History Programs

history programs

Access all of our programs about history, historic moments, famous battles, and more

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RAID, MURDER, AND RETRIBUTION: THE DESTRUCTION OF THE WELDON RAILROAD, DECEMBER 1864

George Deutsch

February 17, 2021

The Weldon Railroad was one of the last important supply lines for Robert E. Lee's Confederate army besieged around Richmond and Petersburg during the last winter of the Civil War. In December 1864, Union commanders U.S. Grant and George Meade ordered a massive raid of over 20,000 men to destroy the railroad all the way to the North Carolina border.

What began as a straightforward military strike by troops (including this region's 83rd PA Volunteers), deteriorated into a vicious foray against the local civilian population, fueled by copious amounts of confiscated whiskey. This was followed by brutal retaliatory murders of isolated Union stragglers. The malicious cycle then escalated into the burning of wide swaths of civilian homes and the wanton destruction of foodstuffs. It was war at its most brutal level.

Historian George Deutsch explores this little-known action, often from the point of view of local Erie soldiers who participated in the raid. Event is in partnership between the Hagen History Center, the Civil War Round Table, and the JES.

To watch this program on YouTube click HERE!

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WHEN THE BRITISH ATTACKED THE CAPITOL: THE CRISIS OF 1814

Alan Taylor, Ph.D.

January 27, 2021

This talk examines the means and motives of the British invasion of the Chesapeake and explain why they burned the Capitol, White House, and other selected targets. Dr. Alan Taylor, Pulitzer Prize winner, places this military assault in the political context of a deeply divided nation embroiled in intense partisan conflict, as most Federalists worked to undermine a war effort associated with the governing Democratic-Republicans led by President James Madison.

To watch this program on YouTube, click HERE!

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GENERAL GEORGE MEADE: PENNSYLVANIA'S FORGOTTEN HERO

Jeff Sherry, M.A.

January 25, 2021

Over 150 years after the Civil War, the name of George G. Meade is not well known outside the world of scholars and students of that war, overshadowed by U.S. Grant and shunned by the press, Meade deserves to be recognized for his victory at Gettysburg and his command of the Army of the Potomac longer than any other general.

This program is in partnership between the Civil War Round Table, the Hagen History Center, and the Jefferson Educational Society.

To watch this program on YouTube, click HERE

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AMERICAN HOLIDAYS: 'TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS -- AN EXAMINATION OF CLEMENT CLARKE MOORE'S FAMED POEM AND THE HOLIDAY IT CELEBRATES

Dr. Andrew Roth

February 2, 2021

Previewing a new 2021/2022 Jefferson Educational Society series on American Holidays, join Jefferson Scholar-in-Residence Andrew Roth and Jefferson Vice-President Ben Speggen as they ask: Who was Clement Clarke Moore?

Did he really write "Twas the night before Christmas…"? In fact, what is the correct title of the poem whose first line is "Twas the night before Christmas…"? How did it create a new American tradition? How did Christmas replace Valentine's Day, Twelfth Night and New Year's Day as the major gift giving day? Who was Thomas Nast? Who invented Santa Claus? What was it Virginia asked? Join us for this prelude to American Holidays – a rich tradition from Decoration Day to Mothers' Day, from Armistice Day to Labor Day, from Presidents' Day to the Fourth of July as Americans celebrate their common heritage.

To watch this program on YouTube, click HERE

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CIVIL WAR ON FILM, BEHIND THE SCENES OF ‘GETTYSBURG’ AND ‘COLD MOUNTAIN

Michael Kraus and George Deutsch

November 17, 2020

With the Civil War in the rearview mirror American stage was set to bring romanticized versions of the conflict to theaters, the best-known production being "Shenandoah" in 1889. Civil War-themed moving pictures became extremely popular with over 200 newsreels produced between 1907 and 1916. These early plays and films shaped most American's view of the conflict and how it would be portrayed. Michael Kraus, Curator of Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall & Museum in Pittsburgh, has had an insider's view in the production as a historical consultant to 2 Hollywood productions, "Gettysburg" and "Cold Mountain", as well as being lead writer for the series "Civil War Minutes". Kraus will discuss how the Civil War was presented in early film and then discuss his behind the scenes experience as a consultant. Ever wonder how some of the Gettysburg scenes were captured? This program is being co-hosted with the Erie County Historical Society.

