Skip to main content

tv   Today in Washington  CSPAN  August 20, 2011 2:00am-6:00am EDT

2:00 am
and divine right to move came this and aristocrats. slavery itself the rights of the individuals. this was the age of enlightenment in our revolution culminated in which these authors and thinkers in the western world were debating the rights of the individuals, the natural rights of the individual. . . >x?x?x?x?x?x?x?x?x?x?x?x?x?/
2:01 am
2:02 am
2:03 am
2:04 am
2:05 am
2:06 am
2:07 am
2:08 am
2:09 am
2:10 am
2:11 am
[ applause ] >> as we say in english, merci bow coup, madams. welcome to canada. i don't have a long speech. because it's the summer, i didn't want to prepare a speech. i'm here because i'm forced by my partners. they pay me. if it h been bill clinton coming here today, you would have no more surplus, madam. you know, i come here free of charge. and i'm happy to be here.
2:12 am
no, it's -- as you know, we always have quite good relations with the united states. i was the prime minister for ten years, and -- but before that, in different portfolios, i met many of my colleagues from united states and always managed to do -- have good relations with them. sometimes with some political problems. probably something that helped me a bit is my father. spanning the first ten years of his life in manchester, new hampshire, and one day i was debating with clinton about should i qualify or not qualify to become the president of the united states. he told me that according to the treaty, but when the french seeded with guyana to america, he has somewhat kept the right to run to be to be prets of france. -- president of france i want wonder if i could have that same privilege.
2:13 am
thank you, you confirm that we balance the books here, you know. in a much easier way than you do in the united states. but even blaikie will not give meet permission for running to be president of the united states so i have to remain in canada. i'm here to answer questions. you know, in the great tradition, canada, when you're a minister and when you're prime minister, you have a question. the prime minister is expected to be there twice, three times a week, sometimes four times a week. the last 45 minutes and he answered most of the questions. they have the same tradition in england. in great britain. but the prime minister is invited there to do that once a week for twenty minutes and when you receive a notice of 48 hours of the questions. i never received a notice of question before.
2:14 am
and it is a one thing that i miss from politics. because you have to answer a question every day on anything. that doesn't include it. and so you have to respond intelligently if you don't know anything about it. but politics is the art of survival. and i survive it. i used to do politics as the heart of skating on thin ice. and you never knowhen there will be hole that will gobble you up and you will disappear forever. and i survived 14290 days. after the day i would survive one more day. that's why i'm here today and to try my -- what i'm missing about politics is having to face an opposition. the members of the opposition
2:15 am
right in front of you. and try to embarrass you and they have the help of the press to find a question that are embarrassing. but it's good for democracy because the leader has to know what's going on in the country. so let's try it again. who shoots first? >> prime minister. >> what is your question? >> we will bring the microphone around if you have questions. i'm gene vance from lexington, kent kismt you worked over ten years with two presidents of the united states, presidents clinton and bush. tell us about your working relationship with each one of them. relationship with each one of them. >> very good. [ laughter ] don't forget in the house of commons you havey 45 seconds to reply. they were different guys, though, but it will be a supplementary question, i guess. >> please raise your hand if
2:16 am
you have a question. i'll bring the microphone to you. >> bonjour, mr. prime minister. >> (voice of translator): good morning, mr. prime minister. (end of translation). i would like to solve how some commentators call the dysfunctional system of federal government in the united states. do you have any advice for our american friends? >> you know, the problem you have is your government, the way that it's organized. one day i got into some trouble. because my friend clinton sometimes will eh arrive a bit late. and he was late one morning, it was early in the morning, and the colleagues were not very happy at the nato meeting. so got them, you know to, relax relax a bit. i said, you have to understand these americans.
2:17 am
bill clinton can be very nice but he cannot deliver anything. you talk to the president of the united states, always nice, he says always yes, but he says the bloody senators don't want to deliver. or the crazy congressmen are not smarter. so, okay, gu to see the senators. they say, we would do that but the president is not up to the job. so you go to the congressmen and they say, of course, the same thing about the president or blame the senators. in our system, that is the british system, the prime minister is running the executive and the legislative. so when he gave his word, it's the done deal. because if he cannot deliver, he goes to the house of commons, if the house of commons don't back him up, we have an election. so the member -- you don't want election too often. but sometimes if the prime minister goes too far and
2:18 am
could lose the confidence of the house and would have an election and could lose his job. so we can deliver. your system, if you have fixed terms, the president is there unless you impeach him and he has a veto right, bunt much, and the right to preach. -- but not much, and the right to preach. but he has the budget and he sums by the budget, by the end of the process, you have different budget. so it's wise why it's so complicated. remember, i was minister of finance one day and asked my american friends, one of my friends, had some american friends in his home, and i was to deliver a budget and he said oh, my friend he's the minister of finance of canada, and he will deliver his budget today. so i delivered my speech. and the americans were listening. so i would say tonight at midnight, this tax will increase or the other tax will
2:19 am
decrease. they said, really? the americans, oh, yes, she means business, my friends. it's the way we operate. when the minister of finance presents a budget, he can change -- it has to be eventually approved, but the change is effective that night. so it's the system you have that was designed by the fathers of your confederation, you know, to balance the power. but it is not working very well in the modern society like today to be objective. can you change it? i don't think you can. if you want -- you know, the worst -- when i tried to change a country is is a hell of a problem. -- trying to change a country's constitution is is a hell of a problem. i got elected in '93 making one promise. if you want to change the
2:20 am
constitution, don't vote for me. so because it's always the remedy, you know, if you change the constitution, you know, you would solve all the problems. you won't. because the will and the personalities and the ambition and objectives of everybody will always be conflicting in a democracy. so it's tough. but the people have to realize one thing, you know, i would speak very candidly, you know, you don't have service if you don't pay taxes. you know. that's as simple as that. and you cannot only cut prms. you can for a while. but not very long. because one day, the society will not function anymore. and you have to be
2:21 am
responsible. you know, your system of justice that is filling the number of people you have in jail is irresponsible. everybody is elected that they will be tough on crime. you know, you don't change human nature. and you have, you know, you have to pass laws, like us, we have gun control here. you know, and i have problems because we force the people to register their guns. they say it's against my right even in canada, now, they're starting to do that. you know, it's my right as a citizen not to register my gun. but he goes and registers his dog, though. and he registered his bicycle, though. and he registered his cat. but not his gun.
2:22 am
so we have five times less people dying in canada from shotguns than in the united states. i have guns. they are registered. i'm not lost any freedom. but you cannot talk like that. and because, like, the debate, i'm watching it on tv all the time. you know. everybody promised to tax cut. you know, it's like the laughter curve. if you don't have any tax anymore, you don't know what to do with the surpluses. that is the logic of the tax, anyway. it's more than 45 seconds, i guess. next. >> prime minister, what was the greatest source of diplomatic tension between the united states and canada when you were the prime minister? >> no. you know, we always have problems. but it's normal. when you have 5,000 miles ever
2:23 am
border, when you have trade in the tune of 1 and a half of $2 billion a day. of course, you have problems. but none of these problems will be a problem. we can always solve it. at one time, for example, you didn't want to buy our wood, our softwood lumber lumber, do you remember that? because the people from states and -- did not like the competition. i used to sell my friend george w., if i were not george to sell you anymore oil, natural gas and electricity, you will need a hell of a lot of softwood lumber lumber to you will need a hell of a lot of softwood lumber lumber to heat your home. [ laughter ] we had a free trade agreement,
2:24 am
but we could not sell all the wood that we could sell, and will have made your house more less expensive. now, it's no moreecause the dollar is higher than yours, so we cannot talk like that anymore. next? >> we have a question over here. >> prime minister, given the constitutional constraints that we're operating under, how wow have approached the recent debt ceiling controversy if you had been president of the united states? >> you know, the problem is it's not the president who decides that. that is your problem. you know, you elect a president and he would solve all the problems and the day after he has only a veto right. ask that to the congressmen. you always blame whoever is the president for everything.
2:25 am
but you don't realize that his power is very small, relatively speaking. of course, he can push the button on the atomic bomb. but that would not solve the problem of the debt. >> prime minister, cow explain to our american friends how you got toake the decision not to participate in the iraq war. >> it was easy. they were wrong and i said so. (applause) i was with them and they pride tried to persuade me. my friend tony blair, in particular. and one day, he was telling me, jean, you know, saddam is a terrible dictator.
2:26 am
i said, of course, he's a terrible dictator, but i said, if we are in the business of replacing those we don't like, who is next? and i said, by the way, you're the number one in the commonwealth, and i am more or less the number two. if there is a guy i don't like and you don't like very much by the name of mug abbey. why don't we go and solve the problem in the family in simpson bab wee? oh, he said, jean, you know, mugabe and saddam is not the same. i said, of course it's not the same. mugabe has no oil. and, you know, so they were not happy with me, i have to tell you. and tufs it ever for me because we're neighbours to america. the businesspeople were very scared. they were afraid of retaliation. and i asked them, i said, give me the list ofll the goods
2:27 am
and all the services that the americans are buying from us and they don't need. there was no list because business is business. and it turned out for me, you know, for my country, a great decision. when i made the decision the country was divided half and half more or less and now a few years ago, you have the same question more than 90% of the people said that i made the right decision. it was not easy but you're paid to make these decisions. >> we have time for just a couple more questions. >> mr. prime minister, i understand you balance the books here in canada. >> yes. >> how wow balance the books in the united states and what is the difference between the process, why you can do it here and not in the united states?
2:28 am
or how wow fix that? >> what we did is when i became the prime minister in '93, canada was a candidate to become a third world nation. i had been minister of finance and president of the treasury board, budget bureau and minister of finance, so i knew -- you know, i had been in government 30 years, twenty of these years, you know, as a cabinet minister. so i knew that we faced a lot. so we cut. we cut 20% of the budget. we went from 121 to 11 in billions of dollars. you know. it's small for you. but for canada, it was big, and it is in 1993 -- 121 to 101. '95 i let that. we let go 19% of the bureaucrats. we did not do it cruelly, you
2:29 am
know. the people were early, close to row tirmt. we let them go. we made special deals on their pension and is so on, and it was a lot. as the economy was growing, you , it was less painful. but we did that. the only budget that was increased was the collector of taxes. because it's a good investment when you hire another tax collector. you know that, you lawyers. and other citizens. so we increase our revenue thay and we started to charge for things that we were not charging that were free before like national parks and all sorts of services, we started to do that.
