Building Democracy: The Story of Legislatures | Episode 3

Our American States show

Summary: Overview NCSL’s Our American States podcast presents a special six-part series, “Building Democracy: The Story of Legislatures.” This new mini-series covers the history, characters and stories of state legislatures in America, from the beginnings in Jamestown, to the present day and into the future. Each episode in the series will contain interviews with experts from inside and outside the legislative world to provide a comprehensive view of historical events and their legacy in today’s legislatures. Extras will include extended guest interview clips, articles in NCSL’s State Legislatures magazine, blogs and resources for those who want to dive deeper into topics covered in the podcast. Episode 3 In this installment, we explore how the states and their legislatures expanded west, split apart, and came together again. The era of American history between 1803-1877 was one of massive territorial growth, conflict, and social and economic change. The U.S. evolved from a small grouping of former colonies and newly formed states on the East Coast to exponentially expanding territories across the South, Midwest and the wilderness of the West. Legislatures were the main venue for shaping these territories into states of diverse populations and environments. After the Civil War, state legislatures became the main setting for enforcing reconstruction policies and resistance to them. The struggle to integrate a huge population of formerly enslaved people into the citizenry led to incredible victories for the expansion of civil rights, only to see them shrink again, continuing the push and pull we continue to experience as a nation today. Guests Bob Davidson, former director, Mississippi Senate Legislative Services Office Mark Hirsch, historian, Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian │Bio │Blog Burdett Loomis, professor emeritus, University of Kansas │Bio Kercheik Sims-Alvarado, assistant professor of Africana Studies, Morehouse College │Bio │Book Special Guest Voice Representative Billy Mitchell, Georgia │Bio Additional Resources Building Democracy: Episode 3 | Transcript Building Democracy: Episode 3 | Show Notes Building Democracy: Episode 3 | Resources and Reading List