History That Doesn't Suck

Prof. Greg Jackson

HTDS is a bi-weekly podcast, delivering a legit, seriously researched, hard-hitting survey of American history through entertaining stories. To keep up with History That Doesn’t Suck news, check us out on Facebook and Instagram: @Historythatdoesntsuck; on Twitter: @HTDSpod; or online at htdspodcast.com. Support the podcast at Patreon.com/historythatdoesntsuck. read less
HistoryHistory
EducationEducation
Society & CultureSociety & Culture

Episodes

158: Prohibition - So You Wanna Be a Rum Runner?
Yesterday
158: Prohibition - So You Wanna Be a Rum Runner?
“You’re Bill McCoy.” “Never heard of him.” This is the story of a crazy decade-plus when America outlawed booze…but the liquor kept flowing.  The Prohibition era marks a partial return to the Golden Age of Piracy, with bootleggers frequenting old haunts in the Caribbean, including Nassau, capital of The Bahamas. These sailors are also buying, selling, and drinking copious amounts of—you guessed it—rum. But how does all this booze get from the Bahamas to speakeasies in New York?  William “Bill” McCoy is a legendary rumrunner, one of the best. He’ll be our captain as we explore Nassau’s offerings, buy from the Bootleg Queen of The Bahamas, Gertrude “Cleo” Lythgoe and set out on a 1923 voyage up “Rum Row” to New York, carefully avoiding the actual pirates and the US Coast Guard. Once we square away a buyer, we’ll take our haul to shore with Maisie Manders and enjoy a few well-earned drinks in Manhattan. All aboard!  Connect with us on HTDSpodcast.com and go deep into episode bibliographies and book recommendations join discussions in our Facebook community get news and discounts from The HTDS Gazette  come see a live show get HTDS merch or become an HTDS premium member for bonus episodes and other perks. HTDS is part of the Airwave Media Network.  Interested in advertising on the History That Doesn't Suck? Email us at advertising@airwavemedia.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
157: Temperance, Prohibition, and the Path to the 18th Amendment
Jun 3 2024
157: Temperance, Prohibition, and the Path to the 18th Amendment
Episode Description: “Farewell, you good-for-nothing, God-forsaken, iniquitous, bleary-eyed, bloated-faced old imp of perdition, farewell!” This is the story of the path to prohibition. Early America drinks a lot – I mean, A LOT. Alcohol doesn’t give you dysentery, it’s used as a medicine, and in the first decades of the Republic, whiskey is cheaper than coffee or tea. But some are starting to think that maybe Uncle Sam needs an intervention. First, it's the American Temperance Society, then the Washingtonians, and by the late-nineteenth-century, it’s the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union. These ladies are particularly keen to see the nation lay off the bottle, particularly as drunk men are laying their paychecks on saloon bars and fists on their wives and children. But no one is perhaps more invested or influential than the Anti-Saloon League’s Wayne B. Wheeler.  From Founding Father Luther Martin’s likely drunken appearance before the Supreme Court, to Carrie Nation busting up saloons with a hatchet, and Wayne Wheeler proving himself a master lobbyist and king-making in Congress, this is the “how” and “why” behind the US Constitution’s 18th Amendment.  ____ Connect with us on HTDSpodcast.com and go deep into episode bibliographies and book recommendations join discussions in our Facebook community get news and discounts from The HTDS Gazette  come see a live show get HTDS merch or become an HTDS premium member for bonus episodes and other perks. HTDS is part of the Airwave Media Network.  Interested in advertising on the History That Doesn't Suck? Email us at advertising@airwavemedia.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
156: The Presidency of “Silent” Cal Coolidge
May 20 2024
156: The Presidency of “Silent” Cal Coolidge
