Author Archives: InThePastLane

About InThePastLane

Dr. Edward T. O’Donnell is a professional historian, author, and speaker. He earned his Ph.D. in American History from Columbia University. He is an Associate Professor of History at Holy Cross College in Worcester, MA. Learn more at www.EdwardTODonnell.com He is the author of several books, including (as co-author) the new U.S. History college-level textbook, Visions of America: A History of the United States, 2nd edition (Pearson/Prentice Hall, 2012), Ship Ablaze: The Tragedy of the Steamboat General Slocum (Random House, 2003) and the forthcoming Talisman of a Lost Hope: Henry George, American Workers, and the Republican Crisis of the Gilded Age (Columbia University Press, 2013). His scholarly articles have appeared in the Public Historian, Journal of Urban History, and the Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era. O’Donnell is also active in the field of public history. He has curated several major museum exhibits on American history and appeared in several historical documentaries. He has provided historical insight and commentary for PBS, the History Channel, the Discovery Channel, and National Public Radio. Since 2002 O’Donnell has made hundreds of teacher professional development presentations, including content lectures, pedagogy workshops, and walking tours, for the Teaching American History program in 26 states, including New York, Massachusetts, Maine, Michigan, Virginia, Florida, California, Wyoming, Iowa, Oklahoma, and Wisconsin. Learn more at www.EdwardTODonnell.com or follow him on Twitter at @InThePastLane

ITPL Ep 035 featured image

Episode 035 Albert Cashier, Transgender Soldier in the American Civil War


President Trump’s announcement via Twitter that transgender personnel would no longer be allowed to serve in the US armed forces provides an excellent opportunity to take a look at the history of female and trans soldiers who have fought in past US wars. Most people would be surprised to learn that there are over 100 documented cases of women who served in the Confederate and Union armies during the Civil War. In this episode, we look at the story of Albert Cashier, possibly the best known transgender soldier in US history who served in the Union Army during the Civil War. It’s a remarkable story that provides us with some important historical perspective on the current #TransBan debate.

Albert Cashier, in his Union Army uniform

Among the many things we discuss:

Who was Albert Cashier?

How did he manage to serve in the Union Army for 3 years without anyone suspecting that he was born in Ireland with the name Jenny Hodgers.

How Cashier maintained his male identity for more than 40 years, only to have his “secret” discovered near the end of his life.

How when word got out about Cashier’s birth identity, the U.S. Pension Bureau considered revoking his pension, but opted to maintain it when they determined that Hodgers and Cashier were one in the same.

Further Reading

De Anne Blanton and Lauren M. Cook, They Fought Like Demons: Women Soldiers in the Civil War (2003).

Lon Dawson, Also Known as Albert D. J. Cashier: The Jennie Hodgers Story, or How One Young Irish Girl Joined the Union Army During the Civil War (2005)

Bonnie Tsui, She Went to the Field: Women Soldiers of the Civil War (2003)

Music for This Episode

Jay Graham, ITPL Intro (JayGMusic.com)

Kevin McCleod, “Impact Moderato” (Free Music Archive)

Hyson, “Traces” (Free Music Archive)

Hefferman, “Discovery” (Free Music Archive)

Hefferman, “Winter Trek” (Free Music Archive)

The Bell, “I Am History” (Free Music Archive)

Production Credits

Executive Producer: Lulu Spencer

Technical Advisors: Holly Hunt and Jesse Anderson

Podcasting Consultant: Darrell Darnell of Pro Podcast Solutions

Photographer: John Buckingham

Graphic Designer: Maggie Cellucci

Website by: ERI Design

 

ITPL Ep 034 featured image

Episode 034 The Zenger Trial and the Birth of the Free Press in America


With the mainstream news media under siege these days, and with some people – including one particularly powerful and influential person – denouncing it as so-called “fake news,” this seems like a good time to explore the history of a free press. Just consider how central the free press has been to American history. So many key moments in American history have derived from, or somehow involved, the freedom of the press.
* The abolitionist press and the eventual end of slavery.
* Muckrakers at the turn of the 20th century and the exposure of abuses by big business.
* The Pentagon Papers and the withdrawal of the US military from Vietnam.
* The Watergate investigation and the resignation of President Richard Nixon.

These are just a few examples of the vital role a free press has played in American history. And they raise the question: How did this idea of a free press get enshrined in the First Amendment? And how did it come to be seen as a fundamental principle of American democracy?

It’s a long and fascinating story, but it began with the arrest and prosecution of a little known New York newspaper publisher named Peter Zenger in 1735. And that’s the story we’ll focus on in this episode of In The Past Lane, the podcast about history and why it matters.
zenger-tryal
Among the many things we’ll discuss:

How the British defied “seditious libel” in the 18th century – and how American colonists began to develop a very different understanding of it.

The biography of Peter Zenger, the unknown printer at the center of the famous 1735 trial that bears his name.

How the 1735 trial of Peter Zenger popularized the idea of freedom of the press.

How the legacy and memory of the Zenger Trial led to the inclusion of freedom of the press in the 1st Amendment.

