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American as Pumpkin Pie

A History of Thanksgiving

When we sit down to Thanksgiving dinner, we think we know what we’re commemorating. But if an actual Pilgrim were to attend your Thanksgiving, chances are he’d be stunned by what he saw there. In this episode, historian James McWilliams discusses why the Puritans would have turned up their noses at our “traditional” Thanksgiving foods. Religion scholar Anne Blue Wills reveals the Victorian  origins of our modern holiday, and one woma...

City Upon a Hill

A History of American Exceptionalism [rebroadcast]

In his recent address to the nation urging a military strike in Syria, President Obama appealed to “American exceptionalism” to make the case. American ideals were on the line in Syria, he argued, and the United States had a special responsibility to act. But that claim didn’t sit well with President Vladimir Putin of Russia, as he made clear in a New York Times op-ed. All countries had distinctive qualities, Putin said, and encourag...

Three Squares

Mealtime in America

Three square meals a day. Three to five servings of fruits and vegetables, two to three servings of milk, yogurt, or cheese. Avoid fats and sugar. Red meat in moderation… But eating isn’t simply about achieving the perfect nutritional balance. It also has profound social implications, especially when we sit down with others to share a meal. And so in this episode, the History Guys recover from their Thanksgiving feasts with a look back at...

Three Squares

Mealtime in America [rebroadcast]

Three square meals a day. Three to five servings of fruits and vegetables, two to three servings of milk, yogurt, or cheese. Avoid fats and sugar. Red meat in moderation. We’re used to hearing these kinds of instructions. But eating isn’t simply about the perfect nutritional balance. It has profound social implications too, especially when we sit down with others to share a meal. And so in this episode, the Guys recover from their Thanksgiving f...

Imagined Nations

Depictions of American Indians

Is redskin a racial slur? The U.S. Patent Office says so. So do many Native Americans who have protested the use of the term by that team. Activists say the team’s name and its logo — the image of a generic Indian man in profile, with braids and long feathers — celebrate negative stereotypes about America’s indigenous people. On this show, we’re taking a long look at how Native peoples have been represented — and misrepresented — in U.S. history...

Naughty & Nice

A History of the Holiday Season [rebroadcast]

Christmas may be the big kahuna of American holy days, but it wasn’t always so. It used to be a time of drunken rowdiness, when the poor would demand food and money from the rich. The Puritans banned Christmas altogether. It wasn’t until the 1820s that the holiday was re-invented as the peaceful, family-oriented, consumeristic ritual we celebrate today. In this episode, the History Guys examine the history of the “holiday season” in America. Has...

Teacher Resources

As a high school teacher… I LOVE the show and make my students listen to various segments throughout the year. – Kathy from DC I ALMOST can’t wait for next school to start so that I can require my kids to listen to the segment about the impact of death on America post-Civil War. Our first unit is Reconstruction and this was PERFECT as a discussion starter. – Jennie from MD Teachers tell the History Guys that BackStory segments are well suited...

Naughty & Nice

A History of the Holiday Season [rebroadcast]

Christmas may be the big kahuna of American holy days, but it wasn’t always so. It used to be a time of drunken rowdiness, when the poor would demand food and money from the rich. Little surprise, then, that the Puritans banned Christmas altogether. It wasn’t until the 1820s that the holiday was re-invented as the peaceful, family-oriented, consumeristic ritual we celebrate today. So in this episode, Brian, Peter, and Ed explore the fascinating...

Naughty & Nice

A History of the Holiday Season

Christmas may be the big kahuna of American holy days, but it wasn’t always so. It used to be a time of drunken rowdiness, when the poor would demand food and money from the rich. The Puritans banned Christmas altogether. It wasn’t until the 1820s that the holiday was re-invented as the peaceful, family-oriented, and consumeristic ritual we celebrate today. In this episode, the History Guys examine the history of the “holiday season” in America....