the roosevelt library that covers world war ii and so forth. this is a very somber topic and my grandfather simply would not come he did not want to teach it and he didn't want to go back and relive it in a superficial way. by the same token we were encouraged to learn it so this is the veteran experience and you covered so many clay, grants, what is your reaction there? >> i think david is an authority on this. 25 years ago david wrote the book on eisenhower and i think he has the last word on this. >> i'm going to finish with that. has been an honor to be here with jean edward smith who has written a terrific look. we are fighting over it and we have been fighting over. this is a rate account of the entire life which is to meet the greatest challenge i can imagine. ..
i am the archivist of the united states. it is a pleasure to welcome news this evening. and it to our friends at c-span and other media outlets. we have special guests today. senator mike lee who is a good friend of the national archives. from utah. [applause] who clerked for eight future supreme court justice judge alito. on monday, the constitution turns 225. tonight's program is one of several in celebration of the founding document signed
september 17, at 1887 in philadelphia. tonight we will come to distinguish guests to discuss the past, present, and future of the constitution. sponsoring other federal list aside the and then national accountability center. think affordability to collaborate. while the declaration was heralded as the icon of independence it did not get as much attention the pros is not as stirring and a four parchment pages detour most casual readers. the lack of celebration worked to the advantage as it was exposed to sunlight come lead desk and smoke. but when you view the
original documents in the rotunda uc the difference. it is faded almost two eligibility although the bill of rights looks almost as it did when presented to the constitutional convention. celebrating constitution day has been a longstanding tradition. it is when all four pages were displayed to the public. since 2003 we have displayed all four pages year-round. this year for the first time in the history of the national archives we've will display the resolution display debt to the constitutional congress sometimes known as the fifth page. describes how it would be ratified and put into
action. starting on september 14 and remaining out through monday september 17th. on the morning the highlight takes place. and naturalization ceremony for 225 new citizens. we have posted this ceremony for decades if it does not cease to impress and support the constitution of the actual document. we encourage you to return from our discussions in fell cents special events and from noon through 2:00 p.m. happy birthday u.s. constitution in the theater. a special program in honor of the siding and the first
225 guest will join the founding fathers in the theater. as a timber 19th, the constitution and the war of 1812, roger mudd did moderates the discussion on what lessons from the war of 1812. 29 we will hear two distinguished guests discuss the past present future of the new asian and the states the answers to share. akhil reed amar from the university teaches constitutional law. he received his education from yale and served as an editor at the journal. and was clerking for judge prior and professor of join the faculty in 1985.
he is a:editor of the constitutional law casebook and the author of several other books including the constitution and criminal procedure, america's constitution, and america's -- "america's unwritten constitution" the precedents and principles we live by." the honorable clarence thomas has served as chief justice for nearly 21 years. he received his degree from the college of the holy cross and and it then j.c. from yale law school. and attorney 1977 through '79 and legislative assistant to senator danforth through 1981. then he served as assistant secretary of civil-rights in
the department of education. then he became a judge of the u.s. court of appeals in 1990. president bush nominated him as the associate justice and he took his seat october 23rd, 1991. please welcome justice thomas and professor amar to this stage. [applause] >> thank you ladies and gentlemen, for that to gracious for rum. and to the national archives and staff for making this event possible.
also to the federalist society and constitution accountabilities center and also justice for being with us today marking the 225th anniversary of our constitution and i would like to start the conversation with the words words, we the people. and apply to that phrase means to you and how would changes over time thanks to amendments. who are we? when did we become part of this? >> obviously it was not perfect.
