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.
Throughline
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Throughline

From NPR

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.

Most Recent Episodes

Angela Hsieh

Apocalypse Now

Evangelicals have played an important role in modern day American politics - from supporting President Trump to helping elect Jimmy Carter back in 1976. How and when did this religious group become so intertwined with today's political issues? In this episode, what it means to be an evangelical today and how it has changed over time.

Apocalypse Now

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Al Behrman/AP

Mitch McConnell

Mitch McConnell has been described as "opaque," "drab," and even "dull." He is one of the least popular - and most polarizing - politicians in the country. So how did he win eight consecutive elections? And what does it tell us about how he operates? This week, we share an episode we loved from Embedded that traces McConnell's political history.

Mitch McConnell

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Portrait of Vinayak Damodar Savarkar in India's Parliament House, on May 28, 2016. Sonu Mehta/Hindustan Times/Getty Images hide caption

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Sonu Mehta/Hindustan Times/Getty Images

Savarkar's India

Right-wing Hindu nationalist Narendra Modi has won reelection as India's Prime Minister. As the political philosophy of Hindu nationalism gains ground in India we look back at one of its architects - Vinayak Savarkar.

Savarkar's India

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Sun Yat-sen. Angela Hsieh/NPR hide caption

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Angela Hsieh/NPR

A Dream Of Modern China

China is a world superpower today. But just over a century ago, the country was in complete turmoil — foreign powers had carved up the country, the ruling dynasty was losing control, and millions of citizens were struggling to survive. However, that political chaos inspired a nationalist movement that reshaped China as we know it, and it was led by one man - Sun Yat-sen.

A Dream Of Modern China

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Graffiti depicting late Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez and revolutionary leader Simon Bolivar. LUIS ROBAYO/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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LUIS ROBAYO/AFP/Getty Images

El Libertador

Venezuela is facing an economic and humanitarian crisis as extreme poverty and violence have forced many to flee the country in recent years. How did a country once wealthy with oil resources fall into such turmoil? Through the lives of two revolutionaries turned authoritarian leaders separated by two centuries, we look back at the rise and fall of Venezuela.

El Libertador

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Immigrants being sworn in as naturalized US citizens in 1929. A national immigration law passed five years earlier, in 1924, greatly reduced the number of non-white immigrants to the US. Bettmann/Bettmann Archive hide caption

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Bettmann/Bettmann Archive

White Nationalism

The white nationalist ideas of Madison Grant influenced Congress in the 1920s, leaders in Nazi Germany, and members of the Trump administration. This week, we share an episode we loved from It's Been A Minute with Sam Sanders that explores a throughline of white nationalism in American politics from the early 20th century to today.

White Nationalism

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Edward Jenner inoculating a child against smallpox in 1796. Despite the fact that the vaccine was effective in preventing the disease, smallpox would not be completely eradicated worldwide until 1980. Hulton Archive/Getty Images hide caption

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Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Outbreak

More than 700 measles cases have been recorded in the U.S. in the recent outbreak, the worst being in New York. This past April, Mayor Bill de Blasio issued a public health emergency that required residents in parts of Brooklyn to get vaccinated or face a fine of $1,000. In this episode, we look back at a 1905 Supreme Court case that set a precedent for enforcing compulsory vaccinations.

Outbreak

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Angela Hsieh

Resistance Is Futile

Artificial intelligence, gene modification, and self-driving cars are causing fear and uncertainty about how technology is changing our lives. But humans have struggled to accept innovations throughout history. In this episode, we explore three innovations that transformed the world and show how people have adapted — and ask whether we can do the same today.

Resistance Is Futile

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Fahmida Azim for NPR

War Of The Worlds

The Sunni-Shia divide is a conflict that most people have heard about - two sects with Sunni Islam being in the majority and Shia Islam the minority. Exactly how did this conflict originate and when? We go through 1400 years of history to find the moment this divide first turned deadly and how it has evolved since.

War Of The Worlds

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Then congressional candidate Nancy Pelosi waves in front of her headquarters in San Francisco on April 7, 1987. Paul Sakuma/AP Photo hide caption

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Paul Sakuma/AP Photo

Nancy Pelosi

Nancy Pelosi is the highest-ranking woman in American politics. She made her first run for public office at 47 years old and went on to become Speaker of the House twice. How has she had such an enduring career, and where does her power lie? On this episode, we trace the rise of the Speaker.

Nancy Pelosi

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