Category Archives: The American Revolution and Early Republic

ITPL Ep 028 featured image

Episode 028 The Crises of the 1790s and the Making of US National Identity


In this episode, we dive into the tumultuous and critically important years of the 1790s, a time when the very fate of the new republic hung in the balance.

subscribe-buttonFirst, I’ll do a short set-up segment on the really perilous political scene in the United States in the 1790s. It’s a lively period when many of the key Founders like George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson clashed bitterly over foreign and domestic policy, so much so that many people feared civil war was imminent.

Second, I’ll sit down with historian Carol Berkin to talk about her new book, A Sovereign People: The Crises of the 1790s and the Birth of American Nationalism. She focuses on four major crises that threatened the young nation: the Whiskey Rebellion, the Genet Affair, the XYZ Affair, and the Alien and Sedition Acts. Historians have long discussed these controversies as crises that ultimately doomed the Federalist Party. But the real story of the crises of the 1790s, says Berkin, is the way that these four crises all contributed to the formation of American national identity. The US at this time was a new and fragile nation, made up of people who more often than not, identified with their states rather than their nation. So while these crises were divisive and controversial, they also led more and more Americans to see themselves as Americans, and to defend national institutions like the Presidency and the Constitution. My conversation with Carol is fun and deeply interesting and I think you’re going to love it.

Among the things Carol Berkin discusses:ITPL Ep 028 Berkin book cover
* How the crises of the 1790s helped forge U.S. national identity.
* How Americans in the fractious 1790s came to respect not just Washington, but the office of the president.
* How the Whiskey Rebellion threatened the legitimacy of the federal government and how George Washington used a combination of firmness and leniency to defuse it.
* How the Genet Affair threatened US sovereignty in the 1790s.
* How John Adams bungled the XYZ Affair but ultimately benefitted from the nationalist outrage it produced.
* Why the Alien and Sedition Acts were not very repressive in practice.
* How the Federalists deserve credit for guiding the fragile American republic through the tumultuous 1790s.
* How the brutal partisan media and fake news shaped the politics of the 1790s.
* What we in 2017 can learn from the fractious politics of the 1790s.

About Carol Berkin website

Further Reading

Carol Berkin, A Sovereign People: The Crises of the 1790s and the Birth of American Nationalism (Basic Books, 2017)

Ronald Chernow, Alexander Hamilton (2004)

Joseph J. Ellis, Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation (2000)

Joseph J. Ellis, The Quartet: Orchestrating The Second American Revolution, 1783-1789 (2015)

William Hogeland, The Whiskey Rebellion: George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, and the Frontier Rebels Who Challenged America’s Newfound Sovereignty (Simon & Schuster, 2006)

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)

Scott Holmes, “The Light Between Us” (Free Music Archive)

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

Production Credits

Executive Producer: Lulu Spencer

Associate Producer: Devyn McHugh

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 025 title card image

Episode 025 Who Was Thomas Jefferson?


subscribe-buttonIn this episode, we take a close look at another Founding Father – Thomas Jefferson (Episode 23 focused on Alexander Hamilton). And why not? Jefferson was born in the month of April – April 13th to be precise – and he’s Thomas Jefferson, maybe the most multi-talented of the Founders. He was part businessman, philosopher, writer, naturalist, theologian, statesman, architect, and inventor — among other things. To help us understand Jefferson and why he still matters – despite all the Hamilton mania these days – this episode has two parts:

Gordon-Reed book cover1) First, I provide a brief overview of the life of Thomas Jefferson. In so doing, I’ll raise some of the many key questions about the 3rd President, most especially: how could the man who wrote the Declaration of Independence also own 600 slaves? And have children with one of them (Sally Hemings)?

2) Then, I’ll sit down with award-winning historian Annette Gordon-Reed, co-author of the most recent major book on Jefferson, “Most Blessed of the Patriarchs”: Thomas Jefferson and the Empire of the Imagination. It’s just been released in paperback. It’s a deep and compelling examination of this most important and most enigmatic of Founders.

