August 25

Ep. 0024: The Second Seminole War

Last time, we covered the First Seminole War; this time, we get to the nastier sequel.

The Second Seminole war was the US government’s longest and most expensive Indian War.  It also had many parallels to later campaigns in harsh environments against determined guerrilla fighters, and many lessons which, unfortunately, were not learned, as the nation did its best to consign the conflict to the ‘memory hole’ soon after its end.  Long before the Philippines War, and even longer before Vietnam, there was this brutal war…

Join Prof CJ as he discusses:

  • The 1823 Treaty of Moultrie Creek, which tried to confine the Seminoles to a reservation in central Florida, requiring most of them to relocate, cutting off their access to the coasts, denying their freedom of movement, and requiring them to assist in the capture and return of escaped slaves
  • The election of Andrew Jackson as president in 1828, which would have disastrous consequences for Southeastern Indians, including the Seminole
  • The Indian Removal Act and subsequent attempts to bribe or dupe the Seminoles into relocating out West
  • The rise of Osceola
  • The beginning of violence in 1835 with the so-called ‘Dade Massacre’ and assassination of the US Indian Agent Wiley Thompson
  • How US General Thomas Jesup captured Osceola by betraying a flag of truce, something even most white Americans found dishonorable
  • Osceola’s captivity and death from illness within a few months
  • The brutal Battle of Lake Okeechobee on Christmas Day, 1837
  • Continued Seminole guerrilla operations and American countermeasures, which sought to grind them down
  • The cessation of fighting in 1842, by which time the Seminole population of Florida had been reduced by approximately 94% in 20 years due to death and deportation
  • A brief mention of the much smaller Third Seminole War (1855-58)
  • Some concluding thoughts about this war from historians who have written about it extensively, and from Prof CJ

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August 21

Ep. 0023: How the United States Acquired Florida (the First Seminole War)

This is the little-known story of how Florida became a part of Team America.  (Spoiler:  It wasn’t totally voluntary…)

Join Prof CJ as he discusses:

  • The background to the war:  what was going on in Florida leading up to the war, & who the Seminoles were, including the so-called ‘Black Seminoles’
  • Why the United States coveted Florida almost from day one of getting its independence
  • The destruction of the so-called “Negro Fort” by American forces in 1816
  • The immediate issues that led to fighting beginning in late 1817, culminating in Andrew Jackson’s invasion of West Florida in 1818
  • How Jackson exceeded his orders (which just allowed him to retaliate against hostile Indians), and went so far as to seize Spanish installations and execute two Brits who were found in the area
  • Secretary of State John Quincy Adams’ successful negotiation of a treaty in 1819 formally transferring Florida (East and West) to the US without provoking war or major retaliations from either Spain or Britain
  • How, even after the American takeover of Florida, Americans continued to see the Seminoles as a major problem, one that would be ‘dealt with’  beginning in the 1830s with the Second Seminole, which was much larger and costlier than the First, and which we’ll cover next episode
  • The troubling precedent set for the American Republic by Jackson’s actions in this undeclared war

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August 18

Ep. 0022: Learn the Past, Understand the Present, and Prepare for the Future

It’s been a tough week for me.  Haven’t been able to put together a historical narrative podcast, primarily due to work obligations.  On the plus side, I finally came up with a tagline for the show, so I decided to do a mobile podcast while driving home from work, about the tagline and what it means to me and for the show.  This is mobile guerrilla podcasting, for sure — aside from the usual audio issues you get from recording in a car while you’re driving it, Mother Nature decided to toss another monkey wrench into it in the form of a massive rainstorm.

Join Prof CJ as he discusses:

  • A little self-indulgent bitching about the excess of superfluous meetings in academia (I’m sure most people have a version of this affliction in their career, of course.)
  • The tag line Prof CJ finally came up with:  “Learn the past, understand the present, and prepare for the future”
  • An extended exploration of what that statement means by breaking it down, analyzing, and applying it.  (Once again, we get into questions of the utility of history in your life — ie, other than it being interesting, why learn history at all?)
  • History can liberate you by helping you allocate your scarce resources more effectively to things that both A) actually matter and B) you can actually have a major affect on

(Image “3d Chain Breaking” courtesy of David Castillo Dominici via freedigitalphotos.net)

August 14

Ep. 0021: A History of the US Dollar Part 1: Through the Revolution

Why cover this topic?  First off, because the history of money is a lot more interesting than you might  think, and it’s absolutely crucial to understanding the world, past, present, and future.