“I believe I can swing it.” This is the story of the Coolidge Administration. Calvin Coolidge isn’t the most talkative guy–he’s painfully shy, to be frank–but “Silent Cal” does care deeply about public service. Over the years, the thrifty, hard-working New Englander moves up the ranks, from municipal offices to state offices, until, as Massachusetts Governor, he’s asked to join Warren G. Harding’s run for the White House. When the scandalous, playboy President meets an untimely end, family man Cal suddenly finds himself President of the United States. Cal slashes government spending and taxes while pursuing peace abroad. He also sees terrible heartache with the loss of loved ones. Meanwhile, the nation is debating if evolution should be taught in schools, the Mississippi floods, and the sculpting of Mount Rushmore begins. Cal might not be a hands-on president, but much is happening during his time in office that will reverberate into the years ahead.  ____ Connect with us on HTDSpodcast.com and go deep into episode bibliographies and book recommendations join discussions in our Facebook community get news and discounts from The HTDS Gazette  come see a live show get HTDS merch or become an HTDS premium member for bonus episodes and other perks. HTDS is part of the Airwave Media Network.  Interested in advertising on the History That Doesn't Suck? Email us at advertising@airwavemedia.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
155: The Life & Times of Warren G. Harding & The Teapot Dome Scandal
May 6 2024
155: The Life & Times of Warren G. Harding & The Teapot Dome Scandal
“If you knew of a great scandal in our administration, would you for the good of the country and the party expose it publicly or would you bury it?”  This is the story of a brilliant man’s presidency and the greatest presidential scandal to precede Watergate. This is the story of Warren G. Harding and the Teapot Dome Scandal. Growing up in Ohio, Warren–or little “Winnie,” as his mom calls him–shows his brilliance from day one. The smart, charismatic, and handsome boy grows up to become a newspaperman and falls in love with politics while reporting. He soon becomes a rising star, holding Ohio then national offices. Taking the reins of government after World War I, the Republican hopes to return the post-war, economically downtrodden, and fearful nation to “normalcy.” But can he return the nation to “normalcy” while his friends in the “Ohio Gang” are making shady deals? And what does Warren know of these deals? Is he naive? Or is the several-times adulterous president, who copes with the stress of office through drink and gambling, in on it? That’s the question we’ll ask ourselves as we follow his less-than-a-full-term presidency. ____ Connect with us on HTDSpodcast.com and go deep into episode bibliographies and book recommendations join discussions in our Facebook community get news and discounts from The HTDS Gazette  come see a live show get HTDS merch or become an HTDS premium member for bonus episodes and other perks. HTDS is part of the Airwave Media Network.  Interested in advertising on the History That Doesn't Suck? Email us at advertising@airwavemedia.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
153: West Virginia’s Mine Wars: From Trouble in Matewan to the Battle of Blair Mountain
Apr 8 2024
153: West Virginia’s Mine Wars: From Trouble in Matewan to the Battle of Blair Mountain
“I want to say make no settlement until they sign up that every bloody murderer of a guard has got to go.” This is the story of the largest uprising in the United States since the Civil War. As unions spread across the Progressive-Era United States, West Virginia mine owners manage to keep them out. They have some good reasons (tough margins) and some less savory ones … like their preference for an oppressive “mine guard system” in “company towns” that effectively removes civil government and private ownership, and reduces the American citizens working in their mines to serfdom. Mother Jones inspires the miners to push back.  Over the course of a decade, that pushback turns bloody – especially in Mingo County. But the worst of it comes just after the Great War, as the miner’s hero, Police Chief Sid “Two Gun” Hatfield, is murdered in cold blood at McDowell County Courthouse. Now, all bets are off. 10,000 miners grab their guns, ready to get revenge and free incarcerated miners. But they’ll have to go through Sheriff Don Chafin’s forces first. The two sides clash at Blair Mountain as the US Army arrives with regiments and aviation squadrons. ____ Connect with us on HTDSpodcast.com and go deep into episode bibliographies and book recommendations join discussions in our Facebook community get news and discounts from The HTDS Gazette  come see a live show get HTDS merch or become an HTDS premium member for bonus episodes and other perks. HTDS is part of the Airwave Media Network.  Interested in advertising on the History That Doesn't Suck? Email us at advertising@airwavemedia.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
152: The Second Ku Klux Klan: Racism, Anti-Semitism, & Anti-Catholicism in the 1920s
