On this special Election Day episode of BackStory, the History Guys put current voting trends in historical perspective, and explore the changing face of voting in America.
American political conventions haven’t always been so predictable. Before becoming scripted for television, conventions were often where pressing issues of the day got hashed out and careers were made or ruined. In this hour of BackStory we venture into the back rooms, the chaotic halls, and the streets where these dramas unfolded.
This is a country awash in monuments. They are the centerpieces of traffic circles, street corners and, of course, the National Mall. We have erected them to Rosie the Riveter and Confederate generals. Yet our ambivalence towards these monuments is as old as our enthusiasm for them. Case in point: The Washington Monument. Ever wonder [...]
This is the transcript of “Beyond Numbers: A History of the US Census.” You can listen to the entire episode here. _______________________________________________________________________ P. Onuf: From VFH Radio in Charlottesville, Virginia, this is “BackStory.” [music] The 2011 Census numbers are in and that means the Census Bureau can get onto its next project—figuring out how accurate [...]
The following are extended versions of interviews included in the BackStory episode “Beyond Numbers: A History of the U.S. Census,” broadcast in December of 2010. You can listen to the entire episode here. Vincent Barabba: The 1980 Census — Brian Balogh interviews former Census Bureau director Vincent Barabba about the Bureau’s attempts to address the [...]
We’re digging into the little-considered story of the U.S. Census – the invisible backbone of American democracy. Join us to explore why the idea was so revolutionary in 1787, and how it has continued to shape our society in fundamental ways.
The following links and documents relate to the BackStory episode “Beyond Numbers: A History of the U.S. Census,” broadcast in December of 2010. You can listen to the entire episode here. Click here to see our suggested bibliography of Census-related readings. All Centuries The Census Bureau’s history page Census Bureau’s Measuring America: The Decennial Census [...]
The following readings relate to the BackStory episode, “Beyond Numbers: A History of the U.S. Census.” View online resources here. Anderson, Margo. The American Census: A Social History. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1988. —–., ed. Encyclopedia of the U.S. Census. Washington, D.C.: CQ Press, 2000. Cohen, Patricia. A Calculating People: The Spread of Numeracy [...]
Ed Ayers interviews historian Mark Summers, Professor of History at the University of Kentucky and author of Party Games: Getting, Keeping, and Using Power in Gilded Age Politics. Prof. Summers discusses some of the hijinks associated with Gilded Age elections.
Although the memory of hanging chads still clouds the electoral mood, elections have come a long way. But how effective is our current system? Does it accurately register the will of the People? And why did America’s founders opt out of direct democracy? With the help of callers, the History Guys provide the backstory on [...]