Preview Mode Links will not work in preview mode

Each week at In The Past Lane, the American history podcast, host and Historian-at-Large, Edward T. O’Donnell, brings you news, stories, interviews, and special features on all things U.S. history. His aim is to be both engaging and thought-provoking, inspired by the notion that history explains the world we live in and provides insights into how to achieve a more prosperous, peaceful, and just future. So come along with us as we journey In The Past Lane.  

Feb 13, 2016

This week at In The Past Lane, the American history podcast, we focus on the movement to abolish slavery. We start with a thinkpiece titled, "The Daunting Challenge the Abolitionists Faced in Taking on Slavery." Abolitionism is one of the most remarkable movements in United States history. And yet, few Americans can name more than one or two abolitionists – maybe William Lloyd Garrison, or Frederick Douglass, or Sojourner Truth. Why is that? And why is it also true that few people remember any key events of the abolitionist movement? Why do we remember only one bare fact: that the abolitionists ultimately won their struggle?The main reason, is that to people living in the 21st-century, slavery is so self-evidently wrong and evil, they can’t imagine the abolitionist movement failing. But this sense that abolitionists were destined to succeed because they were right is not only false – slavery might have lasted many more decades – but it also serves to undermine and diminish the extraordinary efforts of the men and women who fought against incredible odds to end slavery. What do I mean by incredible odds? Well, you'll have to listen to this segment and to my interview with Historian Manisha Sinha about her new book, "The Slave's Cause: A History of Abolition." It’s a masterful, far-reaching new interpretation of the movement to abolish slavery. Finally, we end this episode with a History Heads Up with historian Stephanie Yuhl (history-related events to keep an eye out for) and some fun with the upcoming President's Day holiday.

Show credits and links 

More information about historian Manisha Sinha

Manisha Sinha’s new book:
Manisha Sinha, The Slave’s Cause: A History of Abolition (Yale University Press, 2016)

The Slave's Cause: A History of Abolition

Episode 004 credits:

Jay Graham, ITPL Intro (courtesy,

Kevin McCleod, “Impact Moderato” (Free Music Archive)

Lee Rosevere, “Going Home” (Free Music Archive)

Andy Cohen, “Trophy Endorphins” (Free Music Archive)

The Bell, “I Am History” (Free Music Archive)