washington, the World War II presidents (Roosevelt, Truman, and Eisenhower) and even George W. Bush. But the biggest heroes were the regular Americans – people like Mary Dyer, Marie Barnett and W.D. Mohammed -- who risked their lives or reputations by demanding to practice their faiths freely.Just as the documentary Eyes on the Prize captured the rich drama of the civil rights movement, Sacred Liberty: America's Long, Bloody, and Ongoing Struggle for Religious Freedom brings to life the remarkable story of how America became one of the few nations in world history that has religious freedom, diversity and high levels of piety at the same time. Finally, Sacred Liberty provides a roadmap for how, in the face of modern threats to religious freedom, this great achievement can be preserved.-Steven Waldman is the national bestselling author of Founding Faith: How Our Founding Fathers Forged a Radical New Approach to Religious Liberty and the co-founder of Beliefnet, the award-winning multifaith website. He is now co-founder and President of Report for America, a national service program that places talented journalists into local newsrooms. His writings have also appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Washington Post, Newsweek, National Review, Christianity Today, The Atlantic, First Things, The Washington Monthly, Slate, The New Republic, ​and others. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife, Amy Cunningham.---Support for the Age of Jackson Podcast was provided by Isabelle Laskari, Jared Riddick, John Muller, Julianne Johnson, Laura Lochner, Mark Etherton, Marshall Steinbaum, Martha S. Jones, Michael Gorodiloff, Mitchell Oxford, Richard D. Brown, Rod, Rosa, Stephen Campbell, and Victoria Johnson, Alice Burton, as well as Andrew Jackson's Hermitage​ in Nashville, TN.
Vagrants. Vagabonds. Hoboes. Identified by myriad names, the homeless and geographically mobile have been with us since the earliest periods of recorded history. In the early days of the United States, these poor migrants – consisting of everyone from work-seekers to runaway slaves – populated the roads and streets of major cities and towns. These individuals were a part of a social class whose geographical movements broke settlement laws, penal codes, and welfare policies. This book documents their travels and experiences across the Atlantic world, excavating their life stories from the records of criminal justice systems and relief organizations. Vagrants and Vagabonds examines the subsistence activities of the mobile poor, from migration to wage labor to petty theft, and how local and state municipal authorities criminalized these activities, prompting extensive punishment. Kristin O’Brassill-Kulfan examines the intertwined legal constructions, experiences, and responses to these so-called “vagrants,” arguing that we can glean important insights about poverty and class in this period by paying careful attention to mobility. This book charts why and how the itinerant poor were subject to imprisonment and forced migration, and considers the relationship between race and the right to movement and residence in the antebellum US. Ultimately, Vagrants and Vagabonds argues that poor migrants, the laws designed to curtail their movements, and the people charged with managing them, were central to shaping everything from the role of the state to contemporary conceptions of community to class and labor status, the spread of disease, and punishment in the early American republic. -Kristin O’Brassill-Kulfan is an instructor of Public History and Coordinator of the Internship Program at Rutgers University. She is a public historian, a scholar of early American social history, and former archivist researching and writing about poverty, slavery, mobility, crime, and punishment in the early American republic, as well as public historical and commemorative representations of these subjects. She is currently at work on projects relating to subsistence crime in early America, the Arch Street Prison, and public historical interpretations of poverty, class, and labor. She is the author of Vagrants and Vagabonds: Poverty and Mobility in the Early American Republic.---Support for the Age of Jackson Podcast was provided by Isabelle Laskari, Jared Riddick, John Muller, Julianne Johnson, Laura Lochner, Mark Etherton, Marshall Steinbaum, Martha S. Jones, Michael Gorodiloff, Mitchell Oxford, Richard D. Brown, Rod, Rosa, Stephen Campbell, and Victoria Johnson, as well as Andrew Jackson's Hermitage​ in Nashville, TN.
In "Great Crossings: Indians, Settlers, and Slaves in the Age of Jackson," prize-winning historian Christina Snyder reinterprets the history of Jacksonian America. Most often, this drama focuses on whites who turned west to conquer a continent, extending "liberty" as they went. Great Crossings also includes Native Americans from across the continent seeking new ways to assert anciently-held rights and people of African descent who challenged the United States to live up to its ideals. These diverse groups met in an experimental community in central Kentucky called Great Crossings, home to the first federal Indian school and a famous interracial family.Great Crossings embodied monumental changes then transforming North America. The United States, within the span of a few decades, grew from an East Coast nation to a continental empire. The territorial growth of the United States forged a multicultural, multiracial society, but that diversity also sparked fierce debates over race, citizenship, and America's destiny. Great Crossings, a place of race-mixing and cultural exchange, emerged as a battleground. Its history provides an intimate view of the ambitions and struggles of Indians, settlers, and slaves who were trying to secure their place in a changing world. Through deep research and compelling prose, Snyder introduces us to a diverse range of historical actors: Richard Mentor Johnson, the politician who reportedly killed Tecumseh and then became schoolmaster to the sons of his former foes; Julia Chinn, Johnson's enslaved concubine, who fought for her children's freedom; and Peter Pitchlynn, a Choctaw intellectual who, even in the darkest days of Indian removal, argued for the future of Indian nations. Together, their stories demonstrate how this era transformed colonizers and the colonized alike, sowing the seeds of modern America.Christina Snyder is the McCabe Greer Professor of History at Pennsylvania State University. She received her Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2007. Her first book, Slavery in Indian Country: The Changing Face of Captivity in Early America, earned a wide range of accolades, including the Berkshire Conference of Women Historians Book Prize, the James H. Broussard Prize from the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic, and the John C. Ewers Prize from the Western History Association. Her latest work is Great Crossings: Indians, Settlers, and Slaves in the Age of Jackson.Song Credit: Tommy Case's The Great Crossing Waltz.
Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine, and James Monroe were in the vanguard of revolutionary ideas in the 18th century. As founding fathers, they risked their lives for American independence, but they also wanted more. Each wished for profound changes in the political and social fabric of pre-1776 America and hoped that the American Revolution would spark republican and egalitarian revolutions throughout Europe, sweeping away the old monarchical order. Ultimately, each rejoiced at the opportunity to be a part of the French Revolution, a cause that became untenable as idealism gave way to the bloody Terror.Apostles of Revolution spans a crucial period in Western Civilization ranging from the American insurgency against Great Britain to the Declaration of Independence, from desperate engagements on American battlefields to the threat posed to the ideals of the Revolution by the Federalist Party. With the French Revolution devolving into anarchy in the background, the era culminates with the “Revolution of 1800,” Jefferson's election as president.Written as a sweeping narrative of a pivotal epoch, Apostles of Revolution captures the turbulent spirit of the times and the personal dangers experienced by Jefferson, Paine, and Monroe. It reminds us that the liberty we take for granted is ours only because we, both champions and common citizens, have fought for it.John Ferling is professor emeritus of history at the University of West Georgia. He is the author of many books on American Revolutionary history, including The Ascent of George Washington; Almost a Miracle, an acclaimed military history of the War of Independence; and the award-winning A Leap in the Dark and Whirlwind: The American Revolution and the War That Won It. His most recent book on American history is Apostles of Revolution: Jefferson, Paine, Monroe, and the Struggle Against the Old Order in America and Europe. He and his wife, Carol, live near Atlanta, Georgia.
According to Proverbs 13:20, "You are the company you keep," but if you looked at the friendship of Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, you could not find men so different. Jefferson was a political radical and envisioned himself as a champion of democracy, he was an aristocrat and a planter, he was a Southerner and a slaveowner. Adams, on the other hand, came from New England's rising middling classes, and while he was a revolutionary, he was a much more conservative thinker, and at his core was a political skeptic and a pessimist about human nature.But in the crucible of revolution, an unlikely friendship was born and continued to blossom while the pair were in France together. But ultimately, their profound differences would lead to a fundamental crisis, in their friendship and in the nation writ large, as they became the figureheads of two entirely new forces, the first American political parties. It was a bitter breach, lasting through the presidential administrations of both men, and beyond.But as the early 19th century came into focus and the Age of Jackson began to dawn, these two men were nudged into reconciliation.To explain this fascinating tale of friendship, division, and resolution is Gordon S. Wood.Dr. Gordon S. Wood is the Alva O. Way University Professor and Professor of History at Brown University. He was the recipient of the 1993 Pulitzer Prize for History for The Radicalism of the American Revolution and  The Creation of the American Republic, 1776–1787 won a 1970 Bancroft Prize. In 2010 he was awarded the National Humanities Medal. His other works include Empire of Liberty: A History of the Early Republic, Revolutionary Characters, The Purpose of the Past, The Americanization of Benjamin Franklin, and The Idea of America. His most recent work is Friends Divided: John Adams and Thomas Jefferson and is published by Penguin Press. Friends Divided also available as an audiobook with Audible.
During the nineteenth century, white Americans sought the cultural transformation and physical displacement of Native people. Though this process was certainly a clash of rival economic systems and racial ideologies, it was also a profound spiritual struggle. The fight over Indian Country sparked religious crises among both Natives and Americans. In The Gods of Indian Country, Jennifer Graber tells the story of the Kiowa Indians during Anglo-Americans' hundred-year effort to seize their homeland. Like Native people across the American West, Kiowas had known struggle and dislocation before. But the forces bearing down on them-soldiers, missionaries, and government officials-were unrelenting. With pressure mounting, Kiowas adapted their ritual practices in the hope that they could use sacred power to save their lands and community. Against the Kiowas stood Protestant and Catholic leaders, missionaries, and reformers who hoped to remake Indian Country. These activists saw themselves as the Indians' friends, teachers, and protectors. They also asserted the primacy of white Christian civilization and the need to transform the spiritual and material lives of Native people. When Kiowas and other Native people resisted their designs, these Christians supported policies that broke treaties and appropriated Indian lands. They argued that the gifts bestowed by Christianity and civilization outweighed the pains that accompanied the denial of freedoms, the destruction of communities, and the theft of resources. In order to secure Indian Country and control indigenous populations, Christian activists sanctified the economic and racial hierarchies of their day.Jennifer Graber is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Texas at Austin and an affiliated faculty member in the Native American and Indigenous Studies Program. She is the author of The Furnace of Affliction: Prisons and Religion in Antebellum America and The Gods of Indian Country: Religion and the Struggle for the American West.
