[Abridged] Presidential Histories

[Abridged] Presidential Histories

From Yorktown to the Civil War, Pearl Harbor to 9/11, discover the pivotal moments that defined each president's life and legacy and the lessons we can draw from them. New episodes available the 1st and 3rd Mondays of each month.

Episodes

May 20, 2024 61 mins

From 1953 to 1969, the Supreme Court was a vanguard of progressive change for the United States. But then came Tricky Dick.
Michael Bobelian, author of Battle For The Marble Palace: Abe Fortas, Lyndon Johnson, Earl Warren, Richard Nixon and the Forging of the Modern Supreme Court, discusses how presidential candidate Richard Nixon and senate conservatives blocked LBJ's efforts to cement a progressive court for years to com...

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A 24-year career in Congress crested at a tumultuous time for Gerald Ford. He was the GOP leader of the house during the Nixon administration, then Nixon's VP, then the president who had to heal the country after Watergate. Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Museum director Brook Clement discusses the crucible Ford walked as a national leader.

Grave Injustice

The makeup of the U.S. Supreme Court and the cases they are h...

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April 15, 2024 49 mins

"Our long national nightmare is over." - Gerald Ford, August 9, 1974

~~~

Gerald Ford is the only person in American history to reach the vice presidency and the presidency without being elected to either. Despite this, he was a popular president - for 1 month. But then he pardoned Nixon, and it was all downhill from there. Follow along as Ford rides his athletic gifts from Grand Rapids to The University ...

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It didn't take long for Richard Nixon to earn the nickname "Tricky Dick," but was he really any more tricky than the typical politician? You bet he was!

John Farrell, a long-time journalist and author of numerous books on political leaders, including Richard Nixon, The Life,  discusses the many campaigns of Richard Nixon, from the red scare tactics that swept him to office, to the southern strategy that cha...

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Richard Nixon was sworn in as President with a Democratic House and Senate across Capitol Hill, which you might expect to lead to legislative impasse. Instead, it was one of the more prolific legislative stretches in American history, including such accomplishments as: Lowering the voting age, Title IX, creating the EPA, the Clean Air Act, abolishing the draft, and more. But were all of these laws passed because of Richard Nixon, o...

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March 4, 2024 61 mins

"People have got to know whether or not their President is a crook. Well, I'm not a crook." - Richard Nixon, November 17, 1973

~~~

Richard Nixon's life is a drama unlike any other. A desire to win at any cost earned him the name "Tricky Dick" and carried him from Whittier, California, to the Presidency of the United States, but it also proved his undoing. From Alger Hiss to Checkers, ...

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Migrating to the United States used to be as easy as buying a boat ticket. Getting settled was the hard part, and it became far more daunting when the United States was torn asunder by Civil War in 1861. As more and more northerners were conscripted into the Union Army, Lincoln realized a friendlier immigration policy might be the key to sustaining economic and military strength through the long years of war.
 
Harold Holze...

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Lyndon Baines Johnson is one of the most legislatively accomplished presidents in American history - possibly the only president who actually did so much winning, people got tired of it. But how did he make legislating look so easy?

Mark Updegrove, president and CEO of the LBJ Foundation and author of 5 books on the presidency, including Indomitable Will: LBJ in the Presidency, discusses the impact and legacy of LBJ'...

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Few presidents have a darker mark on their resume that LBJ's handling of the Vietnam war. Though overwhelmingly popular at first, the war divided the nation and broke Johnson's political power just 4 years later.

How did the United States get into Vietnam? Why didn't LBJ see what the American people saw as public opinion turned against it? And what can we learn from Johnson's handling of the war in Viet...

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January 1, 2024 63 mins

"There is no Negro problem. There is no Southern problem. There is no Northern problem. There is only an American problem." - Lyndon Baines Johnson, March 9, 1965

~~~

Lyndon Baines Johnson was thrust into the presidency at a moment of tragedy - the public assassination of his predecessor. With the nation in panic, Congress in deadlock, and Civil Rights seemingly out of reach, the challenges were long, bu...

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JFK once joked, "the worst I do, the more popular I get." Historian Harold Holzer, director of the Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute at Hunter College in New York City,  Chairman of the Lincoln Forum, and author of The presidents vs. the Press: The endless battle between the white house and the media, from the founding fathers to Fake News, discusses how JFK used his mastery of the press to become one of the most en...

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Joe Kennedy Jr. used his intellect, connections, and more than a few shady stock market tricks to become one of the wealthiest men in America. Once there, he threw his vast fortune behind the political aspirations of his children, challenging them to do good in the world. But tragedy was always a step away. Within a year of Joe's crowning achievement, the presidential inauguration of his son, Jack, Joe was struck down by a str...

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60 years ago today, John F. Kennedy was assassinated while traveling through the streets of Dallas. Stephen Fagin, curator of The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza, takes us through the tragic day and discusses why Kennedy's assassination has attracted so much doubt and dreams of conspiracy. 

Grave Injustice

The makeup of the U.S. Supreme Court and the cases they are hearing are no...

Listen on: Apple Podcasts   Spo...

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November 20, 2023 59 mins

"Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country." - John F. Kennedy,  January 20, 1961

~~~

John F. Kennedy presided over three of the most turbulent years of the Cold War. From the Bay of Pigs to the Cuban Missile Crisis and a coup in Vietnam, the stakes have rarely been higher. But how did he overcome youth and bigotry against his Catholic faith to reach the White House? ...

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Earlier this year, four podcasters got together to record the second annual Friendsgiving History Podcast Spectacular! Tune in as I'm joined by three fellow history podcasters and friends for a round table discussion on U.S. and presidential history. The other podcasters are:

Happy Thanksgiving!

Grave ...

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Eisenhower is the last general to have become president. How did his time in the army influence his administration and what stamp did it leave on the presidency?

Bryan Gibby, the deputy head of West Point's history department, discusses how Ike's time at the academy, in the army, and during World War II shaped his leadership style and impacted his presidential administration

Grave Injustice

The makeup of the U...

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As the election of 1952 approached, one thing seemed certain - a staunch isolationist, senator Robert Taft, was going to be the GOP's presidential nominee and the next president of the United States. Which was a major concern to anyone who feared the United States retreating back to its borders would invite Soviet conquest in the 50s just as it had invited Nazi conquest in the 30s. And so a plan was hatched to draft Eisenhower...

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There are October Surprises, and there are October crisis. Just days before Americans went to the polls to vote for Ike's 1956 reelection, his allies France, England, and Israel launched a surprise October invasion of Egypt to capture the Suez Canal. With Cold War temperatures rising, Ike was faced with a high-stakes dilemma. Would he back his allies, or Egypt, for control of the all-important canal.

Veteran journalis...

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Dwight Eisenhower ascended to the presidency when the United States was in the grips of a red scare - a red scare fanned by Wisconsin Senator Joe McCarthy. As McCarthy exploited the public fear to steal the spotlight with hundreds of unfounded accusations of communist sympathies, Eisenhower, and three future presidents then in the Senate, had to grapple with the moral and societal threat of McCarthy to the republic, and what they w...

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September 4, 2023 61 mins

"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed." - Dwight Eisenhower,  April 16, 1953

~~~

Dwight Eisenhower was born to poverty, but rose to be the savior of Europe and preside over the perilous early years of the Cold War. Follow along as Ike punches a ticket to educa...

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