BackStory

The American History Podcast

A Program Of Virginia Foundation for the Humanities

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History Behind the Headlines

In a move that critics are calling the largest reduction of public lands in U.S. history, President Donald Trump stood in the Utah State Capitol on Monday and announced that his administration will decrease federal protection of two national monuments. The announcement follows an extended review by the Interior Department of how to restructure or […]

History Behind The Headlines

News surrounding the 2016 U.S. presidential election, including the Russian government’s involvement, continues to break. Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign chairman, was indicted on charges that he laundered millions of dollars through overseas companies. The money stems to Manafort’s involvement lobbying for a pro-Russian party in Ukraine. Manafort’s associate, Rick Gates, who worked on the […]

Ghosts, Witches, & Monsters…Oh My!

Halloween might not bring to mind history, but it should. A lot of the things that we find scary–for instance, ghosts, witches, and monsters–have terrified Americans for centuries. And what’s more, how Americans have thought about witches, ghosts, and monsters reflected broader social, cultural, and even political concerns going on at the time. Want to […]

Was the Las Vegas shooting the “worst” in U.S. history? Far from it.

Amid reports of the Oct. 1 shooting of at least 58 people in Las Vegas, media outlets were quick to call the tragedy the “worst” mass shooting in U.S. history. This followed a similar pattern that unfolded after the June 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting, which left 49 people dead. Time magazine, for instance, maintained that […]

History Behind The Headlines

Recently, Charlottesville City Council voted to rename “Columbus Day,” the second Monday of October, “Indigenous Peoples’ Day.” The resolution, introduced by Councilor Wes Bellamy, says that Charlottesville “shall continue its efforts to promote the well-being and growth of the Charlottesville American Indian and Indigenous community. Indigenous Peoples’ Day shall be used to reflect upon the […]

History Behind The Headlines

This week, Donald Trump laid out his ambitious tax plan, which slashes taxes for individuals and businesses. Right now, it’s difficult to know how all this will look, especially since the nine-page proposal leaves many unanswered questions. Here’s what we know for sure: according to the New York Times, the plan includes just three tax […]

History Behind The Headlines

Last year, American football player and current free agent Colin Kaepernick began quietly taking a knee during the national anthem in protest to police brutality. The response was anything but quiet. The resulting media firestorm questioned everything from if the act was unpatriotic to what style of protest, especially by African Americans, is considered acceptable […]

BackStory Live: Who Speaks for America? 200 Years of Debate

Using Thomas Jefferson’s founding of University of Virginia as a starting point, BackStory’s Ed Ayers, Nathan Connolly, Joanne Freeman, and Brian Balogh will weave together the founder’s ideas about the role of an educated citizenry in a democracy to discuss who has the ability to shape our country and how this group has changed with […]

9/11 Tribute museum offers hopeful take on tragic events

A somber crowd gathered outside the 9/11 Tribute Museum in downtown Manhattan, one block away from the site of the September 11, 2001 attacks, to reflect on a surprising subject: hope. The gathering took place this past June in honor of the official opening of the 9/11 Tribute Museum, a project of the September 11th […]