 About Annette Gordon-Reed website

Further Reading

Annette Gordon-Reed and Peter S. Onuf, “Most Blessed of the Patriarchs”: Thomas Jefferson and the Empire of the Imagination (WW Norton)

Annette Gordon-Reed, The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family (W.W. Norton, 2009)

Annette Gordon-Reed, Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings: An American Controversy (University Press of Virginia, 1997)

Peter S. Onuf, The Mind of Thomas Jefferson (University of Virginia Press, 2007)
Music for This Episode

Jay Graham, ITPL Intro (JayGMusic.com)

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

Andy Cohen “Trophy Endorphins” (Free Music Archive)

Ason Shaw, “Acoustic Meditation” (Free Music Archive)

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

Production Credits

Executive Producer: Lulu Spencer

Associate Producer: Devyn McHugh

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

Wash-Ham

Episode 023 Alexander Hamilton: The Man, The Myth, and, Yes, The Musical!

subscribe-buttonIn this episode of ITPL, we focus on Alexander Hamilton. You may have noticed that Hamilton has become the hottest Founder in recent years – and it’s all due to the smash Broadway hit, “Hamilton: The Musical.”
So here’s the lineup:
1. First, I provide a brief backgrounder on the remarkable life of Alexander Hamilton. 2. Second, I sit down with historian Stephen F. Knott to discuss his book, Washington and Hamilton: The Alliance that Forged America (Sourcebooks, 2015). He and his co-author Tony Williams argue that the relationship between Washington and Hamilton had a major impact on the outcome of the American Revolution and the subsequent creation of the American republic.
3. Finally, I drop by the one permanent site in Manhattan that’s dedicated to the nation’s first Secretary of the Treasury. It’s the Hamilton Grange in Harlem. I speak with National Park Service ranger Liam Strain about the site’s history and how “Hamilton: The Musical” has dramatically increased visitor traffic at the site. You can find show notes for this episode and more information about the podcast at www.InThePastLane.com
In The Past Lane is a production of Snoring Beagle International, Ltd.

About Stephen F. Knottwebsite

About the Hamilton Grangewebsite

Further Reading

ITPL Ep 023 Knott book coverStephen F. Knott and Tony Williams, Washington and Hamilton: The Alliance that Forged America (Sourcebooks, 2015)

Ronald Chernow, Alexander Hamilton (Penguin, 2004)

Joseph J. Ellis, The Quartet: Orchestrating the Second American Revolution, 1783-1789 (2015)

Thomas Fleming, The Great Divide: The Conflict between Washington and Jefferson that Defined a Nation (2015)

Joanne B. Freeman, Affairs of Honor: National Politics in the New Republic

Robert Middlekauff, The Glorious Cause: The American Revolution, 1763-1789 (2005)

Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter, Hamilton: The Revolution (2016)

John Sedgwick, War of Two: Alexander Hamilton, Aaron Burr, and the Duel that Stunned the Nation (2015)

The historic home of Alexander Hamilton, "The Grange," in Harlem, NYC.

The historic home of Alexander Hamilton, “The Grange,” in Harlem, NYC.

Jim Beckerman, “Hamilton Tourist Sites in New Jersey Ride the Wave of the Hit Musical,” Associated Press, Jun 12, 2016

Linda Flanagan, “How Teachers Are Using ‘Hamilton’ the Musical in the Classroom,” KQED.org

Valerie Strauss, “The unusual way Broadway’s ‘Hamilton’ is teaching U.S. history to kids,” Washington Post, June 28, 2016

Music for This Episode

Jay Graham, ITPL Intro (JayGMusic.com)

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

Doctor Turtle, “Often Outmumbled Never Outpunned” (Free Music Archive)

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

The Bell, ”On The Street,” (Free Music Archive)

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

Production Credits

Executive Producer: Lulu Spencer

Associate Producer, Devyn McHugh

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-017-featured-image

Episode 017 American Revolutions with Alan Taylor & More


This week at In The Past Lane, we take a new look at a familiar event – the American Revolution. subscribe-buttonThink you know this key chapter in American history? Think again. For as our special guest, historian Alan Taylor, argues in his new book, American Revolutions: A Continental History, 1750-1804, the American Revolution was also a civil war. And it had an impact far beyond the 13 colonies along the Atlantic coast. We also talk to Jim Moran, Director of Outreach at the American Antiquarian Society in Worcester, MA, about a little-known but important chapter in the story of American independence.

