Cover art for podcast This Day in Esoteric Political History

This Day in Esoteric Political History

198 EpisodesProduced by Jody Avirgan & RadiotopiaWebsite

We’re living in unprecedented times. Maybe. In this show, Jody Avirgan, Nicole Hemmer and Kellie Carter Jackson (and guests) take one moment, big or small, from that day in U.S. political history and explore how it might inform our present –– all in about fifteen minutes. New episodes release Tuesda… read more

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The Black Tom Explosion (1916)

August 1st, 2021

13:54

It’s August 1st. This day in 1916 (July 30th, in fact) a massive explosion rocked New York Harbor, shattering windows in Times Square and causing …

The U.S. Rewrites the Haitian Constitution (1915) w/ Jelani Cobb

July 29th, 2021

19:10

It’s July 29th. This day in 1915, U.S. troops arrived in Haiti as the country’s political leadership is thrown into chaos by assassinations and …

Kerner and the "Long Hot Summer" (1967) w/ Jelani Cobb

July 27th, 2021

21:02

It’s July 27th. This day in 1967, LBJ convened the “Kerner Commission” to look into the roots of violence and unrest in America, largely in Black and …

The Beer Summit (2009)

July 25th, 2021

19:06

It’s July 25th. This day (July 24th in fact) in 2009, President Obama extended an invitation to Henry Louis Gates, Jr and Sgt James Crowley to …

The Lost Robert E. Lee Oath Theory (1975) w/ John Reeves

July 22nd, 2021

23:15

It’s July 22nd. This day in 1975, Congress voted to restore citizenship to Robert E. Lee, more than a hundred years after his death.

Jody, NIki, and …

Vanessa Williams Loses Her Crown (1984)

July 20th, 2021

13:49

It’s July 20th. This day in 1984, the Miss America pageant issued an ultimatum to Vanessa Williams, the first Black Miss America, to relinquish her …

Detroit Goes Bankrupt (2013)

July 18th, 2021

17:09

It’s July 18h. This day in 2013, the city of Detroit declared bankruptcy.

Jody, NIki, and Kellie discuss how a city that was once the country’s …

Mary Lincoln's Money (1870)

July 15th, 2021

15:01

It’s July 14h. This day in 1870, Congress authorized a yearly pension of $3000 for Mary Todd Lincoln.

Jody, Niki, and Kellie discuss why it took …

A Native-Confederate Alliance (1861)

July 13th, 2021

12:35

It’s July 13th. This day in 1861, a treaty is signed between the Choctaw and Chickasaw tribes and the Confederate States of America.

Jody, Niki, and …

FDR Wants More (1940)

July 11th, 2021

16:21

It’s July 11th. This day in 1940, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt has a conversation with a supreme court justice to explore whether it would be …

The Roswell Crash (1947)

July 8th, 2021

14:05

It’s July 8th. This day (July 7th actually) in 1947, two ranchers stumbled across a downed flying object in the middle of the Nevada desert.

Jody, …

The Death of Marsha P Johnson (1992)

July 6th, 2021

15:19

It’s July 6th. This day in 1992, the body of Marsha P Johnson was found floating in the Hudson River off of New York City.

Jody, Niki, and Kellie …

Garrison's 4th of July Defiance (1854)

July 4th, 2021

17:02

It’s July 4th. This day in 1854, abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison burned a copy of the constitution at a rally in Boston, calling it a “covenant …

Old Enough To Fight, Old Enough To Vote (1971)

July 1st, 2021

18:54

It’s July 1st. This day 1971, North Carolina voted to ratify the 26th amendment, which lowered the national voting age from 21 to 18.

Jody, NIki, …

Moneybomb! (2008)

June 29th, 2021

19:50

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Joseph Smith's Assassination (1844) w/ Spencer W McBride

June 27th, 2021

21:26

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Sanford Hikes the Appalachian Trail (2009)

June 24th, 2021

16:38

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Mandela in Boston (1990)

June 22nd, 2021

16:11

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The Len Bias Law (1986) w/ Adam McKay

June 20th, 2021

20:29

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A Rumor, An Exhumation (1991)

June 17th, 2021

17:09

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Borat Before Borat (1970) w/ Jill Lepore

June 15th, 2021

26:06

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Congressional Baseball Shooting (2017)

June 13th, 2021

23:30

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The Case of the Cussing Parrot (1845)

June 10th, 2021

14:03

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Those Pesky Fenians (1866)

June 8th, 2021

15:27

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Ollie! (1994)

June 6th, 2021

21:18

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Your support helps foster independent, artist-owned …

Zoot Suit Riots (1943) w/ Emily Spivak

June 3rd, 2021

21:58

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It’s June 3rd. This day in 1943 marked the …

Harriet The Spy (1863)

June 1st, 2021

17:34

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It’s June 1st. This day in 1863, Harriet Tubman …

The Day Before The Tulsa Massacre (1921) w/ Cord Jefferson

May 30th, 2021

24:45

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It’s May 30th. This day in 1921 was the day …

Voyage of the Damned (1939)

May 27th, 2021

15:17

It’s May 27th. This day in 1939, authorities in Cuba turned away the SS St. Louis, a ship full of Jewish refugees escaping Nazi persecution in …

The Unabomber Gets His Start (1978)

May 25th, 2021

17:32

It’s May 25th. This day in 1978, a suspicious package mailed to a university in Chicago blows up.

Jody, Niki, and Kellie discuss the start of what …

A Texas Dem Split (1944)

May 23rd, 2021

13:54

It’s May 23rd. This day in 1944, Texas Democrats hold two competing conventions ahead of the fall’s election, with the party split over FDR’s …

Slow Your Roll (1901)

May 20th, 2021

16:51

It’s May 20th. This day in 1901, Connecticut passed the first ever speed limit law for automobiles in the United States.

