Liberty Chronicles



Join host Dr. Anthony Comegna on a series of libertarian explorations into the past. Liberty Chronicles combines innovative libertarian thinking about history with specialist interviews, primary and secondary sources, and answers to listener questions.


  • Ep. 105: The Last Liberty Chronicles

    07/05/2019 Duración: 28min

    Today Anthony Comegna (@DrLocoFoco) leaves us with one final message as we end chronicling liberty: “I certainly will continue my own end of the deal we have struck here—you couldn’t drag me away from my Locofocos, my Spiritualists, my Free Love anarchists, or my radical English Dissenters, to name just a few—but I’ll close with one final plea to each of you: History is not an instruction manual; it is a cautionary tale. No intellectual tradition, no set of good or just ideas, no heroes nor villains are ever remembered unless we do the labor of memory. Our tradition, our ideas, our tales of heroes and our villains all deserve to be remembered, and we deserve to learn from their examples.”Be sure to check back with to learn about our new history adventures in the coming months.Our Most Memorable Episodes:Eggnog Riot!!The Possession of Frances WhippleReasonable Crimes: Humanizing PiratesThere’s No Excuse for Slavery (Updated) See for privacy and opt-out information.

  • Ep. 104: The United States as a Young Foreign Power, Part Two, with Christopher A. Preble

    30/04/2019 Duración: 01h15min

    Last week we left off with selections from William Graham Sumner and we pick up right there today with Christopher Preble. Preble’s new book was released today on our site and it not only explores America imperialist tendency in the past, but also recognizes our foreign policy blunders of today.Does the U.S. think they are in a perfect position to solve the problems of other countries? How did the war against Spain turn out? Does the American imperial empire exist today? When did the U.S. start to get influenced by the imperial mindset of Europe? What is corporatism? Was it honorable to be a soldier in the 1900s? What was the anti-war movement and what happened to it after World War II?Further Reading:Peace, War, and Liberty: Understanding U.S. Foreign Policy, written by Christopher A. Preble, available April 30, 2019.Dreams of a City on a Hill, 1630, written by John WinthropRelated Content:Address Delivered at the Request of the Committee for Arrangements for Celebrating the Anniversary of Independence, writ

  • Ep. 103: The United States as a Young Foreign Power, with Christopher A. Preble

    23/04/2019 Duración: 50min

    Christopher A. Preble joins us for the first episode of a 2-part discussion about early America’s role in the world. Comegna and Preble focus their conversation around two historical documents that are cited in Preble’s new book Peace, War, and Liberty. The first document is John Quincy Adam’s “Address Delivered at the Request of the Committee for Arrangements for Celebrating the Anniversary of Independence”. The second document is, “The Conquest of the United States by Spain”. Be sure to tune in next week to hear part 2 of this discussion and to download a free copy of the Preble’s book!What is realpolitik? Why weren’t Native Americans seen as sovereign peoples by the United States? What did Americans think of their place in the world by 1820? Did Americans still fear the British in 1820? How did we use the Navy to expand markets in the early and late 1800s?Further Reading:Peace, War, and Liberty: Understanding U.S. Foreign Policy, written by Christopher A. Preble, available April 30, 2019.Dreams of a City o

  • Ep. 102: What it Takes to be a Bankster

    16/04/2019 Duración: 23min

     Can you imagine people getting themselves all worked up over banks and money today? Having that intensely boring issue so thoroughly dominate political life that presidents and parties rise and fall on this one subject alone? No one today knows anything about the Fed and no one wants to know about the Fed. People back in the 1830s and ‘40s, were in a constant state of agitation about it. It seemed to Jacksonian Americans that the individual pursuit of self interest was natural and inevitable.What was important about Adam Smiths’ Wealth of Nations? Were banks corrupt? Have banks always been corrupt? How did views of banks and the Fed change since Jacksonian America?Further Reading:The Myth of Class in Jacksonian America, Cambridge University PressThe Bank War and the Partisan Press, written by Stephen W. CampbellAndrew Jackson, Banks and the Panic of 1837, Lehrman InstituteRelated Content:Jackson Kills the Bank, Part One, written by Andrew JacksonJackson Kills the Bank, Part Two, written by Andrew JacksonMake