How Americans came to see a free press as essential to maintaining a healthy democracy.

Further Reading

Paul Finkelman, ed., A Brief Narrative of the Case and Tryal of John Peter Zenger: with Related Documents (Bedford, 2010)

Gail Jarrow, The Printer’s Trial: The Case of John Peter Zenger and the Fight for a Free Press (2006)

Richard Kluger, Indelible Ink: The Trials of John Peter Zenger and the Birth of America’s Free Press (2016)

Lyrissa Lidsky and Robert G. Wright, Freedom of the Press: A Reference Guide to the United States Constitution (2004)

Website: Federal Hall National Monument, New York (NPS) – permanent exhibition on the Zenger Trial.

Music for This Episode

Jay Graham, ITPL Intro (JayGMusic.com)

Kevin McCleod, “Impact Moderato” (Free Music Archive)

Ketsa, “I Will Be There” (Free Music Archive)

Hefferman, “Winter Trek” (Free Music Archive)

The Bell, “I Am History” (Free Music Archive)

Production Credits

Executive Producer: Lulu Spencer

Technical Advisors: Holly Hunt and Jesse Anderson

Podcasting Consultant: Darrell Darnell of Pro Podcast Solutions

Photographer: John Buckingham

Graphic Designer: Maggie Cellucci

Website by: ERI Design

Legal services: Tippecanoe and Tyler Too

Social Media management: The Pony Express

Risk Assessment: Little Big Horn Associates

Growth strategies: 54 40 or Fight

© Snoring Beagle International, 2017

 

ITPL Ep 033 featured image

Episode 033 The Ten Commandments in US History: The Making of an American Icon


This week at In The Past Lane, the podcast about history and why it matters, we look at the fascinating history of the Ten Commandments in the U.S. You might think that a history of the Ten Commandments would be situated in Israel, but it turns out that it’s a very American story. In fact, over the last 150 years Americans have found many imaginative ways to embrace, reimagine, and repurpose the Ten Commandments. To learn more about this story, I’ll talk with historian Jenna Weissman Joselit about her book, Set In Stone: America’s Embrace of the Ten Commandments.
Subscribe to ITPL - ERIAmong the many things we’ll discuss:
* The great Ten Commandments Hoax of 1860.
* How Americans came to embrace the Ten Commandments as an icon of religious devotion.
* How the Ten Commandments have served as an emblem of order and stability in times of wrenching social change in US history.
* Why Jewish Americans after World War II promoted the idea of an American Judeo-Christian tradition with the Ten Commandments as its iconic expression.
* How some late-19th century Americans supported a proposal to make knowledge of the Ten Commandments a requirement of US citizenship and a proposal to create a national holiday to honor the Ten Commandments.
* How the famous 1956 Cecil B. DeMille film, “The Ten Commandments,” helped promote the idea of erecting Ten Commandments monuments in the US.
* How Americans have come to use the Ten Commandments as a template for everything from the Ten Commandments of Safe Driving to the Ten Commandments of Healthy Relationships.
* Why monuments of the Ten Commandments have become the focus of so many First Amendment controversies.

ITPL Ep 033 Joselit book coverAbout Jenna Joselit Weissmanwebsite

Further Reading

Jenna Weissman Joselit, Set In Stone: America’s Embrace of the Ten Commandments (Oxford, 2017).

Katherine Orrison, Written in Stone: Making Cecil B. DeMille’s Epic, The Ten Commandments (1999).

Dr. Laura Schlessinger and Stewart Vogel, The Ten Commandments: The Significance of God’s Laws in Everyday Life (1998).

Music for This Episode

Jay Graham, ITPL Intro (JayGMusic.com)

Kevin McCleod, “Impact Moderato” (Free Music Archive)

Lee Rosevere, “Going Home” (Free Music Archive)

David Szesztay, “Joyful Meeting” (Free Music Archive)

The Bell, “I Am History” (Free Music Archive)

Production Credits

Executive Producer: Lulu Spencer

Technical Advisors: Holly Hunt and Jesse Anderson

Podcasting Consultant: Darrell Darnell of Pro Podcast Solutions

Photographer: John Buckingham

Graphic Designer: Maggie Cellucci

Website by: ERI Design

Legal services: Tippecanoe and Tyler Too

Social Media management: The Pony Express

Risk Assessment: Little Big Horn Associates

Growth strategies: 54 40 or Fight

© Snoring Beagle International, 2017

ITPL Ep 032 featured image

Episode 032 How Baseball Became America’s National Pastime

This week we step up to the plate to take on the origins and history of baseball, and how the sport has both reflected and shaped American society.

Among the many things we’ll discuss:

Early bat and ball games that date back as 14th century Europe (and one involving nuns and monks!).

How British immigrants in the 18th century brought early forms of baseball to North America, including rounders and cricket.

Why baseball emerged as a popular sport in US cities, and not in the pastures of rural America.

Why Alexander Cartwright and NOT Abner Doubleday is the the true “father of baseball.”

How the American Civil War played a key role in popularizing not just baseball, but the so-called “New York” version that eventually became the standard.