About Alan Tayloralan-taylor-amer-revs-book-cover-1
His Website

About Jim Moran
The American Antiquarian Society staff page

Further Reading and Links

Alan Taylor, American Revolutions: A Continental History, 1750-1804 (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2016).

Alan Taylor, The Divided Ground: Indians, Settlers, and the Northern Borderland of the American Revolution (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2006).

Ray Raphael, The First American Revolution: Before Lexington and Concord (New Press, 2002)

The American Antiquarian Society – website
ray-raphael-the-first-am-rev-book-cover-1
Music

Jay Graham, ITPL Intro (courtesy, JayGMusic.com)

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

Jon Luc Hefferman, “Epoch” (Free Music Archive)

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

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

itpl-ep-013-featured-image-2

Episode 013 Why We Pledge Allegiance, Betsy Ross, & More

This week, in honor of the 100th anniversary of Flag Day, we take a look at several intriguing flag-related stories. Here’s the lineup:

  1. Why Do We Pledge Allegiance? Here’s the little-known stosubscribe-buttonry behind this revered American ritual and the fears that inspired it. Did you know the Pledge was written by a socialist? Or that it’s wording has been changed twice? Or that the original salute was dropped during World War II because it too closely resembled the fascist salute of Nazi Germany?
  2. Next, I interview Kimberly Staub, the Manager of Collections and Exhibitions at the Betsy Ross House in Philadelphia. She’ll tell us how Betsy Ross was “discovered” as the woman who made the first American flag in the 1890s – more than a century after the flag was created. And she’ll explain to us how the museum has changed it’s focus over the past decade to tell a larger story of colonial women in the late-18th century.
  3. Finally, I drop some fun and interesting flag-related facts on you. Do the flag’s colors red, white, and blue officially symbolize anything like courage or sacrifice? Listen and learn, people.
The original flag salute as described by Francis Bellamy. Because it bore an unwanted resemblance to salutes used in fascist Italy and Germany, it was replaced with the hand over the heart.

The original flag salute as described by Francis Bellamy. Because it bore an unwanted resemblance to salutes used in fascist Italy and Germany, it was replaced with the hand over the heart.

Episode 013 notes and credits

Recommended Reading

Charles Weisgerber's 1893 painting of Betsy Ross presenting the American flag to George Washington and Robert Morris. This painting played a major role in popularizing the Betsy Ross story/myth.

Charles Weisgerber’s 1893 painting of Betsy Ross presenting the American flag to George Washington and Robert Morris. This painting played a major role in popularizing the Betsy Ross story/myth.

Jeff Gammage, “Flag Day loses importance but lives on in Philadelphia,” Philadelphia Enquirer, June 14, 2008.

Jeffrey Owen Jones, “Meet the Man Who Wrote the Pledge of Allegiance,” Smithsonian Magazine (November 2003)

Marc Leepson, “Five myths about the American flag,” Washington Post, June 12, 2011

Kelli Marshall, “The Strange History Behind The Pledge Of Allegiance,” Talking Points Memo (September 15, 2015)

Marla Miller's biography of Betsy Ross inspired the Betsy Ross House to rethink the way it presented the BR story.

Marla Miller’s biography of Betsy Ross inspired the Betsy Ross House to rethink the way it presented the BR story.

Marla R. Miller, Betsy Ross and the Making of America
Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, “How Betsy Ross Became Famous: Oral Tradition, Nationalism, and the Invention of History,” Common-Place (October 2007).

Music for This Episode:

Jay Graham, ITPL Intro (courtesy, JayGMusic.com)

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

Jason Shaw, “Acoustic Meditation” (Free Music Archive)

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

The Bell, “On The Street” (Free Music Archive)