To watch this program on YouTube, click HERE!

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AMERICAN TAPESTRY LUNCHTIME SERIES: PART SIX - THE FUSION THREAD AND TALKING TAPESTRY

Dr. Andrew Roth

November 10, 2020

If 1968 was the year of 'the far side of the moon & the birth of the culture wars', it was also the year, according to Smithsonian magazine, "The American Story" shattered. - Dr. Andrew Roth

In this 5 part lunchtime series, you will learn about the post-1968 shattering of the American story by asking:

  • What is the 'story of America'?
  • Is there such a thing?
  • Is there only one story, or are there many stories?
  • If there are many stories, how are they woven, can they be woven, together to tell the story of America?

To watch this program on YouTube, click HERE!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

AMERICA'S MOST CORRUPT PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION: 1876

George Deutsch

October 29, 2020

America’s Most Corrupt Presidential Election: 1876, featuring Mr. George Deutsch, Executive Director of the Hagen History Center

To watch this program on YouTube, click HERE

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AMERICAN TAPESTRY LUNCHTIME SERIES: PART FIVE - THE IMMIGRANT’S TALE

Dr. Andrew Roth

October 27, 2020

If 1968 was the year of 'the far side of the moon & the birth of the culture wars', it was also the year, according to Smithsonian magazine, "The American Story" shattered. - Dr. Andrew Roth

In this 5 part lunchtime series, you will learn about the post-1968 shattering of the American story by asking:

  • What is the 'story of America'?
  • Is there such a thing?
  • Is there only one story, or are there many stories?
  • If there are many stories, how are they woven, can they be woven, together to tell the story of America?

To watch this program on YouTube, click HERE!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

RECRUITMENT OF BLACK SOLDIERS IN U.S. MILITARY IN NORTHWEST PENNSYLVANIA DURING THE CIVIL WAR

Brian Graff and George Deutsch

October 20, 2020

Watch a brief history of raising Union black regiments during the Civil War. The focus will be on the several USCT (United States Colored Troop) regiments that were partially recruited in Northwestern Pennsylvania, specifically in the Erie area. This program was being co-hosted with the Erie County Historical Society and the Erie Civil War Roundtable!

To watch this program on YouTube, click HERE!

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AMERICAN TAPESTRY LUNCHTIME SERIES: PART FOUR -  THE AMERICAN DREAM

Dr. Andrew Roth

October 20, 2020

If 1968 was the year of 'the far side of the moon & the birth of the culture wars', it was also the year, according to Smithsonian magazine, "The American Story" shattered. - Dr. Andrew Roth

In this 5 part lunchtime series, you will learn about the post-1968 shattering of the American story by asking:

  • What is the 'story of America'?
  • Is there such a thing?
  • Is there only one story, or are there many stories?
  • If there are many stories, how are they woven, can they be woven, together to tell the story of America?

To watch this program on YouTube, click HERE!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

AMERICAN TAPESTRY LUNCHTIME SERIES: PART THREE - FREEDOM’S FAULTLINES: STORIES OF GENDER AND RACE

Dr. Andrew Roth

October 13, 2020

If 1968 was the year of 'the far side of the moon & the birth of the culture wars', it was also the year, according to Smithsonian magazine, "The American Story" shattered. - Dr. Andrew Roth

In this 5 part lunchtime series, you will learn about the post-1968 shattering of the American story by asking:

  • What is the 'story of America'?
  • Is there such a thing?
  • Is there only one story, or are there many stories?
  • If there are many stories, how are they woven, can they be woven, together to tell the story of America?

