Podcast Episode 113: James K. Polk

People often ask me about James K. Polk. Wasn’t he one of the greatest presidents in American history? His reputation has certainly received a boost in the last decade, and if we use that as a yardstick, I was cutting edge. As an undergraduate twenty years ago, I thought Polk was a fantastic president and wrote several laudatory research papers on the man. Boy was …more

Podcast Episode 112: State Constitutions

The Constitution for the United States is not the only Constitution in the United States. There are fifty other constitutions that no one knows anything about. American constitutional history must involve not only a discussion about the “Constitution,” but also the Articles of Confederation, the Confederate Constitution, and the several state constitutions. I cover the constitutions of the original thirteen states in this episode of …more

Podcast Episode 111: Should the 17th Amendment Be Repealed?

This has become a trendy position recently. Mike Huckabee made news by suggesting so after the Senate blocked the repeal of Obamacare. I have been saying this for almost a decade, but whose counting? The 17th did much to undermine real federalism in America, but it was already on life support before that. Still, a listener wanted me to talk about this issue so why …more

Podcast Episode 110: AHA Nonsense

The AHA has told all of us idiots in America how to think about Confederate monuments. The question is, who are the idiots? They released a statement on August 28 presuming to speak for the entire American historical profession. Well, I am part of that profession, and I don’t agree. I take their statement apart in this episode of The Brion McClanahan Show.

Podcast Episode 109: Who was the first President of the United States?

Who was the first President of the United States? Seems like a simple question with a simple answer, but some people have made it more complicated than it needs to be. They insist that there were over a dozen presidents BEFORE George Washington was sworn into office in 1789 because these men presided over the Congress under the Articles of Confederation. I discuss this position …more

Podcast Episode 108: The (Implied) Power of Secession?

You probably have heard this before. Secession is not legal because the Constitution does not expressly grant the states the power to leave the Union. I had some numbskull leave a “review” at Amazon of my 9 Presidents with this very critique. I couldn’t resist the urge to take him down about one million notches. Plus, it provided a great opportunity to discuss the legality …more

Podcast Episode 107: John Taylor of Caroline

John Taylor of Caroline is truly one of the greatest Americans. I think so highly of Taylor that I included a chapter on him in my Politically Incorrect Guide to the Founding Fathers and he is featured in my forthcoming How Alexander Hamilton Screwed Up America. I thought it would be a good time to visit Taylor and explain why he is a contemporary figure, …more

Podcast Episode 106: How the 1990s Transformed America

People often point to the 1960s as the decade that “screwed things up,” and in many ways they are correct, but it wasn’t until the 1990s that Americans witnessed a full expression of the 1960s cultural mentality. Pat Buchanan’s 1992 “Culture Wars” speech was prophetic. He was, in many ways, 25 years ahead of his time, but the seeds were being sewn in the American …more

Podcast Episode 105: Political Parties

Inquiring listeners want to know: has the United States always had a “two party system” and is that system codified in the Constitution? The answer is no to both, though there have always been factions in American government. Our “national” focus on American politics precludes us from looking to state and local solutions to problems and also distorts our understanding of the American political system. …more

Podcast Episode 104: American Monuments

Why were monuments and memorials built in the South during the late 19th and early 20th centuries? A better question would be why so many monuments and memorials were built across the entire United States in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Confederate memorials need to be viewed within the context of American–not just Southern–history at the time of their erection and dedication. Many …more