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The Fabric of History Podcast

From the Bill of Rights Institute, Fabric of History weaves together US history, Founding Principles, and what all of this means to us today. Come along as we pull back the curtains of the past to see what’s inside. Join Mary, Gary, and Eryn every two weeks for brand new content.


Caucuses to Conventions

25.24 Min

With the Democratic and Republican National Conventions fast approaching, Mary, Gary, and Eryn take a look at the history behind these pivotal electoral systems. From the elitist presidential nominating processes that defined much of the 19th and 20th centuries, to the more inclusive systems of the modern era, the roles of party caucuses, primaries, and conventions have shifted considerably over time. How have today’s elections come to represent the voice of the people? Check out our Fall Seminars and Events:


Disney: Walt’s World

Disney World, Disney+, Donald Duck. The legacy of Walt Disney is all around us, but what do we actually know about the creator of the multi-industry empire we have all grown up with? In our last episode of 2020, Mary, Gary, and Eryn, are joined by special guest Tracey Downey, teacher and long-time Disney World cast member, to examine the relationship between the entrepreneur Walt Disney and his company today. What can Tracy's unique insider perspective teach us about the thoughtfulness that goes into the Disney experience? How important is Walt's vision to the present-day company?


Malleus Maleficarum: The Salem Witch Trials

46.27 Min

In our first episode, Mary, Gary, and Eryn break down the frenzy in a colonial Massachusetts town that left nineteen people dead. Approaching the subject on both a micro and a macro level, they trace the origin story, discover motives of accusers and authority figures, and discuss the broader cultural implications. Visit our episode page for additional resources:


Remember the Lusitania

1 Min

Why do certain moments in time stand out to us? Today, Mary, Gary, Eryn, and special guest Joshua Schmid explore this question by tracing the sinking of the Lusitania and how it fit into the complicated state of foreign affairs in 1915. Was the German U-boat torpedo of the British ocean liner an act of evil or of defense? With two years separating the tragedy and America’s entrance into World War I, was this really a turning point in the war? Check Our Our YouTube Channel:


Selma, Montgomery and “Good Trouble”

32 Min

Gary, Mary, and Eryn reflect on a particularly important moment in the civil rights movement, the march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama in 1965. They'll explore how the events of Selma fit into the bigger picture of the civil rights movement and the passage of the Voting Rights Act. What can this march teach us about the significance of turning points in a movement? And what lessons from it are still very relevant today? Check out our Fall Seminars and Events:


The Pox and the Covenant

52.37 Min

For our first ever Fabric of History interview, Mary brings fellow BRI staff member Tony Williams on to discuss his book The Pox and the Covenant, a fascinating look at Boston’s 1721 smallpox epidemic and the far-reaching effects it had on colonial society and the relationship between science and religion. How did Puritan minister Cotton Mather and others employ new scientific methods to mitigate the epidemic? And what unlikely role did a young Benjamin Franklin have in response to them? Check out our Fall Seminars and Events:


The Two Marys

24.03 Min

To continue our celebration of the 19th Amendment's ratification, Mary, Gary, and Eryn discuss the seminal works of Mary Wollstonecraft and her daughter, Mary Shelley. They’ll explore how both women were icons in their own rights, as Wollstonecraft famously advocated for enhanced female education in A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, while Shelley authored the sci-fi classic, Frankenstein. Learn how this mother-daughter pair proved to be an empowering force in the early struggle for women’s rights and equality! Check out our Fall Seminars and Events: