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American History Tellers

American History Tellers

The Cold War, Prohibition, the Gold Rush, the Space Race. Every part of your life - the words you speak, the ideas you share - can be traced to our history, but how well do you really know the stories that made America? We?ll take you to the events, the times and the people that shaped our nation. And we?ll show you how our history affected them, their families and affects you today. Hosted by Lindsay Graham (not the Senator). From Wondery, the network behind American Scandal, Tides of History, American Innovations and more.

New episodes come out every Wednesday for free, with 1-week early access for Wondery+ subscribers.

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Episodes

Encore: The Walker Affair | The Last Filibuster | 3

When he escaped Nicaragua in 1857, American William Walker was a failed despot responsible for the death of thousands of people and the destabilization of Central America. But he returned to New Orleans with fanfare, greeted by cheering crowds and parades. Soon Walker vowed to return to Central America to take back control of his empire. But his final, daring invasion would end in disaster. 

This series was originally released as a Wondery+ exclusive.

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2022-10-05
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Encore: The Walker Affair | Nicaragua's Yankee President | 2

In 1855, William Walker faced a criminal trial in the United States for his illegal, and unsuccessful, invasion of Mexico. But he emerged from court fully acquitted, and to some, a national hero. Emboldened by his popularity, Walker set his sights on a new prize: Nicaragua, which had become a critical transit route between east and west.

This series was originally released as a Wondery+ exclusive.

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2022-09-28
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Encore: The Walker Affair | The Gray-Eyed Man of Destiny | 1

In the mid-1800s, the United States was full of adventurers and entrepreneurs looking to take advantage of the country?s ever-expanding boundaries. One of them was a young lawyer and newspaper editor from Tennessee named William Walker. Hoping to establish his own republic, like Texas, Walker became a ?filibuster? ? a mercenary who attempts to colonize foreign lands without government authorization. He set his sights on a remote corner of Mexico, on the Baja Peninsula. But Walker?s ragtag band of soldiers-for-hire quickly ran afoul of the Mexican authorities.  

This series was originally released as a Wondery+ exclusive.

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2022-09-21
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Civil War | Finding Freedom | 8

During the Civil War, Black people in America took the opportunity to free themselves and to serve the Union cause. At great personal risk, tens of thousands of refugees -- men, women and children -- fled Southern slave owners for Union lines. They enlisted in the Union Army and served as cooks, laundresses, nurses and even spies. On today?s show, Wayne State University history professor Kidada Williams joins host Lindsay Graham for a conversation about the Black experience during the Civil War. Professor Williams is host of the podcast Seizing Freedom, which tells stories of Black Americans? quest for liberty, equality and joy.

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2022-09-14
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Introducing: How I Built This with Guy Raz

When Guy Raz interviews business leaders from the world?s biggest companies on How I Built This, he?s looking for more than anecdotes of success. 

Guy has spoken with the founders of some of the world?s best-known companies about their journey to where they are today. His goal is to inspire you with their stories, to provide you with a roadmap to learn how to think differently and to approach challenges like they?re opportunities, just like an entrepreneur.

In 2016, Fawn Weaver became fixated on a newspaper article telling the little-known story of Nearest Green, a formerly enslaved man who taught Jack Daniel?yes, that Jack Daniel?how to make Tennessee whiskey. After diving deeper into the story, Fawn and her husband Keith purchased the 300-acre Tennessee farm where Nearest had taught Jack to distill; and Fawn decided the best way to honor Nearest was with a bottle of the best Tennessee whiskey she could make. With no background in distilling, she threw herself into the insular world of spirit-making, and today, Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey is one of the top-awarded whiskeys in the U.S.  