In The Bank War: Andrew Jackson, Nicholas Biddle, and the Fight for American Finance, historian Paul Kahan explores one of the most important and dramatic events in American political and economic history, from the idea of centralized banking and the First Bank of the United States to Jackson's triumph, the era of "free banking," and the creation of the Federal Reserve System. Relying on a range of primary and secondary source material, the book also shows how the Bank War was a manifestation of the debates that were sparked at the Constitutional Convention--the role of the executive branch and the role of the federal government in American society--debates that endure to this day as philosophical differences that often divide the United States.Paul Kahan earned his Ph.D. in history from Temple University in 2009. He has written numerous books, including Eastern State Penitentiary: A History and The Homestead Strike: Labor, Violence, and American Industry. For more information, visit his website at paulkahan.com. You can also follow him on Twitter (@paul_kahan) and "like" him on Facebook (facebook.com/pkahan/).
In a grand and immemsely readable synthesis of historical, political, cultural, and economic analysis, a prize-winning historian describes the events that made the American Revolution. Gordon S. Wood depicts a revolution that was about much more than a break from England, rather it transformed an almost feudal society into a democratic one, whose emerging realities sometimes baffled and disappointed its founding fathers. Gordon S. Wood is the Alva O. Way University Professor and professor of history emeritus at Brown University. His 1969 book, The Creation of the American Republic, 1776–1787, received the Bancroft and John H. Dunning prizes and was nominated for the National Book Award. Wood’s 1992 book, The Radicalism of the American Revolution, won the Pulitzer Prize and the Emerson Prize. His 2009 book, Empire of Liberty: A History of the Early Republic, 1789–1815, won the New-York Historical Society American History Book Prize. In 2010, Wood was awarded a National Humanities Medal by President Obama. He contributes regularly to the New Republic and the New York Review of Books.Michael D. Hattem is the Visiting Assistant Professor of History at Knox College. He received his Ph.D. in History from Yale University in 2017 and served one year as a Schwartz Postdoctoral Fellow at the New-York Historical Society and Visiting Faculty at The New School. His current manuscript, Past and Prologue: The Politics of Memory in the American Revolution, explores the role of the historical past in revolutionary American culture and politics, particularly the importance of changing historical memories of the British and colonial pasts in shaping the dynamics of the coming of the American Revolution and the development of early American nationalism. The manuscript is currently under contract to Yale University Press. You can follow him on Twitter: @MichaelHattem.
Since the 2008 global economic crisis, historians have embraced the challenge of making visible the invisible hand of the market. This renewed interest in the politics of political economy makes it all the more timely to remind ourselves that debates over free trade and protection were just as controversial in the early United States as they have once again become, and that lobbying, then as now, played an important part in Lincoln's government "of the people, by the people, for the people." In Lobbyists and the Making of US Tariff Policy, 1816-1861, Daniel Peart reveals how active lobbyists were in Washington throughout the antebellum era. He describes how they involved themselves at every stage of the making of tariff policy, from setting the congressional agenda, through the writing of legislation in committee, to the final vote. Considering policymaking as a process, Peart focuses on the importance of rules and timing, the critical roles played by individual lawmakers and lobbyists, and the high degree of uncertainty that characterized this formative period in American political development.The debate about tariff policy, Peart explains, is an unbroken thread that runs throughout the pre–Civil War era, connecting disparate individuals and events and shaping the development of the United States in myriad ways. Duties levied on imports provided the federal government with the major part of its revenue from the ratification of the Constitution to the close of the nineteenth century. More controversially, they also offered protection to domestic producers against foreign competition, at the expense of increased costs for consumers and the risk of retaliation from international trade partners. Ultimately, this book uses the tariff issue to illustrate the critical role that lobbying played within the antebellum policymaking process.-Daniel Peart is a senior lecturer in American history at Queen Mary University of London. He is the author of Era of Experimentation: American Political Practices in the Early Republic and the coeditor of Practicing Democracy: Popular Politics in the United States from the Constitution to the Civil War. His most recent work is Lobbyists and the Making of US Tariff Policy, 1816-1861.---Support for the Age of Jackson Podcast was provided by Isabelle Laskari, Jared Riddick, John Muller, Julianne Johnson, Laura Lochner, Mark Etherton, Marshall Steinbaum, Martha S. Jones, Michael Gorodiloff, Mitchell Oxford, Richard D. Brown, Rod, Rosa, Stephen Campbell, and Victoria Johnson, as well as Andrew Jackson's Hermitage​ in Nashville, TN.