Jody, Niki, and Kellie …

Dan Quayle vs Murphy Brown (1992)

May 18th, 2021

17:09

It’s May 18th. This day in 1992, Vice President Dan Quayle gave a speech about the erosion of “family values” in America, and towards the end criticized the TV show Murphy Brown, in which the main character had recently …

The First Radio Debate (1948)

May 16th, 2021

17:09

It’s May 16th. This day in 1948, New York Governor Thomas E Dewey and former Minnesota Governor Harold Stassen were preparing for the first …

The MOVE Bombing (1985) w/ Gene Demby

May 13th, 2021

23:20

It’s May 13th. This day in 1985, the Philadelphia police department ended a standoff with the MOVE group by dropping two firebombs from a helicopter …

Dust, Everywhere (1934)

May 11th, 2021

12:05

It’s May 11th. This day in 1934, a massive dust storm swept across the Great Plains, lifting up millions of tons of topsoil and spreading it as far as 300 miles off the coast of New York City.

Jody, Niki, and Kellie …

Sitting Bull in Canada (1877)

May 9th, 2021

13:20

It’s May 9th. This day in 1877, Lakota leader Sitting Bull leads a large group into Canada to seek refuge from the U.S. Army, which had been pursuing …

Kennedy's Pulitzer Controversies (1957)

May 6th, 2021

22:13

It’s May 6th. This day in 1957, Senator John F Kennedy of Massachusetts was awarded the Pulitzer prize for his book “Profiles in Courage.”

Jody, …

SEAL Team Six (2011) w/ Dan Taberski

May 4th, 2021

24:36

It’s May 4th. This day (May 2nd, in fact) in 2011, a group of Navy SEALs raided a compound in Pakistan and killed Osama bin Laden.

Jody, Niki, and Kellie are joined by Dan Taberski to discuss the details of the raid, …

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED (2003) w/ Noreen Malone

May 2nd, 2021

19:21

It’s May 2nd. This day in 2003 (actually, May 1st) President George W. Bush gave a speech about the Iraq War on the USS Abraham Lincoln in front of a …

The First HBCU* (1854)

April 29th, 2021

19:48

It’s April 29th. This day in 1854, the Ashmun Institute in Pennsylvania is chartered, the first (depending on how you count) university devoted to African-American students.

Jody, Niki, and Kellie discuss the founding …

Hinckley's Insanity (1982)

April 27th, 2021

19:18

It’s April 27th. This day in 1982, John Hinckley went on trial for the attempted assassination of President Reagan. Hinckley’s lawyers would mount a …

Our Library (1800) w/ Kerri Greenidge

April 25th, 2021

21:12

It’s April 25th. This day in 1800, President John Adams approved the appropriation of $5000 for the initial collection of the Library of Congress.

Boom Town (1889) w/ Sam Anderson

April 22nd, 2021

26:19

It’s April 22nd. This day in 1889, tens of thousands of people gathered in the middle of “unassigned territory” to wait for the signal at high noon — …

The Franklin Cent (1787)

April 20th, 2021

12:03

It’s April 20th. This day in 1787, Congress authorized the production of the country’s first coin.

Jody, Niki, and Kellie discuss the “Fugio cent,” designed — some say over-designed — by Ben Franklin, and what it meant …

John Freeman's Freedom (1809)

April 18th, 2021

14:54

It’s April 18th. This day in 1809, a man by the name of John Freeman writes a letter to Thomas Jefferson, asking that Jefferson transfer his indentured servitude contract to incoming president James Madison.

Jody, …

Oprah's Beef (1996)

April 15th, 2021

20:50

It’s April 15th. On this day in 1996, Oprah Winfrey hosted a segment on her show about “Mad Cow Disease” and proclaimed that she would no longer eat …

The CIA LSD Experiments (1953)

April 13th, 2021

18:44

It’s April 13th. This day in 1953, the CIA started the secretive MK Ultra program, which experimented on unwitting subjects to determine the effects of LSD and other drugs.

Jody, Niki, and Kellie discuss some of the …

Pets are People (1866)

April 11th, 2021

21:38

It’s April 11th. This day in 1866, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is founded.

Jody, Niki, Kellie and special guest Anne Helen Petersen discuss the rise of animal welfare groups, and how …

Go Ahead, Make Me Mayor (1986)

April 8th, 2021

19:09

It’s April 8th. This day in 1986, Clint Eastwood is elected mayor of Carmel-by-the-Sea, a wealthy town of 4,000 in California.

Jody, Niki, and …

NYC Revolt (1712)

April 6th, 2021

17:34

It’s April 6th. This day in 1712, a group of enslaved people start a fire in New York City aimed at sparking a larger rebellion.

Jody, Niki, and Kellie discuss the slave rebellion of 1712, the landscape of slavery in …

MLK at Riverside (1967) w/ Peniel Joseph

April 4th, 2021

17:41

It’s April 4th. This day in 1967, Martin Luther King, Jr delivers his “Beyond Vietnam” speech at Riverside Church in New York City.

Jody, Niki, and Kellie are joined by Peniel Joseph of UT-Austin to discuss the speech, …

Blowing Smoke

April 1st, 2021

17:34

It’s April 1st. This day in the early 1980s, a surprising discovery at Mt Vernon.

Jody, Niki, and Kellie talk about George Washington, conspiracy theories, and more.

Find a transcript of this episode at: 

The Rosenbergs (1951) w/ Jamelle Bouie

March 30th, 2021

19:16

It’s March 30th. This day in 1951, Ethel and Julius Rosenberg are convicted of spying in order to share nuclear secrets with the U.S.S.R. They would …

Three Mile Meltdown (1979)

March 28th, 2021

14:23

It’s March 28th. This day, in 1979, a partial meltdown at the Three Mile Island nuclear facility outside Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Jody, Niki, and Kellie discuss what led to the crisis, and how poor communications …

I'm On A Boat (1933)

March 25th, 2021

12:51

It’s March 25th. This day in 1933, the USS Sequoia is commissioned as a presidential yacht.

