George Washington

6 Podcast Interview Tips That Will Make You Shine

Podcast Interview TipsHave you ever been interviewed on a podcast? In this post, I offer tips that will help you prepare for your next podcast interview.


6 Tips For Your Next Podcast Interview

1. Research the podcast and its host

If you want to thrive during your next interview, take an hour or two to research the host and listen to their show.

Knowing the format of the podcast and the background and interests of its host can help relieve pre-interview anxiety about what the host may ask you.

Most podcast hosts seek conversationalists. If you take the time to research the show and host, you will glean information you can use to engage the host in conversation.

Pro Tip: Most podcast hosts do not send questions in advance of an interview.

2. Provide value for the audience

Your primary function as a podcast guest is to provide value for the audience.

Hosts invite guests because they believe the guest can provide their audience with valuable information and unique insights. Honor this by reviewing the information you have been asked to talk about and by researching the show you will appear on.

Pro Tip: Podcasters listen to podcasts and they talk to each other.

If you perform well as an interviewee, you will not only provide value for the show’s audience, but you will pique the interest of other podcasters who might want you to appear on their show. Good interviews often beget more interview opportunities.


3. Respond to questions and converse as if the audience were in the room

Imacon Color Scanner

The next time you tune in to Terry Gross or another experienced radio interviewer, listen to how they speak and ask questions.

They speak as though their audience is in the room taking part in the conversation.

For example, seasoned interviewers don't often say "Listeners, in her book about George Washington's favorite foods, Janet describes how Washington preferred corn-based hoe cakes to buckwheat pancakes."

They say "In her book about George Washington's favorite foods, Janet describes how Washington preferred corn-based hoe cakes to buckwheat pancakes."

Or, "As you may know, Janet describes how George Washington preferred corn-based hoe cakes to buckwheat pancakes."

Imagine you are speaking in front a live audience during your interview; picture them in front of you.

Pro Tip: When you include listeners in the conversation, you will draw in your audience and they will be more interested in what you have to say.


4. Watch where you hold your phone during a telephone interview

Hold the receiver of your phone so it sits on or near your jaw line, not in front of your mouth.

This placement will help cut down on heavy breath sounds and the "popping" produced by the hard sounds of Ps, Cs, CHs, Ks, and Ts.


5. Be aware of background noise; don't fidget

Ideally, you will participate in your interview in a quiet room. While in said room, remember that leaning back in your chair, typing on your keyboard, and other types of movement and fidgeting produce sound that your phone may pick up.

Pro Tip: Be sure not to lean on your phone if it is a wireless handset. Leaning may cause you to press buttons while you talk, which the audience will hear.


6. Learn how to use Skype and consider investing in a decent microphone

If you plan on appearing as a podcast guest, learn how to use Skype. Most podcasters conduct their interviews through that service.

Audio-Technica-ATR2100Also, consider investing in a decent microphone.

Many podcasters love the [simpleazon-link asin="B004QJOZS4" locale="us"]Audio-Technica ATR2100[/simpleazon-link]. This versatile mic sounds great and Amazon periodically places it on sale for about $30.

Regardless of what mic you purchase, don't skimp! Purchase a [simpleazon-link asin="B0002GXF8Q" locale="us"]pop filter[/simpleazon-link] and [simpleazon-link asin="B00YOQZQUU" locale="us"]table-top stand[/simpleazon-link] to go with it.

The pop filter (foam cover or mesh screen for your mic) will soften the popping sounds made by hard letters. The stand will help ensure that you keep the mic at a consistent distance from your mouth and that you don't fidget with and drop it during your interview.

Pro Tip: There are over 250,000 podcasts. Opportunities to participate in podcast interviews increase every day.



The above techniques represent best practices. If followed, they will help you sound great and come across as a professional-sounding guest that any podcaster would like to have appear on their show.

Interviews often beget other interviews. Make the most of each opportunity.


Indulging in Counterfactuals: The Three-Fifths Clause of the Constitution

Upside Down US Map What would have happened if the Constitution of the United States had not had its Three-Fifths clause? Joe Adelman poses this thought-provoking question in “Alternative Fractions,” a post that responds to both Rebecca Onion’s “What if?” essay on Aeon and Kevin Gannon’s “The Constitution, Slavery, and the Problem of Agency."

I love counterfactuals because they make me think about contingency. However, the counterfactual posed by Joe requires serious thought because of its scope.

In this post, I take a stab at addressing what would have happened if the Three-Fifths clause had not been added to the United States Constitution.


A Brief Overview of the Three-Fifths Clause

The Three-Fifths clause appears in Article I, Section 2 of the United States Constitution.

Article 1, Section 2 outlines the House of Representatives. It addresses who can serve as a Representative and how population will determine House membership.

