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

Connie Jin

A Pack Of Wolves

It has been nearly twenty years since 9/11 and during that time much of the media coverage and government attention has been directed at the threat of radical Islamist terrorism. Yet, during that time, it has been domestic terrorism from armed, mostly white American men, that has posed the biggest threat. This week, the rise of the modern white power movement.

A Pack Of Wolves

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A Northern Spotted owl sits on a branch. Tom Gallagher/AP hide caption

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Tom Gallagher/AP

The Spotted Owl

The story of how the Endangered Species Act went from unanimous passage under a Republican president to becoming a deeply partisan wedge. The act was passed to protect big, beloved animals like bald eagles and blue whales; no one thought it would apply to a motley, reclusive owl. In this episode from Oregon Public Broadcasting's Timber Wars, a story about saving the last of America's old growth forests and the push to roll back environmental protections.

The Spotted Owl

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Portrait of Dr. Franz Boas. Corbis via Getty Images hide caption

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Corbis via Getty Images

The Invention of Race

The idea that race is a social construct comes from the pioneering work of anthropologist Franz Boas. During a time when race-based science and the eugenics movement were becoming mainstream, anthropologist Franz Boas actively sought to prove that race was a social construct, not a biological fact.

The Invention of Race

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Killer Mike. Dale Edwin Murray for NPR hide caption

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Dale Edwin Murray for NPR

BONUS: Louder Than A Riot

This week we're bringing you something extra, an episode from the NPR Music series, Louder Than A Riot. The series examines the relationship between hip hop and mass incarceration and you can find the rest of the series here.

BONUS: Louder Than A Riot

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The preamble to the US Constitution. Joe Sohm/Visions of America/Universal Images Group via Getty hide caption

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Joe Sohm/Visions of America/Universal Images Group via Getty

The Shadows of the Constitution

The Constitution is like America's secular bible, our sacred founding document. In her play, What the Constitution Means to Me, Heidi Schreck goes through a process of discovering what the document is really about – who wrote it, who it was for, who it protected and who it didn't. Through Heidi's personal story, we learn how the Constitution and how it has been interpreted have affected not just her family but generations of Americans.

The Shadows of the Constitution

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A judge uses a magnifying glass to examine a dimpled chad on a punch card ballot during the vote recount in Florida for the 2000 presidential election. Robert King/Getty Images hide caption

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Robert King/Getty Images

Bush v. Gore and Why It Matters in 2020

In the 2000 presidential election, results weren't known in one night, a week, or even a month. This week, we share an episode we loved from It's Been A Minute with Sam Sanders that revisits one of the most turbulent elections in U.S. history and what it could teach us as we wait for this election's outcome.

Bush v. Gore and Why It Matters in 2020

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Kaz Fantone

The Most Sacred Right

Frederick Douglass dreamed of a country where all people could vote and he did everything in his power to make that dream a reality. In the face of slavery, the Civil War and the violence of Jim Crow, he fought his entire life for what he believed was a sacred, natural right that should be available to all people - voting.

The Most Sacred Right

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Kaz Fantone

How We Vote

Drunken brawls, coercion, and lace curtains. Believe it or not, how regular people vote was not something the founding fathers thought much about, or planned for. Americans went from casting votes at drunken parties in the town square to private booths behind a drawn curtain. In this episode, the process of voting; how it was originally designed, who it was intended for, moments in our country's history when we reimagined it altogether, and what we're left with today.

How We Vote

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Kaz Fantone

The Electoral College

What is it, why do we have it, and why hasn't it changed? Born from a rushed, fraught, imperfect process, the origins and evolution of the Electoral College might surprise you and make you think differently about not only this upcoming presidential election, but our democracy as a whole.

The Electoral College

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(mis)Representative Democracy, a new series from Throughline. NPR hide caption

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NPR

(mis)Representative Democracy, A New Series From Throughline

America has never been a country of one person, one vote. And that's by design. Our system was built by a select few, for a select few. We were never all supposed to get a say.

(mis)Representative Democracy, A New Series From Throughline

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