2:30 am
but i feel that the people felt that we had been fair. we cut national defence, everybody has a good case. foreign affairs. everybody had to contribute. but anyway, we were successful. and another decision wee, we had that help and uss helping canada today because, you know, we are doing much better than we're doing. you know, we have 3% or less than 3% of gdp as a deficit. and so -- and we had a decision that i'm very proud of that is related to our success in relation to the united states is the banks in canada wanted to merge, and wanted to be deregulated. and my ministers who weren't pro business minister inside my cabinet thought that it was a thing that we should do to
2:31 am
do what the americans are doing. and i said, no. and the bankers, you know, they were pretty mad at me. in fact, when these guys hired me, i said, don't call on me to get clients from the banks. but now, you know, i met one the other day, and i said, now, you know, i was working on a file and i gave them my views. it was a big trial and i had to give my views what would be a reasonable settlement. so eventually, both parties accepted my judgment. it was not a judgment. it was an arbitration. it was -- they wanted to have my views. but i said to the president of the bank, i said, you know, 1995, i said no to the merger of the banks and relations and
2:32 am
you were very unhappy with me. now you go around the world and they tell you that you guys, you're the best bankers in the world, and i said, good for you. of course you don't tell them it's because i stopped you from jumping from the bridge, but i said this is my judgment in this case. you're not obliged to take my view. you have only to tell me i have no more judgment. he said yes. so that is what we did to maintain a situation. but you have to -- but your difficulties ishat it's a negotiation. there was no negotiation. with me. every department which we had a very good minister who had been a bureaucrat, marcel masse, who presided the committee. he had no ambition to become skplerd so on. he did have to have friends and he reported with --
2:33 am
appealed to me. and i had told him that trudeau, one day, had called me. my first cabinet meetinghe had said jacques, you have not talked to me since a year. the minister of indian and northern affairs rushing mad at me? i said, no. he said, why are you not talking to me? but i said, i don't want to disturb you. and if you're not calling me, i feel good about it so don't call me. if they were all iq, it would be so easy to be prime minister. and you know i said to all the cabinet colleagues, i said, this is not what happened to me after that. you all know that iive job after job after job. so they were not calling me. so it was done that way. it will be -- you cannot do that in your system, unfortunately. because nobody is in charge
2:34 am
unfortunately. what i find because i was meeting with president bush, president clinton, clinton was my counterpart for eight years. and this is one of the frustrations. your president cannot deliver because of your em. and you blame him all the time. it's not fair. whoever is the president, he is -- he has power over war. but not even there. when george bush senior went to war, he had a vote of 51 to 49, something like that, in the senate approval. but in the case of the iraq, it was unanimous. but the congress could have blocked and can block not the congress but the senate, i guess, can block any war. because of your -- in canada, it's an executive order.
2:35 am
but the consequences is if the parliament disagrees with you, you're out. if and you're looking for a law firm. (applause) >> prime minister, i wonder if you could comment on the arab spring and what nato and the united states and canada is doing, pick a country, libya, egypt, syria. >> you know, it's very difficult. because we don't know what will be the result. i remember, and we were not good at judging these things. but when we realized that -- and i had located that and we had some initiative at the u.n., you know, right to intervene for the protection of human rights, it was one of the initiatives that we had. that.here is a reverse side to
2:36 am
now they prosecute these former leaders in court. but as they know that are going to jail, they hang around. there was days when the guys would quit and go in exile and it's over now. more or less. so it's always two sides of these things. and one of the most telling stories was was the experience i the shah of iran when i was minister of trade. you know. lucky i was the minister a long time ago. and being small, dumb lawyer who acting in court, defending, i was on the defence side. defending criminals and so on. among other things. in a small town, you do everything.
2:37 am
and so i told him that i would ask him questions about human rights situation in iran under the shah. and he said to me, young man, if they kick me out, it will be worse with the replacement. was he right? i guess so. and so it's why when you ask me for a definitive answer, i'm always ambivalent because you don't know what will happen next. and we have a good system that we call democracy, but it's not perfect either. as churchill said, it was the worst -- a terrible system but there is none better than that. but it's not perfect. and in some countries, you know, for us here, you know, i
2:38 am
pass laws on spending, on elections. you know, but your court said that no limit to that. fine. but, you kno, one election, i was talking when hillary clinton became senator of the state of new york, one senator in one state, i had an election the same year with 300 candidates. the national campaign and i had to raise two-thirds of the money that she had to raise to be senator of new york. here you have limits on contributions. nobody can give more than $1200 a year. there is during the time of election, there is a limit, you know, you cannot start advertising before so many days when the campaign. and you stop the last five
2:39 am
days. and the campaign is only 35 days. and you, you guys start to run two years before and you have to raise billions of dollars. you know, it's a real problem. but it's not my business. but i prefer my -- our system. but if i get going ont subject, my friends and others of the same nature, you won't wo for todododododod>x?x?x?x?x/
2:40 am
2:41 am
2:42 am
2:43 am
2:44 am
2:45 am
2:46 am
2:47 am
2:48 am
2:49 am
2:50 am
2:51 am
2:52 am
2:53 am
2:54 am
2:55 am
2:56 am
2:57 am
2:58 am
2:59 am
3:00 am
3:01 am
3:02 am
3:03 am
3:04 am
3:05 am
3:06 am
3:07 am
3:08 am
3:09 am
3:10 am
3:11 am
3:12 am
3:13 am
3:14 am
3:15 am
3:16 am
3:17 am
3:18 am
3:19 am
3:20 am
3:21 am
3:22 am
3:23 am
3:24 am
3:25 am
3:26 am
3:27 am
3:28 am
3:29 am
3:30 am
3:31 am
3:32 am
3:33 am
british caribbean. the author stood at the harvard book store. >> hello, everyone to read my name is alex speed and on behalf of harvard bookstores i'm pleased to welcome to the forum with the professor maya jasanoff here to discuss her newest book,
3:34 am
"liberty's exiles." before we get started a one to mention a few of our upcoming author talks. upcoming events include james carroll on march 11th discussing his new book, jerusalem, jerusalem how the ancient cities ignited our modern world. and harlow under on april 4th for american tempest, how the boston tea party spent the revolution. upcoming ticket events include james clich, sarah, billy collins and governor deval patrick. find a complete calendar of events at harvard.com and in the even fly here. after the professors talk this afternoon, we will have time for questions after which we will have a book signing here at this table, and you can find copies of liberties exiles of the registers. please know when you buy a book from harvard bookstore, you are supporting a local independent institution who genuinely cares
3:35 am
about books and the series wouldn't be possible without that support. we're also pleased to have c-span's book tv teaching today's event. when asking questions in the q&a, please note you will be recorded and wait a moment for the microphone to come over to you before asking your question. and finally, now is a great time to make sure that you have silenced your cell phone. this afternoon on behalf of harvard bookstore i'm pleased to introduce maya jasanoff come here to discuss "liberties exiles america's revolutionaries in the world." maya jasanoff as an award winning historian, who brings us a largely untold story in the newest work. the story of 60,000 men and women who remain loyal to the british empire at the conclusion of the american revolution. these loyalists decided to leave their homes and become refugees elsewhere in the british empire and all over the world.
3:36 am
in "boston globe" calls liberties exiles a masterful account, and the historian joseph ellis notes losers seldom get to write the history that the american loyalists have at last gotten their historian. maya jasanoff tells their story with on common style and grace. maya jasanoff is an associate professor of history at harvard university. her first book, age of empire, was awarded the 2005 duff cooper prize and was a book of the year's election in the economist, the guardian and the sunday times. we are very pleased to bring her to harvard bookstore this afternoon. please join me in welcoming maya jasanoff. [applause] >> thank you for coming and let me thank harvard bookstore for hosting need. i've been coming to this bookstore since my undergraduate days. that is a long time ago and i feel like as my reading taste has matured harvard bookstore has always been here to fulfill
3:37 am
them. let me begin at the beginning with this book. there are two sides on the american revolution. but only one was on display early in the afternoon of them from the 25th, 1783 when general george washington wrote on a gray horse into new york city to read by his side trout of the governor of new york flanked by an export of farm re. the general henry knox followed close behind leading officers of the continental army down the bowery. long lines of civilians trailed after them and some on horseback and others on foot wearing black and white with spriggs of floral and their hats, hundreds crammed into the streets to watch. since 177637 years of the war and peace negotiations, new york had been occupied by the british army. today, the british were going to read a cannon shot at one and sound of the departure of the last british troops from their posts. they marched to the docks, clamor into the boats and rode out into the transports waiting
3:38 am
in the harbor. the british occupation of the united states was officially over. george washington's triumphal entrance into new york city was the closest thing that the winners of the american revolution never had to a victory parade. and for a week the patriots of the rated the evacuation with bonfires, the limitations of the largest display ever seen in north america. generations of new yorkers, are dated november 25th as the evacuation day and in anniversary later folded into the more cash in during november celebration of the national togetherness, thanksgiving day. but what if you haven't wanted the british to leave? mixed in among the happy new york crowd that november day there were other less cheerful faces. for the loyalists, colonists who sided with britain during the war, the departure of the british troops spelled worry, not jubilation. during the war, tens of thousands of loyalists had moved for safety into new york and
3:39 am
other british cities. the british withdrawal now raised urgent questions about their future. what kind of treatment could the expected the new united states? would they be jailed, attacked, retain their property or on to their jobs? confronting real doubt about their lives, liberty and potential happiness in the united states, 60,000 loyalists decided to take their chances at all of the british elsewhere in to the british empire. they took 15,000 black slaves with them bringing the total exodus to 75,000 people, or about one and 40 members of the american population. they traveled to canada, they sailed for britain and journeyed to the bahamas on the west indies some still further to africa, india. but wherever they went, the voyage of exile was a trip into the unknown to read in america the refugees left behind friends and lettuce, careers and land, houses and native streets. the entire unit which they built
3:40 am
their lives. for them america seemed less an asylum to the persecuted as the patriot supposed that a potential persecutes sure. was the british empire that would be their asylum offering away and come the emergency relief and financial incentives to help them start over. the evaluation date doesn't market and for the loyalists refugees, it was a fresh beginning and it carried them into a dynamic if not on certain new world. now, i just read you the first couple pages of the liberties exile and in the booklet i try to do is lay out and explain what happened to the loyalists next, because usually our story's end the conflict since 1783 but as i try to show for this population, the repercussions went on the and unfolded in distant places. in the book i try to distill the experiences of the 60,000 civilian refugees into a kind of meaningful overview of what this meant.
3:41 am
and this after going to be even more grossly reduction nest in my remarks because after sort of sketching out the big picture i'm going to focus on the experience of just one of these 60,000 people. so, let me explain a little bit about the big picture. the stereotype don't often suggest that loyalists shared a kind of profile but they were white, wealthy, anglican, in close centric members of the colonial population. but in truth, the legalism range across the spectrum. social, geographic, ethnic and religious spectrum of early america. notably not all of loyalists or even white. about 20,000 black slaves during the revolution responded to the promises extended by british governors to offer them freedom if they agreed to come and join the red coats said about 20,000 patriot owned slaves joined the british and this makes it i think the largest mass
3:42 am
emancipation of american history until the era of the civil war. by the same token, many american indian nations were also drawn into this conflict and slash eight. for them they have also been harassed for generations by the land hungry colonists. some of them had been allied with britain over the course of previous war against france and so on and so many also joined the of war on the british side notably the mohawks in the north and the creeks in the south so cool realism discuss right across the population of early america. there is the final element to the stereotype that i think is worth correcting. the loyalists are often referred to those stories. now touring is the nickname for the british conservative party and the implication of the loyalists were conservatives. they couldn't see that the future, the innovation was to become republican to read now in fact, many prominent loyalists
3:43 am
or actually reformers in their own way, and the advanced schemes for the imperial reform that are worth paying attention to and that actually anticipated the later development elsewhere in the british empire. so for most people called on the front lines of the conflict, which recall the civil war not a revolution. visible sent a war of ideals as was often a war of ordeals, a war in which the violence came to their front doors. the ad windows smashed, livestock please send, property seized by the states, and violence, the violence of the war as least as much as ideology in up being very important and in telling tens of thousands of loyalists to take shelter during the war and then to decide to leave the colony is a the end. so what happened next and where did they go?