Here is the Three-Fifths clause:

“Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons."

The clause represents a compromise. The Articles of Confederation apportioned taxes according to land values. States undervalued their land to lower their tax burden. During the Constitutional Convention (1787) many delegates wanted population to be the basis for tax allocation.

As the Convention debated the merits of the “Connecticut Plan,” the version of the Constitution that supported a bicameral legislative branch, northern states and southern states disagreed over how slaves would count if the Constitution based representation in the House of Representatives on population. James Wilson of Pennsylvania and Roger Sherman of Connecticut proposed a compromise to entice southern support for the population-based House: Each slave would count as three-fifths of a white person.

The result of this compromise: The delegates agreed on the Constitution and southern representation in the new government increased from about 38 percent under the Articles of Confederation government to about 45 percent under the new Constitution. This increase in representation gave southerners the power they needed to control presidential elections with electoral votes. However, the representative advantage proved short lived as the population in northern and western states grew more rapidly than in southern states.


Major Components of the Three-Fifths Clause Counterfactual

Joe's counterfactual question has two major components that if we altered their history would have far-reaching implications.

Presidential elections, 1789-1828: Five of the first seven presidents hailed from southern states; four from Virginia.

Congressional Representation: Without the Three-Fifths clause congressional leaders may not have come from the south and legislation that failed to pass without southern support would have passed.

Hamilton Jefferson Madison


One Brief Scenario for the Three-Fifths Clause Counterfactual

If the states had ratified the Constitution without the Three-Fifths clause the history of the nation would be very different.

Northern states would have had more control in both the House of Representatives and the Electoral College. This means George Washington may have been the only member of the “Virginia Dynasty” to serve as president between 1789 and 1825.

Alexander Hamilton would not have met Thomas Jefferson and James Madison “in the room where it happen[ed]” to exchange congressional votes for removing the nation's capital to the banks of the Potomac River because Hamilton would not have needed their support to get his debt assumption bill passed.

Without Hamilton, Jefferson, and Madison's backroom deal, the nation’s capital would not have moved south. It would have moved west from New York City.

Actual History

After the Revolution, 700,000 to 800,000 New Englanders migrated into New York State. The Yankees flooded into post-war New York City and established new, New English towns in northern and western parts of the state. Once the migrants filled New York they pushed west to Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, and Illinois. Americans further south also migrated. They moved into what would become Kentucky and Tennessee.

As the population expanded in the west, it also burgeoned in eastern cities like New York City and Philadelphia. The cost of living in these cities rose as demand for living space and life necessities increased. On November 1796, the New York State Assembly and Senate voted to relocate the state capital to Albany. They made this decision partly because the population of the state had grown in its northern and western regions, but mostly because New York City had become too expensive for many representatives to live in and travel to.

The economic and population factors that caused the New York State government to relocate its capital to a more central and cheaper location would have also forced the federal government to relocate from New York City. As Philadelphia experienced a similar rise in cost of living, I believe a different negotiation would have occurred and the capital of the United States would have moved to a place like Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Cincinnati, Ohio, Lexington or Louisville, Kentucky, or Indianapolis, Indiana.

New Capital Map

A Return to Counterfactual History

Without southern control of the Electoral College, John Adams would have won the Election of 1800 handily, even amidst Jeffersonian criticism for the Alien and Sedition Acts.

Would President Adams have made the Louisiana Purchase?

Yes, presuming Napoleon’s situation in France remains on its actual historical trajectory.

The loss of the French forces in Saint Domingue in 1802/1803 and France’s wars in Europe would have have forced Napoleon to raise capital by selling Louisiana to the United States. A shrewd Yankee, Adams would have found a way to make this purchase happen. Even if Adams hadn’t been perceptive enough to see the bargain Napoleon offered, his wife Abigail would have and she would have talked her “Dearest Friend" into the purchase.

After President Adams, the United States would have had more northern presidents. Men like George Clinton, DeWitt Clinton, Rufus King and Daniel Tompkins of New York, and Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts offer real possibilities. John Quincy Adams of Massachusetts also would have served and possibly before 1825.

President Clinton

Aspects that Require More Thought

Joe poses an intriguing counterfactual question. Without the Three-Fifths clause a lot would have been different. Even after investing some time into thinking about this counterfactual, several big questions remain unanswered in my mind:

Would the United States have declared war against Great Britain in 1812?

Would the charter of the First Bank of the United States have been extended? If so, what would that have meant for the economy of the United States? Would the Panics of 1819 and 1837 have happened?

How would a northern or western president's approval of the Bonus Bill of 1817 have changed western expansion and internal commerce?