Follow ?How I Built This with Guy Raz? on Amazon Music, Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts. You can listen one week early on Amazon Music or early and ad-free by subscribing to Wondery Plus in Apple Podcasts or the Wondery app: wondery.fm/HIBT-AHT

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2022-09-12
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Civil War | Bind Up the Nation's Wounds | 7

In early 1865, after four long years of bloodshed, the Confederacy was on the brink of defeat. General William Tecumseh Sherman marched his army through South Carolina, where Union soldiers sought vengeance against the secessionist state that started the war. After nine grueling months of siege warfare in Virginia, General Ulysses S. Grant prepared to strike a final blow against Robert E. Lee?s starving, ragged army. Soon, the two commanders would meet at a house in Appomattox, Virginia to finally bring the war to a close.

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2022-09-07
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Civil War | March To The Sea | 6

In 1864, Ulysses S. Grant took charge of the entire Union Army and laid out his ambitious plans to finally win the war. Grant pursued Lee in Virginia in a campaign unrivaled in the history of the war for its brutal, savage fighting. In the Election of 1864, Abraham Lincoln battled Democratic General George McClellan for the presidency. And that fall, General William Tecumseh Sherman launched his infamous March to the Sea, determined to spread misery through the Georgia countryside.

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2022-08-31
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Civil War | Gettysburg | 5

In the summer of 1863, General Robert E. Lee made a daring bid for victory. He marched his army north to invade Pennsylvania. For three sweltering days, two massive armies locked in combat in the Battle of Gettysburg, the defining clash of the Civil War?and the conflict?s bloodiest. In the West, General Ulysses S. Grant emerges as the North?s most capable military leader as he drives his forces in the Siege of Vicksburg to turn the tide of the war.

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2022-08-24
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Civil War | The Fires at Home | 4

As the Civil War raged on, families on the homefront faced increasingly heavy tolls, enduring crippling economic turmoil, food shortages and explosive class tensions.

Meanwhile, Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis waged their own battles with congressmen and governors over war policies. And in 1863 politics clashed with realities on the ground when hundreds of starving women rioted in Richmond, the Confederate capitol, and the Union draft sparked deadly riots in New York City.

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2022-08-17
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Civil War | Emancipation | 3

The Civil War began as an effort to hold the country together. Few Northern soldiers marched into battle to end slavery. But tens of thousands of enslaved men, women, and children took matters into their own hands, using the chaos of the war to free themselves from bondage. Their action forced a gradual shift in Union war policy.

After a bloody, hard-fought victory over Confederate forces at Antietam, Abraham Lincoln decided the time had come for what was once unthinkable: a proclamation that would end slavery for good.

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There was a publishing issue when this episode was originally released which we quickly resolved. If you are hearing the incorrect audio, here are some things to try:

1. If the episode is downloaded to your app, delete it and re-download

2. Try listening in another podcast app, preferably on a different device if you have one available

3. Try listening to the episode on our website

If you need more assistance, feel free to contact us at help.wondery.com

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2022-08-10
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Civil War | First Blood | 2

On April 19th, 1861, an angry mob of Confederate sympathizers in Baltimore tried to stop a regiment of Union soldiers rushing to protect the capitol. Soon, four soldiers and 12 locals lay dead, and dozens more were wounded. It was the first blood spilled in what would become the Civil War.

Soon, Union and Confederate soldiers marched into their first major battle. Both sides were confident of a quick, decisive victory. But the bloodiest war in U.S. history was just beginning. 

Listen ad free with Wondery+. Join Wondery+ for exclusives, binges, early access, and ad free listening. Available in the Wondery App. https://wondery.app.link/historytellers

Please support us by supporting our sponsors!

There was a publishing issue when this episode was originally released which we quickly resolved. If you are hearing the incorrect audio, here are some things to try:

1. If the episode is downloaded to your app, delete it and re-download

2. Try listening in another podcast app, preferably on a different device if you have one available

3. Try listening to the episode on our website

If you need more assistance, feel free to contact us at help.wondery.com

See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.

2022-08-03
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Civil War | The Gathering Storm | 1

Over the first decades of the 19th century, Americans fought over whether slavery should be allowed to expand into newly settled western territories. The debate grew so fierce that it led to a bloody attack right on the floor of the U.S. Senate. Many believed that the fight over slavery had made the bonds of union more brittle than ever. 

