This Day in Esoteric Political History

This Day in Esoteric Political History

We’re living in unprecedented times. Maybe. In this show, Jody Avirgan (538, 30for30, TED) and historians Nicole Hemmer (Vanderbilt) and Kellie Carter Jackson (Wellesley) take one moment, big or small, from that day in U.S. political history and explore how it might inform our present –– all in about fifteen minutes. New episodes release Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays. Sign up for the newsletter and more at ThisDayPod.com. We’re also posting about moments from the past @thisdaypod on Threads and Instagram. If you have a suggestion for a topic, get in touch. This Day In Esoteric Political History is a proud member of the Radiotopia podcast network from PRX.

Episodes

February 29, 2024 21 mins

Throughout this election year, we’re going to be doing a few special series tied to the notable stretches in an election cycle, from primaries to conventions and October surprises and more. This is “Hangers-On Week” our look at the point in the primary calendar where candidates are, for one reason or another, still hanging around.

For the third episode of Hangers On Week, Jody, Niki, and Kellie look at Jesse Jackson, who ...

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Throughout this election year, we’re going to be doing a few special series tied to the notable stretches in an election cycle, from primaries to conventions and October surprises and more. This is “Hangers-On Week” our look at the point in the primary calendar where candidates are, for one reason or another, still hanging around.

For the second episode of Hangers On Week, Jody, Niki, and Kellie are joined by Amy Walter o...

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Throughout this election year, we’re going to be doing a few special series tied to the notable stretches in an election cycle, from primaries to conventions and October surprises and more. This is “Hangers-On Week” our look at the point in the primary calendar where candidates are, for one reason or another, still hanging around.

For the first episode of Hangers-On Week, Jody, Niki, and Kellie are joined by Amy Walter of...

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February 22, 2024 19 mins

It’s February 22nd. This day (February 21st, in fact) in 1965, Malcolm X is assassinated as he’s giving a speech at a Harlem ballroom.

Jody, NIki, and Kellie discuss why X felt as if his killing was almost an inevitability, why the details of that day remain murky — and how two of the accused were exonerated decades later.

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It’s February 20th. This day in 2006, the news — and the jokes — are swirling about the incident that took place earlier in the month, when Vice President Dick Cheney shot his hunting partner Harry Whittington on a Texas ranch.

Jody, NIki, and Kellie discuss why it took so long for the news of the incident to come out, why Whittington apologized to Cheney at a press conference — and why it took so long for this podcast to...

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It’s February 18th. This day in 1804, the Northern state of New Jersey passed a law that included a call for a “gradual emancipation of slaves.”

Jody, Niki, and Kellie discuss how the laws around abolition and the reality on the ground often differed considerably — but how in cases like this, you also had the law codifying the slow transition away from slavery.

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February 15, 2024 17 mins

It’s February 15th. This day in 1933, in Miami, Giuseppe Zangara pulled out a pistol and, while yelling “too many people are starving!” fired at President-elect Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

Jody, NIki, and Kellie discuss why Zangara was trying to kill FDR, the others who were hurt in the incident — and the true “what if” in American history had Zangara succeeded.

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February 13, 2024 23 mins

It’s February 13th. This day — actually, February 11th — in 1990, South African leader Nelson Mandela emerges from prison after 27 years.

Jody, NIki, and Kellie discuss how attempts to keep Mandela out of the limelight backfired during his imprisonment, and how he once again picked up the freedom cause.

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This Day In Esoteric Po...

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February 11, 2024 18 mins

It’s February 11th. This day in 1924, the State of Nevada executed a man named Gee Jon, using the gas chamber for the first time as capital punishment.

Jody, NIki, and Kellie discuss how the adoption of gas reflected the Progressive Era, and how the way we kill people often tells us a lot about the time we’re living in.

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This D...

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It’s February 8th. This day in 1976, officials for defense and airline manufacturer Lockheed Martin admit to spending millions of dollars to bribe Japanese government officials.

Jody, Niki, and Kellie discuss how the Lockheed bribes were exposed, and how they were part of a larger era of multinational corporate meddling and corruption — as companies began to get more and more entangled in U.S. foreign interests.

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February 6, 2024 22 mins

It’s February 6th. This day in 1937, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt announces a plan to reforming the judiciary, most notably forcing older members of the Supreme Court to retire, and expand the number of justices.

Jody, Niki, and Kellie discuss why FDR felt that he had a mandate after the previous fall’s election, and why he felt that expanding the court was a key step to passing many of his reforms. Ultimately, the...

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It’s February 4th. This day in 1877, a hastily assembled commission is meeting to try and sort out the very messy aftermath of the previous fall’s election between Samuel Tilden and Rutherford B. Hayes. Hayes won the popular vote, but in the end, they would hand the election to Hayes after a bargain with southerners that effectively ended reconstruction.

Jody, Niki, and Kellie discuss why the 1876 election was so close, h...

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February 1, 2024 16 mins

It’s February 1st. This day in 1877, the first Groundhog Day ceremony is held in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania — in which a small rodent’s shadow determines long-term meteorological forces.

Jody, Niki and Kellie discuss how this ceremony came to be, and some of the very weird elements, from elixirs of everlasting life to secret societies pulling the strings.

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It’s January 30th. This day in 1798, representatives Roger Lyon and Matthew Griswold get into a fight on the house floor — with spitting, wrestling, and even a caning.

Jody, Niki, and Kellie are joined by Yale history professor Joanne Freeman to talk about why Lyon and Griswold came to blows and what the incident says about the moments of extreme partisanship and violence in American politics.

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January 28, 2024 17 mins

It’s January 28th. This day in 1967, the U.S., U.K., and Russia sign a treaty that, among other things, says that outer space should be off-limits for the testing and deployment of weapons of mass destruction.

Jody, Niki, and Kellie discuss why there was a need for the Outer Space Treaty, and how — despite its important language about nuclear weapons — it left a lot of grey area and confusion about how different countries...

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January 25, 2024 17 mins

It’s January 25th. This day in 1845, Congress passed a law designating that Americans would henceforth vote on “the first Tuesday after the first Monday of November.”

Jody, Niki, and Kellie discuss why that day was designated, and the many pitfalls that now exist around the fact that Election Day is only one day, and on a Tuesday.

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It’s January 23rd, happy Ed Roberts Day! This day in 2010, the State of California proclaimed this day to commemorate the life and work of the pioneering disability rights activist.

Niki, Jody, and Kellie discuss how Roberts got his start in activism when he was denied entry to the University of California in the early 60s, and how his worked continued all the way through the passage of the ADA and beyond.

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January 21, 2024 21 mins

This day, January 19th, 1990, at the end of a joint sting operation by FBI agents and District of Columbia Police, DC Mayor Marion Barry is arrested and charged with drug possession for the use of crack cocaine.

Jody, Niki, and Kellie discuss how the video of the incident went viral, led to an onslaught of scandal and punchlines about Barry — but never fully eroded DC resident’s support for their beloved mayor.

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January 18, 2024 15 mins

It’s January 17th. This day in 1943, the U.S. military has a shiny - and massive - new home.

Jody, Niki, and Kellie discuss how the design of the building came into place, and how construction went into overdrive with U.S. involvement in World War II.

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This Day In Esoteric Political History is a proud member of Radiotopia from ...

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January 16, 2024 15 mins

It’s January 16th. This day in 1811, the aftermath of what came to be known as the “German Coast” uprising in the Orleans territory.

Jody, NIki, and Kellie discuss how Charles Deslondes led a slave revolt that became the biggest in US history, and how it was inspired by the Hatian revolution, French ideas of freedom, and more.

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