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History That Doesn’t Suck 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.
 
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“The older I get the more I’m convinced that it’s the purpose of politicians and journalists to say the world is very simple, whereas it’s the purpose of historians to say, ‘No! It’s very complicated’.” — David Cannadine (British historian at Princeton) It’s epilogue time. Join Greg and Cielle as they talk broad strokes on one of the darkest period…
 
“Church bristled and pooh-poohed at the subject when I suggested that he write a reply to Virginia O’Hanlon.” This is the story of America’s most famous editorial. Virginia O’Hanlon is an inquisitive eight-year-old. She’s debated with her friends and studied out the matter, but she still can’t decide: is there a Santa Claus? At her father’s suggest…
 
“Does this court think an Indian is a competent witness?” This is the story of the start of indigenous civil rights. Since the arrival of Lewis and Clark, the Nez Perce have lived peacefully beside US citizens. The Pacific Northwest indigenous group is proud of the fact that not one of them has ever killed a white person. But things are changing. N…
 
“There’s a good fight coming over the hill. That’s where the big fight is going to be. We’ll not miss that one.” This is the story of the Battle of the Little Bighorn (or the Greasy Grass). In 1868, representatives of the US government meet leaders from a few indigenous nations at Fort Laramie to sign a treaty. The agreement creates the boundaries …
 
“To be hanged by the neck until he is dead.” This is the story of the US-Dakota War. The most eastern of the three major Sioux peoples, the Dakota are indigenous to Minnesota. They’ve lived beside trappers, fur traders, and the like, for quite a while (salut, les Canadiens-français). But now, more white settlers are showing and setting up farms, an…
 
“Hang Kellogg! We’ll fight!” This is the story of the end of Reconstruction. Voter fraud and intimidation has made Louisiana’s 1872 Gubernatorial election a mess. So, when a Federal judge and Republican President Ulysses S. Grant uphold the Republican candidate, the stage is set for more partisan and racial violence in the Bayou state. The outcome …
 
“Boys, let us get up a club or society of some description.” This is the story Reconstruction peaking and its opponents organizing to fight back. With Radical Republicans at the helm of Reconstruction, the former Confederate states are forced to make new state constitutions that include black men in the process. The outcome is nothing short of revo…
 
Game Changers: Precedent-Setting Presidential Elections takes a look at some of the earliest and most influential presidential elections in US history. Join Greg and Cielle as they highlight the backstory of key players in four early presidential elections. Then, listen and learn as they engage in lively discussions about the precedents set in each…
 
"The office has come to me unsought; I commence its duties untrammeled. I bring to it a conscious desire and determination to fill it to the best of my ability to the satisfaction of the people. " This is the story of scandal. Ulysses S. Grant has just been elected as the youngest US President to date. He has great hopes to usher in a new era of ci…
 
“You are placed in a position where you have the power to save or destroy us; to bless or blast us--I mean our whole race.” This is the story of the first US Presidency to end in impeachment. This is the story of Andrew Johnson. The post-Civil War government of the United States faces difficult decisions. Should it be lenient to former Confederate …
 
“Sic semper tyrannis!” This is the story of deception. Conspiracy. Assassination. The handsome, 26-year-old successful actor John Wilkes Booth has sympathized with the Confederacy since the war began. So when Abraham Lincoln wins reelection as President of the United States amid several crucial late-1864 victories, John becomes enraged. He decides …
 
"Adieu best of wives and best of women." We’re interrupting our usual chronological walk through US history today to bring you a remastered, new sound design take on Episode 22, “An Affair of Honor: Alexander Hamilton & Aaron Burr.” In these last few months, cellist Buffi Jacobs and violinist Austin Burket, both of whom usually perform with the Ham…
 
After nearly a full year of covering only four years of US history, we are done with the Civil War. It’s time for an epilogue! Greg and Cielle talk big picture, and bring in some intriguing stories that just didn’t quite make the cut for regular episodes (including the Civil War origins of Coca-Cola, and the tale of Confederates who immigrate to Br…
 
“I feel that it is … my duty to shift from myself the responsibility of any further effusion of blood, by asking you to surrender … the army of Northern Virginia. Very respectfully, U. S. Grant.” This is the story of one army surrendering to another. Of foes becoming brothers once more. This is the Surrender at Appomattox.…
 
“I can make the march, and make Georgia howl!” This is the story of the March to the Sea and the 13th Amendment. William Tecumseh “Cump” Sherman describes war as two things: “cruel.” And “war.” Acting under this philosophy, he takes 60,000 of his toughest, most battle-hardened men, and marches from Atlanta to the Peach State’s coast in a show of fo…
 
“Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!” This is the story of the Civil War in late-1864. Battles of significance are happening all across the country, and many of them are quite odd or unique: Pennsylvania miners are secretly digging under Confederates to blow them up from below; Admiral David Farragut is fighting in the torpedo-filled waters of Al…
 