To watch this program on YouTube, click HERE!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

ISRAEL-U.A.E.-BAHRAIN ACCORDONE MORE STEP FOR PEACE IN THE MIDDLE EAST?

Dr. Baher Ghosheh

October 6, 2020

With much fanfare, the Trump administration hosted leaders from Israel, the UAE and Bahrain at the White House to sign this "historic" peace agreement, called the Abraham Accords. President Trump insists 6-9 other Arab/Muslim countries will normalize relations and sign peace agreements with Israel before the November elections.

What is the significance of the agreement? Does it advance the cause of Peace in the region – or, will it result in more polarization and conflict in this highly unstable region?

To watch this program on Youtube, click HERE!

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AMERICAN TAPESTRY LUNCHTIME SERIES: PART TWO - FREEDOM’S STORY HOME AND ABROAD

Dr. Andrew Roth

October 6, 2020

If 1968 was the year of 'the far side of the moon & the birth of the culture wars', it was also the year, according to Smithsonian magazine, "The American Story" shattered. - Dr. Andrew Roth

In this 5 part lunchtime series, you will learn about the post-1968 shattering of the American story by asking:

  • What is the 'story of America'?
  • Is there such a thing?
  • Is there only one story, or are there many stories?
  • If there are many stories, how are they woven, can they be woven, together to tell the story of America?

To watch this program on YouTube, click HERE!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

AMERICAN TAPESTRY LUNCHTIME SERIES: PART ONE

Dr. Andrew Roth

September 29, 2020

If 1968 was the year of 'the far side of the moon & the birth of the culture wars', it was also the year, according to Smithsonian magazine, "The American Story" shattered. - Dr. Andrew Roth

In this 5 part lunchtime series, you will learn about the post-1968 shattering of the American story by asking:

  • What is the 'story of America'?
  • Is there such a thing?
  • Is there only one story, or are there many stories?
  • If there are many stories, how are they woven, can they be woven, together to tell the story of America?

To watch this program on YouTube, click HERE!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

LINCOLN ASSASSINATION: AN AMERICAN TRAGEDY

Jeff Sherry, M.A.T

September 23, 2020

On April 14, 1865, Abraham Lincoln, the sixteenth President of the United States was assassinated while watching a play in Washington, D.C.. Most Americans know that about the assassination but few know of the extensive plot involved or of the assassin's 12 days on the run. This talk by Hagen History Center Museum Educator Jeff Sherry looks at the murder of the President in great detail.

To watch this program on YouTube, click HERE!

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FROM 1619 VIRGINIA TO 16503 ERIE: THE CONSTITUTIONAL PATH TO BLACK LIVES MATTER

Dr. Parris Baker 

September 22,2020

Dr. Parris Baker, longtime Gannon University faculty member and author of the Jefferson report "A Pain-filled, Polarized America: Reflections, Recommendations on Racism in U.S., Erie," will discuss this presentation, debuted on Aug. 25, 2020 at Gannon, as he examines how racism was ingrained in the founding of the United States and the historical events that have led to the current Black Lives Matter movement. The focus on making reflective and reflexive change and the desire to re-evaluate processes at the micro and macro level are two areas Dr. Baker believes can result in significant change.

To watch this program on YouTube, click HERE!

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THE SEDITION ACT OF 1798: SOURCE OF DOMESTIC TURMOIL AND RUNAWAY PARTISANSHIP

Richard Arthur, M.A.

August 12, 2020

Watch Richard Arthur, M.A., 23-year Army Veteran and lifelong history enthusiast, discuss the Sedition and Alien Acts of 1798.

In the last two years of the 18th Century, the new country of America faced threats to its shipping by pirates, threats to its trade from tariffs, occupied forts on its frontier, and the possibility of a war with revolutionary France. 

