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February 14, 2021

3.235 – A Western Interlude

Year(s) Discussed: 1804-1805 With the Lewis and Clark expedition underway to explore the upper reaches of the Missouri River, President Jefferson at the end of his first term turned his attention to gathering support and talent for expeditions in the southern portions of the Louisiana Purchase. Meanwhile, the Corps of Discovery arranged for Jefferson to get a first-hand account of life west of the Mississippi River.

03 - Thomas Jefferson

February 01, 2021

3.26 – Present but Absent: The Hemings Family of Monticello

Year(s) Discussed: 1735-1873 Throughout Jefferson’s life and career, he was surrounded and served by various enslaved individuals of three generations of the same family. In this episode, we examine the lives of the Hemings family as some worked to attain their freedom, other Hemingses disappeared from the historical record without a trace, and one became the most famous enslaved individual in the United States for bearing the third President’s children.

03 - Thomas Jefferson

December 31, 2020

S008 – Transition Gone Wrong

Year(s) Discussed: 1875-1877 Though the US takes pride in the regular practice of peaceful transitions of power from one presidency to the next, sometimes the transition is not quite so peaceful, especially when the results are in dispute. Such was the case in the aftermath of the presidential election of 1876 where, for months, allegations flew back and forth, political leaders across the nation exerted their influence in favor of their chosen candidate, members of both parties prepared for armed confrontation, and no one could predict whether Samuel J Tilden or Rutherford B Hayes would end up being the nineteenth president of the United States.

US Presidential Elections Series

December 06, 2020

3.25 – What’s Next

Year(s) Discussed: 1801-1805 As James Monroe set off for his new special mission to Spain, a new congressional session began with Democratic-Republicans aiming to settle a long-standing issue as well as put their mark on the judiciary branch. However, they would find that their plans quickly went awry, and the events of early 1805 would have impacts on Jefferson’s second term and beyond.

03 - Thomas Jefferson

November 15, 2020

3.24 – Truth and Consequences

Year(s) Discussed: 1803-1805 With a presidential election looming, the Jefferson administration had to consider how to wrap up the first term and transition to the second. For some, that meant moving into new positions. For others, retirement was in their future. As the campaign worked to rally the public, the decisions of 1804 made at home and abroad would have far-reaching consequences.

03 - Thomas Jefferson

November 02, 2020

S007 – Unprecedented Part III: 1968

Year(s) Discussed: 1907-1968 In a year of domestic unrest, social strife, and uncertainty at home and abroad, the United States prepared for a presidential election in 1968. Little did they know that it would be a contest unlike any other. In the midst of a turbulent campaign, political norms were challenged, rivalries were intensified, and the only guarantee was that a new chapter in American history would emerge after all the votes were in.

US Presidential Elections Series

September 27, 2020

3.23 – One Man Left Standing

Year(s) Discussed: 1803-1804 While diplomatic disagreements occupied the attention of the Jefferson administration, Vice President Aaron Burr was occupied with a dispute of a more personal matter in the aftermath of his failed gubernatorial bid. Alexander Hamilton’s opposition to his campaign did not go unnoticed, and Burr was determined to have Hamilton answer for his words, one way or another.

03 - Thomas Jefferson

September 13, 2020

3.22 – A Death in the Family

Year(s) Discussed: 1803-1804 While Vice President Burr worked to secure his political future in his bid for the New York governorship and New England Federalists plotted to separate from the Union, the Jefferson family suffered the untimely loss of one of its members in the early months of 1804. Meanwhile, across the Atlantic, both the British and the French governments went through reorganizations that would impact their relations with the United States for years to come.

03 - Thomas Jefferson

August 30, 2020

3.21 – A Plotting We Will Go

Year(s) Discussed: 1803-1804 In the wake of multiple political losses in the first few years of the 19th century, as the election of 1804 neared, numerous Federalist leaders from New England began to consider the possibility of whether their prospects and those of their home region would be better served by breaking away from the United States. In the meantime, Commodore Edward Preble arrived in the Mediterranean to prosecute war against Tripoli while back in Albemarle County, the life of one of Jefferson’s family members hung in the balance.

03 - Thomas Jefferson

August 16, 2020

Interview with Jeffrey Einboden, Jefferson’s Muslim Fugitives

Year(s) Discussed: 1776-1863 Interactions between people from various parts of the globe are a common occurrence in the 21st century, but though more infrequent in the late 18th and early 19th century, cross-cultural interactions in that time had a dec...


August 13, 2020

From Me to All of You 2: A Quick Note

As we continue to face many challenges around the world, I wanted to send a quick note to all of you to hopefully provide some comfort as well as share a couple of updates about what’s coming with Presidencies. Take care, everyone!

August 02, 2020

S006 – It’s Convention Time!

Year(s) Discussed: 1824-1992 Since the first national party convention in the United States in September 1831, party conventions have played a key role in American politics. In this episode, we explore the role of these gatherings in determining presidential nominees as well as setting agendas through the party platform and examine a few notable conventions in detail.

US Presidential Elections Series

July 19, 2020

3.20 – Action and Reaction

Year(s) Discussed: 1801-1804 As Jefferson’s first term entered its final year, numerous developments at home and abroad would start chains of reactions with long-reaching consequences. In the Caribbean, a nation declared its independence that would prove to be of particular concern to white Americans in the southern US. Meanwhile, Congress debated what kind of government to establish for the new lands west of the Mississippi River, and the Senate convened in the first impeachment trial in American history.

