Drug Legalization Before it Was Cool: The Story of Kurt Schmoke

Baltimore Mayor Kurt Schmoke was called a madman, a “brilliant spokesman for a bad idea,” and even the most dangerous man in America when he called for drug legalization in the late 80s and early 90s. His were forbidden ideas then. Yet Schmoke’s statements on the relationship between drug policy and crime seem prophetic now,…

About Those Hessians: Realities of the Revolution

It’s easy to forget that Hessians were people too, with the way they are discussed in history. A bit about the German “mercenaries” for the British Side in the Revolution in this episode. We discuss their true purpose and story, the impact on the Revolution and American motives. How some Hessians switched sides, or just settled down in…

Lincoln on Infrastructure

Known in history for his role in ending slavery and prosecuting the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln’s most important issue in his time as an elected official was infrastructure. And in that, he was little different than his pioneer constituents. In this episode, we talk about Lincoln’s roots, his arguments countering objections to improvement projects (that…

Harris and the Vice Presidency in a Historical Context

Office or incumbent? The office has been described as a nullity and a spare tire. The historic incumbents include many ‘also-rans’ and some did very little to speak of in office, or anywhere.. A few did not speak to the President while in office. One VP was described as a “smiling mediocrity” (and that was…

Imperialism Just Happened: The 1890’s Part IV

It was almost like imperialism just sort of came to America, the way events transpired. An empire reluctantly acquired, annexations made for lack of choice, a fight chosen for us. That was at least the spin in American government 1890-1899. But behind that surface were more powerful forces, ones that we shun, and embrace today….

The 1890’s Part III: No, Not That Winston Churchill

A look at the cultural 1890’s decade. Science fiction, A new form of voiced patriotism, Exploding growth in cities. And an American Winston Churchill (not the future prime minister). Horatio Alger and some unknown authors, including George Abe and an American Winston Churchill are all the reading rage. It is a country with issues when…

The 1890’s Part II: Tin Man

In this second look at the decade of the 1890’s. Economic disaster and marching citizens. Pitchfork and tin making rebellion. Competing metals and ideas. An election only makes clearer the divisions in socie In this second look at the decade of the 1890’s. Economic disaster and marching citizens. Pitchfork prairie populists and industrial workers revolt…..

The 1890’s – Part I: Mauve Decade

A look at the 1890’s, a decade where America developed in many ways. This is part of a FOUR PART series of podcasts on My History Can Beat Up Your Politics. X-rays, flying machines, oyster pirates and basketball. Also strikes, war, populism and long-forgotten literature. How did things get modern in America? The popularity of…

Inflation Gardens and Other Stories

Some economic stats are the concern of governments. Inflation is personal. In a sense, it’s all on us. Inflation has turned Presidents into crusaders. And sometimes turned the American people into the critical actors, volunteers or even “the problem.” We may or may not be there yet, but it’s worth a walk through the inflation…