This will be part 1 of a multipart series (right now I estimate it will probably be around 4 parts) covering the history of the United States dollar.  The series will be non-contiguous — ie, interspersed with episodes on other, probably non-related topics.

Join Prof CJ as he discusses:

  • Why money matters to understanding the world
  • British money of the colonial era, bimetallism, and Gresham’s Law
  • Other things the colonists used as money when coinage wasn’t readily available
  • Some of the desirable qualities in a commodity that make it work better than others as money, and some of the reasons why gold and silver function so well as money historically
  • The origins of the dollar — originally a Spanish coin modeled on a Bohemian coin, actually
  • The first paper money inflation in the Western World — in colonial Massachusetts
  • How overprinting of paper money in MA (and later in other colonies) disrupted their economy, and reinstating of hard money revived it
  • The Revolutionary War Continental Dollars, and the hyperinflation that resulted
  • A few updates on the show, how it’s going, ways to support it, thank-yous to those who have, and a few remarks about the future of the show

External links

An excerpt from the TV show DuckTales which shows how increasing the money supply dilutes the value of the money (Uncle Scrooge has more economic sense than our leaders!)

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August 11

Ep. 0020: Esoteric vs. Exoteric

Having made it through World War I in the past four episodes, today we take a break from historical narrative-type podcasts to do something a little different.

From time to time, I want to talk about theories, concepts, and so on that have helped me to understand the world (past, present, and probably future) more clearly, and that I hope you’ll find interesting and useful too.

These will mostly be concepts from somewhere in the so-called ‘social sciences,’ which are (in addition to history) fields such as psychology, sociology, economics, political science, etc.  I’ll probably also cover the occasional philosophy topic, as well.

Today I’m going to be talking about ‘Esoteric vs. Exoteric,’ two words that, despite being separated by a single word, are actually antonyms.

[BTW, forgot to mention it in the show, but one thing I try to do with the Dangerous History Podcast is to share esoteric history — the true version known only to a select view — with anyone who wants to learn it.  That’s part of what makes it “Dangerous.”]

Join Prof CJ as he discusses:

  • What esoteric and exoteric mean in the context of human society and institutions
  • Specific examples of them in practice, including organized religion, labor unions, political parties & movements (including the Tea Party and the Progressives), governments, and wars
  • Why these concepts matter and can help you see the world more clearly

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(Image “Triangular View” courtesy of ‘dan’ on freedigitalphotos.net)

August 7

Ep. 0019: The First World War, Part 4 (A Very-Not-Happy Ending)

With this episode, we wrap up our overview of WWI and the incalculable damage it did to the world.  I’ll likely cover other topics related to this war in the future, but this four-part series is my basic overview of some of the war and its most conspicuous results, legacies, and byproducts.

Join Prof CJ as he discusses:

  • How the war (and particularly how a lot of British actions during it) sowed the seeds for the violence and instability that has characterized the Middle East ever since
  • The collapse of Russia and the Bolshevik takeover there — another effect of the war that still has negative repercussions today
  • The end of the war, including the Paris Peace Conference and the horrible Treaty of Versailles, which pretty much guaranteed a Second World War.  (In the 1920 political cartoon shown, British PM David Lloyd George aims a howitzer at the Germans and says, “Off with the spiked hat!  What d’you think we fought for if not to abolish militarism?”)
  • How the British continued their blockade against the German people even after the armistice ended the war, in order to keep pressure on the Germans at the negotiating table.  (The blockade probably killed over 750,000 German civilians, BTW — think that might have given them a grudge???)
  • The so-called “Spanish Influenza” epidemic that hit at the end of the war
  • War and the growth of state power
  • Estimated breakdown of military deaths
  • Why most Americans see war in general, and the world wars in particular, in a very different light than Europeans
  • Prof CJ’s closing thoughts and analysis on the war as a whole

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External Links:

August 4

Ep. 0018: The First World War, Part 3: Enter Team America

In this episode, I’m primarily going to cover the effects of entering the war on the United States.  Long story short, it was not a good time for civil liberties or the Bill of Rights…

Join Prof CJ as he discusses:

  • The events leading up to American entry into the war
  • Woodrow Wilson’s speech, and how the reasons he gave for entering the war were B.S., and how the real reasons for US intervention were things for which few average Americans would have been willing to risk their lives
  • How most Progressives ardently supported the war
  • The government’s mobilization of the nation for total war by 1) seizing control of the economy; 2) implementing mass conscription; and 3) cranking out propaganda (including disseminating the government’s narrative and attempting to silence any competing, dissident narratives)
  • How bad the war was for civil liberties and the Bill of Rights
  • Some notable Americans who dissented anyway
  • A brief look at Wilson’s 14 Points (most of which were implemented only partially, or not at all)

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External links:

  • The hit American song “Over There” (by George Cohen, 1917), which was the WWI-era equivalent of “America, Fuck Yeah!”  (which came from the wonderfully satirical film Team America:  World Police.)  [By the way, the opening line of “Over There,” which is, “Johnny get your gun,” later inspired the title of Daltron Trumbo’s antiwar novel Johnny Got His Gun, which in turn inspired the Metallica song “One.”]