Jody, Niki, and Kellie discuss the long and strange history of presidential boats, from anti-rum-running efforts to secret …

Illinois Blazes A Trail (1872)

March 23rd, 2021

15:08

It’s March 23rd. This day in 1872, the Illinois becomes the first state to pass a law guaranteeing equal employment for women.

Jody, Niki, and Kellie discuss why the state was so far ahead of the rest of the country, …

La Masacre de Ponce (1937) w/ Alana Casanova-Burgess

March 21st, 2021

15:40

It’s March 21st. On Palm Sunday, 1937, a peaceful march in Ponce. Puerto Rico was attacked by police who shot and killed 19 Puerto Ricans, including …

Terri Schiavo's Right To Die (2005)

March 18th, 2021

17:04

It’s March 18th. This day in 2005, a feeding tube was removed from Terri Schiavo for the final time. She would die later that month.

Jody, Niki, and …

3000 Troops To Honduras (1988)

March 16th, 2021

14:14

It’s March 16th. This day in 1988, President Reagan ordered 3000 US troops to Honduras, along the border with Nicaragua.

Jody, Niki, and Kellie discuss the decision in the context of the larger Iran-Contra scandal — …

The Newburgh Conspiracy (1783)

March 14th, 2021

13:55

It’s March 14th. This day in 1783, George Washington gave an address to his troops camped in Newburgh, NY, that averted a possible coup attempt.

Jody, Niki, and Kellie discuss why Washington’s troops were upset in the …

The Confederate Constitution (1861)

March 11th, 2021

17:24

It’s March 11th. This day in 1861, the Confederate States of America ratifies its own constitution. It’s largely based on the United States constitution, but with some key changes.

Jody, Niki, and Kellie discuss what …

The Murder of Dr. Gunn (1993)

March 9th, 2021

14:51

It’s March 9th. On this day in 1993, Dr. David Gunn was murdered outside the women’s clinic at which he worked by an anti-abortion protester.

Jody, Niki, and Kellie discuss the incident and how it marked a turn towards …

Know-Nothings Steal The Pope's Stone (1854)

March 7th, 2021

13:53

It’s March 7th. On this day in 1854, vandals broke into the construction site at the Washington Monument, made off with the “Pope’s Stone,” and threw it in the Potomac River.

Jody, NIki, and Kellie discuss the …

Florence Nightingale, Huge Nerd (1855) w/ Tim Harford

March 4th, 2021

27:01

It’s March 4th. This day in 1855, a British sanitary commission arrived in Istanbul to inspect a field hospital where soldiers were dying at alarming …

The Weather Underground Bombs the Capitol (1971)

March 2nd, 2021

20:47

It’s March 2nd. This day, in 1971, the leftist group The Weather Underground carries out a bombing at the US Capitol.

Jody, Niki, and Kellie discuss …

Sickles, American Weirdo (1859) w/ Wright Thompson

February 28th, 2021

21:03

It’s February 28th. This day in 1859 (February 27th, actually) a New York representative named Daniel Sickles shot and killed Phillip Barton Key, the son of Francis Scott Key, in a dispute over an affair that Key was …

The Canuck Letter and Muskie's Tears (1972)

February 25th, 2021

18:45

It’s February 25th. This day in 1972, Democratic frontrunner Edmund Muskie of Maine was embroiled in a “scandal” that would ultimately sink his …

The Polio Vaccine Arrives! (1954)

February 23rd, 2021

19:40

It’s February 23rd. This day in 1954, children in Pittsburgh began to receive vaccines as part of the first clinical trials for Dr Jonas Salk’s polio …

Betty Friedan's Critique (1963) w/ Nichole Perkins

February 21st, 2021

20:46

It’s February 21st. This day in 1963 (actually, it was the 19th), Betty Friedan published her enormously influential book “The Feminine Mystique.”

The Chippendale's Conundrum (1984)

February 18th, 2021

14:53

It’s February 18th. On this day in 1984, a New York State liquor board is holding hearings on the all-male strip club Chippendale’s.

Jody, Niki, and …

US vs Pirates (1804)

February 16th, 2021

12:40

It’s February 16th. On this day in 1804, US Marines carried out a mission to destroy a ship that had been captured by enemy forces off the coast of …

A Fascist Coup Plot (1935)

February 14th, 2021

18:04

It’s February 14th. On this day in 1935, a Congressional committee released a report acknowledging what came to be known as “The Business Plot,” a …

Ike's Vietnam (1954)

February 11th, 2021

11:58

It’s February 11th. On this day in 1954, President Eisenhower expressed deep skepticism about US involvement in Vietnam. That would, of course, come …

Martial Law in Seattle (1886)

February 9th, 2021

14:52

It’s February 9th. On this day in 1886, a mob descended on Seattle’s Chinatown, amid growing tensions between white and Chinese workers.

Jody, Niki, …

The Mayflower of Liberia (1820)

February 7th, 2021

15:24

It’s Februrary 7th. On this day in 1820, 86 freed slaves boarded a ship from New York City headed to a region in West Africa that would soon come to …

Nixon Saves The Eagle (1973)

February 4th, 2021

13:30

It’s February 4th. On this day in 1973, president Richard Nixon signed the Endangered Species Act.

Jody, Niki, and Kellie discuss the legislation, how it fit into the growing environmental movement of the time, and …

Harding's Lust Letters (1920)

February 2nd, 2021

16:36

It’s February 2nd. On this day in 1920, Senator Warren G Harding pens a letter to his long-time mistress, laying out the terms under which they could …

The 13th You May Not Know (1865)

January 31st, 2021

14:52

It’s January 31st. On this day (actually, February 1st) 1865, the House passed the 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery and involuntary servitude …

Delaying The Civil War (1850)

January 28th, 2021

10:34

It’s January 28th. This day in 1850, Senator Henry Clay introduced a series of resolutions aimed at trying to build compromise and forestall the …

Run Margaret Run (1964)

January 26th, 2021

13:27

It’s January 26th. On this day in 1964, Margaret Chase Smith announced that she was running for the GOP nomination for president.

