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Historical Controversies

In Historical Controversies, Mises Institute scholar Chris Calton debunks the history you may have learned in school. Armed with facts, theory, and a Rothbardian appreciation for historical narrative, Calton enlightens and entertains in a podcast that has something to offer all audiences.See the podcast's updated Corrections and Qualifications page.See also Chris Calton's Bibliographic Essays (PDF): Season 1, History of the War on Drugs (Mises.org/EC1Bib) and Season 2: Antebellum United States (Mises.org/EC2Bib).Listeners can support this podcast financially at Mises.org/SupportHC.

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The March to America's Civil War

Season 2, Episode 1. In the first episode of the second season of Historical Controversies, Chris Calton gives a revisionist look at the antebellum period leading up to the Civil War. Correction: I refer to the “destruction of the first party-system,” when I meant to say “second party-system.” In the episode on the Election of 1856, I give a correct account of the party-system changes.

1 Nov 2017

Rank #1

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The Battle of Shiloh, Part 1: I "Would Fight Them If They Were A Million"

Season 3, Episode 49Following the victories at Forts Henry and Donelson, Grant’s commanding officer still wanted to remove him from command. During this time, he formed a strong friendship with William Tecumseh Sherman. As the Union army was amassing troops at Pittsburg Landing, the Confederate forces in the West were concentrating at Corinth. The Confederates decided that they should take the initiative in the coming battle.  Chris Calton recounts the controversial history of the Civil War. You may support this podcast financially at Mises.org/SupportHC. Subscribe today at Spotify, Google Play, iTunes, SoundCloud, Stitcher, or via RSS.

20 Mar 2019

Rank #2

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Indians and the Confederacy, Part 2: The Cherokee Nation

Season 3, Episode 32 After being forced to move west during the Trail of Tears, the Cherokee Nation was bitterly divided into two factions. Although they remained officially unified, the factionalism remained through the Civil War and reemerged as a division between the Cherokee who favored the Union, or at least neutrality, and those who wanted to ally with the Confederacy. Similar to the border states, the decision to join the Confederacy was controversial, and many Native Americans refused to fall in line, demonstrating that the alliance with the Confederacy was not as simple as many historians make it seem.  Chris Calton recounts the controversial history of the Civil War. You may support this podcast financially at Mises.org/SupportHC. Subscribe today at Spotify, Google Play, iTunes, SoundCloud, Stitcher, or via RSS.

21 Nov 2018

Rank #3

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The Emergence of Grant, Part 1: Finding the Gateway

Season 3, Episode 43As Lincoln grew impatient with his generals, he sent an order demanding action. In the West, Ulysses S. Grant was eager to comply, while other Union generals dithered and delayed offensive operations. Confederate forces were building forts on the Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers – Forts Henry and Donelson – and they believed that the Union attack would focus on the Mississippi. But coming into 1862, the Union officers had realized that it was this pair of rivers running through Kentucky and Tennessee that would serve as the gateway to the Confederacy.  Chris Calton recounts the controversial history of the Civil War. You may support this podcast financially at Mises.org/SupportHC. Subscribe today at Spotify, Google Play, iTunes, SoundCloud, Stitcher, or via RSS.

6 Feb 2019

Rank #4

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Culture, Coca-Cola, and the CIA: The History of Cocaine

Season 1, Episode 4. Chris Calton traces the history of cocaine, showing how it went from common medicine to the target of US military action.

30 Aug 2017

Rank #5

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The Battle of Shiloh, Part 2: The Furies of Hell

Season 3, Episode 50At the beginning of the Battle of Shiloh, the Confederacy caught the Union by surprise. However, one Union Colonel suspected that an attack was coming, and he formed his men into a defensive line that bought the rest of the Union troops time to join the fight. Instead of a quick Confederate victory, both armies faced a bloody battle of attrition.    Chris Calton recounts the controversial history of the Civil War. You may support this podcast financially at Mises.org/SupportHC. Subscribe today at Spotify, Google Play, iTunes, SoundCloud, Stitcher, or via RSS.

27 Mar 2019

Rank #6

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Harpers Ferry, Part 1: The Plan

Season 2, Episode 20. After being radicalized in Kansas, John Brown wanted to start a war against slavery. His plan involved secret conspirators, a provisional government, a spy, and a traitor. This episode is part 1 of 3 on John Brown’s raid on Harpers Ferry. Correction: I say that John Brown claimed to be nine years old at the time of his witnessing the beating of a slave child, but John Brown actually claimed to be twelve.

14 Mar 2018

Rank #7

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Introduction to the Civil War

Season 3, Episode 1. In this episode, Chris Calton introduces the third season of Historical Controversies. He gives an overview of Ludwig von Mises’s views on the study of history and how it applies to the division between secession and war in 1861. He also tackles the question of whether or not the American Civil War was an actual “civil war”. Chris Calton recounts the controversial history of the Civil War. This is the first episode in the third season of Historical Controversies.

18 Apr 2018

Rank #8

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South Carolina Stands Alone

Season 3, Episode 2. For almost a month, South Carolina was the only state to have formally seceded from the Union. Off the coast of Charleston, the Union still had a garrison stationed in Sullivan Island’s Fort Moultrie, which became a matter of foreign policy between the United States and what was essentially the “nation” of South Carolina.

25 Apr 2018

Rank #9

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The Emergence of Grant, Part 2: Fort Henry

Season 3, Episode 44By taking Fort Henry, Ulysses S. Grant and Andrew Hull Foote gained access to the Tennessee River. This waterway gave them access to the Confederate heartland, and by taking the Fort, they were able to probe deep into Alabama. This earned the Union a bounty of new supplies, and also struck a tremendous psychological blow against the Confederates in the Deep South who believed that they were, up to that point, secure from Yankee invasion. Chris Calton recounts the controversial history of the Civil War. You may support this podcast financially at Mises.org/SupportHC. Subscribe today at Spotify, Google Play, iTunes, SoundCloud, Stitcher, or via RSS.

13 Feb 2019

Rank #10

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California Gold and Clay's Compromise

Season 2, Episode 2. Following the War with Mexico, the Gold Rush out west leads to the question of Californian statehood and the future of US expansion. In order to balance the tension between free and slave states, Henry Clay offers a compromise.

8 Nov 2017

Rank #11

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The First Battle of Bull Run, Part 1: Hoke’s Run

Season 3, Episode 11. Leading up to the First Battle of Bull Run, Joseph E. Johnston takes command of the Army of the Shenandoah, and Robert Patterson counters with the Army of Pennsylvania. Patterson’s objective is to prevent Johnston from joining Pierre Beauregard at Manassas Junction. But, misled by poor intel, Patterson fails to attack Johnston’s smaller army, allowing Johnston to start moving his troops to reinforce Beauregard’s Army of the Potomac.

27 Jun 2018

Rank #12

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The Milk of the Poppy

Season 1, Episode 3. Chris Calton looks at the history of opium use around the world. The tale takes us to baby farms in Victorian England, 19th Century China, and even one of the most prominent examples of fake news from the Washington Post. For further reading, see Opium: A History edited by Martin Booth (St. Martin's Griffin, 1996).

23 Aug 2017

Rank #13

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Controlling Missouri, Part 5: Bloody Hill

Season 3, Episode 21. After an early morning victory, the Battle of Wilson’s Creek concentrates on a hill that would later be named Bloody Hill. Despite the advantages won by a successful surprise attack, the Union army would find itself on the defensive, and the battle would end with the first general officer killed in the Union army. Chris Calton recounts the controversial history of the Civil War. This is the 21st episode in the third season of Historical Controversies. You may support this podcast financially at Mises.org/SupportHC.

5 Sep 2018

Rank #14

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A Policy of Northern Oppression

Season 3, Episode 23. As the fear of spies and traitors spread through the North, political arrests became commonplace, even in states as far north as Maine. Anybody expressing any anti-war sentiment would be assumed to be a traitor and a secessionist, and arrests were carried out according to a guilty-until-proven-innocent policy. Martial Law was not confined to the slave states.  Chris Calton recounts the controversial history of the Civil War. This is the 23rd episode in the third season of Historical Controversies. You may support this podcast financially at Mises.org/SupportHC.

19 Sep 2018

Rank #15

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Dred Scott

Season 2, Episode 10. What is now considered the worst Supreme Court ruling of all time, Dred Scott v. Sandford, was a decision that sought to end the controversy over slavery that had raged since the Compromise of 1850. By ruling that Congress had no legal power to prohibit slavery in the territories, Chief Justice Roger B. Taney poured gasoline on the fire that was dividing the nation.

3 Jan 2018

Rank #16

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The Election of 1860

Season 2, Episode 23. After John Brown’s raid on Harpers Ferry, the South was on edge. The Republican Party, in their eyes, was proof of the overwhelming presence of violent abolitionists in the North. The result was a North-South split in the Democrat Party, threats of secession if a Republican won, and a four-way presidential race.

4 Apr 2018

Rank #17

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Nationalized Slavery: The Fugitive Slave Law

Season 2, Episode 3. In this episode, Chris Calton looks at the horrors of fugitive slave laws, the ways government incentivized the kidnapping of free blacks, and the rise of private defense groups to fight off slavers.

15 Nov 2017

Rank #18

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Controlling Missouri, Part 1: Nathaniel Lyon in St. Louis

Season 3, Episode 17. Nathaniel Lyon, a notoriously harsh officer in the US army, is sent to St. Louis to ensure Missouri’s place in the Union. His policies have the effect of alienating much of the population of the city, which is predominantly Unionist, leading to the formation of a secessionist resistance group at Camp Jackson.

9 Aug 2018

Rank #19

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War Comes to Virginia

Season 3, Episode 10. Because of the close proximity to Washington DC and Richmond, Virginia, much of the Civil War would take place in eastern Virginia—between the two capitals. Virginia’s favorite son, Robert E. Lee, would be offered command of the Union army only days before resigning his U.S. army commission and accepting a position in the Confederate army. The war in Virginia began with a few minor skirmishes following the Union occupation of Alexandria and Arlington.

20 Jun 2018

Rank #20