The Lure of Political Outsiders
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How have outsider legislators changed American history? On this episode of Now & Then, “The Lure of Political Outsiders,” Heather Cox Richardson and Joanne Freeman discuss the history of the eccentric and anti-establishment members of Congress, from the frontier politics of Jackson-era Tennessee Representative Davy Crockett, to the conspiratorial works of post-Civil War Illinois Representative Ignatius Donnelly, to the headstrong socialism of World War I-era Wisconsin Representative Victor Berger, to the autocratic impulses of 1930s Louisiana Senator Huey Long. How do insurgent politicians help to shore up American democracy? When can their disruptions begin to negatively impact the rule of law? And how should we view iconoclastic lawmakers in Washington today?  Join CAFE Insider to listen to “Backstage,” where Heather and Joanne chat each week about the anecdotes and ideas that formed the episode. Head to: For more historical analysis of current events, sign up for the free weekly CAFE Brief newsletter, featuring Time Machine, a weekly article that dives into an historical event inspired by each episode of Now & Then: For references & supplemental materials, head to: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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