3:44 am
>> they went back to britain, it wasn't back for most of them because for all that american colonists had also been raised to think of britain as home. very few of them had ever been there and so when they went to granted and they found themselves in a quite alien place. it was very different from the surroundings that they had known share in the colonies. the majority of loyalists more than half of them relocated to eastern canada particularly to nova scotia which received something like 30,000 of the refugees double in the provincial population overnight leading to the creation of a whole separate province that of new brunswick to accommodate these new arrivals. a very transformative impact in canada, and another 10,000 or so of these loyalists moved south in particular and in north carolina and a troubled to jamaica and the bahamas and they
3:45 am
brought with them the vast majority of those exported slaves, 15,000 slaves who traveled along with the white and black loyalists. some of them that should be noted evin range further. the most surprising aspect of this migration happened in 179-11-1200 of the black loyalists, the freed slaves moved from their initial place of refuge in canada across the ocean to west africa. they did it under the sponsorship of the provision was a mess to wanted to found a free black colony on the coast of west africa and the black loyalists were the pioneers of was of what became the freetown in cno leone -- sierra leone. there are more fortunate than others who ended up among the conflict of the first fleet dhaka for australia. and some other loyalists even end up in india and putting in
3:46 am
fact the tucsons of one of the most intimate of all, the turncoat benedict arnold. and arnold has two sons to go to india and he even has a half indian grandchild so i like to think there is sort of arnall lineage on the other side of the world so the point of this is within just a few years of the end of the revolution the map of loyalist diaspora and there is actually a map of it in the few pages into this looks the map of the diaspora looks like the map of the british empire volcker. this points to one of the key features i wanted to signal about the significance of looking at this diaspora because it really helps to make sense of the seeming paradox. the american revolution was the greatest single defeat for the british empire until the era of world war ii. the greatest loss of territory, it plunged the empire into the enormous depths and was particularly of humiliating kind
3:47 am
of defeat as they saw their own closest colonists, people that they fought in many ways as brethren breakaway. yet within just a decade or so britton had bounced back to restriking extent and was to bring the british empire that was the leading world power for the entirety of the country so how do we explain the paradox of britain coming out of a devastating defeat and yet during short order going on to the world? well, we usually think about the sort of international significance of the american revolution in terms of the 1776, the values that helped mobilize people around the world to express their own desire for liberty. but in fact i contend it's by looking at the revolution's impact on the enduring british empire that we can see an equally significant international consequence of this war and the weight of the
3:48 am
revolution we see the british empire becoming a great loser. they regroup and consolidate and retool and three key ways which i think we could label of the spirit of 1783. now you won't hear that necessarily proclaimed in the streets of tripoli for talks. square. nevertheless i think it is worth highlighting the significance of this again and making this entire the global hegemon for about a century. so, there are three key features to this: lummis territorial expansion, and the fact that the map of the loyalist diaspora looks like the map of the british empire is not an accident because a lot of these loyalists become sort of tire near sellers in the different parts of the entire such as sierra leone, and in fact the very first scheme to, mize australia is put forward by an american loyalist. another feature of this spirit of 73 is a kind of clarified a
3:49 am
sense of the imperial purpose. imperial moral purpose, more particularly. and this is apparent in a variety of dimensions, again, regarding loyalists. so, for it civil, the british government offers these refugees have a whole range of charitable measures to help them get started. they give them a free passage of the other british domains, they give them grants where they can establish themselves unto. they give them basic food rations, they get things like clothes and shoes and nails and a whole raft of things that really sort of resemble the kind of things that modern international aid agencies get out to refugees today. and this purpose is also apparent in things like upholding the commitment to freedom to the blacklist which is heavily contested by american patriots who don't like the idea of their former property sailing off into the british empire to the british really stick to this finally the british and a distortion a government commission which gives loyalists
3:50 am
compensation for the property they lost in america and this is the time a very sort of malveaux expansion of the contemporary ideas of the state welfare which barely resemble its current form so in all these ways to see the kind of commitment to the empire as a kind of humanitarian entity. and yet, there is a final element to all of this because at the same time that they are being expansive and they are being sort of humanitarian and paternalistic, the british also realize that to defeat american means they have to change their governing style in certain ways and in particular they realize what has gone wrong in america is that the colonists had been given too much liberty, it's too easy for them to protest. so in the aftermath of the american revolution you tend to see the british authority is being a bit more tight handed and authoritarian and a bit more centralized and hierarchical and this ends up coming something as a shock to the loyalist refugees who have come out of the
3:51 am
colonies where things were a little easier and the going to the post revolutionary in higher and find themselves at odds with the new style and so, one of the things i was most surprised by in researching this book was to find that in places as far a field as saint john new brunswick pish, nassau in the bahamas and even freetown ziara lenone uzi then actually rebeling against the british authority come asking for things like greater representation and low taxes, claims that are rather familiar to us from the revolutionary history. now come to give you a flavor of all of this in the book those are kind of the big arguments in this book. but it is also very much a narrative history. a history about individual figures. and one of the things i was very concerned to do is to recover the experiences of these people who are a really neglected sort of refugee population in our historical understanding. and so, what i want to do with the rest of my time is read to you portions of the book which
3:52 am
explain the story of the first refugee who actually kind of true me into this project and she was a georgia loyalists called elizabeth johnston, and she wrote a memoir, which i can across early in my research in fact at that point the memoir was here and i was not living here and so i made a photocopy of the memoir and carried it around with me when i moved from one place to another rather like elizabeth johnston only to discover that google books put up online and in short order and so that was extremely convenient. anyway, so johnston wrote a memoir which sort of got me into this project and her story sort of weaves in and out of the book in various ways and so what i would like to do is as i say give you a bit of a flavor of the book in her life and what remains. now, she was about 12-years-old windel war began. her father was a well off or lands are, she was a sore left planter in georgia, a reasonably well as the list on a plantation outside of savannah, she had a
3:53 am
minor government office and so, when joe war began, she was accosted by local patriots who wanted him to sign on to a local patriot association, and he refused to do so. again, came to his story and he was able to run away on on seeing the approach of his 12-year-old daughter was left there. her mother had died. she was an only child associate about getting passed off into the countryside to stay with relatives and ultimately to stay with family friends in the savannah. the war went on. her father was fighting with the british in different parts of the north. after three years apart they were finally reunited again when the british retook savannah the two of them met and she also at that time her future husband a future fellow brother officer for fathers. her father was not happy about this match. her future husband, william johnston, was described as one of the dashing fashionable to occupy the british new york.
3:54 am
he was a sort of a gambler and a flirt, very charming. he had been a medical student before the war but was happy to forsake his books for the gaming tables. the two of them get married and so it is that elizabeth johnston married life against the backdrop of the british defeat in america, and as the british are sort of pulling out of different locations in the colonies, elizabeth johnston and her husband william who is still in the british forces moved with them from one city to another. salvatrucha, again, sort of jumping through different parts of the book tell you a little bit about this first set of migrations. charleston is being evacuated. sorry, they are in savannah the evacuate and they joined the fleet to go to charleston with elizabeth and william together. it was an unusual choice for a elizabeth to go to charleston
3:55 am
with william rather than to st. augustine where her in-laws had gone not the least of which she was seven months pregnant and passed off from william tuesday in savannah under his protection until she was, quote, for moving the end of quote. the johnstons had already been a part for much of their short married life and elizabeth wanted no more of it. she suffered loneliness of raising the firstborn son andrew and hand some sweet fellow for the large proportion of the father's passion that temper while william was away at the war and had acquired another reason to wish him close at hand to be on her watch william had fallen into his old habit of gambling. a vice so destructive and ruinous in its nature, she said, that it threatens to wreck their growing family. he did not reveal the alarm the extent of the losses to his wife but wrote to her father with patrician in pouring liechtenstein to support the family and their need. what was worse, his behavior opened a rift with his own
3:56 am
father and sisters. you know not how wretched you have made me and it is cruel to distress a father whose wish and care is to see his children happy. dr. willis johnson with his wealthy and influential connections was not a man to be alienated lightly. the rift with and what cut off the couple from their best source of support and patronage. when the british power collapsed around her in savannah, elizabeth johnston followed her temples and her spouse. my husband would not like the separation and i positively refuse to remain. not once did she mention the issues of principle involved in leaving her, no. more strikingly did she know the obvious impetus for her family's departure. every single one of johnson's close male relations had been prescribed under the georgia confiscation and banishment out. but in her own telling, johnston didn't leave reasons of political sentiment but for emotional ones, the bond of
3:57 am
conjugal love. the johnstons arrived in charleston to find that city, too in the throes of the evacuation mayhem. a day in and day of officials coach with shortages of food, rum, ships and cash rising on a fall in morrell and more than 10,000 civilians clamoring for relief and reassurance. while they were in this city even around them elizabeth johnston gave birth to the couple's first daughter, catherine in the comfort of the sequestered house. around her in the city everything is in motion and turned topsy-turvy. it's impossible to describe what confusion people have all the nominations seem to be in, one soldier noted to be above one is buying everything he can to complete his goods and the second assertion free passage to some other garrison of his majesty's troops and the third is going from house to house to collect debt. ..