July 31

Ep. 0017: The First World War, Part 2

We continue our coverage of the unnecessary, freedom- and life-obliterating carnage-fest that was First World War.

Join Prof CJ as he discusses:

  • The truth about the Lusitania
  • Propaganda, especially that of the Brits (who were the best at it) — even the royal family had to accommodate themselves to the Germano-phobic narrative
  • Two of the most notorious battles on the Western Front, both of which occurred in 1916:  Verdun & the Somme
  • Why Prof CJ thinks this type of slaughter is an inevitable consequence of the modern state, and that the state itself is the consequence of statist ideas

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External links:

  • Germany’s warning to America about traveling on the Lusitania
  • A collection of British propaganda posters from WWI (scroll down a little and you’ll see the first poster — just click on the poster to get to the next one, rinse & repeat.)
  • The Dropkick Murphys rendition of “Green Fields of France” (sometimes also called “Willie McBride,” and originally entitled “No Man’s Land,” a song written by folk singer Eric Bogle in 1976.)  This song seems to be about the Battle of the Somme.  I’m a big fan of DKM — you gotta love a band that incorporates bagpipes and other traditional Celtic instruments into aggressive punk rock!  This song, like “Christmas in the Trenches,” is another one that I think brings most decent people at least to the verge of tears.

July 28

Ep. 0016: The First World War, part 1

Since World War I officially began 100 years ago today (that is, July 28th 1914), I decided it would be an opportune time to kick off a multi-part series on this conflict.  (As of right now, I’m not 100% sure how many episodes this will encompass, but I think probably around 4.)

Join Prof CJ as he discusses:

  • Why he thinks WWI is actually the single worst thing that ever happened in modern history
  • Origins of the war, in terms of immediate causes as well as long-term, deep-seated ones
  • The alliances, rivalries, and plans that made Europe a powderkeg just waiting for ignition
  • The spark that lit it, and how the dominoes fell until every Great Power of the time was at war
  • Some thoughts on why the war ultimately proved more costly than prior wars (the state’s software is actually more important than its hardware, Prof CJ thinks)
  • The Christmas Truce of 1914 and its implications
  • War against civilians in terms of illegal, total blockades (which the British, not the Germans, started first)

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External Links:

July 24

Ep. 0015: The Age of Classical Liberalism in Europe

The episode following this one (ie, Ep. 0016, due out Monday the 28th) will begin a multi-part series on the First World War.  So I figured it would be a good idea to give an overview of what Europe was like before that huge turning point conflict.  The 99 years from 1815 (when Napoleon was finally defeated for good) to 1914 (when WWI started) were years in which the dominant ideology in most of Europe (especially the more advanced parts of Western Europe) was that of ‘Liberalism,’ in the old sense of the word — or what today we have to call ‘Classical Liberalism.’

Join Prof CJ as he discusses:

  •  A brief explanation of classical liberalism as an ideology
  • Some quotes and information about 19th century Europe that illustrate some ways in which things were better than in the 20th century (especially compared to the era of the World Wars)
  • How classical liberalism was never fully implemented anywhere in the world — even countries such as the United States and United Kingdom, which were strongholds of the ideology, still had significant deviations from it
  • The worldwide trend towards centralization between roughly the 1860s and 1900, which boded ill for classical liberalism and which can be seen in varying forms in the US, Japan, Canada, Italy, Germany, France, and Russia, among other countries
  • Tools of centralization, which included compulsory social insurance programs, compulsory state education; and military conscription
  • Some brief highlights of France, Britain, and Germany in the decades prior to the Great War
  • How mass democracy was a key factor in bringing down classical liberalism as an influential ideology European governments, because working-class voters tended to vote either for nationalist/imperialist parties, or for socialist parties, leaving classical liberalism as a doctrine without a mass constituency.  (In other words, the masses preferred to vote for varying flavors of collectivism.)
  • The fatal flaw of classical liberalism as a political belief system, which the bloody 20th century gruesomely illustrated

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