Show cover of Civics & Coffee

Civics & Coffee

The people, events and topics of United States history, shared in the time it takes to enjoy a cup of coffee. Come hang with me as I nerd out a little on America's history.


Lemuria with Justin McHenry
Joining me this week is historian and author Justin McHenry. In this episode we discuss his latest effort, Lemuria: A True Story of a Fake Place, which tells the story of the fictional Lemuria. Justin dives into how Lemuria is tied to Atlantis, how Mt. Shasta is involved, and what it tells us about alternative narratives. To learn more about Justin, be sure to check out his website at 
31:51 5/18/24
Civil War Home Fronts
One of the topics you all wanted me to cover was the impact of the war on the home front. Join me this week as I cover the impacts of a "total war" on local residents and how home front experiences changed depending on race, location, and economic status. For show notes, source material, and ways you can support the show, visit the website at
15:24 5/11/24
Edwin Stanton
Edwin Stanton is perhaps best known as the man who oversaw the hunt for President Abraham Lincoln's assassin, John Wilkes Booth. The lawyer turned Secretary of War dealt with his fair share of heartache and uncertainty, but as I will cover in this episode, he was the right man at the right time. For show notes, source material, or ways you can support the show, head over to the website at
17:46 5/4/24
How to Start a War with Michael Trapani
Joining me this week is fellow podcast host and new audiobook author, Michael Trapani. He is the host (and author) of How to Start a War and sat down with me to discuss both his project and what we can learn from studying the bad actors in history. To learn more about Michael, head over to his website at 
52:36 4/27/24
420: Cannabis in the United States
If you follow pop culture, then you may be aware that April 20th signifies a celebration of sorts by a certain portion of the population. Join me this week as I dive into the story behind how 420 became a cannabis smoker's holiday and how access and the legality of the drug has evolved in the United States throughout history. Listener discretion advised. 
19:10 4/20/24
Mary Todd Lincoln: Part Two
Join me this week as I wrap up the life of Mary Todd Lincoln. In this episode, I review her time as First Lady, her friendship with dressmaker Elizabeth Keckly, and why she was committed to an asylum. 
19:07 4/13/24
Mary Todd Lincoln: Part One
The wife of 16th President Abraham Lincoln, Mary Todd Lincoln is generally known for her eccentric personality. However, there is so much more sitting beneath the surface. Join me this week as I begin the life and times of Mary Todd Lincoln. 
16:31 4/6/24
The Bishop and the Butterfly with Michael Wolraich
Joining me this week is Michael Wolraich. We discuss his latest book, The Bishop and the Butterfly: Murder, Politics, and the End of the Jazz Age, including what went into the research and how the murder of a woman rocked New York City politics. To learn more about Michael, visit his website at
31:02 3/30/24
Indigenous Americans in the Civil War
The Civil War touched every corner of the United States and the people residing within its borders. Native Americans were no exception. As the country tore itself in two, Indigenous Americans had to determine the best course of action for their community. Should they side with the Union? The Confederacy? Or stay neutral?Tune in this week to learn about Native Americans in the Civil War. 
16:20 3/23/24
The bloodiest battle of the Civil War, Gettysburg was the fatal blow to Robert E. Lee's quest to invade the north and force a surrender. Tune in as I describe how thousands of Union and Confederate soldiers overtook a small, rural community in southern Pennsylvania and how the battlefield became a public history site. 
15:52 3/16/24
Public Assistance in California (Request)
I am back with another listener request! Longtime listener Arthur asked that I talk about the history of public assistance in the United States. Tune in this week to learn why that is quite the ask and why I decided to focus on the history of welfare in California instead. 
16:08 3/9/24
Jefferson Davis
Join me this week as I dive into the life of Jefferson Davis. A military man and southern politician, Jefferson Davis was the one and only president of the Confederate States of America. Why was he chosen? And what happened to him after the war? Tune in to find out. 
17:39 3/2/24
Civil War Medical Advancements
The single most devastating military conflict in United States history, the Civil War took hundreds of thousands of American lives and permanently maimed many others. However the sheer volume of patients also provided an opportunity to test new procedures and hone processes.Join me this week as I discuss medical advancements during the Civil War. 
17:01 2/24/24
By Her Own Design with Piper Huguley
Join me this week as I speak with Professor of Literature and historical novelist Piper Hugely as we discuss her book By Her Own Design. The novel tells a fictionalized account of the black fashion designer Ann Lowe and is an engaging, thought provoking look at the life of black women in Jim Crow United States. To learn more about Piper, please visit her website at 
46:07 2/17/24
The History Conference
The American Historical Association Conference was held last month in San Francisco. One of the largest conferences around, it attracts historians from all over to discuss and debate various historical topics. However, so much of the conference experience remains unknown. Join me this week as I dive into history conferences. What are they? Should you go? And how can you maximize your experience?
17:03 2/10/24
Clara Barton & The Red Cross
Known as the founder of the American Red Cross, Clara Barton lived several lifetimes in her 90 years on earth. She was a nurse, abolitionist, and activist, always challenging norms and pushing the envelope. Join me this week as I dive into the history of Clara Barton. 
15:31 2/3/24
Democracy in Darkness with Dr. Katlyn Carter
Joining me this week is Dr. Katlyn Carter who recently published her first book, Democracy in Darkness: Secrecy and Transparency in the Age of Revolutions. The book traces the history of the origins of government for both the United States and France and illuminates how the call for transparency in government did not always translate in practice. To learn more about Dr. Carter, please head to the website www.civicsandcoffee.comTo read the Age of Revolutions blog, head to
35:56 1/27/24
The Massachusetts 54th