President John Adams wanted to be prepared to fight but preferred a diplomatic approach. War hawks in his emerging Federalist Party were eager for war and seemed equally intent on crushing domestic opposition from Jefferson's Republicans. 

In 1798, the Federalist Congress passed four laws that became to be called The Alien and Sedition Acts. These measures became a source of domestic turmoil and an example of runaway partisanship. They eventually changed the course of history. 

To watch this program on YouTube, click HERE!

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AMERICAN TAPESTRY: THE STORIES WE TELL OURSELVES

Andrew Roth, Ph.D.

August 11, 2020

What is the "story of America?" Is there such a thing? Is there only one story, or are there many stories? Find out by watching this program, originally aired on August 11, 2020.

In this summary program, Andrew Roth, Ph.D., Jefferson Scholar-in-Residence, continues his exploration of the post-1968 shattering of the American story by drawing from his mini-part series to offer an overview of his American Tapestry experience.

To watch this program on YouTube, click HERE!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

1968: THE FAR SIDE OF THE MOON AND THE BIRTH OF THE CULTURE WARS

Andrew Roth, Ph.D.

July 7, 2020

2018 marked the 50th Anniversary of 1968 – the cusp year of "The '60s": the Cultural Revolution whose repercussions redefined America reverberating down today. "The '60s" refers to that period between the Berkeley Free Speech Movement in 1964 to the last American helicopter leaving Saigon in 1975.

1968 was the hinge year, the year everything changed. From the Tet Offensive to President Johnson's resignation; from the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Robert F. Kennedy; from Miami and the Siege of Chicago;; from the women's march on Atlantic City to Apollo 8's Christmas Eve lunar orbit when humans first saw the far side of the moon and 'Earth-rise', 1968 changed everything.

This presentation traces those events, their antecedents and their consequences. 

To watch this program on YouTube, click HERE!

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TAPS: 24 NOTES OF HISTORY AND ERIE COUNTY'S OLIVER NORTON

George Deutsch, B.A.

July 14, 2020

On a sultry July evening in 1862, a battered Union army lay in camp along the James River, downstream from Richmond, after the failed attempt to capture the Confederate capital. General Daniel Butterfield called in his young bugler, Oliver Norton, from Erie's 83rd Pennsylvania regiment. That night, they created a new "Lights Out" for Butterfield's brigade. By the next morning, dozens of other buglers from nearby units flocked to see Norton to get copies of the new tune. The iconic TAPS was born. Now, TAPS is the most famous bugle call in American history, being played at military funerals across the country. In later years, Norton would become a multimillionaire industrialist, summered at the Chautauqua Institution, and his widow left a legacy to her husband by funding Chautauqua's opera center: Norton Hall.

To watch this program on YouTube, click HERE!

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WHAT HISTORY STANDS TO TEACH US AND WHY WE NEED TO LEARN ITS LESSONS

Jonathan Burdick, M.Ed., M.A.

July 13, 2020

History isn't simply learning what happened in the past, but how what happened affected individuals. Understanding our shared collective history helps us contextualize the present: from current events to our own lives. To discuss history – and its role and our understanding of it – Jonathan Burdick, public school history teacher, founder of the public history project Rust & Dirt, and contributing writer at the Erie Reader, discusses what drew him to history as a discipline, how he teaches and writes about it, and why and how he launched a public history project.

To watch this program on YouTube, click HERE!

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FLASHPOINT! HOW COLONIAL WESTERN PENNSYLVANIA IGNITED A GLOBAL WAR

Larry Flatley, J.D.

June 25, 2020

In 1700, western Pennsylvania was an uninhabited wilderness. Fifty years later, a world war stared here. What happened?

Join historian and author Larry Flatley in conversation with Jefferson's Ben Speggen as they explore the events that led to war, including a pivotal 1753 confrontation at Erie between the French commander of Fort Presque Isle and a Native American leader.

To watch this program on YouTube, click HERE!