  • Ep. 101: Edgar Allan Poe on Mushrooms and Men

    09/04/2019 Duración: 24min

    Edgar Allen Poe was far from being defined as a Locofoco. He was no lover of democracy. He idolized the “devoted loyalty” of old Virginia gentry. As a dark romanticist poet, he believed the America’s Old World aristocracy was fighting the noble cause of attempted to preserve the elevated cultures of the past.What did Edgar Allen Poe think of the class struggle? Did Edgar Allen Poe think that Americans were spoiled? How did Poe think America erected an aristocracy? Was Edgar Allen Poe a conservative?Further Reading:The Fall of the House of Usher (Story by Poe), written by David RushEdgar Allen Poe, Poetry FoundationWho was Edgar Allen Poe?, The Poe MuseumRelated Content:Mushrooms & Men, Liberty Chronicles PodcastAn Introduction to Imaginative Literature, Part IV, written by Jeff RiggenbachLibertarians, Class, and the Left, Anthony Comegna & Caleb O. Brown See for privacy and opt-out information.

  • Ep. 100: Quakertarianism, with Caleb Brown

    02/04/2019 Duración: 29min

    For our 100th episode we interviewed Caleb Brown to gain a better understanding of how Quakerism aligns with libertarianism. He discusses his own experience as a Quaker, but he also makes larger claims about how Quakerism can foster a sense of community to the life of an average libertarian.What is attractive about Quakerism? What is a ‘true-believer’ Christian? How does Quakerism mesh with libertarianism? Are there a lot of communitarian elements to Quakerism? How do Quaker meetings take place? What role does Quakerism play in your life?Further Reading:Friends for 300 Years, written by Howard H. BrintonAmazing Grace, directed by Michael AptedCato Daily PodcastRelated Content:Libertarians, Class, and the Left, interview between Anthony Comegna and Caleb BrownThe Antinomians, Liberty Chronicles PodcastSam Gorton: Antinomian Radical, by Literature of Liberty Reviewer See for privacy and opt-out information.

  • Ep. 99: Mushrooms & Men

    26/03/2019 Duración: 27min

    For classical liberals and libertarians, class is a social phenomenon marked by largely artificial distinctions between people based mainly on their access (or lack of access) to raw physical force and a willingness to use force against other people. Classes do not form in society simply because some people have more material wealth racked up than others, nor because some people are better at drawing or sewing or rollerblading than others. Even ideological content of the mind is not really the stuff of class. Sure, plenty of societies have divvied up rights and privileges based on religious or political adherence to one kind of orthodoxy or another, but even in those cases, the ideas do not create the classes. Who is the ruling class? How were they viewed in Jacksonian America? What is a tyrant? Who are the parasites of the class system? How would you define the class struggle?Further Reading:Class and Class Struggle, written by Henry HellerClass Struggle Analysis: A Critique of Class Structure, written by Al

  • Ep. 98: The Civil War as Corporatist Conquest

    19/03/2019 Duración: 22min

    It is a mistake to think of the Civil War a just a conflict between slavery and freedom. Planters and industrialists were interrelated groups that were dependent on the output of one another. The Civil War was not a clear contest between two groups as many academics make it out to be.What was at stake during the Civil War? What impact did the Civil War have on America in the years following? Did the Civil War make the Federal Government to powerful? How did the Union use the Constitution throughout the Civil War to their advantage?Further Reading:Civil War Created the Modern US Economy, written by Jeremy BenderThe Business of Civil War: Military Mobilization and the State, 1861-1865. written by Mark R. WilsonRelated Content:Was the Civil War a Libertarian Moment?, Liberty Chronicles PodcastWhy Did the Southern States Secede?, written by Anthony ComegnaSeward’s “Little Bell”, Liberty Chronicles Podcast See for privacy and opt-out information.