3:58 am
and wrote out into the harbor to board a florida bound skinner. it was like cruising into a jigsaw puzzle. buffer lambda curved wooden wall for the city afloat with slime and tar the atlanta figure spearing along decks henry gang, campus sail stretched on a lettuce mask, rowboats trace dribbled across the water fearing oils enslaves barrels of food and supplies furniture and livestock and even the bells of
3:59 am
saint reichel's church to the waiting ships. more than 1200 white loyalists and 2600 blacks came out to join account by bound for jamaica. another group of soldiers gather to sail for st. lucia's. a few hundred individuals joined a convoy from britain. finally come on the afternoon of december 12, the soldiers began assembling on the city to board the transports for new york. two days later the americans formerly reoccupied charleston while the johnston swayed out to sea in opposite directions, he was a garrison to new york city, she too joined the rapidly growing loyalist community in these florida. now, many of the southern refugees went to ease florida. they thought that this would be the perfect place to rebuild a lot like george and a lot like south carolina and the territory had land available and they were promised a sort of an asylum. the problem however was that the
4:00 am
british were going to hand florida over to spain and the peace treaty and the loyalists when they first went didn't know that, that it was going to be a horrifying thing. so after three tedious weeks elizabeth johnston travel down the georgia coast to saint augustine always in motion even in her sleep. when at last they turned into the augustine and that they felt the stomach dropping thought is their boat struck a sandbar. forcefully they manage to clear the obstruction which was more than could be said for another charleston convoy wrecked against the shoal of running many of the refugees exported property. half a dozen ships keeled sq on the sand. johnson's first impressions of this flat foreign place where not good. she found all her in-laws much dissatisfied with their situation grumbling over their future prospects. little andrew had been sick, the weather seemed constantly wet or cloudy, talking about florida there and she wrote her husband
4:01 am
she repented sincerely not going with you to new york or what is life when separated from my kind, william? but a touch of sun and time to settle in soon awaken johnson to the charms of curiosities at this very salubrious spot. she would have recognized dozens of familiar faces from savannah there though georgia, this was not. she could see that much in the compressed shells and houses, the former army barracks and a colorful presence of another mediterranean islander who had been recruited a decade earlier as laborers for settlements farther south. johnston enjoyed, not a wrong the ramparts rain in the city the breeze slapping against her spirits and what a pleasure it was after this supply shortages wartime savannah and charleston to feast on fish caught fresh from the sea. i never was in better health and indeed never so flashy as during my residence there she later remembered. best of all william got got lee
4:02 am
for a brief visit from new york and they could plan their future face-to-face. could it be the loyalists would achieve in these florida what two decades of imaginative british colonization efforts had not, making profitable plantations of the subtropical swamps bursting towns from struggling outpost with the hopes of many of the people there. in the event, in april 1783, the news of the peace treaty hit east florida loyalists like a hurricane. article v of the peace with the united states which neutered the possibility of receiving compensation from the state pale for them next to article v of reagan's peace with spain and france by which britain agreed to cede east and west florida to spain with no strings attached. it seemed like a reasonable arrangement to british diplomats who were more committed to keeping the strategically viable gibraltar and the economically disappointed florida but the treaty yanked the ground from
4:03 am
beneath the refugees feet. they are had very undergone the ordeal of leaving their homes under duress, often more than once and accepted the challenge of starting over in an underdeveloped land. now even this asylum was denied them and buy bye-bye their own government at that. most loyalists were prepared to swear allegiance to the king of spain and practice catholicism. they had 18 months together at their possessions and go. the war never occasions half the distress which peace had done to the unfortunate loyalists elizabeth johnson row. and other provision made and recommended them to the clemency of congress which is in fact -- altogether. so the johnson's become one of these many thousands of refugees in florida who now have to move again and they cast out figuring where to go next. they explore the possibilities of jamaica, the bahamas, different sorts of regions, and finally, the majority of the florida loyalists end up going
4:04 am
to the bahamas but the johnston's have another option. they are reasonably well-off. they have a lot of slaves and elizabeth johnston's father went to sell off his legs and use the proceeds to move on, in their case, to britain. britain, you will detect a theme in all of these places. loyalists were not happy in the places banded up going in britain was no exception. the johnson's ended up settling in edinburgh because william johnson was a medical student and that's that was when edinburgh had the best medical schools. he finishes his medical training but like many of the refugees they find that the opportunities for employment are not so great. there is already a lot of professionals bear in britain and they don't necessarily need these colonial upstarts do, to, fill in the ranks, so they move on again and they go under the patronage of a wartime supporter of williams to jamaica. the last part of their story
4:05 am
that i will tell you about and a little more depth is their experience in jamaica, which at the time was the richest colony in the british empire and seemed on the face of it a very alluring place for refugees. its beauty could take your breath away, the sparkling surface of the water their gaze swept to the blue mountains climbing into the clouds. over the ripple slopes fellow living green blankets textured in a weird vegetable forms of the tropics giant ferns and tufted vermilya flappy or plantings muscular trees draped in at the fights, careening stands up ambulance anyway palms. when you turned past the outer lip of the harbor you floated over the broken stones of the old capital port royal mostly destroyed in 1692 earthquakes of the gleaming sand swept around the shoreline to kinks them, the greatest british metropolis him and the caribbean. golf life circles around the map in the sun cut the water into
4:06 am
liquid diamonds. no wonder loyalists were captivated by it. such hills, such mountains and such -- everything so bright and it this delightful gushed one new arrival and cruising toward the spectacular landscape. in 18th century effusively compare the bay of pigs into the bay of naples with a blue mountain standing in for vesuvius and the submerged ruins of fort royal like a phantom pompei ended to see. others like the grantor and sublimity overcome them knocking language from their lives. whatever else loyalist refugees knew of this lush island they could see it wasn't the 13 colonies any more. now, jamaica was a very wealthy place, that had these wonderful sugar plantations that generated enormous amounts of wealth for britain. on the other hand the things that made his original submitted rather challenging as an environment for white refugees are got one of the features of it being a tropical island that
4:07 am
it was written with disease which i will say more in a moment and another is that they wealthy that have these gigantic plantations -- the whites were a tiny minority and they lived in constant terror that there would be slave uprisings that would knock them all out. and white women were particularly rare on jamaica because for the most part the people who actually live there, the whites who actually live there were professionals involved in the plantation business and very few whites actually made a family life on jamaica. elizabeth johnson finds herself in this environment which you know seems to be full of promise and yet turns out to be a very alienating sort of lonely place. and, so william johnston is buried is he working here attempting to cure all of these diseases, which are all over particularly things like yellow
4:08 am
fever but elizabeth feels fairly isolated. i will read you a little bit about their life there. johnston is a doctor on a plantation in treating a lot of black patients. he continued to treat white patients as well. pan-american yellow fever that may -- epidemic rivka bonanza to his practice when his merchant clients in kingston called on him to 10 to six sailors on their incoming ships. yellow fever produces internal bleeding and john does that starts with a headache and then fever, nausea and are killed when the turns black and gritty with blood it is almost over and the victim is usually dead within days. dr. johnston uses bloodletting that other doctors prescribe though as he does one heaping patient after another with calla mallow mercury solution given as a purgative his treatment may have harmed as much as help her go sometimes there were 17 or more funerals a day of elizabeth johnston remembered with distress. at their family house in halfway
4:09 am
tree to outside of kingston she had a large jamaica borne brood of young children to worry about, a life-support in 1787, when leia in 1789 and then john, james farley and james wildman. johnston congratulated herself and none of her family contracted yellow fever but their resistance to the islands diseases would not last much longer. by the end of 1793 the johnson's youngest daughter, jane, was dead of scarlet fever at age two. it could not avoid death but you could try to come to terms with it. as if to replace the lost child the johnson's name their newest and then, born in 1794, jane farley as well. with her the johnson's foreign taking any chances because of williams constant exposure to smallpox be arranged to have the baby girl inoculated. although the procedure was widespread there was always some risk that rather than developing antibodies to fight off the
4:10 am
control of infection the patient might contract a fatal case of smallpox instead. parents and shesol in monitor the incisions were the virus have been applied to make sure the infection did not spread. the second jane farley johnston just three months old was not so lucky. after lying on my lap for some time on a pillow at very sad spectacle one sort being quite black, she died in my arms, her angelic little eyes never to open again. william carried a small body from elizabeth's lap and she collapsed on the floor convulsed and tires. she had lost two children already one in edinburgh and another in jamaica, but this buried man touched elizabeth johnston more deeply than any other. perhaps it had something to do with the sense that she could have stopped it that she had actually approved and probably watched when the fatal germs were applied. but to be there in that strange suffocating place with nothing familiar around her but having no female relations to be with me, only black servants and
4:11 am
having to think about it and direct everything for so many little ones, it seems too much to bear. much exhausted in mind and body, she fell into a serious depression. not long after the baby's death, the wildman's offered to adopt the johnston's daughter allies and take her with them to britain. they could not wake -- make up her mind to part with her as they ruffled with a dilemma that faced generations of parents in an inhospitable imperial outpost. is it better to keep the children close to home exposed to tropical dangers or to send them thousands of miles away home to distant britain? they ended up sending the children back. as the inexorable pressures of mortality close in around them the johnstons discover jamaica to be a false refuge for them to match. the williams had seceded by carving out a professional career. the hostility of the saline environment broke down the
4:12 am
family both physically and psychologically. the 1796 a. debilitated elizabeth johnston admitted defeat. she decided to return to edinburgh as a duty to their health and morals while william, who had to stay in practice, remained in jamaica. fully 40 years later, the grief still welled up inside her when she remembered the morning of that sad day when i heard the boat had come to take us on board for another separation, another atlantic crossing. i hardly think i was in my senses. i uttered screams of distress my poor husband to such a degree that he would have been glad if i would have given up going. he begged me to let them go on board and bring our things back but all i could say was, it is too late. the figures on the docks dwindle into blurs and dots in the room ruins room ruins of port royal shimmered away beneath the ship in the green blue mountains were seeded into gray outlines. she drew strength from a fresh source. in her darkest hours morning and
4:13 am
isolation johnston had been saved. she saw the arms of an unfamiliar god stretched out to embrace her, loving accessible presence, the god of the baptist. the old anglican piety she tried to console herself with from florida seemed merely cold morality to her now. she found solace in the preaching of the dissenters which has been the means of awakening many poor souls. her own pasts of conversion through personal upheaval in distress seemed to crystallize the larger process of recovering across an anglo-american world torn by war. she had lost so much in jamaica but this discovery she could carry with her always. it was just as well for elizabeth johnston his memoir that she would wrote much later was saturated in his religious language that she did have this experience because things would go on in a similar way, lots of migrations, lots of losses, lots of separations and so it was finally after back and forth
4:14 am
across the atlantic between this couple more deaths of children, marcher rails that finally in 1806, 30 years after the declaration of independence elizabeth johnston finally moved to nova scotia the number one retreat for loyalist refugees. she arrived there within six months her husband william had died in jamaica. she stayed on in nova scotia and ended up having her family around her going forward. and so just a final word on elizabeth johnston. by a generation after the war, many of them, like her, had found resting places and by the time johnston refers to her memoirs she was 73 years old. her site was by cataracts, her memory twisted around old traumas like a tree growing around barbed wire. all those movements, although separations and so many just. she had come of age during the
4:15 am
civil war and spends decades of her adult life coping with dislocation and brief and yet there was no anger in johnston's recollections nor in a nostalgic longing for her lost home. if anything she found it rather self satisfying for she had rooted herself in a new home now. little did i think that i and all my family would ultimately settled in nova scotia she recalled. while she achieved a stability and social comfort she had never before known, her surviving children became prominent members of nova scotia's professional and political elite and in some cases achieving positions of higher status than they could ever have plausibly enjoyed had they remained in the united states. after all their trials and migrations, the johnsons had arrived and evolved from american loyalists into british north american patriots. to follow johnstons narrative, these lawyers -- excuse me these losers were winners in the end. i will leave it at that and
4:16 am
happily take questions. [applause] >> beyond the loyalists in canada i was wondering if you get a sense that there is a strong self-identification as loyalists in the other areas of the diaspora? >> beyond the -- canada the answer would be no and i think the reason for that is that the loyalists are beginning subjects of the british empire and at the end they are also subject to the british empire and so i see the absence of this kind of nostalgia, lost cause sort of thinking, as a reflection of the fact that they are successfully absorbed into a refurbished british empire and johnston is one example in canada where it is most pronounced the tc-99 versions of that elsewhere in the diaspora as well.
4:17 am
>> i read the first 100 pages so i am anxious to get to the end, but i was struck by the number of -- is seen to pull through in the group. when they went to these other places, did the fact that they were suddenly freed blacks have any effect on the case of abolition and any of these parts of the british empire? >> it did. of the loyalists who left, it is about a sixth who were freed blacks which is the same ratio in the colonies. abolitionism was a sentiment that have been articulated in the run-up to the american revolution in britain where slavery was effectively illegal from 1772 on were but the revolution gets a real push forward because these implants will save -- slaveowners are no longer part of the empire and partly because there is this new
4:18 am
large black population that is free, that has been freed during the war in britain see this increasingly as a contrast one of the moral contrast by upholding black freedom they are different from americans, who are enshrining black slavery as they see it. so yes the american revolution is seen as a galvanizing factor in accelerating the abolitionist cause in the british empire in the 1780s a time of enormous -- and it should he said the british to this day are very celebratory of this tradition and there is a lot of reverence paid to those early abolitionist. it must be said the slave trade was not abolished for all generations yet, but there is no doubt that the idea that there would be freed blacks and their freedom with the upheld by britain was really gaining ground in those years. >> i am curious about one
4:19 am
particular person who you mention in the book which goes beyond just the general -- namely the son of benjamin franklin, william i think i think his name is? >> yes. >> the question, to what extent was it politically loyalty to britain or was it the fact that that -- [inaudible] to what extent this case and in the writing of this how much do we know about the personal factors which happen to be known? i think the father was quite a -- so i was wondering.