The story of Andrew Jackson’s improbable ascent to the White House, centered on the handlers and propagandists who made it possibleAndrew Jackson was volatile and prone to violence, and well into his forties his sole claim on the public’s affections derived from his victory in a thirty-minute battle at New Orleans in early 1815. Yet those in his immediate circle believed he was a great man who should be president of the United States.Jackson’s election in 1828 is usually viewed as a result of the expansion of democracy. Historians David and Jeanne Heidler in The Rise of Andrew Jackson: Myth, Manipulation, and the Making of Modern Politics argue that he actually owed his victory to his closest supporters, who wrote hagiographies of him, founded newspapers to savage his enemies, and built a political network that was always on message. In transforming a difficult man into a paragon of republican virtue, the Jacksonites exploded the old order and created a mode of electioneering that has been mimicked ever since.David S. Heidler is an author and retired professor. Jeanne T. Heidler is professor emerita of history at the United States Air Force Academy. They have collaborated on numerous books, including the critically acclaimed Henry Clay: The Essential American and the award-winning Washington’s Circle: The Creation of the President. Their most recent work is The Rise of Andrew Jackson: Myth, Manipulation, and the Making of Modern Politics. They live in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
The panic of 1819 was America's first great economic crisis. And this is Murray Rothbard's masterful account, the first full scholarly book on the topic and still the most definitive. It was his dissertation, published in 1962 but nearly impossible to get until this new edition.The American Economic Review was wild for this book when it appeared: "Rothbard's work represents the only published, book-length, academic treatise on the remedies that were proposed, debated, and enacted in attempts to cope with the crisis of 1819," the reviewer wrote. "As such, the book should certainly find a place on the shelf of the study of U.S. business cycles and of the economic historian who is interested in the early economic development of the United States."And specialists have treasured the book for years. It is incredible to realize that some American historians think of M.N. Rothbard as the author of this book and nothing else!The panic of 1819 grew largely out of the changes wrought by the War of 1812, and by the postwar boom that followed. The war also brought a rash of paper money, as the government borrowed heavily to finance the conflict. This would inevitably lead to suspension of specie payments in some parts of the country in 1814.Freed from the shackles of hard money, the suspension of specie led to a boom. When peace came, the so did the bust.But in the end, there was no widespread confusion on what caused the downturn. Instead, it was widely known that false prosperity is a very dangerous thing. It always turns to bust. But unlike today, the government didn't intervene. And precisely because there was no intervention, the panic ended quickly and peacefully.Dr. Patrick Newman, a Fellow of the Mises Institute, is an ​assistant professor of economics at Florida Southern College and a Fellow of its Center for Free Enterprise. He completed his PhD in economics at George Mason University. His primary research interests include Austrian economics, monetary theory, and late 19th- and early 20th-century American economic history. He is the editor of Murray Rothbard's The Progressive Era (Mises Institute, 2017).
In 1812, eight American missionaries, under the direction of the recently formed American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, sailed from the United States to South Asia. The plans that motivated their voyage were ano less grand than taking part in the Protestant conversion of the entire world. Over the next several decades, these men and women were joined by hundreds more American missionaries at stations all over the globe. Emily Conroy-Krutz shows the surprising extent of the early missionary impulse and demonstrates that American evangelical Protestants of the early nineteenth century were motivated by Christian imperialism—an understanding of international relations that asserted the duty of supposedly Christian nations, such as the United States and Britain, to use their colonial and commercial power to spread Christianity.In describing how American missionaries interacted with a range of foreign locations (including India, Liberia, the Middle East, the Pacific Islands, North America, and Singapore) and imperial contexts, Christian Imperialism provides a new perspective on how Americans thought of their country’s role in the world. While in the early republican period many were engaged in territorial expansion in the west, missionary supporters looked east and across the seas toward Africa, Asia, and the Pacific. Conroy-Krutz’s history of the mission movement reveals that strong Anglo-American and global connections persisted through the early republic. Considering Britain and its empire to be models for their work, the missionaries of the American Board attempted to convert the globe into the image of Anglo-American civilization.Emily Conroy-Krutz is Assistant Professor of History at Michigan State University and is the author of Christian Imperialism: Converting the World in the Early American Republic.
A finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the American Book Award, hailed in The Washington Post as "a work of enormous imagination and enterprise" and in The New York Times as "an important, original book," Southern Honor: Ethics and Behavior in the Old South revolutionized our understanding of the antebellum South, revealing how Southern men adopted an ancient honor code that shaped their society from top to bottom. Using legal documents, letters, diaries, and newspaper columns, Wyatt-Brown offers fascinating examples to illuminate the dynamics of Southern life throughout the antebellum period. Bertram Wyatt-Brown (March 19, 1932-November 5, 2012) was the Richard J. Milbauer Professor Emeritus at the University of Florida and a Visiting Scholar at Johns Hopkins University. The author of House of Percy: Honor, Melancholy, and Imagination in a Southern Family and The Shaping of Southern Culture: Honor, Grace, and War, he was a past president of the Southern Historical Association, the Society for Historians of Early American History, and the St. George Tucker Society. Craig Bruce Smith is an Assistant Professor of History and the Director of the History Program at William Woods University. He earned his Ph.D. in American History from Brandeis University. His specialization is in early American cultural and intellectual history during the long eighteenth century and the Age of Revolution, specifically looking at ethics, national identity, and transnational ideas. In addition, he has broader interests in colonial America, the early republic, leadership, the Atlantic world, military history, and the American Founders. He is the author of American Honor: The Creation of the Nation's Ideals during the Revolutionary Era.