  • Ep. 97: Resisting Leviathan, with Nicholas Mosvick

    12/03/2019 Duración: 32min

    Anthony interviews Nicholas Mosvick to discuss the issue of conscription during the Civil War and its’ lasting impact. During the time of the Civil War, conscription was certainly a strain on constitutional authority. Originally a state power to force citizens into fighting, but by the summer of 1862 the Union was growing desperate for manpower & volunteerism was on the decline.What is conscription? Did it change the outcome of the Civil War? Is conscription an abuse of federal power? What is habeas corpus? Who were the War Democrats during the Civil War? Could there be a military draft at any time? Is the all-male draft style constitutional?Further Reading:Should women be required to register for the draft? Commission likely to recommend big changes, written by Gregory KorteThe Draft Should Be Left Out in the Cold, written by James Jay CarafanoRelated Content:Abelman’s Shadow: State Struggles over Habeas Corpus, written by Nicholas MosvickGarrison on the Civil War and Conscription, written by George H. S

  • Ep. 96: Seward's "Little Bell”

    05/03/2019 Duración: 24min

    On the one hand, Seward’s “little bell” was a wonderful encapsulation of Republican excess and the wartime erosion of liberties which Democrats prided themselves on vigilantly protecting. On the other hand, it was a fabrication, an example of the Democrats’ own penchant for excess and the dramatization of their sufferings during Lincoln’s war—but even if Seward never actually said it, he well could have.What was Seward’s “little bell”? How was Seward a poor Secretary of State? Why was Steward allowed to approve arbitrary arrests? What is the writ of habeas corpus? What did Fort Lafayette represent during the Civil War?Related Content:Mr. Seward’s Little Bell, written by Rick BeardThe Lincoln Administration and Arbitrary Arrests: A Reconsideration, written by Mark E. Neely, Jr.Further Reading:Lincoln the Colonizationist Part 1, with Phil Magness, Liberty Chronicles PodcastEverything Wrong with the Tyler Administration, written by Anthony ComegnaWas the Civil War a Libertarian Moment?, Liberty Chronicles Podcas

  • Ep. 95: The Politics of the Confederacy

    26/02/2019 Duración: 28min

    The Confederacy, being far less developed industrial-wise than the Union, had to revolutionize their approach to the war before they could ever hope to win it. Therefore, they had to create the conditions that allowed for the expedition of war-effort necessities. For example, some southern railroads companies existed almost entirely to service the government’s military efforts.During the Civil War, what was the difference between a ‘conservative’ and a ‘revolutionary’? Were the confederates conservatives or revolutionaries? Did the Confederacy exhibit a type of wartime socialism?Further Reading:Emancipating Slaves, Enslaving Free Men: A History of the American Civil War, written by Jeff HummelWar Socialism and the Confederate Defeat, written by Chris CaltonKarl Marx and the American Civil War, written by Donny SchraffenbergerRelated Content:The Confederacy and Liberty, written by Jason KuznickiWas the Civil War a Libertarian Moment?, Liberty Chronicles PodcastWhy Did the Southern States Secede?, written by An

  • Ep. 94: Was the Civil War a Libertarian Moment?

    19/02/2019 Duración: 29min

    We have a tendency to treat the past as some sort of ideal world where historical actors played out their ideal scenarios under ideal conditions. We grant Lincoln the superhuman powers of creating the war all by himself and being responsible for everything done in the Union’s name. We go to some wild efforts to place historical agency in the hands of particular people or groups to avoid blaming the historical actors with whom we identify personally. There was a time when historians found it both easy and convenient to present the Confederacy as an exercise in Jeffersonian liberalism.Was Lincoln both the Great Emancipator and the shredder of the Magna Carta? How did the Civil War have libertarian underpinnings? How did Frances Whipple use poetry to describe the Civil War as a movement?Further Reading:Sarah O’Dowd, A Rhode Island Original: Frances Harriet Whipple Green McDougall, 2004.“Elleanor Eldridge: Folk Hero of African American Feminism”“Let Usurpers Tremble: The Unrepublican Anomaly”Related Content:The P

