General Introduction
– Comparing offices
– What’s on the blog?
– Listener feedback
– Punching the tar baby

Absalom, Absalom!
– The roots of civil war in incest
– Popular support
– Mourning for the enemy
– (It’s “Absalon, Fili Mi,” not “Absalon, Mili Fi”)
– The Gore Vidal view of history

– Which war?
– Law vs. tyranny
– Dictatorship vs. republic
– Is the force of law enough to rule?
– Who rules the Senate?
– Building on history
– American self-invention

The English Civil War
– Monarchy vs. Parliamentary Republic
– James I defends his Imago Dei
– Milton strikes back
– James to Charles to Cromwell to Charles
– Cavaliers and Roundheads

The American Civil War
– The Revolutionary War
– Was Lincoln a tyrant or just a Federalist?
– Why the war wasn’t just about slavery
– The clash of the past and the future
– Were the Confederate generals heroes?
– Randy Newman and the geography of racism

Lingering Effects of the American Civil War
– Help us, Chris Gehrz
– A matter of time
– The English Civil War in popular culture
– Sic Semper Tyrannis!

American Policy and Foreign Civil Wars
– Bad-faith rhetoric
– Why civil wars sometime require intervention
– The role of religion
– Intervention based on president

The Christian Response
– Sons of Cain
– The sword Christ brings
– The Fall
– Civil wars as the ultimate tragedy
– The beginnings of Christianity
– Nathan Gilmour offends everybody


Harris, Joel Chandler. The Complete Tales of Uncle Remus. Ed. Richard Chase. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 2002.

Livy. The Early History of Rome. Trans. Aubrey de Sélincourt. New York: Penguin, 2002.

Milton, John. The Tenure of Kings and Magistrates. Portland, Ore.: ReadHowYouWant, 2007.

Paine, Thomas. Common Sense. New York: Penguin, 1982.

Shakespeare, William. Julius Caesar. New York: Arden, 1998.

Wilson, Harriet E. Our Nig; Or, Sketches from the Life of a Free Black in a Two-Story White House. Seattle: CreateSpace, 2011.

2 thoughts on “Episode #56: Civil Wars”
  1. I just finished this podcast so these are my fresh thoughts and feelings.

    This may have been the most uninteresting podcast I’ve heard so far. I don’t know if it’s because Farmer left his notes at work or what. There seemed to be a lack of literary readings regarding the different conflicts. I’ve grown acustomed to hearing summaries of events and then later hearing some literary passages about those events. I can’t recall anyone getting too deep into the literary history of any of it.

    I did learn what “on the lam” meant, which was a phrase you guys used twice, I think once in reference to David and the second time about James I (?) Both times used by Grubbs, thanks David for expanding my vocabulary.

    With regard to the civil war and the good and the bad it took with it; do you suppose if the south had won our paychecks would have more taken out of it by the state government than the federal government? Unlike reality where the federal government wants some rediculous amount more than the state?

    Similarly, the point was made that Rome’s senate was either completely in power or not in power at all. This got me thinking again about Federal/State government. Would it be a stretch to say that the Federal government is in complete control and only allows states to be in charge of things that really don’t matter? Like giving a 4 year old the job of watering the street, while the parent is responsible for everything else crucial to the house.

  2. I’m sorry you didn’t like the show, Branden. I enjoyed recording it more than I thought I was going to–our discussion of regionalism and the American CIvil War (The War to Prevent Southern Independence, as I heard someone say once) was interesting to me, but I understand it’s not for everyone.

    Because I don’t understand the state’s rights argument, either in its justification of the South’s position during the Civil War or as a government policy today, I’m inclined to say that if there were a Confederate States of America today, money would be going to that body’s central government rather than to the governments of Virginia, Georgia, etc. But I’m not a historian or a political scientist, so I can’t back that up with more than a gut feeling.

    I think you’re probably taking it a bit far in your analysis of current federal/state powers; states take care of things I like quite a bit, like state universities and state highways. States by and large aren’t allowed to make huge laws that apply only to them–which is good, because if they went too far in that direction, interstate travel would be a very unpleasant proposition indeed.

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