The nineteenth century was, we have been told, the “century of the poisoner,” when Britain and the United States trembled under an onslaught of unruly women who poisoned husbands with gleeful abandon. That story, however, is only half true. While British authorities did indeed round up and execute a number of impoverished women with minimal evidence and fomented media hysteria, American juries refused to convict suspected women and newspapers laughed at men who feared them.This difference in outcome doesn’t mean that poisonous women didn’t preoccupy Americans. In the decades following Andrew Jackson’s first presidential bid, Americans buzzed over women who used poison to kill men. They produced and devoured reams of ephemeral newsprint, cheap trial transcripts, and sensational “true” pamphlets, as well as novels, plays, and poems. Female poisoners served as crucial elements in the literary manifestos of writers from Nathaniel Hawthorne and Edgar Allan Poe to George Lippard and the cheap pamphleteer E. E. Barclay, but these characters were given a strangely positive spin, appearing as innocent victims, avenging heroes, or engaging humbugs.My guest today is Sara L. Crosby and she will explain how Jacksonian America used the figure of the female poisoner.Sara L. Crosby is an associate professor of English at Ohio State University, where she works on early- and antebellum-American crime writing and print culture. She earned her Ph.D. from the University of Notre Dame and is the author of Poisonous Muse: The Female Poisoner and the Framing of Popular Authorship in Jacksonian America.
When Roll, Jordan, Roll: The World the Slaves Made was published in 1974, the study of American slavery would change forever. Written by Eugene D. Genovese, an often controversial figure, the book would become as controversial as its author. Rather than emphasizing the cruelty and degradation of slavery, Genovese investigates the ways that slaves forced their owners to acknowledge their humanity through culture, music, and religion. Not merely passive victims, the slaves in this account actively engaged with the paternalism of slaveholding culture in ways that supported their self-respect and aspirations for freedom, even as that engagement limited the prospects for truly revolutionary politics among the enslaved. spRoll, Jordan, Roll covers a vast range of subjects, from slave weddings and funerals, to the language, food, clothing, and labor of slaves, and places particular emphasis on religion as both a major battleground for psychological control and a paradoxical source of spiritual strength. Winning the 1975 Bancroft Prize, Roll, Jordan, Roll has since become an indispensable but contentious text for studying American slavery.Talking with me about Roll, Jordan, Roll and its complex legacy is Joshua D. Rothman.Joshua Rothman is the History Department Chair at the University of Alabama and is the Co-Director of Freedom on the Move: A Database of Fugitives from North American Slavery. He earned his Ph.D. in History from the University of Virginia and is the author of Flush Times and Fever Dreams: A Story of Capitalism and Slavery in the Age of Jackson and Notorious in the Neighborhood: Sex and Families across the Color Line in Virginia, 1787-1861. He is currently at work on a book about the managing partners of Franklin and Armfield, the most significant domestic slave trading firm in American history.
From master historian William C. Davis, the definitive story of the Battle of New Orleans, the fight that decided the ultimate fate not only of the War of 1812 but the future course of the fledgling American republicIt was a battle that could not be won. Outnumbered farmers, merchants, backwoodsmen, smugglers, slaves, and Choctaw Indians, many of them unarmed, were up against the cream of the British army, professional soldiers who had defeated the great Napoleon and set Washington, D.C., ablaze. At stake was nothing less than the future of the vast American heartland, from the Gulf Coast to the Great Lakes, as the ragtag American forces fought to hold New Orleans, the gateway of the Mississippi River and an inland empire. Tipping the balance of power in the New World, this single battle irrevocably shifted the young republic's political and cultural center of gravity and kept the British from ever regaining dominance in North America. In this gripping, comprehensive study of the Battle of New Orleans, William C. Davis examines the key players and strategy of King George's Red Coats and Andrew Jackson's makeshift "army." A master historian, he expertly weaves together narratives of personal motivation and geopolitical implications that make this battle one of the most impactful ever fought on American soil.-William C. Davis is a retired history professor who taught at Virginia Tech. An acclaimed expert on the Civil War, he has served on a number of advisory boards, including the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission; the Civil War Preservation Trust; the Museum of the Civil War Soldier in Petersburg, Virginia; the National Park Service; and the Lincoln Prize and Pulitzer Prize nominating juries. He is the author of numerous books, including Look Away!: A History of the Confederate States of America, Jefferson Davis: The Man and His Hour, and Crucible of Command: Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee - the War They Fought, the Peace They Forged. His most recent work is The Greatest Fury: The Battle of New Orleans and the Rebirth of America.
