2004

Audio History Archives


  • Smithsonian Museum The Museum of American History is presenting"The Price of Freedom," a controversial war exhibit that starts with the American Revolution and extends to present-day Iraq. But some historians -- and members of the Smithsonian's advisory board -- worry that the museum is telling only part of the story. NPR's Lynn Neary reports. (NPR)

  • Diane Ravitch on Educational History Ravitch discusses the educational history of immigrant children in the United States. Formerly an Assistant Secretary of Education for the George H.W. Bush administration, Ravitch is Research Professor of Education at NYU and holds the Brown Chair in Education Policy at the Brookings Institution. (NPR)

  • The Cabinet Through History NPR's Noah Adams talks with Rutgers University historian and Slate"History Lesson" columnist David Greenberg about the diminishing power of the presidential cabinet. Six of President Bush's 15 cabinet secretaries have resigned since the president won a second term three weeks ago. (NPR)

  • Howard Zinn on the Election The radical historian talks to Radio Nation's Jon Wiener about what's next after Bush's re-election and sheds no tears for John Kerry. (The Nation)

  • Clinton Legacy Did Clinton start America down the road to political polarization or was he able to tow the middle line more than any other leader in recent history? What about the scandals of his presidency or the economic boom of the '90s? Hear different takes on former US President Clinton and his legacy from a historian, a journalist and a former Clinton administration official. Historian Julian Zelizer, a professor at Boston University, is one of the guests in a discussion of President Clinton's legacy. (WBUR)

  • Divisive Presidential Elections NPR's Alex Chadwick continues his conversation with historian Lewis Gould about how Americans have experienced divisive presidential elections in the past. (NPR)

  • Second Term Presidents Pitfalls of A Second Term: Only 16 US presidents have been elected to a second term, and not all of those have gone well: Witness Ronald Reagan's Iran-Contra debacle and Bill Clinton's Monica Lewinsky scandal. On policy matters, controversial issues that presidents put off during their first term can cause trouble during their second term. Hear NPR's Robert Siegel and historian Robert Dallek. (NPR)

  • A Divided America NPR's Scott Simon talks to Yale University historian David Blight about other times in our nation's history when the country has been so divided over a presidential election. Professor Blight is the author of Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory. (NPR)

  • Joseph Ellis In His Excellency: George Washington, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Joseph J. Ellis examines the myths and realities surrounding our nation's first president, and suggests Washington was motivated as much by enlightened self-interest as idealism. Ellis briefly discusses his Vietnam service lies. (NPR)

  • The Founders and Commerce Craig Yirush, Professor of History at UCLA, joins host Bryan Le Beau to examine the relationship between commerce and republican government. This Talking History program is part of “The Founders and the Constitution” series, a collaborative effort with the Bill of Rights Institute. (Talking History)

  • The Founders and Freedom of Religion Stephen Klugewicz, Executive Director of Collegiate Network, joins host Bryan Le Beau to discuss freedom of religion and its role with Talking History host Bryan Le Beau. This Talking History program is part of “The Founders and the Constitution” series, a collaborative effort with the Bill of Rights Institute. (Talking History)

  • The Founders and Slavery Robert McDonald, professor of history at West Point Military Academy, joins host Bryan Le Beau to discuss discusses the Founding Fathers' stands on slavery. This Talking History program is part of “The Founders and the Constitution” series, a collaborative effort with the Bill of Rights Institute. (Talking History)

  • The Founders and Federalism David Marion joins host Bryan Le Beau to discuss Federalism. This Talking History program is part of “The Founders and the Constitution” series, a collaborative effort with the Bill of Rights Institute. (Talking History)

  • History and September 11th, Part 2 In the second of two programs marking the third anniversary of 9/11, Talking History features an interview with a contributor to History and September 11th, (Temple University Press): Michael Hunt, author of the essay"In the Wake of September 11th." (Talking History)

  • History and September 11th, Part 1 In the first of two programs marking the third anniversary of 9/11, Talking History features interviews with two contributors to History and September 11th, (Temple University Press): editor Joanne Meyerowitz and contributor Melani McAlister, author of the essay"A Cultural History of the War Without End." (Talking History)

  • Language Police Diane Ravitch, the author of Language Police: How Pressure Groups Restrict What Students Learn takes up the hotly contested issue of what history is taught, and how it is taught, in American elementary and secondary schools. Ravitch is Research Professor of Education at NYU and holds the Brown Chair in Education Policy at the Brookings Institution, and served as an Assistant Secretary of Education for the George H.W. Bush administration. (Talking History)

  • Parental Anxiety It is not news: parents worry about their children. But according to Fred Nielsen's guest, Peter Stearns, parental anxiety reached new heights in the 20th century, despite advances in medicine, education and living standards. Stearns is author of Anxious Parents: A History of Modern Childrearing in America. (Talking History)

