414 episodes

American History Tellers

Wondery History
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Serialized Episodes
Nov 25, 2020

The Supreme Court | A Recount in Florida | 6

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The morning of Nov. 8, 2000, Americans woke up to an undecided election. Pollsters had predicted a close race between Vice President Al Gore and Texas Governor George W. Bush, but no one knew just how narrow the margins would be. It all hinged on Florida, where 25 electoral votes were up for grabs.

Over the next 36 days, armies of lawyers waged a bitter fight to determine how to count the votes in Florida. It was a battle that would eventually find its way to the Supreme Court.

In its long history, the Court had been asked to weigh in on political matters, but never before had it intervened in the results of a presidential election. The case that became known as Bush v. Gore would ultimately send one man to the White House and expose the Court to intense public scrutiny.

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Nov 18, 2020

The Supreme Court | The Warren Court | 5

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Before the 1950s, the Supreme Court was best known as an institution that adhered to the status quo. It often sought to protect the rights of property owners and businessmen, shying away from cases that took direct aim at controversial social or political issues.

But when a popular former California governor became Chief Justice in 1953, all that changed. Earl Warren’s court would take on some of the hottest issues of the times, ruling on cases where individual rights would take precedent, such as Brown v. Board of Education and Baker v. Carr, and where First Amendment and Fifth Amendment rights would be strengthened, such as Engle v. Vitale and Miranda v. Arizona

For sixteen years, the Warren Court would radically reshape the legal and social landscape of America.

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Nov 11, 2020

The Supreme Court | Loaded Weapon | 4

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Through most of 1941, as fighting raged across Europe, the United States held back from entering the war. That all changed in December, when Japanese fighter planes bombed Pearl Harbor and the nation found itself mobilizing for World War II. Suddenly, the frenzy to fight enemies abroad turned to suspicion against those at home.

President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, giving the military the power to detain and permanently jail over 110,000 Japanese Americans living on the West Coast. But three young detainees would defy their fate.

Fred Korematsu, Gordon Hirabayshi and Mitsuye Endo would challenge the U.S. policy of Japanese internment and bring their cases all the way to the Supreme Court — pitting the wartime powers of the United States against the constitutional rights of American citizens.

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Nov 10, 2020

Introducing Do No Harm

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From Wondery, the makers of Dr. Death and Dirty John, and NBC News the team behind Dateline and The Thing About Pam – Do No Harm. 

Melissa Bright thinks she’s living every parent’s worst nightmare when her five-month-old baby tumbles from a lawn chair and hits his head on the driveway. But after she rushes him to the hospital, a new nightmare begins.The Brights are thrust into a medical and legal system so focused on protecting children from abuse, it has targeted innocent parents. With exclusive audio captured as the events unfolded, this harrowing six-episode series takes you inside the Brights’ fight to hold their family together, against a system that can sometimes do more harm than good. Hosted by NBC News National Investigative Reporter Mike Hixenbaugh.

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Nov 04, 2020

The Supreme Court | Separate and Unequal | 3

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After the Civil War, America began to rebuild a shattered nation. For the first time, the country could create a society without slavery, and a nation where Black people could forge their own path as independent citizens.

But by the 1890s, the laws and policies that promised new rights for Black citizens in the South were under assault. In Louisiana, white politicians attempted to turn back the clock on racial progress by passing the Separate Cars Act and reinstating segregation. 

The move prompted a Black New Orleans activist group called the Comité des Citoyens to rise up and challenge the law. Members Louis Martinet and Albion Tourgee aimed to build a test case – a case that would force the Supreme Court to strike down segregation laws, and disprove the idea that “separate” could ever be “equal.” 

The high-stakes case would define race relations for decades to come. And it would begin with a brief train car ride in New Orleans, by a 29-year-old shoemaker named Homer Plessy.

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Oct 28, 2020

The Supreme Court | The Cherokee Cases | 2

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In the early 1800s, the United States was growing rapidly, seeking land and resources for its expanding population. But the growth threatened Native American communities throughout the East. In the southern Appalachia region, the Cherokee Nation held millions of acres of prime farmland and forests, managed by a centuries-old tradition and a thriving government. But the state of Georgia, and a relentless President Andrew Jackson, set their sights on seizing the land. 

When the Georgia statehouse declared political war, Cherokee advocates fought back. Newspaper publisher Elias Boudinot and Cherokee Chief John Ross took their challenge all the way to the Supreme Court, forcing Chief Justice John Marshall to weigh in on two monumental cases, Cherokee Nation v. Georgia and Worcester v. Georgia. 

At stake was a decision that would test the limits of the high court’s power — and determine the future and sovereignty of a threatened nation. 

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Oct 27, 2020

Wondery Presents: Dr. Death Season 2

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If someone you love is diagnosed with cancer you want them to get the best treatment from the best doctors. In 2013, patients in Michigan thought Farid Fata was that doctor. Between his prestigious education, years of experience and pleasant bedside manner, Fata was everything you could want in a doctor. But he was not who he appeared to be. From Wondery, this is the story of hundreds of patients in Michigan, a doctor, and a poisonous secret.

Laura Beil, returns with a second season of the award-winning series “Dr Death.”

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After the War of Independence, the new American government created the Supreme Court to be have the final word on disputes that the states couldn’t settle. But at first, the Court was anything but Supreme.

For nearly a decade, Congress and the President held the real power. In practice the Supreme Court was weak, ineffectual and disorganized – a post so unappealing that many men turned down nominations to serve on its bench. 

All that would change with the appointment of Chief Justice John Marshall and the arrival of a case called Marbury v. Madison — a political drama that would embroil the new President Thomas Jefferson, outgoing president John Adams, the U.S. Congress, and even the Chief Justice himself.

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The Cold War, Prohibition, the Gold Rush, the Space Race. Every part of your life -the words you speak, the ideas you share- can be traced to our history, but how well do you really know the stories that made America? We’ll take you to the events, the times and the people that shaped our nation. And we’ll show you how our history affected them, their families and affects you today. Hosted by Lindsay Graham (not the Senator). From Wondery, the network behind Tides Of History, Fall Of Rome and Dirty John.