Just five weeks after its publication in January 1836, Awful Disclosures of the Hotel Dieu Nunnery, billed as an escaped nun's shocking exposé of convent life, had already sold more than 20,000 copies. The book detailed gothic-style horror stories of licentious priests and abusive mothers superior, tortured nuns and novices, and infanticide. By the time the book was revealed to be a fiction and the author, Maria Monk, an imposter, it had already become one of the nineteenth century's best-selling books. In antebellum America only one book, Uncle Tom's Cabin, outsold it.The success of Monk's book was no fluke, but rather a part of a larger phenomenon of anti-Catholic propaganda, riots, and nativist politics. The secrecy of convents stood as an oblique justification for suspicion of Catholics and the campaigns against them, which were intimately connected with cultural concerns regarding reform, religion, immigration, and, in particular, the role of women in the Republic. At a time when the term "female virtue" pervaded popular rhetoric, the image of the veiled nun represented a threat to the established American ideal of womanhood. Unable to marry, she was instead a captive of a foreign foe, a fallen woman, a white slave, and a foolish virgin. In the first half of the nineteenth century, ministers, vigilantes, politicians, and writers--male and female--forged this image of the nun, locking arms against convents. The result was a far-reaching antebellum movement that would shape perceptions of nuns, and women more broadly, in America.-Cassandra L. Yacovazzi is an Assistant Professor of History at the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee. Her work focuses on 19th and 20th-century American women’s history and the intersection of gender, religion, and popular culture. She is the author of Escaped Nuns: True Womanhood and the Campaign Against Convents in Antebellum America. You can follow her on Twitter @CassandraYacova.---Support for the Age of Jackson Podcast was provided by Isabelle Laskari, Jared Riddick, John Muller, Julianne Johnson, Laura Lochner, Mark Etherton, Marshall Steinbaum, Martha S. Jones, Michael Gorodiloff, Mitchell Oxford, Richard D. Brown, Rod, Rosa, Stephen Campbell, and Victoria Johnson, Alice Burton, as well as Andrew Jackson's Hermitage​ in Nashville, TN.
Americans revere the Constitution even as they argue fiercely over its original toleration of slavery. Some historians have charged that slaveholders actually enshrined human bondage at the nation’s founding. The acclaimed political historian Sean Wilentz shares the dismay but sees the Constitution and slavery differently. Although the proslavery side won important concessions, he asserts, antislavery impulses also influenced the framers’ work. Far from covering up a crime against humanity, the Constitution restricted slavery’s legitimacy under the new national government. In time, that limitation would open the way for the creation of an antislavery politics that led to Southern secession, the Civil War, and Emancipation.Wilentz’s controversial and timely reconsideration upends orthodox views of the Constitution. He describes the document as a tortured paradox that abided slavery without legitimizing it. This paradox lay behind the great political battles that fractured the nation over the next seventy years. As Southern Fire-eaters invented a proslavery version of the Constitution, antislavery advocates, including Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass, proclaimed antislavery versions based on the framers’ refusal to validate what they called “property in man.”No Property in Man: Slavery and Antislavery at the Nation’s Founding invites fresh debate about the political and legal struggles over slavery that began during the Revolution and concluded with the Confederacy’s defeat. It drives straight to the heart of the most contentious and enduring issue in all of American history.Sean Wilentz is George Henry Davis 1886 Professor of American History at Princeton University. He is the author of numerous books on American history and politics, including The Rise of American Democracy: Jefferson to Lincoln, which won the Bancroft Prize and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, and The Politicians and the Egalitarians: The Hidden History of American Politics, chosen as Best History Book of the Year by Kirkus and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Wilentz’s writings on American music have earned him two Grammy nominations and two Deems-Taylor-ASCAP awards. You can follow him on Twitter @seanwilentz.
