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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

 

Jimmy Carter press conference

Episode 030 Presidents and the Media: The History of Political Spin


Subscribe to the In The Past Lane podcastThis week at In The Past Lane, we talk about the American presidency – specifically the history of how US presidents have endeavored to communicate their positions on key issues of the day. To use modern political parlance, it’s the history of “spin,” that important but sometimes tawdry business of crafting and communicating a political message in such as way that it enhances your political standing. American presidents have struggled to do this since the days of the Washington administration. To help us understand what spin is and how and why it’s played such a critical role in the evolution of the modern presidency and in the success or failure of individual presidents, I talk to historian David Greenberg. He’s the author of a fascinating new book, Republic of Spin: An Inside History of the American Presidency.

David Greenberg, Republic of SpinAmong the many things we discuss:
How Theodore Roosevelt created the original permanent White House spin apparatus.

Why Woodrow Wilson’s Committee on Public Information during World War I is unfairly characterized as a nefarious propaganda machine.

Why FDR’s “fireside chats” proved so effective in promoting Roosevelt’s New Deal agenda.

How Dwight D. Eisenhower became the first president to embrace the new medium of television.

Why image making became so essential to presidential success in the age of JFK.

How Jimmy Carter — yes, Jimmy Carter – was hailed early on in his presidency as a master communicator and manipulator of the media.

Why spin is not inherently negative but rather an essential element of presidential leadership.

Why the mainstream media is held in such low regard these days.

About David Greenberg – website

Further Reading

David Greenberg, Republic of Spin: An Inside History of the American Presidency (WW Norton, 2016)

Katz and M. Barris, The Social Media President: Barack Obama and the Politics of Digital Engagement (2013)

William E. Leuchtenburg, The American President: From Teddy Roosevelt to Bill Clinton (2015)

Stephen Ponder, Managing the Press: Origins of the Media Presidency, 1897-1933 (1999)

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)

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