Depicted in the 1989 Hollywood feature film "Glory" the Massachusetts 54th was the first all black regiment to fight in the Civil War. Established in the aftermath of the Emancipation Proclamation, the members serving in the regiment had much riding on their perceived success. Join me this week as I dive into the history of the Massachusetts 54th. 
16:50 1/20/24
Spying In the Civil War
Collecting intelligence against ones enemy has been a longstanding military practice. Commanders have long sought to ensure they have the most accurate information before heading to battle to maximize their effectiveness and the Civil War was no different. Join me this week as I dive into the history of spying during the Civil War. 
16:08 1/13/24
It Begins: Fort Sumter
The election of Abraham Lincoln as the sixteenth president of the United States prompted states throughout the south to announce their desire to leave. Trying to maintain federal authority where it could, Lincoln entered office hoping to restock Fort Sumter, set in the bay of the Charleston Harbor. The first battle of the Civil War, Fort Sumter ignited what had been building for months. Join me this week as I dive into the battle of Fort Sumter. What happened? And why was Fort Sumter so important?
16:10 1/6/24
Before the Movement with Dr. Dylan Penningroth
Joining me this week is Professor of Law and History, Dr. Dylan Penningroth. He recently wrote a book, Before the Movement, which traces how Black Americans used the legal system throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries to practice their civil rights. To learn more about Dr. Penningroth and his scholarship, please head over to the website,
42:24 12/30/23
Dolly Parton
Happy Holidays!I could think of no better time to dive into the history of one of the most beloved entertainers in America. Longtime listener and friend Shaydra requested I cover Dolly early in my podcast journey. That request was renewed after Parton's recent performance during the halftime show between the Dallas Cowboys and the Washington Commanders. A signer, actress, songwriter, and philanthropist, Dolly Parton has been breaking the mold for over five decades. Join me this week as I dive into the life and legacy of the one and only: Dolly Parton!
16:28 12/23/23
Chaos: The Election of 1860
One of the most consequential elections in United States history, the election of 1860 was filled with drama. Third party candidates; a political party caving in on itself; concerns over what the nascent Republican Party would do if they won the White House.Join me this week as I dive into the election of 1860. How did Lincoln win the vote? And what does it have to do with the Civil War?
16:46 12/16/23
Abraham Lincoln: Part One
The sixteenth president of the United States, Abraham Lincoln is consistently ranked as one of the best presidents by historians. A man who oversaw the fracturing of the nation, Abraham Lincoln lived quite a life before ever stepping foot inside the White House. So much so that his life must be told over a number of episodes. Join me this week as I dive into Lincoln's early history. How did he get into law? Who was his first fiancé? Turn in to learn this and more. 
19:44 12/9/23
Harpers Ferry
Often classified as a dress rehearsal for the Civil War, the raid on Harpers Ferry was a watershed moment in American History. Fully believing his purpose in life was to end slavery, John Brown put together an ambitious, and some would argue unattainable, plan to initiate a war pitting slaveholders against the men and women they held in bondage. While Brown's plan failed, the implications ricocheted throughout the country, further dividing the nation. Tune in this week to find out what happened and why it was such a pivotal moment in history. 
14:47 12/2/23
The Mountain Meadows Massacre
As a group of settlers eagerly headed west in the throes of Manifest Destiny, they were being watched by a group who were convinced they posed a grave threat. Known as the Mountain Meadows Massacre, the murder of over one hundred settlers led to the excommunication of members of the Mormon Church and remained shrouded in mystery for generations. So what exactly happened? Tune in to find out. 
17:09 11/25/23
Bonus: 2nd Annual Friendsgiving
Happy Thanksgiving week everyone! I am here with a BONUS episode to help you make it through your travel week. Last year, a group of us podcasters got together to chat history, podcasting, and everything in between. We had such a good time that we decided to do it again this year! Come learn all about Kenny from Abridged Presidential Histories, Howard from Plodding Through the Presidents, Jerry from the Presidencies of the United States, and me! Your local favorite podcast host. And be sure to check out the website to learn more about these fabulous men and their amazing shows! 
56:01 11/20/23
Dred Scott
One of the most contentious Supreme Court decisions in United States history, Scott v. Sanford effectively robbed Black Americans of recognition as citizens. So just who was Dred Scott? And how did his court case impact the millions of Black Americans living in the country at the time? Tune in and find out. For source material, transcripts, and ways you can support the show, please visit the website at
15:03 11/18/23
James Buchanan
A president who consistently ranks toward the bottom of the list, James Buchanan made several missteps during his tenure that furthered the country toward war. How is that a man who spent his entire adult life striving for the highest political office could fail so tremendously?Tune in this week to find out. For transcripts, source material, and ways you can support the show, please visit the website at
16:40 11/11/23
Passionate Mothers, Powerful Sons with Dr. Charlotte Gray
Most history fans know at least the basics about Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Winston Churchill, two of the most prominent and influential political leaders of the twentieth century. Significantly less is known about the women who had the largest impact on their development: their mothers. In her recently published double biography, historian Charlotte Gray shines a light on Jennie Jerome Churchill and Sara Delano Roosevelt and provides readers with a new understanding of what role each mother played in her son's life. Join me this week as we chat about these women, the challenges of writing a double biography, and what these relationships can tell us about women and motherhood in this era. To learn more about Dr. Gray, please visit her website at www.charlottegray.caAnd for more information about the podcast, please visit the website at
27:39 11/4/23

Similar podcasts