4:20 am
>> i think the first thing to say and the case a gentleman referred to is benjamin franklin our great founding father his own son william was a well-known loyalists. he was the governor new jersey and ended up in imprisoned as the loyalists and became ultimately a leader of the loyalist community and not tied new york and a disheartened refugee in britain. now, the rifts between them was a deeply felt one. william was benjamin's only son, only child. not only child, only son and they basically ceased communication because of this, and this became particularly significant at the time of the peace negotiations at the end of the war in which benjamin frank done was one of the key u.s. negotiators, and you know over the course of many many months the five peace negotiators are meeting in paris and hashing out all the terms of the independence of the united unitd states and lots and lots of points along the way but they resolve all of them until they get to one last one in the fall
4:21 am
of 1782 i guess it is. and the sticking point concerns whether the u.s. is going to be made responsible for giving compensation to loyalists whose property has been confiscated during the war. and this point, most of the other american negotiators are okay with it, john adams and john jay but benjamin franklin will not give in on this point and he says, if you grant compensation i'm not going to fund the treaty. we have to keep on fighting the war. so if you want and edible reverse -- and it anticipates his own later active sort of property related and he writes william out of this will later and the two again and rarely ever meet again. so i think these family divides do matter and i do think what i think about most is getting into the personalities and getting individual experience is really important for explaining how
4:22 am
history has operated. >> you saying your introduction that this is the first book about the loyalists exiles, the refugees. now that you ever did, what do you feel should be the second book about this? not necessarily by you but by somebody else. [laughter] if they would pick off from where you left off what would you like to say in his book on this topic? >> that is a great question. i think, well one thing that needs to be written up in a better form is what happens to the loyalists who don't leave. there is a big -- there's a lot of sort of dissertations on this, some very recent. there is a monograph but i would like to see more about the reintegration of loyalists and how that might change our picture of the creation of a
4:23 am
union in the early republic so that would be the american history. there's also there is also an international history which i think would ian natural next step, maybe. i don't think i will do it, which is the american revolution is the beginning of the age of revolutions. their revolutions in france and haiti. there is a lot of upheaval in latin america and that all of this period, the revolutionary napoleonic wars, there is an enormous amount of political switching and movement, refugees leaving from haiti into france and from all over the world. and i would love to see some sort of book that is able do you know, apply similar sorts of approaches to looking at the mixed loyalties of figures caught in these other revolutionary lives and i think there's an interesting history to be written about the shape of the united states in connection with some of these games and i think also a kind of interesting comparative history to be done about the british empire, the
4:24 am
french empire and american ambitions in places like south america through these figures. >> we have time for one or two more questions if anyone has one. >> thank you so much. [applause] america"
4:25 am
reflections on the birth of the united states. this is an hour and 20 minutes. >> it is good to be here with you. i just want to say one thing to the audience before we start that it is a real treat. gordon wood is really one of the nation's preeminent historians of the revolutionary period is not the preeminent historian and he is learned. he is at times, they say this in the best sense of the word, contrarian, and he says what he feels, and his look "the idea of america" is just a fabulous book
4:26 am
and you will be doing a book signing afterwards if i'm not mistaken. is really is one of those books that if you love history not just the revolutionary period, that history in general, this is something you really should have on your bookshelf. so having said that plug, i am hoping for 10% afterwards. [laughter] but i thought we would start off by, i would like to pose some general questions about history and then talk about you a little bit and then we will ease their way into the book as well. to start, since we are here at the national archives, the first thing that i wanted to get your thoughts on was the following. many of us in the historical field have lamented the lack of historical knowledge among young people, and can you take a second and tell us, why is it important that we study history? >> well, history is to a society i suppose what memory is to an individual. without knowing where you came from or what your background is,
4:27 am
you would be lost. i mean i think there is a movie where a man has no memory, memento or something. can you imagine how terrifying that would be not knowing your past? i think for society that is a comparable situation. if you don't know where you come from, it is going to be difficult to know where we are going to go. so i think to get our bearings, where art direction czar, we need to know where we have been. so, that is the classic answer to why we should study history. i think it is the queen of the amenities and without knowing history i think one is living in a two-dimensional world, not experiencing reality is about to be experience. i think history is a mode of understanding. i think it is as important as the other senses, and once you acquire a historical sense, and
4:28 am
i don't think history is just information about the past. i think what to study history and read enough he developed what i would call a historical sense so you see the world differently. and it is an added dimension on the world, on reality. suddenly, the whole world appears different. the perception of your present is different because you have an understanding of the past. >> as we sit here speaking, they said is remarkable moment as events are shaping the world today in the middle east. the so-called arab spring where people are rising up and they are trying to grab a piece of a greater say in their destinies, greater sense of self-determination. what do you think the founders could teach them and in the same breath, what can they learn by looking at the experience of america as young americans wrestled with setting up their
4:29 am
republic? >> well presumably, these people are seeking democracy. that is what we are told and i think that is true. they want to vote. they want all the other things that come in their minds with democracy. they see how the rest of the world is living and they want a share of that. i think that the issue is that democracy is hard work. it does not come easy. and authoritarian governments are easy to put together. the world has always had authoritarian governments, monarchies are a blow moniker he is the -- monarchy is the wrong word to use now. we have nine monarchies, england, sweden and holland. that is how the founders sought. what they meant was authoritarian government. authoritarian governments have existed because it is difficult to govern a democracy because democracy has to be governed from the bottom up.
4:30 am
people have to be willing to sacrifice their selfish interest for the good of the whole. that is what the founders meant by virtue. classical term. surrendering some of your private interest or the sake of a public good. it required a lot of self-sacrifice, and it is not easy to do. montesquieu who is was the leading french philosopher of the 18th 18th century very much red by the founders, said that democracy can exist only in small states because you can't build a consensus if you have a large diverse population. that was a very important principle with which the founders had to confront when they were drawing up the federal constitution. because montesquieu would not all be surprised by what happened when tito for example was removed. authoritarian governments were removed from yugoslavia and suddenly the serbs and the other ethnic groups were at each
4:31 am
other's roads in the yugoslav area, so or when the soviet union was removed. suddenly all of the various parts began fighting with one another. once you remove this authority from the top down, then these various ethnicities and these various differences are accounted for and democracy is very difficult because people have to willingly surrender some of their selfish interest and that is not easy to do. the founders would have been, and they became very pessimistic about the ability of other peoples to become democratic. they thought the french were following them 10 years later and of course many french leaders thought so too. lafayette, who was at the outset one of the leaders of the french revolution in 1789, he sent the key to the bus deal, the bus bastille been to prison and it
4:32 am
was bastille day and in france it is still july 14 that is still celebrated as the beginning of the french revolution. he sent becky to george washington and it hangs today in mt. vernon. that was his way of saying to washington, you americans are responsible for our revolution and americans assumed that, that they were responsible and they thought they were responsible for all the revolutions that took place in the 19th century. that somehow or other they were in the vanguard of history spreading democracy around the world. but when the french revolution spiraling into as you have written about in your book the great upheaval then they became pessimistic about the ability of other peoples to be like them, which gave us that notion and gave them that notion that they were exceptional. exceptionalism is a theme which is very controversial. it is in comparison with europe, but the hope, the dream that other peoples would follow us
4:33 am
has always been there and that is one of the articles or one of the essays, my last essay in the book is why america wants to spread democracy around the world. we wanted to do that from the very beginning, not necessarily send troops but by example, by showing the world that we could do that. and that is what lincoln was all about and his mobilizing the north, the civil war, the last best hope. could we survive because the world was monarchy a call. napoleon was on the throne and the new empire in france. there were no democracies left and so lincoln was appealing to that dream that we had to keep the hope alive. so i think that is banned part of our history from the beginning. >> the so would the founders be counseling as we watch these developments take place?
4:34 am
would they be saying, hey they the should be happening quickly or it took this time, take as many years and we came out of an enlightenment tradition and they're not coming out of that tradition. maybe we should expect that this will take perhaps a generation or even longer. >> i think some of the founders, they didn't have a single vision. someone like jefferson would be very enthusiastic and hopeful. he had a magnanimous view of human nature and people are naturally goodhearted he felt and just got rid of the oppressive authoritarian governments and let people love one another then everything will work out. hamilton on the other hand is very pessimistic, cynical about human nature and he was -- you would be very pessimistic about what is happening. you would think well, we will see. i mean the one thing they would say is that voting is a prerequisite for democracy. people should vote, but it is the least important part of building a democracy and that is
4:35 am
where the fallacy comes and i think. americans tend to think that voting by itself can solve a problem when in fact, you need a civic society, you need all of those institutions which make up our civic society that make us governable if you will. and make us, makes her system more. all those little things i rotary clubs, religious groups, bowling leagues, anything that ties people together and makes their world more complicated than simply u.s. and individual and the state. no democracy can work with that kind of gap and i think they would not have put it in these terms. this is how political scientist would talk about it today but they understood democracy was hard work and does not come easy. >> very interesting. sticking on the same for one second, i want to switch our frame per second. a lot has been written about or talked about how our leaders and
4:36 am
it is often said our president, whomever the present might be, that they need to know more about history as they govern. you said some very interesting things over the years about presenting a more nuanced framework in terms of how much we can -- how much our leaders can learn from history. >> that is a very tricky issue. obviously, we hope our leaders understand our past, because they are carrying on a tradition so they have to have some grounding in america's past, or else they will lose their way. i don't think there's any doubt of that. of course too much historical consciousness can have problems. if you want to be a man on horseback, forget the past because the more you are aware of the difficulties and the
4:37 am
unanticipated consequences of action, that history does teach you that nothing quite works out the way the perpetrators intended, and if you absorb that message to fully, you are going to be paralyzed not knowing what to do for fear that you are going to create contrary results. and that is one fortunate, one of the lessons of history. i don't think there is much danger of us, of our leaders becoming paralyzed in that sense. so i think that probably we can take a little more -- what history doesn't take you off the rollercoaster of emotions that this is the best of the times are the worst of times. you get perspective on things and therefore, you get a sense that look, it is not as bad as you think it is or is not as great as you think it is. and that is probably healthy for any society. i think we are a fairly healthy society compared to many peoples
4:38 am
in the world, so i am confident that we have just the right balance i think for the most part. we are not on a rollercoaster. we can be. the press can get very excited and feel that this is the end and somehow people feel that the united states is declining and those of a certain age or member of the 1980s when japan was going to take over the world. they bought rockefeller center and they were going to put us in the dustbin of history. well, didn't happened and we needed to have a little more perspective. now is going to be china that is going to bury us. i think we are going to be around a little while longer. that is what history does, level i your emotions. it is not the end of the world nor is it the apocalyptic time coming either. >> so i guess the lesson is impart reader "new york times," watch c-span, listen to npr, however also read your history.