Then, in 1860, Abraham Lincoln won the presidency with a promise to keep slavery out of the West. Lincoln?s victory was the tipping point. One by one, Southern states took steps to sever their ties to the Union, and America hurtled down the path to Civil War.

Listen ad free with Wondery+. Join Wondery+ for exclusives, binges, early access, and ad free listening. Available in the Wondery App. https://wondery.app.link/historytellers

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There was a publishing issue when this episode was originally released which we quickly resolved. If you are hearing the incorrect audio, here are some things to try:

1. If the episode is downloaded to your app, delete it and re-download

2. Try listening in another podcast app, preferably on a different device if you have one available

3. Try listening to the episode on our website

If you need more assistance, feel free to contact us at help.wondery.com

See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.

2022-07-27
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Encore: The Age of Jackson | A Nation Divided | 7

The Age of Jackson was a time of intense change and tremendous growth in the United States. But it was not without controversy. In the years leading up to the Civil War, slavery and the rising abolitionist movement divided the country. On this episode, Lindsay speaks with Dr. Kate Masur, a history professor at Northwestern University and the author of Until Justice Be Done: America?s First Civil Rights Movement, from the Revolution to Reconstruction. They?ll discuss the decades leading up to the Civil War: the Black codes, the Fugitive Slave Act, and the Compromise of 1850 and states? rights.

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2022-07-20
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Encore: The Age of Jackson | Manifest Destiny | 6

In 1845, newly inaugurated President James Polk made America?s westward expansion a centerpiece of his administration. Before long, the phrase ?Manifest Destiny? was used to describe this growing sense of inevitability the United States would extend its territory across the entire North American continent. There was just one problem: Mexico was standing in the way.

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2022-07-13
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Encore: The Age of Jackson | The Little Magician | 5

During the last years of Andrew Jackson?s presidency, the American economy flourished. But when his successor, Martin Van Buren, took office, he inherited a financial crisis. Before he became president, Van Buren?s political skill had earned him the nickname ?The Little Magician.? But he could not conjure away two major stains on his administration: the Panic of 1837, and the forced removal of Native Americans from the South that became known as the Trail of Tears.

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2022-07-06
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Encore: The Age of Jackson | Great White Father | 4

During his military career, Andrew Jackson won several ruthless victories over indigenous people. After becoming president in 1829, he waged political war against them, too. Jackson championed ?Indian removal? ? the forced displacement of Native Americans to make way for white settlers. And none would feel the brunt of Jackson?s policies more than the groups known as the ?Five Civilized Tribes? ? the Cherokee, Creek, Choctaw, Chickasaw, and Seminole.

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2022-06-29
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Encore: The Age of Jackson | King Mob | 3

On Andrew Jackson?s inauguration day, citizens mobbed the White House, breaking furniture and fine china. It was a sign of troubles to come. Elected as a populist president, Jackson was dogged by chaos and controversy from his first days in office. But a sex scandal known as ?The Petticoat Affair? was minor compared to the challenges that lay ahead for America?s seventh president.

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2022-06-22
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Encore: The Age of Jackson | Good Feelings | 2

In the summer of 1817, President James Monroe toured the country in an effort to unify the ever-growing United States. His optimistic presidency ushered in what became known as ?The Era of Good Feelings.? But in reality, it was barely an era at all. The facade of political unity had already begun to crack by 1819, when Monroe faced his first serious political crisis: the Missouri Controversy, which brought the issue of slavery into the national spotlight.

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2022-06-15
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Encore: The Age of Jackson | Washington Burns | 1

In 1814, British troops burned down the White House. That fire would be extinguished, and the Executive Mansion would be rebuilt. But another fire smoldered on ? a fire that would eventually consume the United States. This is Antebellum America: the decades leading up to the Civil War.