Why the early promoters of baseball insisted it remain an amateur sport played by men of good character –and why they eventually lost the battle to the forces of commercialization.

How as many as 50 African Americans played major league baseball in the 1870s and 1880s before the surging racism of the day led owners to purge black players and segregate baseball. And why Moses Fleetwood Walker was the first African American to play major league baseball, 60 years before Jackie Robinson re-integrated baseball.

Why the individualism of baseball both sets it apart from other major team sports and reflects a core American value.

How there are dozens of words and phrases in the American lexicon that trace their origins to baseball, everything from “rain check” to “big league” to “screwball.”

Further Reading

Block, David. Baseball Before We Knew It: A Search for the Roots of the Game (University of Nebraska Press, 2005).

Nemec, David. The Great Encyclopedia of Nineteenth Century Major League Baseball. 2nd ed. (University of Alabama Press, 2006).

Peterson, Robert. Only the Ball Was White: A History of Legendary Black Players and All-Black Professional Teams (Gramercy Books, 1999).

Rielly, Edward J. Baseball and American Culture: Across the Diamond (Haworth Press, 2003).

Riess, Steven A. Touching Base: Professional Baseball and American Culture in the Progressive Era (University of Illinois Press, 1983. Revised 1999).

Rossi, John. The National Game: Baseball and American Culture (Ivan R. Dee, 2002).

Thorn, John. Baseball in the Garden of Eden: The Secret History of the Early Game (Simon & Schuster, 2011).

Tygiel, Jules. Past Time: Baseball as History (Oxford, 2000).

Voigt, David Q. America Through Baseball (Nelson Hall, 1976).

White, G. Edward. Creating the National Pastime: Baseball Transforms Itself, 1903-1953 (Princeton University Press, 1996).

Music for This Episode

Jay Graham, ITPL Intro (JayGMusic.com)

Kevin McCleod, “Impact Moderato” (Free Music Archive)

Jon Luc Hefferman, “Winter Trek” (Free Music Archive)

David Szesztay, “Joyful Meeting” (Free Music Archive)

The Bell, “I Am History” (Free Music Archive)

Production Credits

Executive Producer: Lulu Spencer

Technical Advisors: Holly Hunt and Jesse Anderson

Podcasting Consultant: Darrell Darnell of Pro Podcast Solutions

Photographer: John Buckingham

Graphic Designer: Maggie Cellucci

Website by: ERI Design

Legal services: Tippecanoe and Tyler Too

Social Media management: The Pony Express

Risk Assessment: Little Big Horn Associates

Growth strategies: 54 40 or Fight

© Snoring Beagle International, 2017

ITPL Ep 031 featured image

Episode 031 America’s Forgotten Colony in Cuba


Subscribe to ITPL - ERIThis week, In the Past Lane explores the fascinating and little-known story of an American colony that developed on a small island off Cuba following the Spanish American War of 1898.  The Isle of Pines attracted some 2,000 American settlers in the early 20th century. Many of them viewed the island in the same way earlier generations of Americans saw the trans-Mississippi west — as a place brimming with opportunity for adventure, self-reinvention, and economic advancement.  At the heart of their ambitions was the hope that the United States would annex the island.  To tell us all about this colony and its rise, transformation, and fall in the 20th century, I speak with historian Michael Neagle about his new book, America’s Forgotten Colony: Cuba’s Isle of Pines (Cambridge University Press, 2016).

ITPL Ep 031 Neagle book coverAbout Michael Neaglewebsite

Further Reading
Michael Neagle, America’s Forgotten Colony: Cuba’s Isle of Pines (Cambridge University Press, 2016).

Steven Kinzer, The True Flag: Theodore Roosevelt, Mark Twain, and the Birth of American Empire (Henry Holt, 2016)

Jane McManus, Cuba’s Island of Dreams: Voices from the Isle of Pines and Youth (2000)

Louis A. Perez, Jr. Cuba Under the Platt Amendment, 1902-1934 (Pittsburgh, 1986)

Louis A. Jr. Perez, The War of 1898: The United States and Cuba in History and Historiography (UNC, 1998)

Evan Thomas, The War Lovers: Roosevelt, Lodge, Hearst, and the Rush to Empire, 1898 (Little, Brown and Company, 2010)

Music for This Episode

Jay Graham, ITPL Intro (JayGMusic.com)

Kevin McCleod, “Impact Moderato” (Free Music Archive)

The Womb, “I Hope It Hurts” (Free Music Archive)

Jason Shaw, “Acoustic Meditation”

The Bell, “I Am History” (Free Music Archive)

Production Credits

Executive Producer: Lulu Spencer

Technical Advisors: Holly Hunt and Jesse Anderson

Podcasting Consultant: Darrell Darnell of Pro Podcast Solutions

Photographer: John Buckingham

Graphic Designer: Maggie Cellucci

Website by: ERI Design

Legal services: Tippecanoe and Tyler Too

Social Media management: The Pony Express

Risk Assessment: Little Big Horn Associates

Growth strategies: 54 40 or Fight

© Snoring Beagle International, 2017