  • Ep. 93: Freeborn John, with Michael Braddick

    12/02/2019 Duración: 38min

    Michael Braddick joins us to discuss John Lilburne’s legacy of political activism. Lilburne did not want to be considered a martyr. He fought for what we now understand as the English legal tradition, which is really the backbone of American democracy. He defended political freedom when very few mechanisms existed to mobilize support.Who is John Lilburne? What influence did Lilburne have on the English legal tradition? What is Christian Egalitarianism? How did mobilization work during the English Civil Wars? Is John Lilburne a martyr? Were the Levellers the first modern political party?Further Reading:The Common Freedom of the People, written by Michael BraddickJohn Lilburne- Leveller Leader, by the UK National ArchivesRelated Content:Radical Weirdness in the English Civil Wars, Anthony Comegna and Caleb BrownAgenda for Liberty: A Biography of John Lilburne, written by Jim PowellProfiles in Locodom: William Cullen Bryant, Liberty Chronicles Podcast See for privacy and opt-out information.

  • Ep. 92: Profiles in Locodom: William Cullen Bryant

    05/02/2019 Duración: 28min

    In today’s episode, we shift to the radical end of the spectrum to investigate the life of another Locofoco archetype: William Cullen Bryant, who played the role of venerable, wise, old sage, whose ancient knowledge and cool demeanor kindled radical flames for generations. We explore his early life that led him to write for the Evening Post. Also, we explain how he formed a mentor relationship with William Leggett, which inspired the Evening Post to turn to radical views of politics.Who was William Cullen Bryant and what inspired him to start writing? How did Bryant change the Evening Post? How was he able to be a mentor to William Leggett? What were the political views of William Leggett and William Cullen Bryant and how did they portray them through the Evening Post?Further Reading:William Cullen Bryant, Poetry FoundationWilliam Cullen Bryant, written by John BigelowRelated Content:Ep. 87: Profiles in Locodom: Fernando Wood, Liberty Chronicles PodcastWilliam Leggett, Encyclopedia of LibertarianismProperty,

  • Ep. 91: Lincoln the Colonizationist Part 2, with Phil Magness

    29/01/2019 Duración: 28min

    Lincoln was a proponent of gradual compensated emancipation. He hoped that between 1860 and 1900 that slavery would be eliminated. However, he wanted the the dissolving of slavery to be tied to colonization abroad. He believed that slaves who would willingly move to the Caribbean and Central America would not only give the former slaves a place to go, but would also strengthen America’s present abroad.Did Lincoln view slavery as the the irritant that culminated in the Civil War? Why did the Emancipation Proclamation not include anything about colonization? How did Lincoln’s view of colonization get taken advantage of by other political actors? What did Frederick Douglass think of colonization? Should we continue to put Lincoln up on a pedestal, when in reality, he was a proponent of relocating freed slaves to the Caribbean and Central America?Further Reading:Colonization After Emancipation: Lincoln and the Movement for Black Resettlement, written by Phil MagnessAbraham Lincoln: Campaigns and Elections, writte

  • Ep. 90: Lincoln the Colonizationist Part 1, with Phil Magness

    22/01/2019 Duración: 21min

    Colonization was the process to actually remove the freed slaves and settle them elsewhere, other parts of the world that whites thought were more suited for the African-American race. Lincoln was a supporter of the Colonization Society and it is debated whether or not he helped start a chapter in Illinois. Lincoln was first and foremost a Whig who viewed Henry Clay as a hero. However, going into the 1860 election Lincoln was viewed as an underdog candidate.What was the “Whig formula”? Why was Pennsylvania integral to the 1860 Presidential election? What was Lincoln’s tariff strategy for Pennsylvania? How did Lincoln address all the coalitions of the Republican Party? Who is Henry Charles Carey?Further Reading:Colonization After Emancipation: Lincoln and the Movement for Black Resettlement, written by Phil MagnessAbraham Lincoln: Campaigns and Elections, written by Michael BurlingameHow Republicans went from the party of Lincoln to the party of Trump, written by Andrew ProkopRelated Content:The Confederacy an