Jody, Niki, and Kellie discuss Smith’s trailblazing run, the legacy of women inside …

Fluoride Scare (1945)

January 24th, 2021

16:11

It’s January 24th. On this day in 1945, the town of Grand Rapids, Michigan became the first town in the country to add fluoride to its drinking water.

Jody, Niki, and Kellie discuss how the program was a huge success …

"Blood In The Air" at the Capitol (1861)

January 21st, 2021

12:58

It’s January 21st. On this day in 1861, Mississippi Senator Jefferson Davis gave a farewell address in the Senate, announcing that his state (along …

Inauguration Day Special (and Kellie's First Show!)

January 19th, 2021

23:45

On this Inauguration Day 2021, we look back at some notable other transition ceremonies, and discuss whether the day is pure symbolism or if it …

The Pets.Com Implosion (2001) w/ Julia Furlan

January 17th, 2021

18:31

It’s January 17th. On this day in 2001, the company pets.com was in the process of liquidating its assets, after just 18 months in existence.

Jody …

Ford's (Second) Assassin (1976)

January 14th, 2021

18:50

It’s January 14th. On this day in 1976, Sara Jane Moore was sentenced to life for her attempt to assassinate President Gerald Ford.

Jody and Niki discuss Moore’s life, motivations, and the landscape of apocalyptic …

Victory Sausages (1943)

January 12th, 2021

16:11

It’s January 12th. On this day in 1943, the US announces limits to the amount of meat Americans could eat, as well as a re-working of the meat …

Vatican Ties (1984)

January 10th, 2021

17:12

It’s January 10th. On this day in 1984, the United States and the Vatican established formal diplomatic relations for the first time in 117 years.

Bush Vomits on the Japanese PM (1992)

January 8th, 2021

16:25

It’s January 8th. On this day in 1992, President George HW Bush, on a diplomatic trip to Japan, ate some bad food and vomited during a state dinner, right onto the lap of the Japanese Prime Minister.

Jody and Niki …

The Nixon Recount Committee (1961)

January 5th, 2021

17:35

It’s January 5th. On this day in 1961, Vice President Richard Nixon, acting as President of the Senate, certified the electoral college results of …

2020 Favorite: "Coya Come Home" w/ Harry Enten

January 3rd, 2021

13:05

To wrap up 2020, and give ourselves a week off, we’re re-running some of our favorite episodes from the year. Thanks for listening all year, and we have lots more in store for 2021!

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On May 7th, Jody Avirgan, …

2020 Favorite: Dukakis on the Tank w/ Amy Walter

December 31st, 2020

20:48

To wrap up 2020, and give ourselves a week off, we’re re-running some of our favorite episodes from the year. Thanks for listening all year, and we have lots more in store for 2021!

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On September 13th in 1988, …

2020 Favorite: Wyoming's Suffrage w/ Maeve Higgins

December 29th, 2020

13:16

To wrap up 2020, and give ourselves a week off, we’re re-running some of our favorite episodes from the year. Thanks for listening all year, and we …

2020 Favorite: Obama's Tan Suit w/ Sam Sanders

December 27th, 2020

14:31

To wrap up 2020, and give ourselves a week off, we’re re-running some of our favorite episodes from the year. Thanks for listening all year, and we have lots more in store for 2021!

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On August 24th in 2014, …

The War On Christmas (Part 2) w/ Michael Hobbes

December 24th, 2020

26:32

It’s December 24nd. This Christmas week, we’re doing something a little different — a two-part special on the history of The War on Christmas.

In part two, Jody and Nikki are joined by Michael Hobbes of “You’re Wrong …

The War On Christmas (Part 1) w/ Michael Hobbes

December 22nd, 2020

27:26

It’s December 22nd. This Christmas week, we’re doing something a little different — a two-part special on the history of The War on Christmas.

In part one, Jody and Nikki are joined by Michael Hobbes of “You’re Wrong …

Back On The Montgomery Bus (1956) w/ Christina Greer

December 20th, 2020

18:56

It’s December 20th. On this day in 1956, the Montgomery, Alabama bus boycott ended after 381 days.

Jody and Niki are joined by Christina Greer of Fordham University to discuss what brought the boycott to an end, and …

Ellis Island Opens (1900) w/ Brian Lehrer

December 17th, 2020

25:10

It’s December 17th. On this day in 1900, the Ellis Island immigration center in New York harbor opened its doors.

Jody and Niki are joined by Brian Lehrer of WNYC to discuss the new wave of immigrants that entered the …

Boss Tweed Goes Down (1871)

December 15th, 2020

19:02

It’s December 15th. On this day in 1871, William “Boss” Tweed is arrested in Manhattan while returning to the city to, reportedly, see the Christmas lights.

Jody and Niki discuss what this moment means for Boss Tweed …

Trump the Moderator (2011) w/ James Poniewozik

December 13th, 2020

26:22

It’s December 13th. On this day in 2011, Donald Trump wrote a letter announcing that he was bowing out of moderating (!) a Newsmax presidential debate.

Jody and Niki are joined by James Poniewozik of the New York Times …

The Great Toledo War (1836) w/ Hanif Abdurraqib

December 10th, 2020

20:58

It’s December 10th. On this day in 1836, the final days of the “Great Toledo War,” a conflict over a strip of territory between the state of Ohio and …

The ANTI-Suffragettes (1915) w/ Kimberly Hamlin

December 8th, 2020

21:02

It’s December 8th. On this day in 1915, newspapers reported a “near riot” at a meeting of the Democratic party, when pro- and anti-suffrage women debated each other over the right to vote.