Mar 25 2024
152: The Second Ku Klux Klan: Racism, Anti-Semitism, & Anti-Catholicism in the 1920s
“Every official except one elected yesterday at the first municipal election of this borough had been endorsed by the Ku Klux Klan.” This is the story of the Second Ku Klux Klan. It’s been nearly half a century since the Third Enforcement Act killed off the Klan in 1871. But amid Jim Crow segregation in 1915, the lynching of a Jewish Georgian Leo Frank, coupled with a new film, The Birth of a Nation, inspires William Simmons to resurrect the Klan.  This new Klan has a longer list of enemies. While still opposed to Black Americans fully integrating into American society, this KKK also targets Jews and Catholics. It’s also more politically connected than the first Klan. While Klansmen will participate in violence–including the near annihilation of the Black quarter of Tulsa, Oklahoma–most Kluxers are more focused on politics. As membership swells into the millions, the Klan’s endorsed candidates will win seats in Congress, state houses, and city councils across the nation. Yet, the Klan will come crashing down almost as quickly as it rose in the 1920s. We’ll find out why. ____ Connect with us on HTDSpodcast.com and go deep into episode bibliographies and book recommendations join discussions in our Facebook community get news and discounts from The HTDS Gazette  come see a live show get HTDS merch or become an HTDS premium member for bonus episodes and other perks. HTDS is part of the Airwave Media Network. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
151: The First Red Scare - Bombings, The Palmer Raids, Eugene Debs, and J. Edgar Hoover
Mar 11 2024
151: The First Red Scare - Bombings, The Palmer Raids, Eugene Debs, and J. Edgar Hoover
“Palmer, do not let this country see red.” This is the story of America’s First Red Scare. On June 2, 1919, Attorney General Mitchell Palmer is just going to bed when the first floor of his home is blown apart. It was a bomb, and part of a larger plot to attack several national leaders. It’s the work of anarchists. Shaken to the core, Mitch is determined to use his position as AG to rid the nation of such extremist, violent leftists–anarchists, Bolsheviks, and the like. Mitch turns to the Bureau of Investigation (the predecessor of the FBI) to help round up foreign Reds. He’ll find a bright young lawyer named J. Edgar Hoover particularly useful in his “Palmer Raids.” But as famed socialist Eugen Debs goes to prison for speaking against the war and union workers get treated like they’re a part of the far left, some start to wonder: is the AG still protecting the nation from violent radicals, or is he conducting a witch hunt? With bombings scaring the nation and Wall Street, the nation must debate where to draw the line between security and liberty. ___ Connect with us on HTDSpodcast.com and go deep into episode bibliographies and book recommendations join discussions in our Facebook community get news and discounts from The HTDS Gazette  come see a live show get HTDS merch or become an HTDS premium member for bonus episodes and other perks. HTDS is part of the Airwave Media Network.  Interested in advertising on the History That Doesn't Suck? Email us at advertising@airwavemedia.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
150: The Great War’s Aftermath: Coming Home, The Spanish Flu, & The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
Feb 26 2024
150: The Great War’s Aftermath: Coming Home, The Spanish Flu, & The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
“I keep wondering if the Unknown Soldier is one of my men.” This is the story of the United States coping with and facing the aftermath of World War I. The American Expeditionary Force in France is breaking up but that means a lot of different things as doughboys occupy Germany, go fight in Russia, convalesce, or just head home. If only going home was so easy–for many, it’s a hard transition back to civilian life. One of the few familiar things they find in the States is a deadly strain of influenza: “The Spanish Flu.” Meanwhile, the world is in turmoil. War still rages in much of Eastern Europe and Ireland, communism and fascism are rearing their heads, and neither the French nor British are finding their new League of Nations Mandates easy to govern. But amid all these ongoing struggles, grieving Americans whose doughboy father, son, or brother disappeared in the war find solace visiting what just might be their loved one’s final resting place: the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Connect with us on HTDSpodcast.com and go deep into episode bibliographies and book recommendations join discussions in our Facebook community get news and discounts from The HTDS Gazette  come see a live show get HTDS merch or become an HTDS premium member for bonus episodes and other perks. HTDS is part of the Airwave Media Network.  Interested in advertising on the History That Doesn't Suck? Email us at advertising@airwavemedia.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
