DiscoverFor the Ages: A History Podcast
For the Ages: A History Podcast
Claim Ownership

For the Ages: A History Podcast

Author: New-York Historical Society

Subscribed: 318Played: 6,267


Explore the rich and complex history of the United States and beyond. Produced by the New-York Historical Society, host David M. Rubenstein engages the nation’s foremost historians and creative thinkers on a wide range of topics, including presidential biography, the nation’s founding, and the people who have shaped the American story. Learn more at
85 Episodes
Making up the earliest class of United States presidents, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and James Monroe were all born and raised within the same sixty-mile circle east of the Blue Ridge Mountains, making up a “Virginia Dynasty” that came to shape America during the formative decades following the revolution. Author Lynne Cheney examines the friendships and rivalries within this “Virginia Dynasty,” and the contradiction between their espoused ideals of American liberty and prosperity and their status as slaveholders. Recorded on December 3, 2020 
Contrary to the popular narrative of a confident and stable young republic, the United States emerged from its constitution as a fragile, internally divided union of states still contending with European empires and other independent republics on the North American continent. Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and the author of American Republics: A Continental History of the United States, 1783-1850, Alan Shaw Taylor joins David M. Rubenstein in this first of two conversations on the early decades of the American republic, exploring the limits of its physical and ideological borders. Recorded on June 13, 2023 
Historian Alan Shaw Taylor continues his conversation with David M. Rubenstein on the decades that followed the American Revolution. This defining era saw Native Americans seeking to defend their homes from a flood of American settlers, the intertwining of slavery in American politics, economics, and daily life, and an emerging expansionist vision pushing the country westward. Alongside these character-defining evolutions in the young country’s economy and geopolitics, this era also saw America’s cultural and religious identity begin to take shape. Recorded on June 13, 2023 
Hailed as the founding father of America’s conservation movement, President Theodore Roosevelt championed the protection of the nation's natural treasures and embarked on visionary initiatives to preserve 234 million acres of wilderness for posterity. In conversation with David M. Rubenstein, presidential historian Douglas Brinkley explores Theodore Roosevelt’s complex legacy as one of America’s first environmentalist presidents. Recorded on March 17, 2023
In 1961, as the Cold War cast a shadow across the globe, John F. Kennedy inspired Americans to look up to the sky as he announced his goal of putting a man on the moon by the end of the decade. Presidential historian Douglas Brinkley dives into the history of the unprecedented expansion of the American space program under President Kennedy, and how the project aimed to promote science, exploration, and the spreading of democratic ideals back on Earth. Recorded on March 17, 2023
Flora MacDonald’s life continued to be marked by dramatic political upheaval following her involvement in the escape of Prince Charles Edward Stuart. In this second conversation with David M. Rubenstein, Flora Fraser details Flora MacDonald’s marriage, her move to the American colonies, and how her family was eventually swept up in the Revolutionary War before she finally returned to the Isle of Skye. Recorded on March 17, 2023
Biographer Flora Fraser tells the thrilling story of the young Scotswoman who helped Prince Charles Edward Stuart evade capture following the defeat of the Jacobite army at Culloden, Scotland, which marked the end of the House of Stuarts’ attempts to reclaim the British throne. While the story of Flora MacDonald has become the subject of songs, storybooks, and films in the two centuries that have since passed, in this first of two conversations, Fraser dives into the details of how and why Flora MacDonald helped “Bonnie” Prince Charlie make his midnight escape by sea, disguised as an Irish maid. Recorded on March 17, 2023
World War II in the Pacific entered its endgame in June 1944, after the U.S. waged a crushing assault on the Japanese navy in the Battle of the Philippine Sea. In a conversation that explores the conflict’s harrowing final year—from the maritime war front to the halls of power in Washington and Tokyo—historian Ian W. Toll illuminates the grand strategic decisions and naval operations that allowed the Allies to emerge victorious. Recorded on February 8, 2022
The period of Reconstruction following the Civil War saw a transformation of the United States from a slaveholding republic into an interracial democracy, all alongside the rise of industrial capitalism and the violent and ambitious conquest of the American West. What was the historical significance of this monumental transformation? Manisha Sinha explores the evolution of American democracy during this period with a new historical synthesis of Reconstruction. Recorded on May 17, 2022
For decades, Pulitzer Prize-winning author and journalist George F. Will has been regarded as one of this country’s leading columnists and public intellectuals. In an expansive conversation that encompasses American history, the Supreme Court, and beyond, Will shares his perspective on the political, social, and cultural trends that have shaped the national experience since 2008. Recorded on October 6, 2021