Jody and Niki are joined by …

United States vs One Book Called Ulysses (1933) w/ Kurt Andersen

December 6th, 2020

21:52

It’s December 6th. On this day in 1933, a judge ruled that James Joyce’s “Ulysses,” which had been effectively banned in the United States, was not …

US, Meet UN (1945)

December 3rd, 2020

18:06

It’s December 3rd. On this day in 1945 (technically, December 4th), the United States Senate voted to ratify an agreement to have the US join the …

John Brown's Body (1859)

December 1st, 2020

20:06

It’s December 1st. On this day in 1859, abolitionist John Brown was awaiting his execution by the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Jody and Niki discuss …

Harvey Milk is Assassinated (1978)

November 29th, 2020

18:02

It’s November 29th. On this day in 1978, San Fransisco is in mourning, and there is violence in the streets, in the wake of the assassination of …

Franksgiving! (1939) w/ Adam Conover

November 26th, 2020

23:07

It’s November 26th. On this day in 1939, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt had declared that Thanksgiving would take place a week earlier than …

The Alcatraz Occupation (1969) w/ Julian Brave Noisecat

November 24th, 2020

19:17

It’s November 24th. On this day in 1969, Native American activists have staged an occupation of Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay.

Jody and Niki …

Queen of Code (1943) w/ Mar Hicks

November 22nd, 2020

22:09

It’s November 22nd. On this day in 2016, Barack Obama awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to computer programmer Grace Hopper, who entered the Navy in the mid-1940s and helped pioneer a lot of modern electronic …

The US Rejects A Peace Treaty (1919) w/ Christopher McKnight Nichols

November 19th, 2020

21:12

It’s November 19th. On this day in 1919, the US Senate rejected the ratification of the Treaty of Versailles.

Jody and Niki are joined by …

The Governator (2003)

November 17th, 2020

14:53

It’s November 16th. On this day in 2003, Arnold Schwarzenegger was sworn in as Governor of California, after having won a recall election that ousted …

The Occupy Encampment (2011)

November 15th, 2020

23:18

It’s November 15th. On this day in 2011, the NYPD issued orders to clear the encampment at Zuccotti Park in lower manhattan, that had been the site of the Occupy Wall Street protests since the fall.

Jody and Niki …

The Vietnam Memorial Controversy (1982)

November 12th, 2020

14:13

It’s November 12th. On this day in 1982, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial opened in Washington, DC.

Jody and Niki discuss the controversy over the memorial’s design, the additions over the years, and how we memorialize …

The Obama Transition (2008)

November 10th, 2020

16:11

It’s November 10th. On this day in 2008, President-Elect Obama stepped into the Oval Office for the first time for a meeting with President George W Bush.

Jody and Niki discuss the lessons from that 2008 transition, …

GOP Latinos (1973) w/ Geraldo Cadava

November 8th, 2020

23:42

It’s November 8th. On this day in 1973, a many by the name of Ben Fernandez testified during the Watergate hearings. Fernandez was a Nixon fundraiser but also a major organizer around Latinos within the Republican Party.

Special: What Moment Are You Thinking Of? (2020) w/ Kellie Carter Jackson

November 6th, 2020

37:30

In the wake of the 2020 election, we have been thinking about and asking “What historical moment are you thinking about in this moment?” Jody and …

Quick Update, Question, Recommendation (2020)

November 5th, 2020

2:23

Jody with a quick update on our post-election coverage. We’re recording on Friday morning with the question “What historical moment are you thinking about in this moment?” Email us thisdaypod@gmail.com or find a form at …

When Black Voters Went Blue (1936) w/ Leah Wright Rigueur

November 3rd, 2020

25:27

It’s November 3rd. Election Day! On this day in 1936, FDR won his second term for president in a landslide. But it was the first election since the Civil War in which African-American voters voted for Democrats.

Jody …

Election Sunday: Election Night Info w/ Jad Abumrad

November 1st, 2020

41:58

It’s November 1st. On this Sunday before election day, we mix it up a bit and look at number of moments from history that teach us about how election …

Witches (1693) w/ Josh Gondelman

October 29th, 2020

18:14

It’s October 29th. On this day in 1693, the Salem witch trials came to an end when a superior court decided it would no longer hear “spectral …

Reagan's "Time for Choosing" (1964)

October 27th, 2020

14:38

It’s October 27th. On this day in 1964, Ronald Reagan gave a televised speech that marked him as the leading voice of American conservatives.

Jody and Niki discuss the “Time for Choosing” speech, Reagan’s long …

Election Sunday: Wellstone Plane Crash (2002)

October 25th, 2020

19:36

It’s October 25th. On this day in 2002, Minnesota Senator Paul Wellstone died in a plane crash, eleven days before the midterm election.

Jody and …

Ike's Heart Attack (1955) w/ Will Hitchcock

October 22nd, 2020

19:10

It’s October 22nd. On this day in 1955, President Eisenhower was recovering from a serious heart attack the month before.

Jody and Niki are joined by William Hitchcock of UVA to discuss the incident and how a …

Are You, Or Have You Ever Been... (1947) w/ Will Hitchcock

October 20th, 2020

23:29

It’s October 20th. On this day in 1947, the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) began hearings to root out communist sympathizers in …

Election Sunday: Podium Protests (1968) w/ Joel Anderson

October 18th, 2020

21:14

It’s October 18th. On this day in 1968, US Olympians Tommie Smith and John Carlos raised their fists in a Black power salute on the podium in Mexico City.

Jody and Niki are joined by Joel Anderson of Slate to discuss …

Million Man March (1995) w/ Joel Anderson

October 15th, 2020

22:06

It’s October 15th. On this day in 1995 hundreds of thousands of Black Americans descended on Washington DC for the Million Man March.