  • Ep. 89: What did the Civil War Smell Like? with Mark Smith

    15/01/2019 Duración: 44min

    All history is a string of sense perceptions linked together by individual minds in meaningful patterns we call moments, minutes, hours, days, months, years, wars, eras, periods, ages, and so on. History is sensation, and all sensation is done by the fundamental units of the human species; the individual. In this episode, we explore the Civil War through sensor history in order to fully understand what it was actually like on the battlefield and at home from the perspective of all 5 senses.What is sensory history? Is sensory history important to understand the depth of the human experience? Should history be hyper individualized? How can sensory history help us learn more about what we believe we already know? Can sound be revolutionary?Further Reading:The Smell of Battle, the Taste of Siege: A Sensory History of the Civil War, written by Mark SmithLooking Back: The explosion of sensory history, written by Mark SmithRelated Content:[The Confederacy and Liberty](

  • Ep. 88: The Secession Conventions

    08/01/2019 Duración: 29min

    We dive into the secession winter of 1860-1861 when politicians sacrificed unity and stability for personal power. The story of secession cannot be defined as simply an abolitionist versus slaveholders story. There were many factions of people in between the two extremes who were anti-slavery, deportationists, and everywhere in between. It was not as cut and dry as many historians tend to argue.Who were the “fire-eaters”? What were the differences between the U.S. Constitution and the Constitution of the Confederate States of America? Was the election of 1860 the reason that secession conventions were held?Further Reading:Freehling, William W. The Road to Disunion, Vol. I: Secessionists at Bay, 1776-1854. New York: Oxford University Press. 1990. The Road to Disunion, Vol. II: Secessionists Triumphant, 1854-1861. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2007.Channing, Steven. Crisis of Fear: Secession in South Carolina. New York: Simon and Schuster. 1970.Thomas, Emory. The Confederate Nation: 1861-1865. New York: Harp

  • Ep. 87: Profiles in Locodom: Fernando Wood

    01/01/2019 Duración: 37min

    Nicholas Mosvick joins us to detail the life of Fernando Wood and how he was the mayor of New York who wished the state would have seceded during the Civil War. Wood was best known for being an ideologue rather than a political agitator.Was Fernando Wood a Van Buren man or a Calhoun man? Did Fernando Wood represent a glorious American future? Was Wood sympathetic to the South?Further Reading:Fernando Wood: A Political Biography, written by Jerome MushkatMayor Wood’s Recommendation of the Secession of New York City, speech by Fernando WoodRelated Content:The Roots of Modern Libertarian Ideas, written by Brian DohertyTensions in Early American Political Thought, written by Joseph R. Stromberg See for privacy and opt-out information.

  • Ep. 86: Eggnog Riot!!!!

    25/12/2018 Duración: 21min

    Every family has Christmas traditions, some are more conventional than others. On Christmas Eve in 1826, the cadets at the West Point Military Academy decided they would create a little tradition of their own with some holiday spirits, in both senses of the word. Unfortunately, what started out as some Christmas cheer with a young Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee, ended as a full on riot against the bureaucracy.What is the history of Christmas? Who was Jonathan Pintard and what research did he do about Christmas?Further Reading:Christmas in America: A History, written by Penne Lee RestadHow Christmas Became Merry, written by Andrew Burstein1826: The great ‘Eggnog Riot’ at West Point when cadets revolted, written by Jonathan CroyleRelated Content:The Christmas Conspiracy, Liberty Chronicles Podcast See for privacy and opt-out information.

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