This was America?s adolescence. The young nation was growing at tremendous speed, forcing its leaders to address fundamental questions about their country?s identity and values. Could the individual states put aside their differences to remain united? And could this new country live up to its lofty ideals, especially when it came to issues like slavery or the treatment of Native Americans?

One leader shaped this era more than any other: America?s reluctant seventh president, Andrew Jackson.

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2022-06-08
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The Great Mississippi Flood | Media Storm | 4

In 1927, a slow-moving catastrophe like the Great Mississippi Flood was perfect material for a relatively new medium: radio. Over the airwaves, the flood became the first natural disaster that Americans could follow almost in real time, day by day, as the rising river waters swept away one town after another.

In this episode, Lindsay talks with Susan Scott Parrish, author of The Flood Year 1927: A Cultural History, about the ways Americans far from the Mississippi River experienced the disaster in newspapers, on the radio, and in popular culture. They'll also discuss how entertainers of the time rallied the public to raise funds for recovery, while federal relief efforts only enforced existing socioeconomic and racial divides in the South.

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2022-06-01
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The Great Mississippi Flood | Master of Emergencies | 3

Herbert Hoover?s management of the flood relief garnered widespread praise and put him in position to secure the Republican nomination for President. But the African-American press told a different story, one of rampant racial abuse in Red Cross camps throughout the flood zone.

In Greenville, Mississippi, the exploitation of Black workers was especially persistent. In the summer, tensions rose to new heights, and soon, a fatal shooting would tear the battered town apart.

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2022-05-25
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The Great Mississippi Flood | Dirty Water | 2

Early in the morning on April 22nd, 1927, flood waters from a break in the Mound Landing levee entered the town of Greenville, Mississippi. Within hours, the town was submerged in 10 feet of water. Thousands of residents fought to reach higher ground, desperately clinging to tree tops and floating houses.

The flood inundated 27,000 square miles in seven states. Soon, President Calvin Coolidge appointed Commerce Secretary Herbert Hoover to manage relief efforts for the Red Cross. But Hoover?s decision to decentralize relief would have unintended consequences ? especially in towns like Greenville, where thousands of Black sharecroppers were virtual prisoners, detained in brutally policed refugee camps.

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2022-05-18
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The Great Mississippi Flood | When the Levee Breaks | 1

In the winter and spring of 1927, record-setting rain fell across the central United States. The Mississippi River swelled to capacity, and by April, the water breached major levees. It was the start of the most catastrophic river flood in American history.

When the flood threatened the town of Greenville in the Mississippi Delta, white plantation owners pulled tens of thousands of Black workers from the cotton fields and sent them to the river. An army of hundreds of men worked day and night, piling sandbags to battle the raging waters. But soon, despite their efforts, the Great Mississippi Flood would unleash destruction on the Delta.

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2022-05-11
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Lewis and Clark | The Journey and the Journals | 4

The Lewis and Clark expedition changed the course of American history. But after its bold, charismatic leader, Meriwether Lewis, ended his life in an apparent suicide, the expedition was largely forgotten. Not until the 20th century would the exploits of Lewis and Clark?s Corps of Discovery recapture the imaginations of historians and the general public.

In this episode, Lindsay speaks with Clay S. Jenkinson, an author, historian, and host of acclaimed public radio show and podcast The Thomas Jefferson Hour. They?ll discuss Jefferson?s motives for ordering the expedition, its impact on Native American societies, the mysterious circumstances surrounding Lewis?s death, and the legacy of Lewis and Clark today.

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2022-05-04
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Lewis and Clark | The Long Way Home | 3

After 18 months and over two thousand miles, Lewis and Clark?s Corps of Discovery had reached the Pacific Ocean. Now, they would have to find their way back. And in a last-ditch bid for glory, they would split up the Corps into smaller groups, hoping to map more river routes and make contact with more Native American tribes. But the plan would backfire, putting the entire expedition at risk, even as the end of their journey was finally within reach.

