Emerging Revolutionary War recently had the pleasure, via e-mail, to interview historian Michael Troy who is the man behind the popular American Revolution Podcast site. A link to his page follows this interview.
- What was the reasoning behind starting American Revolution Podcast?
I have been a big fan of American history my whole life. The American Revolution has always held a fascination for me. I had originally planned to produce a blog on the topic, simply out of my love of reading and writing about it. I decided to turn the project into a podcast because I’ve enjoyed listening to other history podcasts myself. I figured others might appreciate a thorough podcast that covered this topic.
- Where did your personal interest in this time period of American History begin?
I’m old enough to remember the bicentennial celebrations as a boy. I also grew up in the Philadelphia area, where there are so many locations with memories of the era. I always felt an attachment particularly to that time in our history. Beyond that, the Revolution was more than American independence. It was about creating a new country based on the ideals of representative democracy, at a time of the world was still ruled by hereditary monarchies. It was a bold experiment that really changed the world in which we live today.
- Has American Revolution Podcast achieved what your goals were for it?
I went into this project with quite minimal expectations. I wanted to do a deeper dive into researching and understanding the revolution itself and other issues related to that period. Writing out about what I read helps me to focus on what I’m reading and retain it better. I just figured it would be worth publishing and putting it out there, even if only a handful of people ever took any interest in it. My primary goal at the outset was to get through the whole war and stick to it regardless of popularity. I’m a little over a year into the project, and expect it will take another five years to cover everything I want at the rate I am going.
- What have you learned through the process?
The project really started just as a research and writing interest. I did not give much thought to podcast production when I started, other than a hope that the practice might improve my speaking and presentation skills. Having started down that road, I’ve had to learn a great deal about audio recording and editing. I really want the quality to be as good as I can get it. Also, although I said at the beginning I really didn’t care about or expect good listener numbers, as those numbers started to rise, I began to pay more attention and wanted to see if it could grow even more. To do that, I had to learn more about social media marketing and getting the podcast in front of an audience.
- What is the most interesting podcast topic or interview you have given?
The podcast is a one man show, without interviews. My favorite topic to create so far is probably Episode 39, the Politics of Tea. Part of it was that I just didn’t know much about the background of the tea laws in Britain, so I learned a great deal myself while researching it. The episodes I like to present most are ones with battles in them. I think the two episodes that cover the battles of Lexington and Concord are interesting ones for listeners.
- What would you want our readers to know about American Revolution Podcast?
I don’t want it to become like a classroom lecture, full of dry facts or getting into abstract theoretical discussions that fill many academic works. My goal is to tell a series of short stories about various events. These individual stories weave together to create the larger story of how we went from minor British colonies to an Independent nation based on republican ideals. People should expect the episodes to be interesting stories that engage their interest in addition to merely telling them what happened.
*Michael Troy grew up in Northern Delaware, near Philadelphia. In high school, he was an active member of the Delaware Historical Reenactment Society.
He studied law and politics in school, attending the George Washington University and then the University of Michigan Law School as a Truman Scholar. He worked briefly on Capitol Hill for then Senator Joe Biden and Congressman Thomas Carper. He also did a short stint at the Federal Election Commission. After that, he worked as a civil rights lawyer in Washington DC.
For many years Mr. Troy worked at the Center for Individual Rights, litigating cases on Constitutional law, several of which went to the US Supreme Court. These included, Rosenberger v. University of Virginia, Gratz v. Bollinger and Grutter v. Bollinger, as well as US v. Morrison.
In the late 1990’s,his fascination with computers resulted in a career change. He has worked as an IT manager for several law firms in Washington, DC and Philadelphia. He is currently the Director of IT for a law firm in downtown Philadelphia.
In 2015, Mr. Troy began the Unlearned History blog, later turning it into a podcast. In 2017 he began publication of the American Revolution Podcast, serving as writer, producer, and editor, as well as the voice of the podcast.
Mr. Troy lives in New Jersey with his wife and two sons. He is a member of the American Revolution Roundtable of South Jersey, and spends most of his spare time working researching the American Revolution and producing his podcast. Click here to check it out.