While the Woman's Rights convention was taking place at Seneca Falls in 1848, First Lady Sarah Childress Polk was wielding influence unprecedented for a woman in Washington, D.C. Yet, while history remembers the women of the convention, it has all but forgotten Sarah Polk. Now, in her riveting biography, Amy S. Greenberg brings Sarah's story into vivid focus. We see Sarah as the daughter of a frontiersman who raised her to discuss politics and business with men; we see the savvy and charm she brandished in order to help her brilliant but unlikeable husband, James K. Polk, ascend to the White House. We watch as she exercises truly extraordinary power as First Lady: quietly manipulating elected officials, shaping foreign policy, and directing a campaign in support of America's expansionist war against Mexico. And we meet many of the enslaved men and women whose difficult labor made Sarah's political success possible.Lady First also shines a light on Sarah's many layers and contradictions. While her marriage to James was one of equals, she firmly opposed the feminist movement's demands for what she perceived to be far-reaching equality. She banned dancing and hard liquor from the White House, but did more entertaining than any of her predecessors. During the Civil War, she operated on behalf of the Confederacy even though she claimed to be neutral. And in the late nineteenth-century, she became a celebrity among female Christian temperance reformers, while she struggled to redeem her husband's tarnished political legacy.Sarah Polk's life spanned nearly the entirety of the 19th-century. But her own legacy, which profoundly transformed the South, continues to endure. Comprehensive, nuanced, and brimming with invaluable insight, Lady First is a revelation of our eleventh First Lady's complex but essential part in American feminism.-Amy S. Greenberg is the George Winfree Professor of History and Women's Studies at Penn State University. A leading scholar of the history of nineteenth-century America, she has held fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the American Philosophical Society, among others. Her previous books include A Wicked War and Manifest Manhood.---Support for the Age of Jackson Podcast was provided by Isabelle Laskari, Jared Riddick, John Muller, Julianne Johnson, Laura Lochner, Mark Etherton, Marshall Steinbaum, Martha S. Jones, Michael Gorodiloff, Mitchell Oxford, Richard D. Brown, Rod, Rosa, Stephen Campbell, and Victoria Johnson, as well as Andrew Jackson's Hermitage​ in Nashville, TN.
Despite serving his country for 50 years and being among the most qualified men to hold the office of president, James Monroe is an oft-forgotten Founding Father. In this book, Brook Poston reveals how Monroe attempted to craft a legacy for himself as a champion of American republicanism.Monroe’s dedication to the vision of a modern republic built on liberty began when he joined the American Revolution. His devotion to the cause further developed under his apprenticeship to Thomas Jefferson. These experiences spurred him to support the virtues of republicanism during the French Revolution, when he tried to create an alliance between the United States and the French republic despite ire from the U.S. Federalist party. As he climbed the political ranks, Monroe’s achievements began to add up: he played a significant role in the Louisiana Purchase, helped lead the fight against Great Britain in the War of 1812, oversaw the acquisition of Florida from Spain, and created the Monroe Doctrine to protect the Americas from the influence of European monarchies.Focusing exclusively on America’s fifth president and his complete commitment to republicanism, this book offers new interpretations of James Monroe as a patriot who dedicated his life to what he believed was perhaps the most important cause in human history.-Brook Poston is associate professor of history at Stephen F. Austin State University. He received his Ph.D. in History from Texas Christian University and is the author of James Monroe: A Republican Champion. ---Support for the Age of Jackson Podcast was provided by Isabelle Laskari, Jared Riddick, John Muller, Julianne Johnson, Laura Lochner, Mark Etherton, Marshall Steinbaum, Martha S. Jones, Michael Gorodiloff, Mitchell Oxford, Richard D. Brown, Rod, Rosa, Stephen Campbell, and Victoria Johnson, as well as Andrew Jackson's Hermitage​ in Nashville, TN.
Behind every great man stands a great woman. And behind that great woman stands a slave. Or so it was in the households of the Founding Fathers from Virginia, where slaves worked and suffered throughout the domestic environments of the era, from Mount Vernon, Monticello, and Montpelier to the nation’s capital. American icons like Martha Washington, Martha Jefferson, and Dolley Madison were all slaveholders. And as Marie Jenkins Schwartz uncovers in Ties That Bound, these women, as the day-to-day managers of their households, dealt with the realities of a slaveholding culture directly and continually, even in the most intimate of spaces.Unlike other histories that treat the stories of the First Ladies’ slaves as separate from the lives of their mistresses, Ties That Bound closely examines the relationships that developed between the First Ladies and their slaves. For elite women and their families, slaves were more than an agricultural workforce; slavery was an entire domestic way of life that reflected and reinforced their status. In many cases slaves were more constant companions to the white women of the household than were their husbands and sons, who often traveled or were at war. By looking closely at the complicated intimacy these women shared, Schwartz is able to reveal how they negotiated their roles, illuminating much about the lives of slaves themselves, as well as class, race, and gender in early America.By detailing the prevalence and prominence of slaves in the daily lives of women who helped shape the country, Schwartz makes it clear that it is impossible to honestly tell the stories of these women while ignoring their slaves. She asks us to consider anew the embedded power of slavery in the very earliest conception of American politics, society, and everyday domestic routines.-Marie Jenkins Schwartz is professor emeritus of history at the University of Rhode Island. She is the author of Born in Bondage: Growing Up Enslaved in the Antebellum South, Birthing a Slave: Motherhood and Medicine in the Antebellum South, and Ties That Bound: Founding First Ladies and Slaves.---Support for the Age of Jackson Podcast was provided by Isabelle Laskari, Jared Riddick, John Muller, Julianne Johnson, Laura Lochner, Mark Etherton, Marshall Steinbaum, Martha S. Jones, Michael Gorodiloff, Mitchell Oxford, Richard D. Brown, Rod, Rosa, Stephen Campbell, and Victoria Johnson, as well as Andrew Jackson's Hermitage​ in Nashville, TN.