4:39 am
>> well you also should read the "wall street journal" as well as "the new york times" to get a balanced view. >> our friends at the journal like that. if the founders were somehow magically transported here today, what would they recognize and wet would shock them? >> well the question you ask is interesting, interesting in itself. i gave a talk to people like this audience here, and inevitably someone will say well what would thomas jefferson think of affirmative action or what would george washington think of the invasion of iraq? those are really fascinating questions that ordinary people will ask. and, you know you can imagine other countries doing that. i don't think anyone in england would say, what would the two william pitts think of david cameron's government? they certainly wouldn't affect
4:40 am
climate question so we have a connection with these founders, an intimate connection and it is easy to mock that. historians have mocked it. i don't mock it. lincoln had that connection however and it is not so easy to mock lincoln. he felt, he said i think in 1858 in the speech, he said we are one with these founders. the blood of our blood, flesh of our flesh. that is really identifying with it, and he says there is an electric cord that ties us to them and i think that is the feeling we have, that this is the source of our identity. we go back to these people to find out who we are. they created our institutions by which we still govern ourselves. they fused into our culture. almost everything we believe, our ideals, our highest aspirations come out of the revolution. the revolution is the most important event in our history so it is natural for us to go back there because there is nothing else that holds us
4:41 am
together. we are not a nation in the usual sense of the term. there is no american ethnicity. every race creed and color is here in the united states and we are not like the british or the english or the french or the germans. they have a sense of their ethnicity, their national nation and which make very to the open them to handle immigration. we think we have immigration problems but i think they pale in significance to paired -- compared to the problems the european states, the european peoples are facing and will face over the rest of his 21st century as we have this massive movement in the south to the north. you know, those arabs have been living in france for several generations that most frenchmen can't really believe they are french. we don't have that kind of problem. really, there is no american ethnicity and what makes us one people are these ideals. to be an american is not to be
4:42 am
somebody but to believe in something. what did we believe in? the things that came out of this founding revolution. it quality, liberty, it's additional cement the institutions that the constitution created. so i think we go back and that is why i think people have this instinctive relationship. they identify with them in this unusual if not unique manner. feeling the flesh of our flesh and blood of our blood as lincoln said. that is where we get it. we reaffirm who we are by going back to back to the sound or so that is why they have this special importance. even though they differed among themselves. on the right he was hamilton who is very pessimistic about human nature in them on the left you have a radical like jefferson who has had a very magnanimous view of human nature. they differ tremendously and yet we lump them together because
4:43 am
they are meaningful to us. >> well in the spirit of not lumping them together, let's pretend you were able to attend a dinner party with the founders. who was the one founder you would most want to sit next to? >> well, i think franklin and jefferson would be the most interesting. adams would be too. george washington, whom i respect the most, would not be a good dinner partner. [laughter] he just didn't talk much, and he was not an intellectual. he had no intellectual potential. he did not go to college. but he had what you want in your leader, his wisdom and he was a great leader and of course he stands head and shoulders above all the others in their eyes. now we tend to lump them altogether in our eyes. they are all part of that founding group but in their eyes there was one person who stood way ahead of the others and that was washington.
4:44 am
they concocted the presidency because, and they gave us so much power simply because they knew george washington would be the first president and he could be trusted with good reason. he had acted in a manner that nobody had ever heard of before except for this distance and sonatas. that is to say he surrendered his sword and said i'm going back to my farm in mount vernon. i want no more public office. generally in recent history no one had ever done that or even going back to julius caesar. every successful general wanted office commensurate with their achievement and that was true cromwell and true of william of orange who became king of england and was true of marlboro. he got a cabinet position. these people wanted political office and he didn't. washington didn't and they were stunned. the world was done. that is what created his mystique. it was not his victories in the
4:45 am
war because he didn't have too many. yorktown was such a french word. he held the army together and then he surrendered this position. he could have been dictator. he could have been king and he didn't want it. data on people. george iii is supposed to have said if he'd does that, you will be the greatest man in the world. they have this elevated position in their eyes and he represented everything they wanted a leader to be, virtuous. very self-consciously worked. there is no person in our history who was so self-conscious about eating virtuous, disinterested was the term he often used, meaning we don't even use the term that way any more. disinterested means i'm interested for us but for them it was impartial, rising above one's interest. we blurred the two because we can't believe anyone is truly disinterested.
4:46 am
the only distance people left in our country are not judges anymore because they run for office at the state level, but umpires and referees in sporting events. those are the only people we count on in charlie being charlie being disinterested, being impartial and rising above their emotional for economic reasons. they counted on their leaders being disinterested and washington. >> talk about their relationship for a minute. it is often said today that politics is really ambitious and by the same token, there is a general impression by many that the founders were chiseled out of marble these austere figures somehow benignly creating this magical government called the united states of america. how did they get along with each other? >> jay in this book, the great upheaval, knows as well as i the 1790s were one of the most
4:47 am
vicious decades in our history, coming very close in 1798 to a civil war. as close as we would come until the actual civil war. they did not get along. hamilton is frightened of what jefferson represents, and washington too. washington and hamilton on one side, frightened of what they thought were francophiles, jefferson and madison are leading a fifth column that is going to support a puppet, french puppet regime. the french army armies going to invade the united states. this is a real fear. bridge respectively looks foolish. we have toys understand that the people that then don't know what is going to happen to them anymore than we know the future ourselves so they fear the federalists, the hamilton, washington's party and many federalists feared a french invasion because france after all napoleon is going into holland and he creates the
4:48 am
bavarian republic the great puppet regime so every year. why couldn't they just invade the united have a the united st? they have all these good colonists, these jeffersonian who art very pro-finch and they are going to create a puppet regime. that is what lies behind the alien and sedition acts of 1798. they are truly frightened. now the thing that kills off the fear is of course nelson's victory at the nile. he discourage napoleon's fleet and once napoleon has no fleet then there is no fear of invasion. now, washington is talking about we cannot have a french president meeting jefferson, so they were very much at each other's throats and very frightened of one another in the 1790s. and the press, we think our press is kind of rough. you know better than i, it was just vicious in the 1790s. they accuse washington of being
4:49 am
a mole during the revolution. he was working for the british government. that is the accusation that was made. it is just incredible the distortions and lies that were flying about. washington could sheikh his head and couldn't believe it and didn't want to read any newspapers because they were saying these awful things about him. he was so desperate in 1796 to give back to mount vernon and get out of this political world. >> his cabinet said he was aging before their very eyes and didn't have one cabinet meeting for a cost loudly and he said my god, i don't think i can take this because of c-span. >> no, he was very deeply disillusioned by what was happening. his last letter or one of his last letters, six months before he dies in july, the federalists are desperate to get him back into power. they wanted to run against
4:50 am
jefferson. come back, you will save the country. this is in july of 1799. and he rides really despairing letters. look, doesn't matter. you can put up -- the way things are now parties have taken over. you could put up a broomstick, a broomstick and call it a son of liberty in a broomstick woodwind. that is true of their francophiles of the french party and he says alas it is just as true as us federalist. it doesn't matter any more. parties have taken over. character, stature, and visual character no matter longer us. it is who is the party candidate and it is full of despair. in a sense he was right because parties had begun to emerge and were taking over and he felt his kind of leader would no longer matter and of course that became increasingly true over the next 20 or 30 years as society became more democratic.
4:51 am
much more populist and by the time you get to someone like martin van buren, when you are getting people who have no distinction whatsoever, martin van buren never won a met -- a tool and never was a great figure. he was just a canny politician and build one of the best party organizations that the state of new york had ever seen and probably has ever seen, and catapulted himself into the presidency but that was the world that the founders had not anticipated, that popular world. and jefferson heard that andrew jackson almost won the election of 18 to 44, he was appalled. he says that man has no college education. he is a ruffian from the west. unfortunately jefferson died in 1826 and didn't get to see jackson actually get to be president. so those who lived into the 19th century were deeply disillusioned with what they had
4:52 am
brought. i don't know of any who -- franklin died in 1790 thankfully because he didn't witness this world but those who lived into the 19th century were deeply disillusioned by the populism, the kind of democracy that had emerged. it is much too vulgar. >> of course the founders did not start out wanting to create a democracy. >> not that kind of democracy. they didn't have any objection to voting but they -- i mean the constitution is a kind of curve on democracy. the 1780s, one of the major problems at the founders faced was the excesses of democracy. state legislatures running wild, passing what madison referred to as factional majority aryan tyranny, something that hadn't been anticipated by the good legs and patriots in 1776. no one in 1776 anticipated even
4:53 am
imagine the kind of strong national government the came out of the constitution 10 years later. so something awful had to happen between 1776 in 1787 to convince people to create a national government that hadn't even been on the radar screen, haven't been on anyone's mind. we know how strong that government is because we still live under it. so the thing that happened was a series of weaknesses in the articles but more important was the fear of democracy running amok. and that is what led madison to create his virginia plan and the resultant constitution which acts as a kind of limit on democracy. we have other limits. the courts became a very important federalist device for limiting democracy. we don't like to think in these terms, because we have tremendous trust in the people that we know that we have all kinds of limitations on the people. we don't like clear unadulterated majority aryan
4:54 am
democracy, and if the egyptians or the other mideast states create just majority aryan democracy, then they may experience some of the problems the americans faced in the 1780s, because you want limits. we want liberal democracy. we want individual liberties. minority rights. we have a lot of checks on democracy. our democracy is a mixed bag. is not just her majoritarianism and that is a lesson they learned and that is why the constitution is so complicated with separation powers and breaking up of power, limiting government, because they learned the lesson and the 1780s. >> talk about the caliber of the founders for just one more moment ago when we think of the fact that they have created this constitution that has endured to this day, it really is a remarkable event.
4:55 am
what happened in those 55 days when they went to philadelphia and they just wanted to redo the articles of confederation. obviously they did something both extra legal and totally unexpected. and related to that, if you could talk for a minute if you can just about the caliber of these people. these founders, these men, who put it all together in a way that no one else in history had quite seen. >> well they weren't superhuman. they aren't demagogues although jefferson referred to them. they were very well-educated, the ones at the convention. most of them college graduates. 34 the 55 were lawyers. they were experienced political figures. they had served in the continental congress or in the state legislatures or had been governors, or diplomats. they were experienced people. they were -- it was a loaded
4:56 am
convention. most of them or nationals, that is to say they wanted a strong government. is probably a good thing jefferson was abroad as minister of france because he was raise cain in the conviction -- convention because he would have not like the virginia plan that his friend and colleague madison proposed, which was really extraordinarily strong government. so, you have the kind of loaded convention. lansing and yates from new york, who were real antifederalists come to the convention and as soon as they see this virginia plan emerge and they begin to grasp the implications of if they that they walked out. we don't want this. this is and what we bargained for. so, the result of course is that they met for almost four months. if you think of it, they closed off, they close the windows. they didn't want anybody to know what they were saying. they took vows of secrecy. they put guards at the door, no
4:57 am
press. of course you could get away with that today. madison later said we could never have done it gets oppressive been involved this allowed people to make statements that they could then retract because if there is no record, nobody's going to hold you to it and you can move back and forth. of course there is something to be said for that kind of secrecy behind doors because otherwise if the press is very and make a statement you are held to that and you have no compromise. they compromise all over the place. madison who was the one who drew up the plan, he wrote it, was deeply disappointed with the result. he had two main points and he wanted them. one with a negative or veto power, given to the congress over all state law. think of it, the practicality of it. this is a bright guy and yet he didn't think through. what it would be like if 50 states had to send all of their bills to congress. congress had to ak them.
4:58 am
to veto this are okay this, that is how madison saw his veto. it was truly impractical and gets thrown out and replaced by article i, section 10 which lists a few things the state can do like rand paper money, thank god. and imagine. the other thing madison wanted was proportional representation in both houses. he wanted to get the states out of the federal government. no representation. no senate in other words. when dad is the convention would not go along with this. the small states like new jersey and connecticut said we are not giving up, at least in one house we have got to be represented as a state. he loses that and he is in despair. he loses those two battles. mid-july he caucuses with his fellow nationalist the next day and says let's walk out. maybe we should walk out of this convention. ..