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NORMANDY INVASION

Mark Squeglia, B.A.

June 23, 2020

Mark Squeglia, B.A. discusses the immense battle plans, invasion strategy and major players from June 6th to September 1944. What mistakes were made by both the German Army and Allied Forces and why was it imperative that the invasion succeed.

To watch this program on YouTube, click HERE!

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PRESIDENT LINCOLN AND CHIEF JUSTICE TANEY: THE GREAT ANTAGONISTS

George Deutsch, B.A.

June 3, 2020

Join us at George Deutsch posits, Roger Taney was the product of privilege and formal education, which stands in stark contrast to Abraham Lincoln, his impoverished youth and self-education. Their antagonism began in the 1840s when Taney ruled against Lincoln in a split decision in the only case that Lincoln as lawyer ever argued before the Supreme Court. Lincoln spoke out sharply against the Dred Scott decision in 1857. The two clashed repeatedly during Lincoln's presidency. The feud continued until Taney's death in 1864.

To watch this program on YouTube, click HERE!

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YEARS OF HORROR: 1968 AND 2020

Andrew Roth, Ph.D.

June 2, 2020

In a recently published essay for The Atlantic, “Is This the Worst Year in Modern American History? Comparing 2020 to 1968 offers some disquieting lessons for the present,” James Fallows examines the two years, the history of 1968 and the unfolding of today's events.

You can also take a look at the Fallows' presentation with the Jefferson from April 21, 2020 by clicking HERE.

Jefferson Scholar-in-Residence Dr. Andrew Roth has spent the last two years unpacking 1968's historical importance in the American narrative.

In this event, hosted on June 2, 2020, he'll discuss the roles of pandemics, media, leadership, and more as we continue to analyze 1968's impact on history then and today.

To watch this program on YouTube by clicking HERE!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

COVID-19 PANDEMIC IS A TEACHABLE MOMENT ON NATIVE AMERICAN HISTORY

Larry Flatley, J.D.

May 13, 2020

What can we learn during the COVID-19 pandemic from and about Native American History?

Larry Flatley, the author of the report, "COVID-19 Pandemic is a Teachable Moment on Native American History," explores and unpacks history's lessons and what they mean to use today in a conversation with Jefferson Vice President Ben Speggen.

To watch this program on YouTube, click HERE!

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UNLOCK THE MYSTERIES OF OAK ISLAND

James McQuiston

May 11, 2020

In 1795, a treasure hunt began on Oak Island, Nova Scotia, lasting 225 years. In 2007, a new group purchased the island and were approached by the History Channel to have their treasure hunting efforts filmed. The resulting show, Curse of Oak Island, is typically the number one show on cable TV. In 2016, James McQuiston approached the show with a theory, based on old, still existing documents, which resulted in four books on Oak Island and a few appearances on the show, plus the #6 rated theory. McQuiston presents a story of Oak Island no one else has ever revealed.

James McQuiston, a local historian, has written four books on the mystery of Oak Island, Nova Scotia. While researching and writing a few earlier books, he became particularly interested in Scottish connections to North America, and his work eventually earned him a fellowship with the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, a group of top Scottish historians. Since 2016, McQuiston has worked with the current treasure hunters on Oak Island and has appeared on History Channel's top show, "Curse of Oak Island." He has visited the island on 10 occasions, presenting the No. 6-rated theory in the Oak Island war room.

To watch this program on YouTube, click HERE

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LEADERSHIP IN TIMES OF CRISES: LEARNING FROM ERIE'S LAW AND BATTLES

Dr. Judith Lynch

May 7, 2020

What can Erie learn today, amidst the COVID-19 crisis, from studying the past, specifically the tuberculous crisis of the 19th century and the Great Depression of the 20th century? What lessons do Dr. Katherine Law and banker Charlottes Elizabeth Battles teach us in leadership in times of crises? 