148: Tales of Christmas from World War I (A Truce, Plum Pudding, and Love)
Dec 4 2023
148: Tales of Christmas from World War I (A Truce, Plum Pudding, and Love)
“The circumstances under which we are spending this particular Christmas are unusual.” This is the story of the Christmases of World War I. Germans and British troops, singing carols together. French and German troops, kicking, playing sports and exchanging treats. It may not last, but for a brief moment–for Christmas of 1914–these opposing armies refuse the orders of their superiors as they temporarily “beat their swords into plowshares and spears into pruninghooks.” In the years ahead, the United States’ forces have their own Christmas celebrations “over there.” In 1917, New York’s Harlem Rattlers, or Hellfighters, sing and celebrate as they travel to France. In 1918, all ranks of the AEF–be they doughboys or Hello Girls–celebrate a post-armistice Christmas. We’ll catch a speech by the president and a Christmas Bash at Black Jack Pershing’s headquarters where George Patton eats way too much plum pudding. And then, we’ll say goodbye to Black Jack. With a loving Christmas connection years down the road, it’s time to lay him to rest with his beloved doughboys in Arlington. ____ Connect with us on HTDSpodcast.com and go deep into episode bibliographies and book recommendations join discussions in our Facebook community get news and discounts from The HTDS Gazette  come see a live show get HTDS merch or become an HTDS premium member for bonus episodes and other perks. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
147: Peacemaking in Paris: The Treaty of Versailles
Nov 20 2023
147: Peacemaking in Paris: The Treaty of Versailles
“A Peace which cannot be defended in the name of justice before the whole world would continually call forth fresh resistance” This is the story of peacemaking in 1919–a fraught peacemaking. With the Armistice signed, some 30 nations (led by the major Allied Powers) are gathering in Paris, France, to deliberate on the terms they’ll give to Germany. But the conference is beset with conflicting views. Not only do these various nations and other unofficial representatives have conflicting views, but the three most powerful Allies–France, the UK, and the US, a.ka., The Big Three–aren't always on the same page. That’s especially true of the American President Woodrow Wilson, who’s pushing hard for his 14 points, particularly, for the creation of his League of Nations; he’s clashing with France’s Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau who’s far more interested in ensuring France’s security against German aggression than any idealistic (or as he sees it, unrealistic) notions of a world at perpetual peace. Filled with shouting matches, disagreements, and voices from across the globe, this Conference will create a League of Nations. It will also redraw some of the map of Europe, lay the foundation for a new map of the Middle East, and lay severe penalties on Germany's shoulders. They’re trying their best–but are they creating a better world? Or laying the seeds of future conflicts? And will the US Senate approve this Treaty of Versailles? We shall see. ____ Connect with us on HTDSpodcast.com and go deep into episode bibliographies and book recommendations join discussions in our Facebook community get news and discounts from The HTDS Gazette  come see a live show get HTDS merch or become an HTDS premium member for bonus episodes and other perks. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
143: The Meuse-Argonne Offensive (pt.2) – Breaking the Kriemhilde Line
Sep 25 2023
143: The Meuse-Argonne Offensive (pt.2) – Breaking the Kriemhilde Line
