Notes: Episode 7, American Expansion (Part 1)

As with every show, I’ll list any corrections or clarifications here. If there’s anything I’ve overlooked, please contact me by email or in the comments and I’ll edit the notes to reflect the new information.


8:33 – This isn’t to say that no one in British parliament had the interests of colonists in mind, but rather that none had been directly elected by the people of the 13 colonies. Their government consisted of governors appointed (usually by proxy) by the Crown. Britain argued that they had something called “virtual representation” in that parliament considered the interests of all British subjects equally, but this was both demonstrably not true given the taxes imposed on colonists and completely counter the actual thing colonists were asking for – namely, the franchise. If anything, this argument led to vote reform in Britain later on.


11:00The Declaration of Independence can be found in full here. I really do recommend reading it. The optimism and idealism of the founding fathers is moving to say the least; there’s a reason people still revere these documents beyond simple patriotism. Oh, and it’s short – you won’t be wasting an afternoon on this.


16:16 – I neglected to mention that while the concept of American Exceptionalism has been around for centuries, the phrase itself dates back to the 1920s in reference to Stalin chastising American communists for believing they were immune from the historical forces of class struggle due to their professed equality.


24:40 – “Hudson’s Bay Territory” was never a thing. The unorganized British territory called Rupert’s Land was owned and controlled by the Hudson’s Bay Company, though.


26:34 – This was potentially unclear. Napoleon himself never came to North America, but rather sent an expeditionary force. He had far better things to do, like make himself Emperor of France and fight everyone else in Europe.


28:06 – I got a little cagey on how France acquired the Louisiana Territory, but honestly it’s because it’s the worst kind of history: complicated and boring. Basically Napoleon was threatening Spain and forced them to sign a treaty giving the Louisiana Territory to France under implied promise of invasion. gave Spain Tuscany in Italy as token compensation, and was generally extremely unclear and perpetually contested.


29:36 – The Haitian Revolution actually ran from 1791 to 1804, but had been quiet for a bit and Napoleon had expected it to stay that way. It really picked up for a final push in 1802, which is what convinced the French to abandon the Louisiana Territory, and independence was declared on January 1st of 1804.


40:52 – There were 47 men on the Lewis and Clark expedition. Not a bad guess.


47:09 – I said “54 degrees, 40 hours north”. I misspoke; latitude isn’t measured in hours, it’s done in minutes.


49:10 – The Homestead Act of 1862 would eventually give settlers 160 acres for free if they worked it for five years – this is the compensation I was thinking of.


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