How Davy Crockett became an American Why so many suburbs look the same 1 day ago   12:12

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Was Davy Crockett a sellout? And does it matter?

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In this episode of History Club, Vox’s Phil Edwards asks Coleman Lowndes a question: Was this American legend really as great as he was cracked up to be?

Davy Crockett’s become an American tall tale, but he was a real person and member of Congress. That’s where things get complicated. His incredible feats of bear-killing and frontier exploring intersected with a political career that was catalyzed by central banking.

When Crockett was alive, Andrew Jackson was president, and Jackson was embroiled in a battle over the Second Bank of the United States. That battle eventually resulted in the creation of a new political party — the Whigs — and the Whigs decided Crockett could help advance their cause.

In a strange way, it’s possible to trace the American icon and baby boomer fad back to this banking battle. And it says something about celebrity, politics, and how Americans imagine their history.

If you want to read more about Davy Crockett, check out:

The Autobiography of Davy Crockett by David Crockett: It’s folksy, occasionally true, and free. https://archive.org/details/autobiographyofd00croc

David Crockett: The Man and the Legend by James Shackford: This meticulously researched biography is a precise look at the legend’s life. https://www.amazon.com/David-Crockett-James-Atkins-Shackford/dp/0803292309

Portraying an American Original: The Likenesses of Davy Crockett by Frederick Voss: I first encountered this essay in David Lofaro’s anthology of David Crockett history, but it’s a bit hard to find online. You can read this neat art history essay online. https://www.jstor.org/stable/30240051?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents

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Comments 1129 Comments

emily mitchell
Oceania!
IJ Piano
Let it be subcontinent because it is so rich in cultural diversity that it will be surely great thing to hear from you guys. And if you need help then I will be available.
Woodly Saint Julien
Please do Africa
Shoegum
Those awkward edits of him saying one word
The Hiking gamer
"Davyyyyyy, Daaaa-vy Crockett, l'homme qui n'a ja-mais peuuuuur" 🎼
oneofthethreerolypolyjays
ripping off Do Go On podcast but okay
Liz Alexander
Davey Crockett is my 7th great grandfather and this taught me a lot about him
Aggro Morality
Andrew Jackson
“You secede from my country and I secede your head from the rest of your body”
Pailie Longston
You should do Africa next
Nelzo
Africa, there are lots of stories. In fact, there are great, "untold" stories from Africa of heroism. Mostly overlooked because its Africa, and a perception that nothing great or inspiring comes from Africa.

There is rich history from Africa which can keep a club busy, retelling the stories to us, philomath.

If there is help needed with research, let us know.
Josh Mansker
Davy Crockett hated Andrew Jackson? I like him already!
Jacob Brien
Antarctica
Cupcake for All
Antarctica
Dan Cristinzio
Africa
Alan Cruz
Andrew Jackson yup yup yup.......also a huge fuxking racist
Shona Ngava Fitness
Okay YouTube, I finally watched this my life will be full of success from now.
Sean Curran
Africa
zumbelololol
AFRICA
can’t tell you cuz ur a stranger
be born in the stratosphere saturn bound
flying fast and miles off the ground
jump from the spaceship just to look around
and shot off his gun without making a sound
davy
davy crocket
king of this brand new place
davy
davy crocket
travelling through outer space
Nica Isac
The continent: Zealandia
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Why so many suburbs look the same How Davy Crockett became an American 1 day ago   07:20

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So many suburbs have similar plans. Why?

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In this episode of Vox Almanac, Vox’s Phil Edwards investigates the system behind the shape of the suburbs.

If you’ve visited a suburb, you’ve probably noticed a similar look: same curving streets; same cul de sacs. It’s not an accident. In fact, this appearance of the suburbs is part of the Federal Housing Administration’s plan.

In the 1930s, the Federal Housing Administration, or FHA, was the financial engine behind most home development. To ensure their investments were safe ones, they strongly recommended that builders and developers comply with the ideals they set. Those regulations aligned closely with the values of the time, including segregation and a burgeoning car culture.

These rules encouraged suburbs with winding streets and cul de sacs — aesthetically pleasing designs that led to sprawl and made a car a necessity. Even though the enforcement mechanisms have changed over time, we still live in a culture shaped by the FHA’s ideal suburban design.

If you want to learn more, there are a couple of resources:

Streets and the Shaping of Towns and Cities by Michael Southworth and Eran Ben-Joseph
https://www.amazon.com/Streets-Shaping-Cities-Michael-Southworth/dp/1559639164
Eran Ben-Joseph spoke to me about his book, which provides a great overview of suburban planning. It also has more crucial detail about street widths, which influenced car culture.

FHA Underwriting Manual
https://www.huduser.gov/portal/sites/default/files/pdf/Federal-Housing-Administration-Underwriting-Manual.pdf
If you’re curious to wade into some primary documents, this underwriting manual from 1938 is a good place to start.

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Vox.com is a news website that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines. Check out http://www.vox.com.

Watch our full video catalog: http://goo.gl/IZONyE
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