On May 7, 2020, Jefferson Scholar-in-Residence Dr. Judy Lynch was in conversation with Ben Speggen, Jefferson Vice President, for this discussion on two reports she's recently written for the Jefferson.

To watch this program on YouTube, click HERE!

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From peaceable kingdown to slaughterhouse: colonial pennsylvania and native americans

Larry Flatley, J.D.

April 15, 2020, Recorded November 5, 2019

William Penn sincerely wanted to deal fairly with the Native American people who had long lived on the land he called Pennsylvania. The early years of Penn's colony are remembered by many as the Peaceable Kingdom. For seven decades, there was relative peace between the colony and Native Americans. However, William Penn had sowed the seeds of a disaster that his heirs eventually brought to fruition. Between 1755 and 1783, Pennsylvania and its Native inhabitants fought each other in three  brutal, terroristic wars. Penn's Peaceable Kingdom became what has been called a slaughterhouse. This lecture will examine how and why that happened.

Wednesday's lecture was previously scheduled to be presented at the Corry Higher Education Council on Thursday, April 16, but due to state regulations prohibiting live audiences at public events, we posted a pre-recorded video on this topic  on Wednesday, April 15 on our Facebook page. This pre-recorded video was taped by Pennsylvania Cable Network on November 5, 2019 at Edinboro University as a part of the Jefferson's Satellite Programming.

To watch the program on YouTube, click HERE!

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THE BLACK DEATH AND COVID-19: ARE THERE SIMILARITIES?

Dr. Judith Lynch and Anita Rogowski

March 26, 2020

Jefferson Scholar-in-Residence Dr. Judith Lynch and Anita Rogowski, who taught alongside Dr. Lynch at Villa High School and Mercyhurst NE, present a Facebook Live lecture on the topic “The Black Death and COVID-19: Are There Similarities?”

These two scholars discuss the similarity of factors between the two diseases including the origin of disease, connectivity across continents, globalization, climate change, biological warfare, symptoms, and the necessity of human contact.

To watch the program on Youtube, click HERE!

To view the PowerPoint associated with the video, click HERE!

To read up on the history of the Spanish Flu from 1918, click HERE!

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ERIE COUNTY WOMEN IN WAR TIME

Sabina Freeman, B.A.

March 24, 2020

During wartime the bravery and dedication of Erie County women became most obvious. They contributed to every war, in small and large ways. Some
on the front lines, some on the home front. When their help was needed they gave it, for their country and for their loved ones. These are some of their
stories.

To watch the program on YouTube, click HERE!

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AFGHANISTAN: WHEN AND HOW WILL AMERICA'S LONGEST WAR END?

Dr. Baher Ghosheh

March 18, 2020

Afghanistan has been dubbed the graveyard of empires. Many have tried to conquer but all have retreated in defeat. How will our longest war end? What does the future hold for Afghanistan and her long-suffering people?  

To watch this program on YouTube, click HERE!

This lecture was originally scheduled to be presented at the Edinboro University as a part of the Jefferson's Satellite Programming. This event had to be modified as state regulations currently prohibit live audiences at public events.

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HISTORY OF ERIE COUNTY'S RESPONSIBILITY OF THE POOR

Dr. Judith Lynch

March 12, 2020

Erie County was created by the State in 1800. One of the first responsibilities it was given was the care of the poor, a state-imposed responsibility that the County still carries. This lecture traces the evolution of the County's care of the poor, from the creation of the Overseers of the Poor, to Institution Districts, to workhouses, almshouses, and tuberculosis sanitariums. It notes the changing attitudes about the treatment of subsections of the poor. It describes the impact of the Great Depression and the Roosevelt policies, in addition to chronicling the impact of Lyndon Johnson's 1960s programs of Medicaid and Medicare and the scope of the current human service budget.

To watch the program on YouTube, click HERE!

To take a look at the PowerPoint Presentation affiliated with the lecture, click HERE!