Hello, and welcome to the American History podcast: episode 0, Introduction. My name is Shawn Warswick, your host for this podcast which will explore the history of the United States.
In this first episode, my goal is to simply lay the foundation for the podcasts which will follow, and to answer two simple questions. What is this and why? This is a podcast about the history of the United States, starting BEFORE the political entity known as the United States existed. We will cover many of the familiar topics of American history, but also many things which, perhaps, are not so well known. And we certainly will be covering them in far more depth than what is often done in say, a history course in school.
The second question, why am I doing a podcast, is quite easy to answer. Just as probably almost every other history podcaster, I love history and have since I can remember. I loved going on family vacations to places like Yellowstone or the Grand Canyon and stopping along the way at different historical locations.
As a teacher, I really hate being answerable to some distant education board and having to teach the things they say are important. The beauty of this podcast is that I can focus on what I think is important and interesting. I can also go at my own pace. Furthermore, as a professional historian and teacher, I despise how oftentimes the mainstream culture, and even some of my own professionals, caricature people and events, boiling them down into almost a cartoon version of history.
In general, I love podcasts, and have been inspired by both podcasters in general and history podcasters specifically. First, I need to thank Tom Woods. He has been an inspiration when it comes to podcasting, and if it weren’t for his advice, this show would not exist. Hopefully I do him justice. Secondly, the folks at podcastwebsites deserve a major bit of my gratitude. There is certainly no way this show would exist without their technical expertise. I might know history, but I do NOT know the technical aspects of the internet. They have been amazingly helpful with things I knew nothing about. Finally, some of the history podcasters who’ve inspired me are Robin Pearson of the History of Byzantium podcast, which, if you haven’t listened to, you really should. Others include Jaime Jeffers of the British History Podcast and the History of English podcast’s Kevin Stroud.
The way the show will work, at least the plan of the way it will work, is for a new episode to come out once a month, on the 1st of the month, so you will have a new episode quite soon. The reason for the month delay is to allow me to research and write the episode. While I lecture on these things all the time, I want to make sure I’ve given you a narrative that is in depth and worth your time. I also hope to do some bonus episodes from time to time on subjects that are either a. not covered in the narrative or b. a topic that is going to be covered in the narrative at some far off future date. Ideally, if the interest is there, I’d like to do two episodes each month at some point. But for now I’m able to commit to one per month.
I’d also like to mention the website, theamericanhistorypodcast.com. Every episode will have a page with the show notes as well as links to any sites which I mention as well as a list of resources used to create the episode. I also would like to invite you, when you visit the site, to sign up for email updates on the show.
So, a little about myself and my credentials. I’m a historian. I have a B.A. and an M.A. in history and I’m currently two courses away from finishing coursework on my Ph.D., also in history. I teach history at the high school level. The courses I’ve taught are Geography, World History, U.S. history, US Government, Economics, Advanced Placement World history, AP US history and AP European history. I’ve also taught IB history of the Americas for the last three school years.
I specialize in 19th an 20th Century US Military History and US Mexico Borderlands. I am particularly fascinated between the ideas of empire and border formation and I love reading about World War II in the Pacific as well as the Vietnam War and the American Empire. There is a belief, in some circles, that military history is, at least in academia, a bit out of fashion. However, honestly quite a few academic historians write on war, albeit using the methods of what is called the new military history. But enough of that. Perhaps we can discuss this in either a future episode, or, more likely, in a future bonus episode.
So where will the show be going from here? Well, episode 1 takes a look around the hemisphere in 1491. We will quickly visit the Incas, Aztecs and some areas in North America to kind of get our bearings. From there we will continue in episode 2 to look at native peoples in the Americas, including the mound builders and the Indians of the southwest. Episode 3 will discuss Indians and the way they waged war and how that differed from Europeans. Episode 4 is when we will fully introduce European empires and the narrative will move forward from there.
Because there is a huge misconception out there that history should be only facts and no bias or opinion, I’ll warn you now, I am biased. We all are, of course, misperceptions notwithstanding, but I wanted to make that clear up front. I’m an anarchocapitalist and a follower of the Austrian school, especially on economic issues. However, my goal is not to convert you all to anarchism, but to present an informative podcast with a highly informative and entertaining narrative. So while the angle I’m taking may sometimes differ from what you are used to, or perhaps expected, please give the show a chance. I’m sure you’ll find it both informative and entertaining.
That’s all for today. We will see you next time.