that is an understatement. i was fortunate to to grow up sinking that to in this except a bowler invoke to be critical almost embarrassing pointing out what is wrong. and obviously things are wrong and were when i grew up in georgette. but but the word to be a full participant. it is the way we grow up and the nuns would explain it to us that we rid title that
citizens to be full participants. there is never doubt that we were inherently equal of course, there were times that i also became quite cynical reciting them not so pleasant remarks to say things that you did not have cellphones. [laughter] or youtube. [laughter] but i grabbed in the environment where people believed the country could be better. the framework is there. we used to memorize the preamble mass -- bass 92
think of these kids reciting the preamble or standing out in the school yard saying the pledge allegiance every day before school. you cannot go to the library , live in certain neighborhoods, go to certain schools, but still it was their birthright to be included and continue to push the belief in the heart the heavy lifting was then the people who raise us and an end to taught us believe
with, realize imperfections, so there is a lot. the possibility where the eventuality. no one cares 40 years ago we would not be sitting here talking about the constitution except to say this -- we were excluded. now is hardly noticed and except you. they would notice that. [laughter] is nice of you to say but to look back i tried to say over the years you are being
a pollyanna. but i still say to all the people who never gave up first in line of our people like my grandparents. the people who'd never ever quit who believe tina fey did not make it those after them would that they will lead sacrifice for these two boys people say you are i. i think we both have people that gave the last full
measure for us so i cannot take too many balance of for that. >> host: over the course of our conversation to talk about the declaration of independence mr. lincoln, the "gettysburg address", who was fined and who was not. i just want to say that i do agree it is easy to be cynical. "we" did not mean that everyone but to pick up on that then segue, but to appreciate how extraordinary the birthday is. 225 years
ago, august 1887, a self government a system almost no wear on the planet. you have a few sheep and goat herter's in switzerland before the swiss bank. [laughter] holland and the netherlands is in the process of losing it. english has the house of commons and the hereditary came and of the house of lords. and the vast multitude with no self government russia, china, india, africa , europe mostly, tyrants. look at the previous millennia and a very few
tiny city states because they cannot defend themselves even if democracy did exist with climate and culture, that is all of world history. i like our chances. i think i would say we the people. 225 years ago, way better better, more perfect for the first time ever in the history of the planet, an entire continent got to vote. there we're bought the exclusions but we've good not exist as a democratic
country. i would say it is a hinge and then up project is begun. better than what we had before because we have gotten better. i am not a senate. so it this stunning. it is not just that we voted and a vote that could be lost and it was voted down north carolina, rhode island. the ohio vs. mcintyre you talk about free speech.
for its narragansett people could talk about it. they liked or did not like george washington. robust and wide-open and uninhibited discourse. the beginning of that some thoughts on free-speech at that moment? >> i know have a lot of company with my views on mcintyre but 225 years ago you have the articles of confederation, a congress that was not functioning.
[laughter] [applause] -- that was inadvertent. [laughter] you have an interesting convention not quite authorized but they were to do. it is interestingly worded. but you think of going to washington now vernon, he did not want to leave. he goes to philadelphia and they do it. and now you have it for the
people to ratify. i have to it meant i get chills because that is the beginning of the development that allows you and me to be here. it is the way i feel about my home town. has a lot of problems. but it is my home. just like the constitution. item no if i can do better. but it is ours. to get the of wonderful opportunity to make it work, to make it understand
maybe a part of the segment would be to celebrate would you have a constitution or the amendments if mason was more cynical we do have the jeht -- declaration of independence if jefferson was a cynic would you have a constitution just all of the negative stuff. i tell my law clerk that i have been in the city doing the jobs half of my natural life. the only reason is the ideals these are the things
you believe them. i know that is not use a washington d.c. use say there is an angle their the useless peripheral debates to do our jobs the best we can to make it all work. you say you have the text but also the and written part to make it work. that is not be. [laughter] >> with the declaration and the bill of rights why it is worthy of the day shower celebration and knowledge seeing who was not part of
the "we". they never had a democratic constitution may gain process. in 1776 as great as it was was, not put to a vote to. for us are against us and eight of the 13 states are lowered or eliminated compared to before then a year-long conversation people say there are problems and it is crowd source because of that conversation there is a
practice five times a uses the same phrase that people. because it comes from the people. i think is captain it -- connected to the atf to make sure they are not cynical but you have to keep them on board and part of the game maybe they win the next time. it is called the bill of rights. to keep it going see you can perfect it. >> i don't know if there are anti-federal list. maybe they did not believe the national government should not have been given
unfettered authority with protection i don't know if i would call them anti-federalist with those who certainly saw their god-given and rights and thought it would be intrusion would you have the bill of rights? i doubt it. >> of fierce believer of independence of thought not even an washington this with george mason critiquing. >> i ain't he was pretty stubborn. he did not undermine the
process to go back and look at the last-- he did not throw in a monkey wrench. >> he did not filibuster. >> he had his list of objections. he was not a politician he was not into may gain a lot of friends and allies but would argue the point* then return home. i happen to think that was effective. he was very helpful to develop the constitution with a strong national government to make it clear that it did not exist with
contradiction opposition to the individual rights. he was not an obstructionist but right the adamant that they exist. >> host: then to move forward in time, people will pose a declaration, you never hear from them again. those who opposed the constitution are not cast doubt but the president of united states. james monroe, justices on the supreme court. it is a story how they are
kept in the process. >> it continues to play out. what are the limits? people make it seem as though when you talk about limits it is to the existence. it is embedded in the national argument. not that you hear the comment they tried to push us back to the articles of confederation. that is unhealthy. that the very man helped to develop the constitution. so the debate if it is arguing if there should be and national bank it is the same limitations.