“All right, General. We’ll take it, or my name will head the list.” This is the story of Meuse-Argonne and the Americans’ continued struggles to take the Kriemhilde Line. Tennessean Alvin York hates war, yet he finds himself an unlikely hero when his youthful days of hunting turn him into a prisoner-taking sharpshooter as the US First Army presses forward against the Germans. But this isn’t a battle just for the First Army anymore. A stressed-out, breaking, Black Jack Pershing finally decides to go for the US Second Army and name generals to command each. He’ll oversee “only” the whole two-million-strong American Expeditionary Force. If he can keep his job, that is. French Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau is doing all he can to get the American fired. Nor is Black Jack doing any better at getting along with his usual French frenemy: Marshal Ferdinand Foch. Meanwhile, General Douglas MacArthur is traumatized–so many of his doughboys are slaughtered, why, he wonders, did God spare him? Elsewhere in the battle, Choctaw doughboys save the day as they use their native language to bypass eavesdropping Germans. Yet, for all of this, can the Americans break the Kriemhilde Line? We’ll find out. ____ Connect with us on HTDSpodcast.com and go deep into episode bibliographies and book recommendations join discussions in our Facebook community get news and discounts from The HTDS Gazette  come see a live show get HTDS merch or become an HTDS premium member for bonus episodes and other perks. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
140: WWI Aviators: From the Lafayette Escadrille to the Red Baron and More
Aug 14 2023
140: WWI Aviators: From the Lafayette Escadrille to the Red Baron and More
“Something has happened to one of the boys.” This is the story of the Great War’s flyboys – particularly, Americans taking to the skies to fight for France. Long before the United States will enter the Great War, hundreds of American men head to Europe to fight for the French Republic. Some drive ambulances. Some fight in the French Foreign Legion. But come 1916, some begin to fly. In 1916, seven pilots (our “Flying Founders,” if you will) start an American squadron within France’s Aéronautique Militaire. Ultimately, 38 men will fly in this squad. They’ll shoot whiskey, have a pet lion cub named “Whiskey” (as well as a second named “Soda”), and risk it all, wielding machine guns amid the clouds. These are the men of the famous Lafayette Escadrille. They number among the 269 Americans who fly for France, collectively known as the Lafayette Flying Corps. It’s a romanticized fight. The Great War’s pilots are known as the “knights of the sky.” They’re the era’s heroes. Rockstars. But the death rate is steep. The heartbreak is real. That’s particularly true as the beloved son of a US President goes down in flames … ____ Connect with us on HTDSpodcast.com and go deep into episode bibliographies and book recommendations join discussions in our Facebook community get news and discounts from The HTDS Gazette  come see a live show get HTDS merch or become an HTDS premium member for bonus episodes and other perks. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
139: From Yeomen (F) to “Hello Girls:” American Women in World War I
Jul 31 2023
139: From Yeomen (F) to “Hello Girls:” American Women in World War I
“Is there any regulation which specifies that a Navy yeoman be a man?”  This is the story of the United States in the Great War and the role of women in that changing world. Women of the Progressive Era are all about change. They’re fighting for several reforms — including their own right to vote — and as the United States enters the Great War, they’re ready to embrace new responsibilities and opportunities. Women are stepping into all sorts of new roles, be that on a factory floor or by taking on non-combat roles in the Navy or Marines. Tens of thousands are at the front as nurses, while hundreds of others are not far behind the lines carrying out the indispensable task of communion — these are the US Army’s bi-lingual, quick-acting, and cool-headed switchboard operators, better known as “Hello Girls.”  From blood-soaked mobile hospitals to radium-filled “studios,” right down to musty office jobs, women play an indispensable part as the United States goes to war. But is the war changing the lives of American women? Or is the war just accelerating change already occurring? We’ll find out. ____ Connect with us on HTDSpodcast.com and go deep into episode bibliographies and book recommendations join discussions in our Facebook community get news and discounts from The HTDS Gazette  come see a live show get HTDS merch or become an HTDS premium member for bonus episodes and other perks. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices