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The Road to Now

Bob Crawford (The Avett Brothers) & Dr. Ben Sawyer (MTSU History) share conversations with great thinkers from a variety of backgrounds – historians, artists, legal scholars, political figures and more –who help us uncover the many roads that run between past and present. For more information, visit TheRoadToNow.com If you'd like to support our work, join us on Patreon: Patreon.com/TheRoadToNow
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Now displaying: October, 2021
Oct 25, 2021

In May of 1787, delegates from 12 states met in Philadelphia and began debating what would become the US Constitution. They published the document the following September and we’ve been arguing about it ever since.

As President & CEO of the The National Constitution Center, Jeffrey Rosen is responsible for fulfilling the center’s mission to “disseminate information about the United States Constitution on a non-partisan basis in order to increase the awareness and understanding of the Constitution among the American people.” In this episode, Jeffrey joins Bob & Ben for a discussion about the Constitution, the vital ways that amendments have changed the federal government, and how rulings by past courts may impact upcoming Supreme Court decisions. We also talk about how the NCC has worked to fulfill its congressional mandate, the exciting resources available through the Center, and the important role that non-partisan resources play in a democracy.

Jeffrey Rosen is also professor at The George Washington Law School, Contributing Editor at The Atlantic, and author of multiple books on US legal and political history including Conversations with RBG: Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Life, Love, Liberty and Law (Henry Holt & Co., 2019) and William Howard Taft (Times Books, 2018). You can follow him on twitter at @RosenJeffrey.

Highlighted Resources from the National Constitution Center
-The Interactive Constitution (also available as an app in the apple and android app stores)
-We The People with Jeffrey Rosen podcast (available anywhere you get The Road to Now)
-Educational Video Series

 

If you’re in Philadelphia, you can visit the National Constitution Center, which is located just steps from Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell. Click here to plan your visit!

 

This episode was edited by Gary Fletcher.

Oct 18, 2021

The Miss America pageant has always had its critics, but the stories of the organization and those who participated in it are far more dynamic than most people recognize. In this episode, Bob & Ben speak with Amy Argetsinger whose new book There She Was: The Secret History of Miss America explains Miss America’s origins, how the pageant both shaped and was shaped by American society, and why it might be okay that the pageant’s significance in American culture has faded.

Bonus: Bob calls Miss USA “the confederacy of beauty pageants.” Listen to find out why that makes sense!

Amy Argetsinger is an editor for The Washington Post’s acclaimed Style section, where she has overseen coverage of media, popular culture, politics and society. Her new book There She Was: The Secret History of Miss America was published by Atria/One Signal Publishers in September of 2021. You can follow Amy on twitter at @AmyArgetsinger.

This episode was edited by Gary Fletcher.

Oct 11, 2021

How did corn syrup get such a bad reputation? While there are certainly differences between this corn-based sweetener and the sugar that comes from beets & cane, the opinions many of us hold about what separates them are rooted in much more than the scant scientific evidence on their differing impact on human health. In this episode, Benjamin Cohen joins us to talk about the history behind the corn syrup controversy, the deep roots that lie beneath our understandings of food and purity, and how understanding this story might help us make better decision moving forward.

 

Dr. Benjamin R. Cohen is Associate Professor of Engineering Studies and Environmental Studies at Lafayette College and co-editor w/ Michael Kideckel & Anna Zeide of the new collection Acquired Tastes: Stories About the Origins of Modern Food (MIT Press, 2021). His previous book, Pure Adulteration: Cheating on Nature in the Age of Manufactured Food (University of Chicago Press, 2019), was the topic of his previous appearance in RTN #161 Food in The Era of Adulteration. Learn more about his work at his personal website or by following him on twitter at @BRCohen95.

 

This episode was edited by Gary Fletcher.

Oct 4, 2021

In 1776, the US declared independence. Eleven years later, in 1787, delegates from 12 states (we’re looking at YOU Rhode Island) got together in Philadelphia and wrote the Constitution. In between those triumphant moments, there was the Articles of Confederation, that “firm league of friendship” that most Americans probably know as something they had to memorize for a history test.

HOWEVER

The Articles of Confederation, while certainly not a highlight of the American experiment, explain a lot about the American Revolution, the ideas that defined the founding generation, and the ways those ideas changed in the first years of independence. In fact, you can’t really understand the US Constitution unless you understand the Articles and why they failed.

THEREFORE

In this episode, Bob and Ben speak with Greg Jackson about this very topic. Greg is Assistant Professor of Integrated Studies at Utah Valley University and host of the podcast History That Doesn’t Suck. We hope you enjoy our conversation on the Articles of Confederation!

AMENDED

This episode also includes all-new material from Ben’s appearance on Greg’s podcast History That Doesn’t Suck, in which Ben and Greg discuss the Gilded Age! You can find the full conversation in HTDS Episode #99, airing in full on October 11, 2021. (BTW there was no process for amending the Articles, which is just one of the many reasons they didn’t last!)

This is an expanded rebroadcast of RTN #128, which originally aired May 6, 2019).

Want to support The Road to Now and get extra episodes and other content? Join us on Patreon!

This episode was edited by Gary Fletcher.

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