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2022-04-27
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Lewis and Clark | Across the Rockies | 2

In the spring of 1805, Lewis and Clark resumed their journey up the Missouri River in search of the Pacific. But to reach the ocean, they would have to cross the towering Rocky Mountains. It was a forbidding task, and one they couldn?t achieve alone. They would need the help of their young interpreter, Sacagawea, and her tribe, the Shoshone. But first, they had to locate the elusive Shoshone ? and with winter fast approaching, time was running out.

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2022-04-20
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Lewis and Clark | Into the Wild | 1

In 1803, Captains Meriwether Lewis and William Clark began a westward journey that would transform America. Their mission was to head up the Missouri River and find a route through the uncharted west to the Pacific Ocean. The journey was full of risk. But no danger loomed larger in their minds than the Sioux ? the powerful Native American confederacy of the plains. And it wouldn't be long before the two crossed paths.

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2022-04-13
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The Fight for Women's Suffrage | Portrait of a Struggle | 6

For Alice Paul and other leading white suffragists, image was important. They published their own newspapers and staged dramatic public protests to gain press attention and shape public opinion. But all too often, white suffrage activists refused to make room for Black allies in their idealized image of a woman voter.

In this episode, Lindsay speaks with Dr. Allison Lange, a historian who focuses on the intersection of gender and power, and how visual imagery shaped the battle for women?s suffrage. They'll discuss the way images were used both for and against suffrage, and how there are echoes of the suffragist's strategies in the way female politicians present themselves today. 

Find out more about Dr. Lange?s book, Picturing Political Power: https://press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/chicago/P/bo50270913.html

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2022-04-06
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The Fight for Women's Suffrage | The 19th Amendment | 5

As America entered World War I, the suffrage movement split into a two-pronged attack. Alice Paul and her National Woman?s Party took their protests to the White House gates. Meanwhile, Carrie Chapman Catt and her group, the National American Woman Suffrage Association, lobbied to prove the loyalty and patriotism of American women, hoping they would be rewarded with the ballot.

Together, these two groups would finally succeed in pushing a new amendment through Congress, granting women the right to vote. But before it could become law, it would have to be ratified by the states ? leading to a dramatic showdown in the final state the suffragists needed, Tennessee.

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2022-03-30
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The Fight for Women's Suffrage | Silent Sentinels | 4

In March 1913, thousands of suffrage activists converged on Washington, D.C. for a new form of protest. They were going to march down Pennsylvania Avenue to demand an amendment to the U.S. Constitution, guaranteeing women the right to vote. Their leader, Alice Paul, was a young rising star in the movement. Her dramatic protests outside the White House would grab headlines across America. But they would also spark fierce and sometimes violent resistance.

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2022-03-23
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The Fight for Women's Suffrage | Passing the Torch | 3

As the 20th century dawned, a new generation of women rose to take control of the suffrage cause. These young activists were going to college, delaying marriage, and pursuing careers. Their political savvy helped the movement win victories at the state level in the West. But new leaders like Carrie Chapman Catt also shunned Black activists. Facing discrimination within their own movement, Black suffrage leaders like Ida B. Wells forged their own path, fighting racism and sexism on their own terms.

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2022-03-16
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The Fight for Women's Suffrage | The Trial of Susan B. Anthony | 2

On Election Day 1872, Susan B. Anthony walked into a polling place in Rochester, New York and boldly cast her ballot. Her action was an escalation in women?s fight for the vote. Days later, she was arrested for voting illegally. It was all part of a daring new strategy for suffrage called the ?New Departure.? At first, the strategy found a charismatic champion in a new women?s rights advocate, Victoria Woodhull. But Woodhull?s penchant for controversy would soon jeopardize the entire suffrage cause.

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2022-03-09
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The Fight for Women's Suffrage | Created Equal | 1

On July 19th, 1848, 300 female and male delegates gathered in a church in Seneca Falls, New York for America?s first women?s rights convention. After two days, 100 of the attendees signed the Declaration of Sentiments, a radical manifesto affirming the equality of men and women. It was the start of the women?s rights revolution.