“Johnson is either drunk or crazy,” This is the story of the fight for the presidency in 1864. No US President since Andrew Jackson has seen a second term. Few are even nominated by their party for a second term. Will the Republicans choose Abraham Lincoln again? More to the point--will war-weary Americans voters, including moderates who disapprove…
 
“War is war, and not popularity-seeking.” This is the story of the fall of Atlanta. William Tecumseh “Cump” Sherman is leading three armies in an attack against this vital city in the Peach State. His forces are formidable, but so are his opponents: Confederate master of defense, Joseph E. “Joe” Johnston; and the far more aggressive Confederate Gen…
 
After more than two years of putting his blood, sweat, and tears into HTDS, Sound Designer Josh Beatty is moving on. We'll miss him! But we're also excited to have history podcasting legend Lindsay Graham and his audio production company Airship (https://airship.fm/) stepping in. Why is Josh leaving? In what ways will this change the sound of HTDS?…
 
“I propose to fight it out on this line if it takes all summer.” This is the story of hard fights and harder losses. It’s early 1864, and battle-proven, newly promoted Ulysses S. Grant is now over the whole army, and he’s launching an ambitious plan: the Overland Campaign. He’ll wage several battles in Virginia as other generals strike other parts …
 
History can touch on present-day issues, and rather than duck away from such discomforts, Greg has always been stupid enough to try to hit them straight on. Indulging that stupidity today, Greg sat down with born-and-bred Southerner Jeremy Collins from the podcast, "Podcasts We Listen To," to discuss the South; particularly, Southern accents. Wheth…
 
“I had never severed the nerves and fibers of human flesh.” This is the story of Civil War medicine. At the start of the war, the wounded sometimes lay on the field of battle for days hoping for help. Some die slowly and painfully from exposure and thirst. Others are robbed as their life expires. The divided nation has new, deadlier guns, but medic…
 
“Gloom and unspoken despondency hang like a pall everywhere.” This is the story of personalities. Union General William “Old Rosy” Rosecrans takes on Confederate General Braxton Bragg out in Tennessee. Their clash at the battle of Chickamauga is among the deadliest of the whole war. The aftermath is anything but straightforward. Short-tempered as e…
 
“It is hard to believe that Southern soldiers—and Texans at that—have been whipped by a mongrel crew of white and black Yankees … there must be some mistake.” This is the story of Black Soldiers in the Civil War. Black patriots are ready to fight from day one. The Lincoln Administration and Congress, however, are not ready to have them. They fear l…
 
“I shall lead my division forward, sir.” This is the story of Gettysburg. It’s summer, 1863, and Robert E. Lee is making a bold move; he’s leading his Army of Northern Virginia into Union territory. He hopes a victory up north might be the decisive blow he needs to demoralize the US. Meanwhile, Union leadership is getting shaken up (yet again) as t…
 
“Grant is my man and I am his the rest of the war.” This is the story of hard fighting—on the battlefield and in the courts. President Abraham Lincoln is making the controversial decision to suspend the writ of habeas corpus. While the Constitution does permit this to be done “in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion” that threaten “the public Safety,” is…
 
“Here’s a damned abolitionist! … He’s a Tribune man! Hang the son of a b****!” This is the story of Civil War conscription and riots. Conscription is completely foreign to Americans. They’ve never relied on force to fill the military’s ranks. But the Civil War is changing that. Left with the choice to either give up or draft men in the army, the Co…
 
"Keep the details! We love the stories!" After 11 episodes covering the first half of the Civil War, it’s time to digest a bit. Greg, Josh, and Cielle attend to the usual roundtable business (pronunciation corrections and talking cotton production in Arizona!), then talk through the “who’s who” of our massive cast of characters. Enjoy one last chat…
 
“If the world had been searched by Burnside for a location in which his army could be best defeated ... he should have selected this very spot.” This is the story of leadership turnover in the Union and total war on the field. US President Abraham Lincoln has had his fill of George B. “Little Mac” McClellan. Little Mac is getting fired. He’s being …
 
“The Proclamation is the drawing of a sword that can never be sheathed again.” This is the story of the Emancipation Proclamation. Anti-slavery, moderate-Republican President Abraham Lincoln has never liked slavery. He wants to prevent it from expanding to new US territories. But he also never intended to go on the offensive against the “peculiar i…
 
“Our top spot goes to …” This is the story of stories (yeah, super “meta”). You know regular HTDS episodes always start with a cold open. You probably have a favorite. So do we. Today, Greg and Cielle count down their top seven favorite openings, from George Washington’s loss at Fort Necessity to our current point in the Civil War. It’s a peak into…
 
“Our dispatches state that Lieut. Longfellow of First Mass. Cavalry was severely wounded.” This is the story of a son nearly lost and a poet in a dark place. Young, idealistic Charley Longfellow loves his country and is ready to fight and die for it. His father—the former Harvard College Professor of English and Literature, celebrated author, and g…
 
