Episode 24: The Significance Of Independence Day

//Episode 24: The Significance Of Independence Day

Episode 24: The Significance Of Independence Day

Hosts Aaron and Jonathan are joined by Professor Bill Jahnel for a discussion on Independence Day and what we can learn from history.

Warning: Professor Jahnel is a colorful character fond of the occasional colorful expletive. Adolescent listeners or listeners with “sensitive ears” should be mindful that this episode is explicit in some instances and other adult oriented joking.

This marks the first remote interview conducted by Aaron and Jonathan. It required some technical hurdles to be overcome to accommodated our specific setup. What this means for listeners is that ITRH will now be branching out and greatly expanding the interviews conducted.

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  • What is the importance of knowing our history?
  • Facts and myths.
  • Tax vs Representation, importance in emphasis.
  • “How was something then and how did it change?”


By |2016-10-15T00:15:32+00:00July 4th, 2011|Urban Survival Podcast Episodes|2 Comments

About the Author:

In his free time, Aaron enjoys hogging the remote, surfing, scotch, mental masturbation and debate over philosophical topics, and shooting stuff--usually not all at the same time.


  1. Bob July 10, 2011 at 9:07 pm - Reply

    Is this professor a political liberal or a political conservative?

    Is he what we on the right would call a revisionist?

    I got the idea that Aaron and Jonathan wanted him to extoll the virtues of American Independence Day and he never did go there.

  2. Bill Jahnel August 1, 2011 at 9:29 pm - Reply

    Hi Bob!

    I hadn’t checked out this site after doing the show with Aaron and Jonathan, so I apologize if I respond late in the game. When Aaron asked me to do a show with him, I did make sure to enunciate that I might not share the same set of political beliefs as the listeners, which I understand are diverse anyway. My understanding the show’s theme was not to specifically be “celebratory” — a type of commemorative speech I often do in public when requested (and for which I refuse honorariums, as I believe in public service of academia.) Aaron said instead that “preparedness” was a topic that required many things, including knowledge, and he wanted me to share my love of history and why I think that ACCURATE knowledge of history is important. I hope I was able to convey that in this show. Some people USE history for partisan purposes. In other words, history is a METHOD to gain a political point. I feel that is an error: History is a valuable tool in and of itself to help us shape our understandings of the world, not simply a graveyard in hopes to seek confirmation bias (“I believe in x, let me scour through the writings of the founding fathers to find a single stray sentence to lend validity to my claim, no matter how uncharacteristic it is of that person.”)

    So, if I may, I would hope you don’t want to START an inquiry about any professor as to “are they liberal or conservative.” My hope that your takeway would be “Is that historian peer reviewed or not, is their work real, and what can I learn from them?”

    For example, I admire the works of Gordon Wood (Whose book Radicalism of the American Revolution won praise from Newt Gingrich) and also Eric Foner, who has been on the far left (though his political views keep shifting some). But to me, their credentials are not about their politics, but about the amazing body of work they put together.Read Foner’s essays “Who Owns History” and you will walk away impressed by his account of the changing understanding of history in Russia from pre-communist and post-communist museums.

    Compare that to works, say, of David Barton, a man who is often lauded as “a historian” but is anything but, whose use and understanding of religion is not only simplistic but often just plain wrong, and whose work has been riddled with errors of fact and even some phony quotations — including phony quotations from a Supreme court ruling! Now, with easy access to such work, not even a first year graduate student would make such a shoddy error.

    I hope that is helpful, but of course if anyone wishes to engage in political discussion I am happy to, but my goal as a historian in the public sphere is to let history guide my politics, not let politics guide my history.

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