Jody and Niki are joined by Joel Anderson of Slate to discuss the march, …

A Bull Moose Gets Shot (1912) w/ Alex Schmidt

October 13th, 2020

17:37

It’s October 13th. On this day in 1912 (well, technically the 14th), Teddy Roosevelt is shot as he’s on his way to a speech in Milwaukee. He still gave the speech.

Jody and Niki are joined by Alex Schmidt to discuss …

Election Sunday: Anita Hill's Testimony (1991) w/ Farai Chideya

October 11th, 2020

19:28

It’s October 11th. On this day in 1991, Anita Hill provided testimony during the confirmation hearings for Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court. Hill …

Anthrax Letters (2001)

October 8th, 2020

12:48

It’s October 8th. On this day in 2001, the FBI opened an investigation into a series of letters containing anthrax powder that were mailed to news …

Fallout Shelters (1961)

October 6th, 2020

14:55

It’s October 6th. On this day in 1961, President Kennedy penned a letter urging the country to prepare fallout shelters and take other steps in anticipation of nuclear warfare.

Jody and Niki discuss the fear that …

Election Sunday: A Great Debate Zinger (1988) w/ Mike Pesca

October 4th, 2020

24:48

It’s October 4th. On this day in 1988, Lloyd Bentsen delivered one of the most memorable debate lines of all time when he told his VP opponent Dan …

REPOST -- The President Catches The Virus (1919)

October 2nd, 2020

9:37

With the news that President Trump has COVID, we are reposting our episode from early April about the time that President Wilson caught the Influenza virus in 1919.

We’ll be back with a new episode this Sunday.

This …

Shutdown (2013) w/ Steve Kornacki

October 1st, 2020

22:37

It’s October 1st. On this day in 2013, the United States government shut down after the Congress was unable to agree to a new budget proposal, that …

Goodbye 538 (1970) w/ Steve Kornacki

September 29th, 2020

19:42

It’s September 29th. On this day in 1970, the United States Senate came six votes shy of voting for an amendment that would have scrapped the …

Election Sunday: Contract with America (1994) w/ Kristen Soltis Anderson

September 27th, 2020

22:19

It’s September 27th. On this day in 1994, Republicans in the House of Representatives gathered on the steps of the Capitol to announce the “Contract …

The Republic of West Florida (1810) w/ Kristen Soltis Anderson

September 24th, 2020

16:50

It’s September 24th. On this day in 1810, a band of rebels took control of a fort in Baton Rogue and shortly thereafter established “The Republic of …

Dueling Lincoln (1842) w/ Alexis Coe

September 22nd, 2020

13:55

It’s September 22nd. On this day in 1842, Abe Lincoln almost duels, using swords, with a man named James Shields, but manages to get out of it.

Jody …

Election Sunday: Carter's Lust (1976) w/ Alexis Coe

September 20th, 2020

16:53

It’s September 20th. On this day in 1976, Democratic presidential candidate Jimmy Carter gave an interview to Playboy magazine in which he admitted that he has “lust in his heart” for women.

Jody and Niki are joined by …

Khrushchev Comes to America (1959)

September 17th, 2020

14:04

It’s September 17th. On this day in 1959, Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev was in New York City as part of his goodwill tour of the United States.

Jody and Niki discuss the visit by Khrushchev, the protests against it, …

A Dead Candidate (1992)

September 15th, 2020

16:58

It’s September 15th. On this day in 1992, the congressional district on Manhattan’s west side held its Democratic Primary. Incumbent Ted Weiss won handily. There was just one catch — Weiss had died of heart failure the …

Election Sunday: Dukakis on the Tank (1988) w/ Amy Walter

September 13th, 2020

20:19

It’s September 13th. On this day in 1988, Democratic nominee Michael Dukakis baorded an M-1 tank in order to set up a photo op, ostensibly to make him look tough on defense. It backfired horribly.

Jody and Niki are …

Bank War (1833) w/ Jacob Goldstein

September 10th, 2020

19:14

It’s September 10th. On this day in 1833, President Andrew Jackson announced that the U.S. government would no longer be keeping its money with the …

The Obama Star Trek Theory (2004) w/ Ian Chillag

September 8th, 2020

16:29

It’s September 6th. On this day Star Trek debuted. We are discussing Star Trek because of a convoluted theory that if the actress Jeri Ryan had never …

Election Sunday: The Stars and Stripes and Sports (1918) w/ Jason Concepcion

September 6th, 2020

19:07

It’s September 6th. On this day in 1918, during the seventh inning stretch of a World Series game between the Chicago Cubs and Boston Red Sox, a band played the “Star Spangled Banner” for the first time at a major …

Recy and Rosa (1944) w/ Danielle McGuire

September 3rd, 2020

16:47

It’s September 3rd. On this day in 1944, a woman by the name of Recy Taylor was raped in Abbeville, Alabama.

Jody and Niki are joined by Danielle McGuire to discuss how Taylor’s case became one of the most notable …

Tax The Rich (1862)

September 1st, 2020

12:00

It’s September 1st. On this day in 1862, the Internal Revenue Act went into effect.

Jody and Niki discuss how the act codified many of the systems …

Election Sunday: Carter and the Killer Rabbit (1979) w/ Sam Sanders

August 30th, 2020

15:11

It’s August 30th. On this day in 1979, newspapers around the country reported on an encounter President Jimmy Carter had earlier that summer with a rabbit while fishing.