Over the next two decades, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony built a movement to push for women?s suffrage. They worked side by side with abolitionists, certain their causes were intertwined. But in the years after the Civil War, racial tensions broke apart the decades-old alliance between those fighting for the end of slavery and those fighting for women?s voting rights.

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2022-03-02
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The Plot to Steal Lincoln's Body | The Manhunt | 3

By 1876, criminal boss Big Jim Kennally was ready to put his Lincoln body-snatching plan into motion. But his gang of thieves needed one more member before they could attempt the heist.

Soon, they found their new recruit: a former horse thief from Wisconsin named Lewis Swegles. But what the gang didn?t know was that Swegles was a ?roper? ? an undercover informant, employed by Secret Service agent Patrick Tyrrell to bring down Kennally?s counterfeiting ring. When Swegles revealed the Lincoln plot to Tyrrell, the agent knew he had to act fast. First, however, he had to convince his bosses at the Secret Service that the far-fetched plot was real.

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2022-02-23
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The Plot to Steal Lincoln's Body | The Roper | 2

By 1876, criminal boss Big Jim Kennally was ready to put his Lincoln body-snatching plan into motion. But his gang of thieves needed one more member before they could attempt the heist.

Soon, they found their new recruit: a former horse thief from Wisconsin named Lewis Swegles. But what the gang didn?t know was that Swegles was a ?roper? ? an undercover informant, employed by Secret Service agent Patrick Tyrrell to bring down Kennally?s counterfeiting ring. When Swegles revealed the Lincoln plot to Tyrrell, the agent knew he had to act fast. First, however, he had to convince his bosses at the Secret Service that the far-fetched plot was real.

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2022-02-16
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The Plot to Steal Lincoln's Body | The Counterfeiters | 1

In the 1870s, a gang from Chicago hatched one of the most audacious criminal plots in American history. They planned to steal the body of Abraham Lincoln from his tomb in Springfield, Illinois, then hold the president?s corpse for ransom.  

The brazen plot began in an unlikely place ? the murky world of fake money. In the mid-1800s, counterfeiting was so rampant in the United States that it threatened the financial stability of the entire nation. One especially notorious counterfeiting gang was run by Big Jim Kennally ? and when Big Jim?s most talented engraver was arrested, it drove his gang to take the leap from counterfeiting to grave-robbing.

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2022-02-09
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Billy the Kid | Man, Myth, Legend | 4

Billy the Kid has become one of the most iconic figures of the American West. But many details of his life remain unknown or heavily debated among scholars and historians, from his childhood prior to his arrival in New Mexico, to the circumstances surrounding his death.

On this episode, Lindsay speaks with Chris Wimmer, creator and host of Legends of the Old West, a podcast about the outlaws, gunslingers and lawmen who shaped the American frontier. Chris and Lindsay dive deep into the Billy the Kid story, both as portrayed in Hollywood and in the history books, to try to separate truth from fiction and reveal the young man behind the myth.

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2022-02-02
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Billy the Kid | Dead or Alive | 3

With the bloody Lincoln County War finally over, Billy the Kid tried to make a truce with his arch enemy, Jimmy Dolan. But his plan backfired, and he wound up forced to go on the run, implicated in a murder Dolan committed.

Billy?s charm and quick wits kept him just outside the reach of law. But he would soon meet his match. A former bartender turned lawman, Pat Garrett, vowed to capture and kill the Kid at any cost. Garrett?s epic pursuit of Billy the Kid took him through the hills and villages of New Mexico, until their final deadly clash, which would turn the Kid into a legend.

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2022-01-26
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Billy the Kid | The Lincoln County War | 2

In 1877, Billy the Kid was saved from a life of crime by a wealthy Englishman named John Tunstall, who saw potential in the teenage outlaw. Soon, however, Billy was drawn into a vicious war between Tunstall and a rival cattle baron, one that would force him to return to his gunslinging ways.