Half a century later, the contested history of the war in Vietnam continues to elicit national debate, deep soul-searching, and purported lessons for America's role overseas. In a conversation that visits new historical terrain of the Vietnam War past, award-winning historian and former war refugee Lien-Hang T. Nguyen draws on her personal and professional journey researching that war to offer new insights for its significance today. Recorded on February 2, 2022
Long before the first battle of the American Revolution, the conflict between Loyalists and Patriots swept through all facets of American society, with colonists, Native Americans, and the enslaved all forced to choose a side. Would this constitute America’s first civil war, beginning before the Revolution had even been won? Pulitzer Prize finalist H.W. Brands examines this question and looks at the deep-seated divisions that made up the war before the war—between Loyalists and Patriots, families, friends, and neighbors. Recorded on March 16, 2022
The post-World War II economic boom came at a high cost: smog made breathing difficult in cities, the oceans were dying, wilderness vanished, and species went extinct at alarming rates. Acclaimed historian Douglas Brinkley chronicles how Rachel Carson’s 1962 book, Silent Spring, launched an eco-revolution and inspired the rise of environmental activism during the presidencies of John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, and Richard Nixon. Recorded on November 22, 2022
In the United States, World War II is often regarded as a time of unrivaled national unity and optimism, however in reality this traumatic period tested the American resolve in the most significant way since the Civil War. How did the nation rise to the occasion? Author and historian Tracy Campbell, in conversation with David M. Rubenstein, examines the critical year of 1942, when a series of setbacks and challenges in the war threatened to splinter the nation from within. Recorded May 7, 2021
Whether you are looking at proxy conflicts during the Cold War, the power of the Cuban-American voting bloc, or how Cuban-American relations are used as a cipher for a president’s foreign policy, the power of Cuba on American politics is undeniable. From the severing of diplomatic relations in 1961 to the hard-won normalization of Cuba-U.S. relations under the Obama administration and the subsequent chipping away of those normalizations under President Trump, Ada Ferrer unravels the complex intertwining of the U.S. and Cuba’s foreign policy and domestic affairs.Recorded March 23, 2022
Adam Hochschild, author of American Midnight: The Great War, a Violent Peace, and Democracy's Forgotten Crisis, once again joins David M. Rubenstein to discuss the culture of violence, vigilantism, and censorship that permeated US government and society in the years during and immediately following World War I. In this conversation, they explore the grim economic conditions that followed the war, the wave of major municipal and labor union strikes, inflamed white violence toward Black workers, anti-immigrant sentiment, and the attempts at mass deportations following the Palmer Raids. Recorded on February 17, 2023  
The US’s entrance into World War I marked the beginning of a period in American history characterized by lynching, aggressive union-busting, mass civilian arrests, and stringent government censorship of the press, all amidst the backdrop of the war, a pandemic, and the specter of the Russian Revolution. In this first of two discussions, Adam Hochschild, author of American Midnight: The Great War, a Violent Peace, and Democracy's Forgotten Crisis, illuminates the dark currents of this oft-overlooked historical moment, with a focus on the years immediately surrounding America’s entrance into the war. Recorded on February 17, 2023  
Roger Lowenstein once again joins David M. Rubenstein to discuss the complex financial circumstances of the Civil War. In this episode, he explores the financial challenges faced by the Confederacy; looking at the resources they had available to them compared to the North, how they envisioned global trade impacting their cause, and how the desire to preserve the institution of slavery influenced both their military strategy and economic philosophy. Recorded on February 10, 2023 
For both the Union and the Confederacy, one of the most persistent battles of the Civil War was financing. To meet this challenge head-on both Lincoln and Jefferson Davis attempted a number of strategies to tackle the enormous financial demands of their armies, subsequent gold shortages, and an evolving diplomatic landscape abroad. In this first of two talks, David M. Rubenstein is joined by Roger Lowenstein to explore how the North sought to finance the Civil War.  Recorded on February 10, 2023 
How was slavery written into America’s founding? David M. Rubenstein is once again joined by historian Edward J. Larson to discuss this question and explore how legal frameworks around slavery evolved in the new republic. Looking at the battle between the new country’s pro- and anti-slavery leaders, the Treaty of Paris, the Articles of Confederation, the Constitutional Convention, and the Bill of Rights, they delve into the role slavery played in the establishment of the first United States government. Recorded on January 12, 2023 
Comments (1)

New Jawn

So many questions I had, so many contradictions that I couldn't resolve, and after hearing this, things suddenly made sense. I listened twice and ordered the book. A brilliant scholar he is. It is the step described in Kuhn's "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions."

Nov 21st
Download from Google Play
Download from App Store