If the north and west had secured electoral and legislative power sooner than it did, would the Compromise of 1820 have been necessary?

Would the expansion of slavery have been an issue?

Would the nation have overpowered the south and voted to gradually abolish slavery before the Civil War?


What Do You Think?

What do you think would have happened in any of the above scenarios?  

5 Reasons Why You Should Research at the David Library of the American Revolution

Do you (or your students) study the American Revolution? Would you like to save and receive funds for your research?

In this post you will learn about the David Library of the American Revolution, its research fellowship for graduate students and post-doctoral scholars, and its award for undergraduate research.


DLAR LogoBrief Overview: The David Library of the American Revolution

The David Library of the American Revolution (DLAR) supports and promotes the study of the American revolutionary era ca. 1750-1800.

Businessman, philanthropist, and revolutionary-era enthusiast Sol Feinstone (1888-1980) founded the David Library in 1959; he named the institution after his grandson David Golub. Feinstone began the DLAR with his extensive, private collection of revolutionary-era manuscripts. In 1974, he built the present library and auxiliary buildings on his 118-acre farm in historic Washington Crossing, Pennsylvania and opened them to the public.


5 Reasons Why You Should Research at the David Library

Below I provide my top 5 reasons for why you should study at the David Library of the American Revolution.

The first 3 apply to anyone who researches the American Revolution. Reasons 4 & 5 discuss two perks of being a DLAR fellow.


1. The Collections

DLAR LibraryThe David Library possesses “all [of] the basic primary sources” on the American Revolution and its War for Independence.

The Library also holds records that speak to the French and Indian War and the early republic United States.

The DLAR has acquired materials from around the world; the library has over 10,000 reels of microfilm in its collection.

Rather than undertake expensive and time-consuming travel across the United States, Canada, Great Britain, and France, researchers will find nearly all of the information they seek within the printed, manuscript, and microfilm collections of the David Library.

Don’t believe me? Take a look at their “Guide to Microfilm Holdings.”


2. Knowledgeable Staff

Librarian Katherine A. Ludwig knows the collection.

If you study the American Revolution, you should contact Kathie and spend a few minutes describing your project and the information you seek. Within minutes she will point you toward records and correspondence that you either did not know existed or that you thought you would spend thousands of dollars on overseas travel to find.


3. Scenic and Historic Location

Few archives offer as much complementary, scenic inspiration for their subject matter as the David Library.

Sol Feinstone’s 118-acre farm overlooks the Delaware River near the spot where George Washington crossed for his surprise attack at Trenton and Princeton, New Jersey on December 25/26, 1776.

Whenever you need to peel your dry, tired eyes from the books and microfilm you have spent all day reading, you can take a walk around the farm or along the Delaware River to recharge your spirit, mind, and eyes.

Washington Crossing the Delaware


4. Fellows Get 24/7 Access to the Library

Are you a night owl who yearns to research at 3am when your mind is at its best?

The David Library opens for public research Tuesday through Saturday, 10am-5pm. But, if you apply for and receive one of their fantastic fellowships, you will have access to the library and its holdings any day or time you want.

The David Library is always open to its fellows.


DLARR Farmhouse5. Housing and the Customizable Social Experience

The David Library offers its fellows a room in Sol Feinstone’s farmhouse as part of their fellowship.

Fellows work with Chief Operating Officer Meg McSweeney to schedule their month-long research residency. Upon submitting the dates you would like to work at the David Library, Meg will advise you as to how many other fellows plan to be in residence during the dates you provide. This information will allow you to customize your experience.

Scholars who prefer solitude will be able to select a time when few other scholars will be in residence. Historians who love to work amid the company of other scholars can choose a time when several scholars plan to be in residence.


Doctoral and Post-Doctoral Fellowships

Fellowship Term: 1 Month Award Amount: $1000-$1600 plus housing Who Can Apply: Doctoral Candidates and Post-Doctoral Scholars Due Date: March 7, 2015

The David Library expects to appoint approximately 8 fellows for 2015-2016.

Zemanta Related Posts ThumbnailThe David Library Academic Advisory Council is an open-minded body that seeks applicants who study history, Africana studies, gender studies, women’s studies, political science, religion, law, geography, or any other area that the DLAR collections support research in.

Application Materials: Application materials include 6 copies of a research proposal, CV, and writing sample plus 2 letters of recommendation.

DLAR Fellowship Application


Undergraduate Research Fellowship

First Place Award: $500 Second Place Award: $250 Third Place Award: $150 Entry Deadline: June 30, 2015

New for 2015: The David Library of the American Revolution just announced its brand-new Omar Vázquez Prize for Excellence in Undergraduate Research.