Jody and Niki are joined by Sam Sanders of NPR’s …

Obama's Tan Suit (2014) w/ Sam Sanders

August 27th, 2020

14:04

It’s August 27th. On this day in 2014, President Barack Obama gave a press conference about Ukraine and ISIS and foreign policy — but much of the …

The 19th (1920) w/ Kellie Carter Jackson

August 25th, 2020

13:44

It’s August 25th. On this day in 1920, Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby signed papers that ratified the 19th amendment, which stated that the …

Election Sunday: Fannie Lou Hamer vs Lyndon B Johnson (1964)

August 23rd, 2020

20:46

It’s August 23rd. On this day in 1964, Mississippi activist Fannie Lou Hamer gave a speech at the Democratic National Convention about her efforts to be recognized as part of the MS delegation. President Lyndon B …

Rockefeller Republicans (1974)

August 20th, 2020

12:19

It’s August 20th. On this day in 1974, Gerald Ford announced Nelson Rockefeller of New York as his pick for Vice President.

Jody and Niki discuss how the pick of Rockefeller represented Ford’s attempt to find a …

The Dakota War and the Mankato Hanging (1862)

August 18th, 2020

12:47

It’s August 18th. On this day in 1862, fighting broke out in southern Minnesota between Dakota Indians and the United States. Later in the year, 38 …

Election Sunday: Adlai and The Always-Rans (1952) w/ Harry Enten

August 16th, 2020

22:02

It’s August 16th. On this day in 1956, Adlai Stevenson accepted the nomination for Democratic candidate for president. It was the second election in …

Ebola (2014) w/ Andy Slavitt

August 13th, 2020

18:24

It’s August 13th. On this day in 2014, deaths from Ebola passed 1,000 in four West African nations. Over the summer and fall fears about Ebola would …

RBG Arrives (1993) w/ Dahlia Lithwick

August 11th, 2020

17:52

It’s August 11th. On this day in 1993, Ruth Bader Ginsburg spent her first full day on the Supreme Court.

Jody and Niki are joined by Dahlia …

Election Sunday: How Third Parties Happen (1848)

August 9th, 2020

13:27

It’s August 9th. On this day in 1848, former President Martin Van Buren was nominated as the presidential nominee for the breakaway Free Soil Party. The party was short-lived, but influential, and partly responsible for …

The Case Of The Missing Judge (1930)

August 6th, 2020

15:39

It’s August 6th. On this day in 1930, NY Judge Joseph Force Crater disappeared after getting dinner and heading to a Broadway show. He was never seen again, and his case has been a vacuum for conspiracy theories in the …

Braceros (1942)

August 4th, 2020

11:53

It’s August 4th. On this day in 1942, the US started an immigration program for “braceros,” agricultural workers from Mexico who came to work on …

Election Sunday: Reagan's Dog Whistle (1980)

August 2nd, 2020

23:42

It’s August 2nd. On this day in 1980, Ronald Reagan kicked off his 1980 presidential general election campaign with a speech at the Neshoba County Fair in MS. During the speech he used the phrase “states rights,” which …

How We Got "In God We Trust" (1956) w/ Kevin M Kruse

July 30th, 2020

16:25

It’s July 30th. On this day in 1956, Congress approved a bill to adopt “In God We Trust” as the official motto of the United States, mandating that …

A Major Watergate Vote (1974) w/ Leon Neyfakh

July 28th, 2020

15:21

It’s July 28th. On this day in 1974, the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee voted 27-11 to recommend the impeachment of Richard Nixon on …

Election Sunday: Chappaquidick (1969)

July 26th, 2020

16:04

It’s July 26th. On this day in 1969, Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy pled guilty to leaving the scene of the crime following a car accident on the …

Why Wyoming (1890) w/ Maeve Higgins

July 23rd, 2020

12:50

It’s July 23rd. On this day in 1890, Wyoming celebrated its entry into the United States. And it was doing so as a state that granted women the right …

Small Step For (A?) Man (1969) w/ Maeve Higgins

July 21st, 2020

15:13

It’s July 21st. On this day in 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin rode the Apollo 11 lunar module down to the moon’s surface — while their pal …

Election Sunday: Convention Speeches (1980s)

July 19th, 2020

24:50

It’s July 19th. In our first special Sunday show, Jody Avirgan and Nicole Hemmer discuss some notable convention speeches from the 1980s, and what …

Riots Sweep NYC (1863)

July 16th, 2020

15:28

It’s July 16th. On this day in 1863, riots are raging in New York City. Jody Avirgan and Nicole Hemmer discuss how the unrest shifted from Civil War …

The Pandemic We Forget (1968) w/ Leon Neyfakh

July 14th, 2020

16:56

It’s July 14th. On this day in 1968, reports of a new strain of influenza. The “Hong Kong Flu” would spread worldwide and kill upwards of a million …

VP Gore (1992) w/ John Dickerson

July 9th, 2020

17:15

It’s July 9th. On this day in 1992, Bill Clinton announced Al Gore as his selection to be his Vice Presidential running mate.

Jody Avirgan and …

Welcome Alaska (1958) w/ John Dickerson

July 7th, 2020

13:09

It’s July 7th. On this day in 1958, President Eisenhower signed the Alaska Statehood Act, bringing Alaska on as the 49th state.

Jody Avirgan and …

The Man Who Didn't Sign The Declaration (1776) w/ John Dickerson

July 2nd, 2020

13:02

It’s July 2nd. Today, the story of John Dickinson, who attended the Continental Congress, was witness to the drafting of the Declaration of …

Newspaper Strike! (1945) w/ Jane Coaston

June 30th, 2020

10:57

It’s June 30th. Jody Avirgan and Nicole Hemmer are joined by Jane Coaston of Vox to discuss the NYC newspaper strike of 1945. There were eight daily …

The Great Reunion (1913) w/ Jane Coaston

June 25th, 2020

11:47

It’s June 25th. Jody Avirgan and Nicole Hemmer are joined by Jane Coaston of Vox to discuss “The Great Reunion” of 1913. 50 years after the Battle of …

Resurrection City (1968) w/ Jane Coaston

June 23rd, 2020

13:26

It’s June 23rd. Jody Avirgan and Nicole Hemmer are joined by Jane Coaston of Vox to discuss “Resurrection City,” an encampment that occupied the …