In 1805 and 1806, Aaron Burr, former vice president of the newly formed American republic, traveled through the Trans-Appalachian West gathering support for a mysterious enterprise, for which he was arrested and tried for treason in 1807. My today, James E. Lewis Jr., explores the political and cultural forces that shaped how Americans made sense of the uncertain rumors and reports about Burr’s intentions and movement, and examines what the resulting crisis reveals about their anxieties concerning the new nation’s fragile union and uncertain republic.Burr was said to have enticed some people with plans to liberate Spanish Mexico, others with promises of land in the Orleans Territory, still others with talk of building a new empire beyond the Appalachian Mountains. The Burr Conspiracy was a cause célèbre of the early republic―with Burr cast as the chief villain of the Founding Fathers―even as the evidence against him was vague and conflicting. Rather than trying to discover the real intentions of Burr or his accusers―Thomas Jefferson foremost among them―James E. Lewis Jr. in The Burr Conspiracy: Uncovering the Story of an Early American Crisis looks at how differing understandings of the Burr Conspiracy were shaped by everything from partisan politics and biased newspapers to notions of honor and gentility. He also traces the enduring legacy of the stories that were told and accepted during this moment of uncertainty. The Burr Conspiracy offers a panoramic and multifaceted portrait of the United States at a time when it was far from clear to its people how long it would last.James E. Lewis Jr. is a professor of history at Kalamazoo College. He received his Ph.D. in History from the University of Virginia and his books include The Louisiana Purchase: Jefferson’s Noble Bargain? and John Quincy Adams: Policymaker for the Union. His most recent book is The Burr Conspiracy: Uncovering the Story of an Early American Crisis. 
Thomas Jefferson had three daughters: Martha and Maria by his wife, Martha Wayles Jefferson, and Harriet by his slave Sally Hemings. Although the three women shared a father, the similarities end there. Martha and Maria received a fine convent school education while they lived with their father during his diplomatic posting in Paris—a hothouse of intellectual ferment. Once they returned home, however, the sisters found their options limited by the laws and customs of early America. Harriet Hemings followed a different path. Born into slavery, she would eventfully escape it—apparently with the assistance of Jefferson himself. Leaving Monticello behind, she boarded a coach and set off for a decidedly uncertain future. To share the stories of these women is Catherine Kerrison.Catherine Kerrison is an associate professor of history at Villanova University, where she teaches courses in Colonial and Revolutionary America and women's and gender history. She holds a Ph.D. in American history from the College of William and Mary. Her first book, Claiming the Pen: Women and Intellectual Life in the Early American South, won the Outstanding Book Award from the History of Education Society. Her most recent book is Jefferson's Daughters: Three Sisters, White and Black, in a Young America.
When the United States emerged as a world power in the years before the Civil War, the men who presided over the nation’s triumphant territorial and economic expansion were largely southern slaveholders. As presidents, cabinet officers, and diplomats, slaveholding leaders controlled the main levers of foreign policy inside an increasingly powerful American state. For proslavery leaders like John C. Calhoun and Jefferson Davis, the nineteenth-century world was torn between two hostile forces: a rising movement against bondage, and an Atlantic plantation system that was larger and more productive than ever before. In this great struggle, southern statesmen saw the United States as slavery’s most powerful champion. Overcoming traditional qualms about a strong central government, slaveholding leaders harnessed the power of the state to defend slavery abroad. During the antebellum years, they worked energetically to modernize the U.S. military, while steering American diplomacy to protect slavery in Brazil, Cuba, and the Republic of Texas.According to my guest, these leaders were nationalists, not separatists. Their “vast southern empire” was not an independent South but the entire United States, and only the election of Abraham Lincoln broke their grip on national power. Fortified by years at the helm of U.S. foreign affairs, slaveholding elites formed their own Confederacy—not only as a desperate effort to preserve their property but as a confident bid to shape the future of the Atlantic world.To unpack this fascinating relationship between slavery and American foreign policy is Matthew Karp.Matthew Karp is Assistant Professor of History at Princeton University and is a historian of the U.S. Civil War era and its relationship to the nineteenth-century world. He received his Ph.D. in History from the University of Pennsylvania in 2011 and joined the Princeton University faculty in 2013. His first book, This Vast Southern Empire: Slaveholders at the Helm of American Foreign Policy explores the ways that slavery shaped U.S. foreign relations before the Civil War. This Vast Southern Empire received the John H. Dunning Prize from the American Historical Association, the James Broussard Prize from the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic, and the Stuart L. Bernath Prize from the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations. Karp is now at work on a book about the emergence of anti-slavery mass politics in the United States and in particular the radical vision of the Republican Party in the 1850s. You can him follow on Twitter @karpmj.
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Podcast Details

Started
Jan 19th, 2018
Latest Episode
Mar 20th, 2020
Release Period
Weekly
No. of Episodes
98
Avg. Episode Length
About 1 hour
Explicit
No

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