  • Who Owns History We are exposed to history in documentaries, museum exhibits, numerous best-selling books and radio shows -- to name but a few instances. History is a popular, but contested, territory in terms of content, standards and meaning. This week Talking History takes a look at these issues with Fred Nielsen and historian Eric Foner, author of Who Owns History? Rethinking the Past in a Changing World. (Talking History)

  • Jim Crow One of segregation’s exquisite cruelties was its insistence on the silence of its victims. Masses of individuals lived the span of their lives without an ability to express their deep rejection of the pain inflicted upon them. At the same time the passion of these masses fueled the labor of civil rights institutions and leaders as they campaigned for equal rights. Historian Raymond Gavins explains how the “voices” of the once silenced are now being gathered and assessed. (Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars)

  • History of Housework Innovations like the washing machine may have made housework easier -- but by raising standards of cleanliness, they also created more work. NPR's Susan Stamberg discusses the history of housework with historian Susan Strasser. (NPR)

  • The Middle East and the West: The US Role Grows As World War II ended, the United States became the great outside power in the Middle East, with three main concerns: Persian Gulf oil; support and protection of the new nation of Israel; and containment of the Soviet Union. The goals proved difficult to manage, especially through the rise of Arab nationalism, two major Arab-Israeli wars and an Arab oil embargo. NPR's Mike Shuster continues his six-part series on the turbulent history of Western involvement in the Middle East with the story of America's rising role in the region. (NPR)

  • The Crusades When President Bush first declared the war on terrorism soon after the 9/11 attacks, he made the mistake of using the word" crusade" to describe it. That was much condemned in the Arab world, where the Crusades are often cited as emblematic of Western designs on the Middle East. NPR's Mike Shuster begins a special six-part series on the long and turbulent history of Western involvement in the Middle East with a look at the Christian Crusades. (NPR)

  • Church Sundays Historically, Sunday was reserved for prayer and reflection, and most commerce or non-religious activity was off-limits. But these days almost anything goes. NPR's Susan Stamberg talks with the Alexis McCrossen, author of Holy Day, Holiday: The American Sunday. (NPR)

  • Hollywood and History Everyone knows that Sam Houston said"Remember the Alamo" to rally his troops after hearing the news from San Antonio. After all, we saw it at the movies. How much has Hollywood shaped our collective memory? Join NPR's Neal Conan to explore the intertwining of US history and film. Guest: Peter Rollins. (NPR)

  • Suburban Sprawl Adam Rome, author of The Bulldozer in the Countryside: Suburban Sprawl and the Rise of American Environmentalism. (Talking History)

  • Globalization The fate of globalization with Harold James, professor of history at the University of Princeton and author of The End of Globalization: Lessons from the Great Depression. (Talking History)

  • Progressivism Michael McGerr has written a book on what many historians believe is the greatest reform movement in American history -- the Progressive Movement. President Theodore Roosevelt referred to the time as a period of"fierce discontent with evil." (Talking History)

  • Electric Chair Capital punishment is one of the most hotly-debated topics in America, and often at the heart of those debates is the electric chair, which is seen by many as an overly cruel and unusual form of punishment. Richard Moran provides a history of the electric chair. (Talking History)

  • Tobacco From the time of its discovery in America, tobacco has been exported to the world, bringing it both pleasure and pain. Iain Gately provides a history of what he calls the"exotic plant that seduced civilization." (Talking History)

  • Eric Sevareid The press has a long tradition of thoughtful commentators and analysts, reaching back to Henry Adams and Benjamin Franklin. But the tradition hasn't exactly thrived in television, especially in recent years as attention spans have shrunk and the shouting has increased. But this wasn't always the case. During the 1960s and 1970s -- a time of considerable shouting in society -- Eric Sevareid offered elegant nightly commentaries on CBS Evening News that were among the most admired in journalism. His longtime colleague Walter Cronkite reflects on Sevareid's work, and a time when television took time to think. (NPR)

  • Faulty Intelligence Slate contributor Matt Wall looks back at some events in American history in which the United States took action based on faulty intelligence. (NPR)

  • Kevin Phillips An interview with Kevin Phillips about his 2004 book American Dynasty: Aristocracy, Fortune, and the Politics of Deceit in the House of Bush. (NPR)

  • Frederick Douglass William L. Andrews examines Douglass’s autobiography as a source of information on the man and the institution. (Talking History)\

  • Mutiny on the Bounty Caroline Alexander discusses her latest book, The Bounty: The True Story of the Mutiny on the Bounty. (Talking History)

  • LBJ Commentary by Thomas Schwartz, author of Lyndon. B. Johnson and Europe in the Shadow of Vietnam. (Talking History)

  • Children of Presidents Commentary by Doug Wead, author of a book that explains why the children of presidents go wrong. (Talking History)