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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: December, 2021
Dec 20, 2021

On December 25, 1776, George Washington and his men celebrated their first post-Declaration of Independence Christmas by crossing a freezing river to mount a surprise attack against their enemies. The plan worked, but almost 250 years later the story of Washington crossing the Delaware might surprise you too. In this episode, RTN favorite Bruce Carlson of My History Can Beat Up Your Politics joins Bob & Ben for a conversation about one of the US’s most recognized, yet little-known battles and how it affected the course of the Revolutionary War.

If you enjoy this episode, check out My History Can Beat Up Your Politics, available anywhere you get The Road to Now. You can also hear Bruce in RTN Episode 85: The History of US-Mexican Relations w/ Bruce Carlson, recorded live from Avetts at the Beach in 2018.

This episode is an enhanced rebroadcast of episode #154 that includes additional primary source readings not included in the original episode. The rebroadcast was edited by Ben Sawyer.

Dec 13, 2021

Faith has played an important role in American history, but not always in the ways we’d expect.

In this episode, Andy Polk joins Bob and Ben to explain how politicians, advertising executives and public relations experts bypassed America’s religious leaders, ignored theological debates, and dismissed historical evidence to fabricate and sell a story of America’s religious origins that served their own political needs. That story remains with us today so, to quote the title of Andy’s recent op-ed in The Tennessean: “When you hear ‘In God We Trust’, pay attention to what comes next.”

Dr. Andrew R. Polk is Associate Professor of History at Middle Tennessee State University and the author of the new book, Faith In Freedom: Propaganda, Presidential Politics, and the Making of an American Religion (Cornell University Press, December 2021).

Get your hardback copy of Faith In Freedom directly from Cornell University Press and save 30% off the cover price with promo code 09Flyer! Click here for more information.

 This episode was edited by Gary Fletcher.

 

Dec 6, 2021

The stories we tell about ourselves help us make sense of the world. And while we all have stories as individuals, a set them within a shared narrative that is the foundation of our communities. In this episode, National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) CEO Tim Storey hosts Ben and storyteller Donna Washington in a conversation about  the ways that stories work, why they have the power to unite us, and how they can also be used to divide us. They also reflect on the “American Story” and how new perspectives on our past help us to better understand who we are as a people and a country.

A special thanks to Tim Storey and everyone at NCSL for inviting Ben and Donna to return to NCSL’s Legislative Summit, and to Donna Washington for sharing her wisdom with us and the crowd. We’re also grateful to all those who attended the panel and took the time to speak with us afterward. You can read Lesley Kennedy’s writeup of the panel on NCSL’s blog here.

You can follow Donna Washington on twitter at @DLWStoryTeller, like her page on facebook, and find out more about her upcoming performances and work (including her new book Boo Stew) at her website- DonnaWashington.com.

The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) is a non-partisan organization that represents the legislatures in the states, territories and commonwealths of the U.S. Its mission is to advance the effectiveness, independence and integrity of legislatures and to foster interstate cooperation and facilitate the exchange of information among legislatures. To learn more about NCSL and access their incredible set of online resources covering a wide variety of topics relating to state legislatures and local governments, visit their website: NCSL.org.

You can hear our first NCSL panel, recorded in 2019, featuring Ben, Donna and Bob in episode #138 by clicking here. Our conversation with NCSL’s experts on legislative redistricting past and present, is also available in episode #212 Redistricting: A Primer w/ Wendy Underhill and Ben Williams.

This episode was recorded at NCSL’s Legislative Summit in Tampa, Florida on November 5th, 2021 and edited by Ben Sawyer.

 

 

 

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