03 - Thomas Jefferson

July 03, 2020

3.19 – The Not So Merry Merry

Year(s) Discussed: 1802-1803 The new British Minister to the US, Anthony Merry, arrived in Washington, DC in late 1803, and though his arrival was initially seen as a strengthening of British-American relations, it would soon prove to be quite the opposite. Meanwhile, the end of the year saw representatives of the Jefferson administration on both sides of the Atlantic assume new roles as well as Louisiana officially brought into the United States.

03 - Thomas Jefferson

June 21, 2020

S005 – Unprecedented Part II

Year(s) Discussed: 1936-1944 With increasing uncertainty in the global situation and continued instability in the domestic economy, candidates lined up on both the Democratic and Republican sides to succeed Franklin Roosevelt at the end of his second term. However, 1940 found the President considering what was previously unthinkable: running for a third term of office. In this special episode, we explore this unprecedented election conducted under the looming threat of being drawn into a war waging abroad.

US Presidential Elections Series

June 17, 2020

Intelligent Speech Conference 2020

I will be presenting on the Rebellions of the Early Presidencies at the Intelligent Speech Conference on Saturday, June 27th, 2020. If you’d like to attend and hear from numerous educational podcasters and historians, be sure to go to www.

June 01, 2020

3.18 – The Boys Are Back in Town

Year(s) Discussed: 1801-1803 Though the Louisiana Purchase Treaty had been concluded, President Jefferson understood that didn’t mean it was a done deal, and he and his administration got to work in the latter half of 1803 on getting the treaty ratified by the Senate and in pushing through legislation to carry through the purchase. However, they also had to contend with increased criticism in the press and with a gnawing concern in many minds, including that of the President, that there was nothing in the Constitution that said the United States could in fact acquire new territory.

03 - Thomas Jefferson

May 24, 2020

3.17 – Sailing in New Waters

Year(s) Discussed: 1802-1803 Despite some early successes, the US naval efforts against Tripoli languished in 1802 and early 1803, and with the cost of maintaining a squadron in the Mediterranean climbing, President Jefferson and his administration had to consider alternates in both leadership and approaches to tackle the situation. Meanwhile, various young men in Jefferson’s life moved into new roles in 1803, and the President’s personal and political realms began to overlap in new ways.

03 - Thomas Jefferson

May 10, 2020

Interview with Lindsay Chervinsky

Year(s) Discussed: 1789-1809 George Washington established many precedents during his tenure of office, but one that had arguably the greatest impact was his establishment, not by law but by practice, of what we now know of as the Cabinet.


April 26, 2020

3.16 – Up River, Down River

Content Note: This episode mentions the topic of suicide. Year(s) Discussed: 1802-1803 As the Jefferson administration awaited word on the outcome of Monroe’s mission to France, the territorial governors and government agents in the western US dealt with various issues including labor shortages, troubled relations with neighboring indigenous nations, and the economic chaos caused by the port of New Orleans being closed to American shipping. To the east, the President and his Cabinet worked with Meriwether Lewis to prepare him for the planned transcontinental expedition as news came from across the Atlantic that would reshape the United States forever.

03 - Thomas Jefferson

April 19, 2020

S004 – Unprecedented Part I

Year(s) Discussed: 1800-1801, 1816-1825, 1860-1864 While some presidential elections function in much the same way as others of the time, there are those select few that reshape the process or are noteworthy for being unique in some way. In the next two episodes of the special series, I will be examining four presidential elections that stand out to me as unprecedented. In this episode, I start with the election of 1824 which saw a four way match up between Secretary of State John Adams, Secretary of the Treasury William Crawford, Speaker of the House Henry Clay, and Senator Andrew Jackson. The remainder of the episode is devoted to the election of 1864 which saw President Abraham Lincoln running for reelection against his challenger, General George McClellan.

US Presidential Elections Series

April 12, 2020

Interview with Thomas Balcerski (Bosom Friends)

Year(s) Discussed: 1786-1868 Political partnerships are nothing new to American politics, but what happens when the domestic world and the political realm overlap? To examine that question and learn more about one of the most significant political part...


April 05, 2020

3.15 – Of Wars and Pieces: The Indigenous Nations Up to 1803

Content Note: This episode discusses the epidemics that spread through indigenous populations in the Americas upon the increased and sustained contact with Europeans starting at the end of the 15th century. Year(s) Discussed: approx. 9000 BCE-1803 Over the course of millennia, the peoples of the Americas developed rich cultures and prosperous nations that were often unique to one another as well as on the global stage. However, the course of these civilizations was forever changed as European explorers and settlers came from across the Atlantic in ever increasing numbers. In this episode, we’ll take some time to examine the indigenous nations present in what became the eastern and central portions of the United States leading up to the year 1803 and the Louisiana Purchase.

03 - Thomas Jefferson

March 22, 2020

Interview with Jon Finkel (Jocks in Chief)

Year(s) Discussed: 1789-2020 The term “fit for office” is often bandied about when talking about the US presidency, but how exactly does physical fitness relate to the office or to presidential campaigning? To explore that question,