Any undergraduate enrolled in an accredited 4-year college or university in the United States may apply for this award. To apply, they must submit a research paper (up to 30 pages) written as a requirement for an American history or Early American Studies course during the 2014-2015 academic year. The paper may cover any area related to early American history circa 1750 to 1800.

The DLAR Academic Advisory Council strongly encourages any student who has made use of DLAR collections to apply.

Application Materials: 1 paper up to 30 pages in length, written in English, and formatted with double spacing, 12 pt. Times New Roman font, and Chicago Manual of Style foot or end notes. Applicants should also include a Works Cited page, which will not count toward the 30-page limit.

Applicants who wish to submit a portion of their undergraduate thesis may do so, but must include a table of contents in addition to all of the above (table of contents will not count toward 30-page limit).

Visit “Omar Vázquez Prize for Excellence in Undergraduate Research” for more details and submission requirements.


Google Map of DLARConclusions

In 2008, I had the honor to be a fellow at the David Library of the American Revolution. It was one of my best, and most unique, fellowship experiences.

My trip to the DLAR saved me time and money. Kathie Ludwig helped me access records that I would have had to travel all around the United States, Canada, and Great Britain to read.

My DLAR fellowship also helped me to extend my educational experience beyond my historical research.

Being a rather social person, I opted to visit when many other scholars were in residence. My interactions with these scholars not only helped me network with senior colleagues, but it allowed me to learn from their knowledge and experiences.

All of the other fellows I encountered helped me locate collections that might be helpful to my research. They also shared invaluable information about how they obtained their academic jobs, why they thought they had yet to be successful in their pursuit of a tenure-track position, how they published their first books and articles, and information about other archives that would benefit my research.

The presence of these scholars enriched my mind and relieved my scholar’s solitude— that feeling of loneliness many of us experience when we leave our families for weeks at a time to spend hours with books, manuscripts, and microfilm records.

I enjoyed my fellowship experience at the David Library of the American Revolution immensely.


Thoughtful-WomanNote for Independent Scholars

I held my fellowship at the David Library as a graduate student, but my experiences with the DLAR, its staff, and previous fellows has left me with the impression that the David Library Academic Advisory Council would welcome and seriously consider applications from independent scholars who hold doctorates.


What Do You Think?

What are your favorite libraries and archives?

Do they offer fellowships for historians?


*Pictures of DLAR Farmhouse & Library building courtesy of the David Library of the American Revolution.


George Washington and Rochambeau, May 1781

  Imacon Color ScannerOn May 21 and 22, 1781, George Washington and the comte de Rochambeau met to in Wethersfield, Connecticut to discuss strategy.

Washington wanted to attack and recapture New York City.

General Rochambeau preferred to confront the British army somewhere along the Chesapeake Bay.

How did these men resolve their differences?

How did the War for American Independence end?

My latest article for the Journal of the American Revolution has the whole story plus details about how you can visit a bonafide George Washington Bedroom.

Here's a taste:

After the Americans’ stunning victory at Saratoga on October 17, 1777, King Louis XVI ordered his ministers to negotiate a formal alliance between France and the United States. Conrad Alexander Gérard of France and Benjamin Franklin, Silas Deane, and Arthur Lee of the United States negotiated the terms of the Franco-American alliance in the Treaty of Amity and Commerce, which they signed on February 6, 1778.

446px-Rochambeau_VersaillesThe Treaty of Amity and Commerce served as formal notice that France recognized the independence of the United States. King Louis XVI and his ministers saw the United States’ fight for independence as an opportunity to avenge the losses France suffered during the Seven Years’ War. They also saw it as an opportunity for France to supplant Great Britain as the Americans’ chief trade partner.  On March 17, 1778, France declared war on Great Britain.[1]

In July 1780, French General Jean-Baptiste Donatien de Vimeur, comte de Rochambeau landed in Newport, Rhode Island. He came with seven ships-of-the-line, four frigates, and thirty troop transports, which carried nearly 5,500 French soldiers. Rochambeau arrived with orders to assist the American Commander-in-Chief in a subordinate capacity. To this end, Rochambeau and George Washington met in mid-September 1780. They conferred in Hartford, Connecticut, halfway between Rochambeau’s headquarters in Newport and Washington’s headquarters in New Windsor, New York. The threat of attack from the British fleet kept their initial meeting short.

The two generals conferred again in May, 1781. On May 8, Rochambeau received dispatches with the news that the French government had ordered Admiral François Joseph Paul de Grasse and his fleet to the West Indies and that de Grasse would be available to support Rochambeau and the Americans during the 1781 campaign season. Rochambeau, Washington, and their retinues gathered at Wethersfield, Connecticut to discuss strategy.

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*George Washington at Princeton by Charles Wilson Peale courtesy of the United States Senate.