Juneteenth (1865)

June 18th, 2020

11:09

It’s June 18th. Jody Avirgan and Nicole Hemmer discuss the history of Juneteenth — which is tomorrow, June 19th! It started as a Texas commemoration …

Getting The New Deal Done (1933)

June 16th, 2020

14:20

It’s June 16th. Jody Avirgan and Nicole Hemmer discuss the passage of the first raft of legislation that would come to be known as The New Deal. …

One Of Those Days (1963) w/ Josh Levin

June 11th, 2020

16:56

It’s June 11th. We’re breaking format a bit today. Jody Avirgan and Nicole Hemmer are joined by Slate’s Josh Levin to talk about a day in 1963 where …

David Duke The Democrat (1988)

June 9th, 2020

15:54

It’s June 9th. Jody Avirgan and Nicole Hemmer are joined by Slate’s Josh Levin to talk about neo-nazi David Duke, who ran for the Democratic …

Shirley Shows Up (1972)

June 4th, 2020

13:05

It’s June 4th. Jody Avirgan and Nicole Hemmer discuss the California democratic debate of 1972, which features Shirley Chisholm — the first woman to …

The Steel Strike Showdown (1952)

June 2nd, 2020

14:09

It’s June 2nd. Before the show, some words about the protests and violence over the weekend. Then, Jody Avirgan and Nicole Hemmer discuss a massive …

Ain't I A Woman (1851) w/ Akilah Hughes

May 28th, 2020

14:02

It’s May 28th. Jody Avirgan, Nicole Hemmer, and special guest Akilah Hughes (What A Day podcast) discuss Sojourner Truth’s famous “Ain’t I a Woman” …

Hands Across America (1986)

May 26th, 2020

12:43

It’s May 26th. Jody Avirgan, Nicole Hemmer, and special guest Akilah Hughes (What A Day podcast) discuss “Hands Across America,” the charity event …

Treason! (1807)

May 21st, 2020

12:20

It’s May 21st. Jody Avirgan, Nicole Hemmer, and special guest Joanne Freeman (Backstory Radio) discuss the treason trial of Aaron Burr. It pitted …

The Caning Of Sumner (1856)

May 19th, 2020

12:45

It’s May 19th. Jody Avirgan, Nicole Hemmer, and special guest Joanne Freeman (Backstory) discuss one of the more notorious incidents in U.S. …

Ron Paul Bows Out (2012)

May 14th, 2020

13:25

It’s May 14th. Jody Avirgan, Nicole Hemmer, and special guest Harry Enten of CNN discuss the career of Ron Paul. He ran in several Republican …

The Killer Ds (2003)

May 12th, 2020

13:00

It’s May 12th. Jody Avirgan, Nicole Hemmer, and special guest Harry Enten of CNN discuss the incident where over 50 Texas legislators fled across the …

Coya Come Home (1958)

May 7th, 2020

12:39

It’s May 7th. Jody Avirgan, Nicole Hemmer, and special guest Harry Enten of CNN discuss the “Coya Come Home” letter — a public letter written by the …

The Forgotten Crash (1893)

May 5th, 2020

11:51

It’s May 5th. Jody Avirgan and Nicole Hemmer discuss the crash of 1893. It was the result of a rapidly changing economy, heavy debt, and slow-footed …

Bernie Jumps In (2015)

April 30th, 2020

12:01

It’s April 30th. Jody Avirgan and Nicole Hemmer discuss the moment Bernie Sanders entered the 2016 Democratic primary. He was relatively unknown, but …

The East Coast Dims Out (1942)

April 28th, 2020

11:05

It’s April 28th. Jody Avirgan and Nicole Hemmer talk about the “dim outs” of 1942, when businesses and residents along the east coast were asked to …

Howard Stern For Governor (1994)

April 23rd, 2020

11:30

It’s April 23rd. Jody Avirgan, Nicole Hemmer, and special guest Alexis Coe (You Never Forget Your First) discuss when shock-jock Howard Stern secured …

Adams Doesn't Want To Be VP (1789)

April 21st, 2020

10:26

It’s April 21st. Jody Avirgan, Nicole Hemmer, and special guest Alexis Coe (You Never Forget Your First) discuss America’s first Vice President, John …

Letter from a Birmingham Jail (1963)

April 16th, 2020

10:11

It’s April 16th. Jody Avirgan, Nicole Hemmer, and special guest Jamelle Bouie of the New York Times discuss Martin Luther King’s Letter from a …

The Lincoln Coup (1865)

April 14th, 2020

9:52

It’s April 14th. Jody Avirgan, Nicole Hemmer, and special guest Jamelle Bouie of the New York Times discuss the assasination of Abraham Lincoln, and …

The Amendment That Changed The Senate (1913)

April 9th, 2020

9:56

It’s April 9th. Jody Avirgan, Nicole Hemmer, and special guest Jamelle Bouie of the New York Times discuss the passage of the 17th amendment. It …

Obama's "Bitter Clinger" Comments (2008)

April 7th, 2020

11:03

It’s April 7th. Jody Avirgan and Nicole Hemmer discuss the scandal that erupted after candidate Barack Obama made comments at a fundraiser ahead of …

Wilson Gets The Flu (1919)

April 2nd, 2020

8:40

It’s April 2nd. Jody Avirgan and Nicole Hemmer discuss the Influenza pandemic of 1918-1919. In the spring of 1919, President Wilson got sick on his …

LBJ Isn't Running (1968)

March 31st, 2020

9:54

It’s March 31st. Jody Avirgan and Nicole Hemmer discuss President Johnson’s surprise announcement that he isn’t running for re-election, and how …

Introduction: This Day In Esoteric Political History

March 23rd, 2020

2:50

This Day In Esoteric Political History is hosted by Jody Avirgan, with historian Nicole Hemmer of Columbia. Our researcher and producer is Jacob …

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