4:59 am
boezinge really grasp what madison as telling him. all he says is we should have a bill of rights and madison just groans when he hears that and
5:00 am
then jefferson writes to another friend in maryland the bill of rights, that becomes an principal argument and one of the principal or delete to arguments almost brings the constitution down. jefferson's reason for that is his friends, lafayette and others, say that no good constitution can be without a bill of rights and my liberal friends say that he hasn't gotten through the problem the way madison and an intelligent answer to that question why no bill of rights but it doesn't have any affect on jefferson, and the power of the notion of the bill of rights which of course as part of the english tradition is picked up by others and becomes one of the most potent arguments in the constitution. >> of course near the end of your book you have what i think is a very poignant instant where
5:01 am
you talk about giving a speech and warsaw believe it was, and a woman says to you okay, you've been talking about the constitution. what about the bill of rights? >> this was an extraordinary experience in my life because it was 1976 and i was in warsaw promoting the bicentennial of the revolution. this is before solidarity. communists are still in control. my room was bugged and i had a hand roll over the place. this was an all authoritarian state, so i give this jury conventional lecture on the revolution and this young polish woman raised her hand and says professor, you left out the most important part of the american revolution, the most important part i left out? she says yes, you never mentioned the lights come and i haven't. i had taken that for granted but this woman living under an of
5:02 am
authoritarian regime concerned with individual liberty, she couldn't take those individual rights for granted so that for her was the most important part of the revolution. i never forgot that incident because it happened it took a lot of courage for her to say that and people in that audience are probably going to investigate her. things were changing its 1980 with solidarity so this is four years before solidarity. she was going to be questioned by sure but just even after that it took courage, and i never forgot that. >> one of the things you've also been describing as i picture some of the strands of our conversation as you were talking about discord, the threat of the civil war, in other words, words you really talking about the american experiment was in the beginning a very fragile experiment. it's been a guy got the idea from you in the upheaval, right?
5:03 am
>> dealing with not just the larger world, the book includes russia and france as well as the united states it was a period of a great -- i mean, it makes the arab springs seemed by comparison because this was a major transformation and all of them failed except the united states. although we survived that, but it is not easy to build a space party and that is the one lesson you draw from that experience. >> in some sense we failed because we fell apart and we chose each other of the 600,000 plus men died to build this dream which is what lincoln used. what's interesting about the civil war is not the fact that
5:04 am
the south seceded but the people are talking about secession from the very beginning. federalists are talking about in 1815. this office talking about the secession of a way to the actual session. so it's not a big deal but the interesting question is why do they not care? and what is fascinating is that lincoln i think was from the idea of america, and it's worth fighting for that because we are the last best hope and if we fail democracy fails. oppressed people are looking for us. that is the message given and it was inspiring and i think people -- we didn't go to the war and fight and lose some 300,000 men simply because of some economic interest in the nation.
5:05 am
this is the genius of lincoln, not that he created these ideas but that he embraced them in a way that was appealing to people. he caught the mood of the country and was able to mobilize for for a long bloody years. it's incredible. >> and he was organically connected to what you write about in your book where what you say is the idea of america. >> that's what he says. one of our blood, flash of the flesh. he is the one great president who knew the founding better than anyone else. i think everyone has some connection. >> i wanted to ask you this even though it's putting on my head as a civil war historian, was lincoln correct in saying for secession and this is according to what the founders say, the secession was illegal?
5:06 am
my view is lincoln was not correct but he did the right thing in a way. >> it depends what you mean by legal or illegal. that is debatable, let's put it that way. and the south had a case to make because that's how they solve a union as a loose confederacy and of course up to the civil war the united states was always defined in the plural, the united states are. we were much closer to those years to the united states we have now which is really quite tight knit national government. so people thought of especially in the south thought of themselves as being part of the confederation, and so when you talk about the country and when we had to make that decision he
5:07 am
was a west point graduate shall i support the united states we have so much mobility we don't really think of ourselves as emotionally attached but the founders did and that's why forming the government was so difficult because people fault of their country is virginia or massachusetts or pennsylvania. they had 100 years of loyalty to overcome. it's similar to today how can you create a european consciousness when you are a bridge or german or french? loyalty to your nation is so strong how do you create this european union? it is not easy and that was the problem the founders faced was for the united states what is it to be an american? that was very, very difficult
5:08 am
and it fell apart but there was lincoln on the other side if there is something that we have a dream come we have a dream that we are a nation that has an exceptional mission in the world to preserve democracy and bring it to the rest of the world not by force or troops, but all through the 19th century we support of almost every revolution. there's one that we support of the revolutions of the greek revolution of 1821, the french revolution of 1830 come of the revolution of 1848 all failed of course that we support it, we were the first state to recognize the new republican space regime overthrown but we were the first and kept pushing for that. the one exception as you know we don't recommend it the haitian republic which was the second
5:09 am
republic until lincoln's administration for the very reason the south had dominated for such an extent it was an impossibility to recognize the slave regime, but lincoln did. otherwise we recognize these other states. the big change comes in 1917. that is when it takes a very interesting form. the russian revolution and the spurring you have the azar advocated. seven days later we recognize the new russian republic and a partner for the league now, democratic league, and we are the first power in the world to recognize the new russian regime, the republican regime. before the communist takeover. a few months later the bolsheviks overthrow the government and you have a who
5:10 am
bolshevik regime. what happens is the united states instead of the first week in the last major state in the world to recognize the soviet union. 16 years, four presidencies. the last major -- we are the last major state to recognize the soviet union. what a contrast. why? why explanation to me and i think it is the only one that makes sense, is what we saw in the communist ideologies a rival to our own home we would no longer according to the soviets in the vanguard of history were this is not a species of the genius revolutionary genius ira -- americana this was a genius all together and there was a threat, the same kind of universal as our own. so the conflict between the soviet union and the united
5:11 am
states is really an intellectual one from the very beginning. not just competing market societies but the fact that we were faced with a rival ideologies that was as comprehensive and universal as our own, and the cold war begins in 1917. now there is a bullet through the war because nazi germany represented a much more serious threat but we were quickly back after the war. and some of you with a certain age remember president kennedy's inaugural address pay any price, bear any burden on behalf of liberty that is a cold war address and that is why we went into vietnam, we were not trying to get all leal but because we thought we really feared the spread of this communist ideologies and with the collapse
5:12 am
of the soviet union of 1989. and now i think we are in a state of confusion, not sure where we are or what we should do. the military expenditures are equal to come almost equal to all of those unsworth put together. we have a million men and women and troops. no country is ever dominated the world as we do. this is just extraordinary. it may not be an empire in the usual sense but it is an extraordinary kind of dominance and yet we are not quite sure how what we should be doing and that i think came out with hesitation in the least we are not sure that this is good for us. we have to see. at the same time we can't stand in the way of people wanting to
5:13 am
be space. as we've had an extraordinary history and we are in a very difficult time and significant time, too it spikelets the back and tie this to the very beginning. if we are talking about the soviet union, of course in the case of russia inherited a large land mass and it had some 800 years of history, the head as far as that had ruled the world. in our founding, and you write about this very powerfully and it's just a fascinating discussion where you talk about the audacity of the young americans and this little land mass at the end of the world and somehow they thought they were going to move remake the world. how did that come about? >> when you think about it this is a country of 2 million or 3 million people? 3,000 miles from civilization on the outposts of civilizations.
5:14 am
the idea that if there rebellion had worldwide significance is rebel iraq density think about it, the audacity for these people to think that yet they did and there were radicals in europe to believe that. richard price, the english radical, humanitarian minister, he says in 1785 the american revolution is next to the birth of christ, and he's a minister. the most important event in the history of the world. that is an extraordinary statement. people were not interested in this revolution because it was a republican revolution. cut a republican in a democracy, i think i said this, couldn't survive especially over such a large extent? so they were wondering, too and the british fought this won't last, this is bound to fail
5:15 am
because democracies just can't be that big and it's going to go very quickly and that was the expectation. of course that is what americans are thinking about and why lincoln is so obsessed with why we are. we have to show them what the british were hoping would would take about three of the british never studied much and when they started studying it was only in the late 20th century they studied only one subject, the civil war. what else what they study? they were hoping maybe it will come out differently if we study it enough. [laughter] the americans were filled with this notion that the vanguard of history that we had a message to bring to the world and that that is how we saw ourselves. it may be delusional. the french never have admitted
5:16 am
that our revolution was more important than theirs. [laughter] in fact they somehow think that there's came first. [laughter] they can't really get that 1776 received 1789. but the americans never -- >> they may be historians what we can to that type of math. >> the americans never forgot that we were the first and we always assumed the french. and as i say some folks would agree with that but for the most part if you went to people -- there's a classic example of this kind of americans the empire gets over to 1970. the third french republic is established. president grant sends a message to the new french republic and congratulating them on adopting american political ideals. [laughter] you can't imagine what these frenchmen would have thought as if the had no democrat or
5:17 am
republican tradition of their own living get this he's become americans is what he was saying to them. it's incredible the kind of self-conscious i guess you'd call the audacity or arrogance at the center of the movement throughout the whole 19th century and of course that's why we were so upset by the soviet takeover because we were in the vanguard of history leading the world and they are all going to fall last and we continue to have that sense that we have something to say to the rest of the world but i think it is a little needed now because we are so powerful. it was easy for the americans in the 19th century because they didn't have a huge armies, they were not powerful, therefore we cut as much as we wanted without causing any great trouble in the world. nowadays it is a little trickier.
5:18 am
>> gordon, i think we have had a fascinating hour and what i would like to do at this point is get the audience involved and let's do some q&a. >> there are microphones here on the side so try to line up with those microphones. >> i thought this was a great talk that you gave, very exciting, and i wanted to ask about the practicalities that the founding fathers faced. they were on the east coast and they know perfectly well what there was a long 3,000 miles to the west coast and thought that
5:19 am
practically speaking they were not going to just let anybody occupied area. so i thought that maybe there was that as a kind of inspiration to think of yourself as important, you really had quite a task ahead of you and it was a really rich part of the world. >> until 1803 the united states of all the territory west of the mississippi, so why someone like jefferson, whose our greatest expansionist in history had a vision that all that territory would come to us. he had what i call demographic imperialism. we were reproducing ourselves twice as fast as any other nation of western europe, doubling our population every 20 years or so, and we -- he
5:20 am
assumed we would simply take it over as long as a was being held by the spanish who were in his mind a in crafted declining empire not capable of holding on to that territory neither florida or louisiana could be held by the spanish for a long. our demography, our population would spell out and they were not sending any people. they had mexico, but demographically, the spanish were not people and their land, so. >> when the spanish treaty which receipts the louisianan back to the french in 1802, that is a crisis because the french are a different people together. powerful. this is napoleon, and he is beside himself, and this is when
5:21 am
he makes the effort. so, what to answer that question they have an awareness that some people, some leaders had the sense that we were people on all this land jefferson had a very lucid view of government. he thought it would be very much a consideration. set the stage. some people said the rescue to take away from the original united states to lead as long as they think america we can live with it and the rest of the confederacy would be a case and he didn't worry about the breakup of the union as long as they thought that america had american principles. others contemplated the future. madison fought that 200 years later the predictions that we would become luxury loving big states and they had dreams of the future, but for the immediate future we still had
5:22 am
problems. they had written on the north, canada and spain was still on the south so everything was a little tricky. but the had the vision of the convention taking over the whole time. and mexico, cuba, some of them jefferson fought cuba will naturally fall to less. i don't know what he thought was going to happen to all those spanish-speaking people, but, yes, sir. >> it never occurred to me you mentioned the delay of the american recognition of the soviet union. but since you did, i'm wondering is into this conventional wisdom a little bit mistaken? because i thought the attitude of the investor in berlin of 1933, with whom we did have relationships but he held the government of that period as a corporate psychopaths and
5:23 am
gangsterism who came to power by a legitimate needs. so one has the same of lightens seizure of power so was this backward on our part or was there some fundamental legitimacy of the communist regime from the start and not just some ideological n.v.? >> the fact that we were the last i think's it's something and the other western powers. we send troops to try to put down -- i am not an expert on the russian revolution -- people here probably no more and i sure that jade does, too. but west were fighting by the communist threat and made efforts to put it down by force even and he even sent troops but i don't think that the reason -- it could be that the rise of -- this would be interesting. i don't know the answer to this, the rise of nazi played into our recognition of the final recognition of the soviet union
5:24 am
of 1944. 33. okay. go ahead. stomaches, the other side. a great questions. i'm hoping that you can address an issue dealing with the secession. this is intended to dovetail on your discussion of america and the idealism of the founder was to very much entail the world with the idea of the democracy and the political sense i would like you to define it for the audience. >> exceptional was some? >> where the treaty and many countries recognize we are backing history where the freedom fighters from russia could come to america after committing the political sense in their country to come to america to the treaty of mog
5:25 am
extradition back to their countries of the political offenders are not treated as criminal offenders. >> i don't know if there are any extradition treaties in the early republic. we certainly welcome the refugees and there were no requirements in the 19th century accept the asian immigration otherwise anybody can come to america between 1820 and 192,035,000,000 people, which convinced a lot of americans that the oppressed people were unable to overthrow their oppressive government and the only way they could get away is to migrate through the united states. it hopes to convince americans that they were chosen people in the literal sense, not just a defined sense.
