Throughline The past is never past. Every headline has a history. Join us every week as we go back in time to understand the present. These are stories you can feel and sounds you can see from the moments that shaped our world.

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The past is never past. Every headline has a history. Join us every week as we go back in time to understand the present. These are stories you can feel and sounds you can see from the moments that shaped our world.

Subscribe to Throughline+. You'll be supporting the history-reframing, perspective-shifting, time-warping stories you can't get enough of - and you'll unlock access bonus episodes and sponsor-free listening. Learn more at plus.npr.org/throughline

Most Recent Episodes

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The 14th Amendment

Of all the amendments to the U.S. Constitution, the 14th is a big one. It's shaped all of our lives, whether we realize it or not: Roe v. Wade, Brown v. Board of Education, Bush v. Gore, plus other Supreme Court cases that legalized same-sex marriage, interracial marriage, access to birth control — they've all been built on the back of the 14th.

The 14th Amendment

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Illustration of Luxurious Early American Railway Pullman Dining Car, 1877. Getty Images hide caption

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The Land of the Fee (Throwback)

Tipping is a norm in the United States—and it's always been controversial. The practice took off after the Civil War, as employers sought cheap labor from formerly enslaved people: if tips were expected, companies could get away with paying laughably low wages. But the practice was always controversial, and has been vehemently challenged since it first came to the U.S. from Europe. We speak with Nina Martyris, a journalist who's written about the history of tipping in the United States, to find out how tipping—once deemed a "cancer in the breast of democracy"— went from being considered wholly un-American to becoming a deeply American custom.

The Land of the Fee (Throwback)

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A History of Hezbollah

Hezbollah is a Lebanese paramilitary organization and political party that's directly supported by the Islamic Republic of Iran. In the wake of the October 7, 2023 Hamas-led attack on Israel, and Israel's invasion of Gaza, Hezbollah and Israel have been exchanging missile fire across the border they share, causing growing fears of a regional conflict with the U.S. and Israel on one side and Iran along with its allies in Hezbollah, Hamas, and the Houthi rebels of Yemen on the other.

A History of Hezbollah

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The Great Textbook War

What is school for? Over a hundred years ago, a man named Harold Rugg published a series of textbooks that encouraged students to confront the thorniest parts of U.S. history: to identify problems, and try and solve them. And it was just as controversial as the fights we're seeing today. In this episode: a media mogul, a textbook author, and a battle over what students should – or shouldn't – learn in school.

The Great Textbook War

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Lieam Eisenberg/Radiolab

Radiolab: Worst. Year. Ever

What was the worst year to be alive on planet Earth? We make the case for 536 AD, which set off a cascade of catastrophes that is almost too horrible to imagine. A supervolcano. The disappearance of shadows. A failure of bread. Plague rats. Using evidence painstakingly gathered around the world - from Mongolian tree rings to Greenlandic ice cores to Mayan artifacts - we paint a portrait of what scientists and historians think went wrong, and what we think it felt like to be there in real time. (Spoiler: not so hot.) We hear a hymn for the dead from the ancient kingdom of Axum, the closest we can get to the sound of grief from a millennium and a half ago.

Radiolab: Worst. Year. Ever

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An anti-government protester is carried on shoulders in Tahrir Square in the afternoon before a speech by Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Tahrir Square February 10, 2011 in Cairo, Egypt. Chris Hondros/Getty Images hide caption

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A Symphony of Resistance (Throwback)

In 2011, the world was shaken by the Arab Spring, a wave of "pro-democracy" protests that spread throughout the Middle East and North Africa. The effects of the uprisings reverberated around the world as regimes fell in some countries, and civil war began in others. This week, we revisit the years leading up to the Arab Spring and its lasting impact on three people who lived through it.

A Symphony of Resistance (Throwback)

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The Rise of the Right Wing in Israel

For most of its early history, Israel was dominated by left-leaning, secular politicians. But today, the right is in power. Its politicians represent a movement that uses a religious framework to define Israel and its borders, and that has aggressively resisted a two-state solution with Palestinians. And its government – led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — is waging a war in Gaza which, according to the Gaza Health Ministry, has killed over 30,000 people, many of them children. The government launched the war in response to the October 7th, 2023 Hamas-led attack that, according to Israeli authorities, killed over 1,200 Israelis with an additional 250 being taken hostage.This is not the first time that tension has erupted into violence. But the dominance of right-wing thinkers in Israeli politics is pivotal to how the war has unfolded. On today's episode: the story of Israel's rightward shift.

The Rise of the Right Wing in Israel

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The Right to An Attorney

Most of us take it for granted that if we're ever in court and we can't afford a lawyer, the court will provide one for us. And in fact, the right to an attorney is written into the Constitution's sixth amendment. But for most of U.S. history, it was more of a nice-to-have — something you got if you could, but that many people went without.

The Right to An Attorney

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Dance Yourself Free (Throwback)

Beyonce's Renaissance brought house music back to mainstream audiences. But even when it wasn't gracing the Grammys, house never went away. Born from the ashes of disco in the late 1970s and '80s, house was by and for the Black, queer youth DJing and dancing in Chicago's underground clubs. Since then it's become the soundtrack of parties around the world, and laid the groundwork for one of the most popular musical genres in history: electronic dance music. Today on the show, the origins of house music — and its tale of Black cultural resistance — told by the people who lived it.

Dance Yourself Free (Throwback)

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Love, Throughline

We asked you to call us with your stories of looking for love in the 21st century — and man, did you come through. We heard the whole range of human experience in your stories, but one theme rang out loud and clear: dating, and especially online dating, is a struggle.

Love, Throughline

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