When Tunstall himself was murdered in the escalating Lincoln County War, Billy swore he would get revenge. The violence that followed was shocking even by the standards of the Wild West. The Kid would become a major player in the bloodshed, made infamous by newspapers throughout the country. Ultimately, it would force him to once again flee from the law ? and set him on a path towards a showdown with his arch enemy, the ruthless Jimmy Dolan.

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2022-01-19
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Billy the Kid | Born to Lose | 1

Henry McCarty was born in an Irish slum in New York City in 1859. By the time he died from a lawman?s bullet twenty-one years later in New Mexico, he was notorious throughout the world under a different name: Billy the Kid.

Born to a single, loving mother, young Henry was smart, charming and polite. But he soon faced tragic, devastating setbacks that sent him on a path from robbery to murder. Orphaned at 15, Henry was forced to survive on the western frontier, an unforgiving place where life was cheap. And he would soon become one of the most infamous outlaws in American history.

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2022-01-12
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Philippine-American War | The Path to Independence | 5

The Philippine-American War marked the emergence of America as a global power. But what has been the legacy of the war in the country in which it was fought? How did the war set the stage for Philippine independence, and pave the way for generations of Filipino immigration to the U.S.?

In this episode, Lindsay speaks with Dr. Vicente Rafael, a historian whose work focuses on the colonial and post-colonial Philippines and the country?s relationship with the United States. They?ll discuss the history of the Philippines before, during and after the war, the roles education and language have played in U.S. imperialism, and how the war is remembered ? or forgotten ? in the Philippines today.

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2022-01-05
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Philippine-American War | Acts of Sedition | 4

With the war officially over, William Howard Taft took over authority as the Governor of the Philippines. Taft was a deep believer in the U.S. policy of ?benevolent assimilation? and turned to schooling and political attraction to draw Filipinos to his mission. But he continued to struggle with pockets of armed resistance and challenges to American rule, including a series of ?seditious? plays that hit Manila?s thriving theater scene.

Filipinos were caught in a country broken by war, and in the coming years, many migrated to the U.S. to look for jobs, education and a better life. Filipino migrants powered the factories, fields and plantations in Hawaii and the West Coast, but they also faced hardship and discrimination in pursuit of the American dream. 

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2021-12-29
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Philippine-American War | A Howling Wilderness | 3

In March 1901, American forces launched a daring raid to capture the Filipino revolutionary leader Emilio Aguinaldo. Head of U.S. Philippine forces, General Arthur MacArthur, hoped that his surrender would finally break the resistance and bring the war to an end.

But fighting soon expanded to remote areas of the country. Frustrated with the stubborn resistance, America?s military leaders turned to increasingly harsher measures to crush the enemy. But accounts of atrocities by U.S. soldiers soon filled newspapers at home, reigniting public debate about the war, prompting court martials, and sparking a Congressional hearing into the abuses.

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2021-12-22
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Philippine-American War | Under the Free Flag | 2

In 1898, America?s victory over Spanish forces in the Philippines suddenly thrust the United States onto the global stage. It also drew the country into a more complicated conflict with the very people it claimed to be liberating.

As the U.S. expanded its occupation of the Philippines, American soldiers drove Filipino rebels deeper into the countryside. Some rebels began to question the leadership of Emilio Aguinaldo, the face of the Philippine independence movement. In response, Aguinaldo attempted to consolidate power and shift his strategy toward guerilla warfare, setting both nations on a path towards more violence and conflict.

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2021-12-15
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Philippine-American War | Into the Jaws of a Dragon | 1

On February 4th, 1899, war broke out between the United States and the Philippines. The two nations had begun as allies against Spain the previous year, during the Spanish-American War. The Spanish had occupied the Philippines for three centuries, and the U.S. arrived promising to drive out the European colonial power. But after the Spanish left, the Americans stayed, in defiance of widespread calls for Philippine independence.