“Come on God damn you.” This is the story of the Second Bull Run/Manassas Campaign and the Battle of Antietam. Robert “Bobby” E. Lee isn’t content to run George “Little Mac” McClellan down to the James River. With the help of Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, James Longstreet, J.E.B. Stuart, and others, Bobby’s ready to use his aggressive, divide and con…
 
“[Malvern Hill] was not war--it was murder.” This is the story of a Confederate comeback. Union General George “Little Mac” McClellan has an army of 100,000 within a few mere miles of the Confederate Capital: Richmond, Virginia. The city’s defending force is significantly smaller. It’s his for the taking. But where “Little Mac” is cautious, the new…
 
This is the story of the Mississippi Valley in 1862. Navy Secretary Gideon “Father Neptune” Welles is moving forward with an audacious plan. He’s sending a fleet to sack the Confederacy’s largest city, New Orleans, via the Mississippi River. Can this fleet—commanded by a Southerner loyal to the Union—really take out two forts—commanded by a Norther…
 
“In my opinion, Cadet Jackson of Virginia is a complete jackass.” This is the story of daring. On both sides. President Lincoln is tired of waiting for General-in-Chief George “Little Mac” McClellan to act. So he’ll act instead. The President goes the front on the Old Dominion’s coast, walks on Confederate soil, and oversees the taking of Norfolk, …
 
“Here boys, is as good a place as any on this battlefield to meet death!” This is the story of the Civil War kicking into a higher gear as two massive armies converge at Pittsburg Landing, Tennessee. Jealous Union generals are letting false rumors of Ulyssess drinking on the job fly as they hope to benefit from his demise. But Ulys has some good pe…
 
This is the story of the death of a soldier and friend of Abraham Lincoln: Elmer Ellsworth. This is the second and last bonus episode of our two-year anniversary celebration and Patreon drive. Greg, Cielle, and Josh take just a few minutes to reflect on the past two years, talk future plans and Patreon, then give you a taste of the mini-episodes $1…
 
Lindsay Graham and Steve Walters of the highly acclaimed audio drama and historical fiction podcast 1865 join Greg for a robust discussion on events surrounding Lincoln's assassination and the aftermath. We are honored to have them and excited to bring this to you as part of our 2-year anniversary celebration Patreon drive. Hope you enjoy!…
 
“There is Jackson standing like a stone wall! Rally behind the Virginians!” This is the story of violence on land and sea. Of violence unlike anything America has ever known. Tens of thousands of Union and Confederate forces clash near Virginia’s Bull Run River and Manassass railroad junction. Naive, young soldiers quickly learn their romantic noti…
 
“I hope to have God on my side, but I must have Kentucky.” This is the story of the last, bare thread holding the Union together snapping. This is the start of the Civil War. US President Lincoln is giving Confederate President Jefferson Davis a difficult choice: let a peaceful, unarmed boat deliver supplies to Fort Sumter (and be seen as weak); or…
 
"They are beautiful words, they are beautiful ideals... and there is beauty in seeing others as they make those words shift and close the gap towards reality" Today, we wrap up Volume IV: “Prelude to the Civil War.” Greg acknowledges some more pronunciation failures, the HTDS team mentions two fun emails, then gets to analysis. Particularly, we’re …
 
“Mary, Mary, we are elected!” This is the story of the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States … which means it’s also the story of secession. The presidential election of 1860 is split between four men: southerners John C. Breckinridge and John Bell, and northerners Stephen Douglas and Abraham Lincoln. Incredibly, Lincoln pul…
 
“Any man who took Lincoln for a simple-minded man would wind up with his back in a ditch.” This is the story of America on the eve of the Civil War. Kentucky born farmboy Abraham Lincoln has an interest early life. Between losing his mom as a child, suffering from chronic depression, and receiving little formal education, you might not think he’d b…
 
“Master Bass, if justice had been done, I never would have been here.” This is the story of betrayal. Restoration. Human trafficking. Daring selflessness. Oppressive inhumanity. Hope. And Forgiveness. A talented carpenter, driver, and violinist, Solomon Northup lives a happy life with his wife and three kids in upstate New York. The unassuming, kin…
 
“We can send five thousand--enough to kill every God-damned abolitionist in the Territory.” This is the story of the Civil War’s warm up. The States are increasingly dividing along northern and southern (anti-slavery and pro-slavery) lines, and this that tention is coming out in spades in Kansas. Northerners want to see it become a free state; Sout…
 
“In the history of the world, the doctrine of Reform had never such scope as at the present hour.” “Resolved, That woman is man’s equal.” This is the story of social reform. Europe is swept up in calls for reform and greater democracy. France is having another revolution! Those same thoughts are sweeping through the United States, leading to calls …
 
“The Union is doomed to dissolution. … I fix its probable occurrence within twelve years or three presidential terms.” This is the story of statehood and compromise. California is booming. The gold rush is in full swing with Americans and immigrants from all over the world hoping to make their fortune. But it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. Nature…
 
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