History That Doesn't Suck

History That Doesn't Suck

HTDS is a bi-weekly podcast, delivering a legit, seriously researched, hard-hitting survey of American history through entertaining stories. To keep up with History That Doesn’t Suck news, check us out on Facebook and Instagram: @Historythatdoesntsuck; on Twitter: @HTDSpod; or online at htdspodcast.com. Support the podcast at patreon.com/historythatdoesntsuck.

Episodes

June 7, 2021 60 min
“What is the chief end of man? A: To get rich.” This is the story of the Gilded Age and its first three presidents: Rutherford B. Hayes, James A. Garfield, and Chester A. Arthur. Mark Twain calls this era a “Gilded Age”–that is, a time of great greed covered with a thin veneer hiding the nation’s decadence. Is it? We’ll assess and define this oft-forgotten time. In doing so, we’ll meet three oft-forgotten presidents. Rutherford (or...
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“[He] washed his hands with the brains.”  Private John Shaw This is the story of a 22-year-old George Washington as commander of a 400-man army fighting the French. We’ll also hear about his childhood, the deaths, backcountry experience, and finagling, that bring George—who’s untrained, inexperienced, too young, and completely outgunned—to this moment. He fails. Miserably. But not without triggering a war between France and Britai...
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Introducing: Real Dictators Podcast! It's exactly what you would expect it to be, and we want to share this episode with you! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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May 10, 2021 78 min
This is the end of the west! Meet two new researchers, Ryan Griffith and Zach Weaver, as they join Greg to discuss the latest inner workings of HTDS, the Transcontinental Railroad, Buffalo Bill, and industrialization. As they wrap up, Greg then discusses the Golden Spike Ceremony with National Park Service Lead Ranger Lucas Hugie. They do so on-site, just a stone's throw from where the Transcontinental Railroad was completed. L...
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“I wish to impress upon your minds that what you are about to witness is not a performance in the common sense of the term.” This is the story of the Wild West’s end and the close of the frontier. The West is settled. The buffalo are gone. The US government is seeking to assimilate Native Americans. In this environment, a religious movement promising a restoration of traditional indigenous life, called the Ghost Dance, is spreadi...
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“This is my last opportunity to make a big haul. Alaska is the last West.” This is the story of the US purchase of Alaska and the famous Klondike Gold Rush. Russia needs funds and sees its territory of Russian-America as a liability. That has US Secretary of State William Henry Seward seeing opportunities, such as fisheries and access to Asian markets. It’s an ideal match of interests for two major powers—provided William Henry c...
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“The fight’s commenced. Go to fighting or get away!” This is the story of more gunslinging and heists. Pearl Hart needs to see her mother; is a stagecoach robbery the answer? The Earps Brothers and Doc Holiday are on the opposite of a political and economic feud with the “Cow Boys” in the mining town of Tombstone, Arizona Territory; are they disarming the “Cow Boys” in accordance with a city ordinance? Or is there more to it? Jesse...
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“I am going to hell anyhow.” This is the story of the rise of Western outlaws and gunslingers. From transportation of goods and people, to mining and even the cattle industry, a Second Industrial Revolution has overtaken the United States. Economic and political disruption are everywhere … but the law isn’t. And that’s the perfect cocktail for a golden age of outlaws.  Sam Bass is robbing the Union Pacific. Henry—sorry, he doesn’t ...
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“Did they not build the Chinese Wall, the biggest piece of masonry in the world?” The Central Pacific Railroad is struggling to find long-term construction workers. Many of them quickly leave the CP’s employ to pursue gold and silver in the mines of California or Nevada. But Big Four Associate Charlie Crocker has an idea: why not try hiring Chinese immigrants? The idea is semi-controversial in the eyes of many Americans, but the C...
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“How dare you try to hog all the continent?” This is the story of the Union Pacific Railroad. The US Government has legislated that a private company be organized with government oversight to build a railroad from Nebraska to Nevada. It will meet the Central Pacific and form a transcontinental rail across the whole United States. Unfortunately, few are interested in investing in this risky endeavor in the midst of the Civil War. Bu...
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February 8, 2021 7 min
Introducing the Skeptoid podcast! Since 2006, the weekly Skeptoid podcast has been taking on all the most popular myths and revealing the true science, true history, and true lessons we can learn from each. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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“Every great enterprise has been ridiculed in the outset.” This is the story of the rise of the railroad. Travel on land is slow. Arduous. Inhibited by rough terrain like mountains, rivers, and bogs. That reality makes Americans view the continent’s interior as an inaccessible “Great Desert,” only to be visited by daring pioneers passing through en route to Oregon Country or California. But technology is changing. “Iron horses” are...
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“Gentlemen, what is the cause of this violence?” This is the story HTDS's 2020. Most people wouldn’t call last year a good one. Doesn’t mean we didn’t have some fun mini episodes and cold opens here on HTDS. Join Greg for a look at some favorites from both of those camps. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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“The older I get the more I’m convinced that it’s the purpose of politicians and journalists to say the world is very simple, whereas it’s the purpose of historians to say, ‘No! It’s very complicated’.” — David Cannadine (British historian at Princeton) It’s epilogue time. Join Greg and Cielle as they talk broad strokes on one of the darkest periods of American history: Reconstruction and the (post-Civil War) Indian Wars. In the pr...
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“Church bristled and pooh-poohed at the subject when I suggested that he write a reply to Virginia O’Hanlon.” This is the story of America’s most famous editorial. Virginia O’Hanlon is an inquisitive eight-year-old. She’s debated with her friends and studied out the matter, but she still can’t decide: is there a Santa Claus? At her father’s suggestion, she writes to New York’s great arbiter of truth: The Sun. Her letter is handed t...
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“Does this court think an Indian is a competent witness?” This is the story of the start of indigenous civil rights. Since the arrival of Lewis and Clark, the Nez Perce have lived peacefully beside US citizens. The Pacific Northwest indigenous group is proud of the fact that not one of them has ever killed a white person. But things are changing. New settlers are flocking, and the US government wants the Nez Perce to cede more land...
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“There’s a good fight coming over the hill. That’s where the big fight is going to be. We’ll not miss that one.” This is the story of the Battle of the Little Bighorn (or the Greasy Grass).  In 1868, representatives of the US government meet leaders from a few indigenous nations at Fort Laramie to sign a treaty. The agreement creates the boundaries for a Great Sioux Reservation and “unceded” Sioux territory. But the treaty soon fal...
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“To be hanged by the neck until he is dead.” This is the story of the US-Dakota War. The most eastern of the three major Sioux peoples, the Dakota are indigenous to Minnesota. They’ve lived beside trappers, fur traders, and the like, for quite a while (salut, les Canadiens-français). But now, more white settlers are showing and setting up farms, and American officials are buying lands in exchange for long-term payments. But what ha...
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“Hang Kellogg! We’ll fight!” This is the story of the end of Reconstruction. Voter fraud and intimidation has made Louisiana’s 1872 Gubernatorial election a mess. So, when a Federal judge and Republican President Ulysses S. Grant uphold the Republican candidate, the stage is set for more partisan and racial violence in the Bayou state. The outcome is Reconstruction’s worst episode of violence and murder (the Colfax Massacre), and...
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“Boys, let us get up a club or society of some description.” This is the story Reconstruction peaking and its opponents organizing to fight back. With Radical Republicans at the helm of Reconstruction, the former Confederate states are forced to make new state constitutions that include black men in the process. The outcome is nothing short of revolutionary. Black men not only come away with the vote, but the ability to run for o...
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