Migration Nation

The United States has been shaped time and again by large migrations of its population. These are the stories of America in motion.
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Migration Nation



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Now displaying: 2016
Dec 5, 2016

Brian & Lyman continue discussing the early settlement of Indiana by a curious mix of yankees and southerners. In this episode, learn about Indiana's unfortunate history with infrastructure projects, how Indiana narrowly avoided becoming a slave state, and how Indiana could have had a significantly more awesome name.


Oh, and I believe we're done with the incessant Hoosier slander. For now.

Nov 10, 2016

We're back!
Brian & Lyman go where no Kentuckians dare venture alone: Indiana. Where did Hoosiers come from, and what traits have historically characterized them? Learn about Hoosier demography, Native American land-sale treaties, and Brian's short rant on America's Ninth President!

We (Brian) apologize (a little) for the largely-unearned yet liberally-applied Indiana-bashing. So, Hoosiers, feel free to write us with your jokes about our fine commonwealth to your south. Bring it on!

Twitter: @migrationcast

Full show notes at

Sep 13, 2016

Beginning in the late 1780s, Yankees really start breaking into relatively new lands. West of the original 13 states and north of the Ohio River laid the newly-established Northwest Territory, consisting basically of every western state that touches a Great Lake.

Up first on this trek: Ohio


P.S. Ruth clearly thinks that nothing burned down in this episode. Can any eagle-eared listeners prove her wrong?

Aug 19, 2016

It's time to settle the Midwest! But first, a return to Brian's favorite characters: the sleigh-riding Yankees of upstate New York! Brian & Lyman discuss Albany, NY and the culture clash that occurred when New Englanders arrived in the prominently Dutch town. Also, hear about how religious fervor and urban fire changed the local culture.

Covart, Elizabeth M. "“Dam’d Paving” Yankees and Dutch New Yorkers: The Post-Revolution New England Migration and the Creation of American Identity in the Upper Hudson River Valley, 1783-1820." The Hudson River Valley Review 29 (2012): 2-25. 

Music Credits:
The Moaners - "Yankee On My Shoulder" under CC BY 4.0
Peerless Quartet - "On A Good Old Time Sleigh Ride" under CC BY-NC-SA 2.5 CA
Het Gloren - "In Holland Staat Een Huis" under CC BY-NC-SA 3.0
Doctor Turtle - "Let's Just Get Through Christmas" under CC BY 4.0

Aug 3, 2016

Having now covered roughly 200 years of enslaved migration in the United States, Brian & Lyman ask each other what it all means. In what ways does the modern U.S. reflect this troubled past? What effect has enslaved migration had on America's sense of self? How did a misguided attempt at helping freed American slaves leave a lasting impression on a totally different continent? Is the lesson to be learned from the horrors of slavery that America is evil? Or is there perhaps a sliver of hope to be found at the end of it all?

Jul 15, 2016

Free at last! In this episode, Brian & Lyman discuss the final push of slavery into Texas and the American West, Bleeding Kansas, and the moment we've all been waiting for: emancipation. Also, listen to the end for a little-known story about the true end of slavery in the United States (Hint: It's significantly after 1865).

Jun 17, 2016

In this continuation of a series on slavery and migration, Brian & Lyman discuss the massive expansion of American slavery, in terms of both geography and sheer numbers. Topics include the Louisiana Purchase, the Adams-Onis Treaty, the Missouri Compromise, and the Trail of Tears.

Jun 3, 2016

How was the southern cotton-based plantation system born? In this episode, Brian & Lyman discuss both the United States's ban on the international slave trade and the domestic slave economy that thrived in its wake.

May 17, 2016

We will return as soon as the schoolchildren have been sufficiently graded.

May 4, 2016

In this second part of a series on the history of enslaved migration in the United States, Brian & Lyman discuss a time when America became a significant slave-seller, the brutality of French sugar plantations, and some of the earliest emancipations of enslaved people in North America.

Apr 26, 2016

Listen as Brian & Lyman begin a six-part series on the history of enslaved migration in the United States. Today, we discuss the shift in forced labor from indentured servitude to the trans-Atlantic system of chattel slavery that would divide America for many years to come.

Apr 18, 2016

In this week's episode, Brian & Lyman reflect on the prior two episodes' exploration of early trans-Appalachian migration in America. Listen as they identify the key themes of this period and discuss how times may not have changed that much.

Apr 11, 2016

Picking up where the previous episode left off, Brian & Lyman continue the story of how early migration in the United States led to the invention of bourbon whiskey. Listen in for stories of popular revolt, some of the many origin stories of bourbon, and even a secret agent tale.

Mar 28, 2016

In this first full episode of Migration Nation, Brian & Lyman explore some of the first major population shifts in the new American republic. In these early years, folks traversed the Appalachian Mountains into the western frontier. Listen as we follow these migrations to tell the origin story of a most distinctly American product.

Mar 24, 2016

In this inaugural episode, Brian & Lyman introduce Migration Nation, a new podcast about the history of American migration. Meet your hosts and learn a little about the adventure(s) to come as the series gets underway.