Stars & Tsars

May 4, 2014

In the past year, the White House and the Kremlin have sparred over Syria, the Winter Olympics, and now, the crisis in Ukraine. It can be tempting to view these events through the familiar lens of the Cold War, but in this episode, the History Guys probe the deeper history of our relationship with Russia — and discover moments of comity as well as conflict.

The tribulations of Solomon Northup, a free black man from upstate New York, are depicted in the popular film 12 Years a Slave. In a soon to be published book, Calvin Schermerhorn (Virginia Foundation for the Humanities Fellow) documents how the business of slavery gave rise to American capitalism. Also featured: With Good Reason producer Kelley Libby checks in on a log cabin-building workshop on the grounds of Montpelier, the former home of President James Madison.