America?s bloody war in the Philippines was the nation?s first major overseas conflict. It spanned the tumultuous early years of the 20th century and shaped the political destiny of Teddy Roosevelt, who began the war as Assistant Secretary of the Navy and ended it as President. And it marked the emergence of the United States as a true global power. But the war divided Americans and came at great cost to the people of the Philippines.

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2021-12-08
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Traitors | Accomplice or Martyr | 5

Not every case of treason is open and shut. With some accused traitors, questions of their guilt or innocence can linger for generations. That?s certainly the case with Mary Surratt. Even before she was hanged in 1865 for her alleged role in the plot to assassinate Abraham Lincoln, many argued that she was an innocent widow convicted on false testimony. After her death, she became a martyr to the Confederate cause. To this day, Civil War scholars are divided on whether or not she was an active participant in the Lincoln plot.

On this episode, Lindsay speaks with author and historian Kate Clifford Larson. Her book The Assassin?s Accomplice attempts to debunk many of the myths surrounding Surratt and the conspiracy to assassinate President Lincoln. They?ll discuss not only Surratt, but our general fascination with traitors and their stories of duplicity and betrayal.

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2021-12-01
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Traitors | Nightmover | 4

On June 13, 1985, Aldrich Ames packed up six pounds of top secret documents into a plastic bag and walked out the door of the CIA headquarters. He drove to lunch, where he gave the documents to a Soviet diplomat. They contained the identities of America?s most important spies within the Soviet Union.

Not long after, the Soviets told Ames that $2 million had been set aside for him. Ames had become the highest-paid American spy of the Cold War, and his betrayal would soon prove disastrous.

That fall, the CIA was mystified by a string of mysterious disappearances. The agency?s best assets within the Soviet Union were vanishing, never to be heard from again. But it would be years before investigators uncovered the mole within their ranks.

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2021-11-24
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Traitors | The Atomic Spies | 3

In September 1949, the world was shocked to learn that the Soviet Union had conducted its first nuclear weapons test, just four years after the United States dropped the first atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. U.S. authorities thought there was only one way the Soviets could narrow the nuclear arms gap so quickly -- by stealing atomic secrets from the U.S.

In 1950, the FBI arrested a young Jewish couple, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, for running a spy ring and passing nuclear secrets to the Soviet Union. At their trial, the Rosenbergs became lightning rods for controversy and anti-communist hysteria. But the true extent of their guilt would remain shrouded in mystery for decades to come.

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2021-11-17
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Traitors | The Widow and the Assassin | 2

On the night of April 14, 1865, John Wilkes Booth stepped into the presidential box at Washington?s Ford?s Theatre, raised a pistol at President Abraham Lincoln, and squeezed the trigger. Lincoln would soon die of his wounds, making him the first president to be assassinated in American history. As the nation plunged into mourning, the hunt for Lincoln?s killer began.

But authorities soon revealed a conspiracy much bigger than just one man. The investigation would focus on an unlikely accomplice: a widow and boarding house owner named Mary Surratt. 

In the months leading up to the assassination, Booth and his men met frequently at Surratt?s boarding house, and her tavern was their first stop on their escape. But her exact role in the plot and subsequent military trial led to controversy and conflict that would rage for years to come.

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2021-11-10
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Traitors | Treason of the Blackest Dye | 1

Early in the Revolutionary War, Major General Benedict Arnold built a reputation as a courageous commander. He was a favorite of George Washington?s. But he also revealed a fragile ego and a penchant for holding grudges. As the war went on, Arnold?s temper, ambition, and greed would turn him from hero to villain.

In this four-part series, American History Tellers explores the stories of America?s most infamous traitors -- the men and women who were charged, rightly or wrongly, with betraying their country. All of them paid a high price for their crimes. And all of them changed the course of our nation?s history -- starting with the man whose name is now synonymous with treason: Benedict Arnold.

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2021-11-03
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