The American Idea

by Ashbrook Center

The American Idea explores America's Founding principles and their effect on American history and government. Through thoughtful conversations with renowned academics and public figures from across the country, we examine the history and political thought behind our country’s greatest documents and debates, as well as contemporary issues, American popular culture, and political statesmanship. The podcast is a production of t ... 

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Podcast episodes

  • Season 4

  • Like a Bull Moose - Theodore Roosevelt and the Impact of Third Parties

    Like a Bull Moose - Theodore Roosevelt and the Impact of Third Parties

    Jeff discusses the pivotal role Theodore Roosevelt played as a spoiler in the 1912 presidential election, and the legacy he left for Third Parties. Do they tend to be about ideas or personalities? Why don't they seem to last beyond an election cycle or two? How do they fit into our political culture and systems, and what can we learn from our past to help us grapple with today's divided political landscape? Learn more about Mike, including his books and podcast, at his website: https://www.michaelpatrickcullinane.com/ Read the Progressive Party platform from 1912: https://teachingamericanhistory.org/document/the-progressive-party-platform-1912/ #thirdparty #tr #bullmoose #1912 Host: Jeff Sikkenga Executive Producer: Greg McBrayer Producer: Jeremy Gypton Subscribe: https://linktr.ee/theamericanidea

  • “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” - Frederick Douglass Teaches Us About Independence Day

    “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” - Frederick Douglass Teaches Us About Independence Day

    Jeff is joined by Lucas Morel, Professor of Political Science at Washington & Lee University, to commemorate Independence Day this year with commentary from, arguably, America’s greatest Civil Rights and abolition leader. Douglass, born into slavery, became the most powerful voice for emancipation and the destruction of an institution that flew in the face of the more core American values. During his life, his views on America and our government evolved, and in this powerful 1852 speech, he explains to Americans what America can and ought to be. Read the full speech here: https://teachingamericanhistory.org/document/what-to-the-slave-is-the-fourth-of-july-2/ Host: Jeff Sikkenga Executive Producer: Greg McBrayer Producer: Jeremy Gypton Subscribe: https://linktr.ee/theamericanidea

  • "Charging Forward?" The History and Current Debate Over Electric Vehicles

    "Charging Forward?" The History and Current Debate Over Electric Vehicles

    Electric vehicles have become more popular in the last decade, and are often promoted as being both good for the environment and the owner's wallet - but is there evidence to back up these claims? You might be surprised by how much an EV really costs to build, how much consumer prices are distorted by subsidies, and how little they do for the environment. Jeff is joined by Brent Bennet, PhD, a former battery engineer who now serves as an energy policy director for the Texas Public Policy Foundation. https://www.texaspolicy.com/about/staff/brent-bennett/ #energy #ev #incentives #economics #teslarealcost Host: Jeff Sikkenga Executive Producer: Greg McBrayer Producer: Jeremy Gypton Subscribe: https://linktr.ee/theamericanidea

  • Deadly Experiments - Contemporary Drug Policy Fads

    Deadly Experiments - Contemporary Drug Policy Fads

    Jeff discusses drug policy in American with researcher and author Karl Zinsmeister. In addition to background on the drug epidemic and policy responses over the years, they focus on recent moves to relax enforcement of anti-drug laws, even to the extent of legalizing a variety of narcotics, such as what Oregon did only a few years ago. Instead of solving the crime and human degradation these progressive policies sought to address, they instead led to massive increases in overdose deaths, more crime, and other problems. Read Karl’s book: https://a.co/d/03zBw1Y Read Karl's RCP article: https://tinyurl.com/bde2p5x9 Host: Jeff Sikkenga Executive Producer: Greg McBrayer Producer: Jeremy Gypton Subscribe: https://linktr.ee/theamericanidea #drugpolicy #legalization

  • How Much Power Does the Constitution Really Give a President? | Documents & Debates

    How Much Power Does the Constitution Really Give a President? | Documents & Debates

    Dr. Jordan Cash discusses this question with Jeff this week, looking into the decisions and actions of three "isolated" presidents - John Tyler, Andrew Johnson, and Gerald Ford. These three presidents were, essentially, lone actors for their time in office, abandoned by party and other political supports - what did they get done, good or bad? Building off Jordan's book (link below) they explore the question of just how much fiat power a president has, regardless of political and popular support. Jordan's book: https://a.co/d/iwMJZvw #americanhistory #americanpresidents #reconstruction #constitution #whitehouse #andrewjohnson #geraldford #johntyler Host: Jeff Sikkenga Executive Producer: Greg McBrayer Producer: Jeremy Gypton Subscribe: https://linktr.ee/theamericanidea