5:26 am
they were going and not just to the united states and that is part of in the myth of america. we have the conception of ourselves which the exception of some we were the exceptional of the 19th century because we were the only democracy and people wanted freedom. that was our image. false, not false, you can argue about it but that is the image americans had and it was shared by lots of people. we have the statue of liberty given to us by the french? that notion that we were receptive for millions of people was very much a part of our suffrage and conception of
5:27 am
ourselves. >> i'm a student at marshall high school, and i was wondering because the freedom ideal of the revolution was so widespread in the colony everybody was talking about it and it was in the press, but i want to know to what extent the founding fathers manipulate the populace into forming an organized rebellion. >> i mean i think you can manipulate certain things, but i don't think you can manipulate a whole people into the revolution. there are incidents that are crucial in the tea party in december of 1773. that was a big action on the part of samuel adams and the radicals. they wanted an incident. they are trying to prevent the british government because things are down. the british passed the act and the boycotts and they would draw the stand out.
5:28 am
jerry difficult to take back what they get it done. very difficult decision. then the townshend duties. then things were quiet between 17721773 nothing is happening. samuel adams once a revolution so he and a bunch of people disguised as mohawk indians dumped 10,000 pounds value of silver, about millions of dollars today into the boston harbor and that provokes the british in a way that was probably the mistake because the virginians are appalled by this tea party. this is destruction of private property. what are they doing, destroying property? the british, however, have had it. they refuse americans all along for a decade.
5:29 am
enough is enough and they come in with a call or six acts and the military general, they do away to navigate the charter. they appoint a counsel that had been elected and they do away with the town meetings except for one. this is really interfering in the massachusetts government and of the virginians say wow because without virginia there is no revolution. virginia as i said is topped off so they're very upset about the tea party but when they see the diversity they say if they can do that to massachusetts they can do that to us. so virginia is on board and the revolution i think is inevitable. some confrontation is inevitable so there was an incident by a small tiny minority it was bold and tricky and it could have backfired if the british had come in moderately which is
5:30 am
asking a lot. they might have said we are not going to come for their support and they might have had to wait for some other. in that sense there is a little bit of manipulation by you don't manipulate a whole people. there was too much popular support. >> thank you for your excellent presentation. in your view today's 20 minute news cycle, c-span, cnn, fox got redder, facebook, you mentioned briefly about the secrecy, could we have built the same democracy if we would have had the same instantaneous communications and news cycles we have today? thank you. >> i wouldn't -- privacy wouldn't have the red spring without these instant communications. that really is the feeding force
5:31 am
that is taking place. we are living in a different world now everything is telescoped so i think you really would not have had the spread of the rebellions without these modern forms of technology that create instant information to read in the 18th century there might have been -- the bullets might have held off if they could communicate back and forth quickly they might have -- and things might have worked out better. they might have delayed the process because it was a peculiar revolution because they were revolting on behalf of the english rights. it's a very peculiar revolution and you have to take that into account. the reason the french revolution failed and the american revolution did not is because the americans had 100 years but
5:32 am
we forget that. we forget that massachusetts, virginia, pennsylvania had been in existence. elections? they didn't have the modern democracy but to out of three adult males could vote that is better than england, one out of six could vote in england. we had the bill of rights, habeas corpus, we had experience in self-government so it made it so much easier. the french haven't had a parliament or state general for 1614. they had nothing to draw on the. they had no experience with electing people. it's not surprising so we have to keep that in mind we are deeply indebted to our heritage and the cause of all those rights that are a part of our common law and our traditions so that made a big difference. >> professor, thank you for being here.
5:33 am
>> in your work the americanization of ben franklin, you've recount how benjamin franklin testified in front of parliament that the u.s. or america as it was could not be governed by parliament but to get worse still loyal to the king. can you distinguish how for america the ideal of loyalty to the king was different from loyalty to the parliament and how that would work as a practical matter? >> that is a complicated issue but it is crucial for the revolution. the reason franklin test for this because the whigs were not in control and they wanted to repeal the stamp act but at the same time, the great believers in the parliamentary sovereignty, so to get this through parliament they had to bring in the only american to a famous american was benjamin franklin so he comes and testifies and says yes the american people will not accept the stamp act and so on and that gives them a cover for repealing
5:34 am
this act. but the couple this with a declaratory act that says in effect look, we are a great feeling this that we have the right to do it. don't kid yourself, you americans. they sought power within the final lawmaking authority is the british empire and we have the right to pass this is fact. we are just withdrawing it so don't get the message along. that is the declaratory act. now that issue isn't the english parliament has a sacred quality to get to read parliament represents the people. the king in english history was always the enemy of the people to read english history was a contest between going back to the magna carvin to the tyrannical king and the people represented in the house of commons from the 15th century on. so and they see this politics so parliament has a secret clarity. and the americans, parliament
5:35 am
cantelon quality and they oppose parliament in 1765, 1767 and so long and the british are a little confused by that. how can you oppose parliament? it's a sacred bastion of liberty. it's the king that's always the threat to liberty. but the americans don't quite see it that way and they are forced by the doctrine of sovereignty you have to have one final lawmaking authority somewhere and when they are confronted with that choice and it's given in several different dates they say all right we are not under the parliament at all we are tied only to the king and that's why the declaration of independence is so interesting to read it is a series of you come a series of things that he's done and you never once mentioned the parliament, the parliament passed the stamp act and the townshend duties and the course of fact yet when it comes to the break there is no mention.
5:36 am
the closest you get is you the mcgeorge st with others. [laughter] that's the truth, read the declaration that is as close as it comes because constitutionally we have reached a point by 1774 forced into it really by the british that we are no longer parliament at all. it's often called the commonwealth period of the empire. we anticipate the statute was minister that sets at the present day common wealth. that is the queen of england and king of canada, queen of new zealand and australia but each of the parliament is free so that's the commonwealth. we anticipate that commonwealth in 1774. we have our own separate legislatures which are sovereign. that is why the only tie broken is the one with the king. it's a kind of awkward situation because we had respective
5:37 am
parliaments right to pass the navigation wally to control our trade and so we were not quite clear how we explained that but nonetheless it makes for interesting constitutional issue. for after all they want everything to be legal and constitutional so we only have to break one now in 1776. no mention of parliament. that would cloud the issue. >> when you mentioned the whole people i wondered what percentage of people in that time were tories loyalists? >> the had al qaeda estimates. some had thrown out one-third. i think from studies made using the devotee of groups to raise militia probably 20% of the population, which is in a
5:38 am
population of two and 5 million that's 500,000 people, so it is a healthy portion but the majority of the population is patriot. many people were natural. but the bullets never fully appreciated how many or how few tories there were. when i come down the hudson valley he counts on the tory support but he doesn't get it. instead he gets harassed by the militia and the army sort of letters and by the time he gets to saratoga's he's lost a group of 14. >> some segments of the army -- >> i think there are more tories in the south and south carolina cannot carolina largely because the western portion had hated the way the eastern scotch our version of the west and the eastern people who are whigs and they had been in fights with
5:39 am
them for decades or more and so they had this in any of my enemy has to be my friend. if you see the movie the patriot, mel gibson's famous movie where he plays a south carolina planter who has hired black help come africans and of course mel gibson as a slaveholder? [laughter] anyway there's some truth to this ferocious partisan fighting there that takes place because there are lots of loyalists in the carolinas. also in new jersey it's torn up. lots of loyalist militia. when the british army comes in they are strong so they come out and punish the whigs who've been harassing so there's a lot in
5:40 am
new jersey of resentment of the loyalists so they punish the patriots. and after trenton this exposed position and washington's crossing of the delaware she says i have to pull back i can't leave the same thing a weak leader so he pulls back the troops and that means the militia comes back into power and then they harass so there's a vicious fed doesn't give in to the history books because guerrilla warfare. it's pretty brutal. a lot of people killed and we don't know the story as well as we know the battle because it's all local and guerrilla warfare. >> thanks for this very enlightening discussion. i was wondering if you have any thoughts on the role of the members of the society on the cincinnati after the war?
5:41 am
it's interesting the patriots set up an almost european-style lineage society that's a very elite, but how did they then try to -- >> washington says these are my comments they just want a society to recognize their contribution to these offices but it's when going to be hereditary and the opposition is quite deep. reading john adams letter he's getting worried he's in inglis and he's just appalled by this idea of the cincinnati organization, and washington is very sensitive to the public opinion and as soon as he senses that there's any public opposition to this he backs away and gets the organization to promise they will not be hereditary. of course they are still around.
5:42 am
it is hereditary and they have this huge building, the society of cincinnati and they have a great library and a lot of documents and its innocuous. it doesn't have any -- that there's a real fear that reading aristocracy come of thing the revolution is about, the revolution as and high blood. it should only count -- people should be distinguished only because of their talent, not because of who you follow or mary, that is the message of the revolution so it scare's the budgie's is out of a lot of people and samuel adams has decided that and there's a lot of opposition to read and it positive for him and it becomes more of a the kind of lobbyist group that washington thinks he is to promise they are not going
5:43 am
to be hereditary but they remain a hereditary organization. >> are there any more questions? >> [inaudible] >> the future? the question is what is the future of the american idea. i wish i knew. i don't think anyone knows the future. historians do not predict. >> if we do we are getting in trouble. >> i think that what she would say is that we would have a better sense that what might not happen. we are not going to walk away tomorrow, china is not going to take over the world next year, but with the future brings i don't think anyone really knows. it's not going to happen quickly. if we are in decline, look, the romans didn't know they were in decline for all those years. they went centuries thinking. so we don't know. >> now, just to remind you all there will be the signing
5:44 am
afterwards where you can talk to the professor and get him to sign his marvelous book which i would urge all of you and then just let me give you one closing thought. not so much a highbrow note but a middlebrow note. i don't know how many of you have seen the movie good will hunting but there is a very famous scene in the bar where matt damon is fighting for this woman. he says if you must be really smart because you've been reading professor gordon wood. [laughter] >> i don't think there's any doubt after having listened to this conversation.
5:45 am
5:46 am
5:47 am
5:48 am
5:49 am
5:50 am
5:51 am
5:52 am
5:53 am
5:54 am
5:55 am
5:56 am
5:57 am
5:58 am
5:59 am

122 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on