fast forward to today. from the beginning, that the debate exists and it has continued. not just over slavery but i am on the right side. wedding. [laughter] i have a personal interest. let some are still fighting and engaged in the debate even with the 13th, 14th , 15th amendment. with the limits of the national government? how do we protect individual rights and liberties? >> host: let's move forward in time with those
three amendments. i want to our audience to recognize this month is very special not just the 225th anniversary but we the people is also the 150th anniversary to the month of the initial emancipate share proclamation issued immediately after the battle of antietam september 17, 186275 years to the day after the constitution has gone public. is not just the anniversary but the sesquicentennial
that you'll also find in this building. to talk about our forbearers and thoughts about father abraham. and the thought of your new birth of freedom rewrite the book mentioning his grandmother was of three slave . >> for us in the south abraham lincoln was a great emancipate year. i am of big fan. i have photos of them i have
a problem clothing everything but he meant quite a lot to us and if you read the house divided speech you have the south with one way of life and the peculiar institution which is the single greatest in morality re-enter stand it is a contradiction of the founding premise. but for us the author of real liberty field order number 15. >> that was the actual order
that freed the slaves and the eastern part of coastal georgia and of course, my family was on it in thailand on a plantation a long coast for over 100 years it is just south of hilton head. the family would remain on the island even after the civil war. are hurricane drove them over to the mainland. there was always a desire that the promise went on for
years unfilled so you would hear people talk about the lack of freedom but it was filled the water 15 unaffected so to keep in my office a copy of field order number 15 and the "emancipation proclamation" provide mounted on my wall. that is my particular interest of what is it and for those who came before me. we're from a plantation south the savannah. my grandfather was raised
just across from the plantation where his grandfather and his great-grandfather bought land in the 1870's after he was freed. saying we would be raised in the ways of slavery time. but it was a way of life there has not been a moment in my life but nothing but the greatest pride for people growing up in the most difficult circumstances in this country. almost as though they humanity with the dignity with which the negatives and the harshness of life my
grandfather still reigns as the greatest person i know of or about. tell me% who could have accepted end not have a father or lose a mother and did to relatives with no education but segregation, and jim crow crow, rose above it. participate, but not be consumed or destroyed by it to. you could not get much greater than that. >> do think at a
>> do think at all with the culture that abraham lincoln gets his do? >> you said the house divided speech but that fell and the generation rebuilds it. has that claim to be the greatest generation do we give enough credit to that founding? >> you think of the great moments of our history certainly the constitution constitution, at 225 years but it is coming apart. the country is reshaped
after the civil war. if you teach and constitutional law, what would the the application or the bill of rights? >> so much that goes beyond the war. we pulled these little threads out from what we do every day. it is much bigger than that. people here argue before the court. and never once thought to they did that understand it was larger than we are. to preserve something that
is truly great. do we agree? nemours then the framers or hamilton. do we say they did not want it to work? no. we the people agree we should have a country. not to the plate to destroy it but we say that the perfect it. we are still here. abraham lincoln saw was happening. that we could not exist. it was not going to have been. he understood 1/2 to have a huge and it could not be the
slave country. i know you have your revisionist. i don't have time to pick that out of everything. wink and preserved the union. frederick douglass. i also have a picture of him since i was on the court. two decades ago. what courage it took for him as a freed slave to cite to the declaration of independence but the founding document he cited as exhibit a. he did not have to go to any of their ideology. how could you be inherently
equal and have slaves? he answers to that. we fought a great war and he says it is up to us. we are the living. we have the opportunity to make it work. i hear that you disagree with someone that is not the case. i don't take masons motives were bad. you could say he was it the dow were banned always upset but he contributed. washington and did not want
to go. maybe he wanted to make money. but he contributed. we should look at this more not like warring factions but people who was engaged but as lincoln left us we may disagree but to their number of members of the court i on this way, way think eight remember wants to make it work. they don't agree with each other but somehow they agreed this is more important to and we are. yes.
i am a link in person. of frederick douglass% and property washington%. i grew up loving these feeble and i will go to my grave. i want you to st. of a little black kid and you see pictures of the great emancipate. booker t. washington. frederick douglass. did you the be deployed. george washington. do see what i am saying? this is your life. and what you bring to the court? the sense not the ambition but obligation to fulfill
what they started. is it hard? sometimes. is it disagreeable? sometimes. is it the right thing? all the time. if we could get lincoln to come back and we could ask him how hard the civil war was and how hard to be president if he would say it was worth it. ask washington to come back and ask if it was worth leaving family to fight at valley forge he would say it was worth it. to leave and become president he will save is
to the proposition all men are created equal. you have thoughts about the declaration. it is in the rotunda so i'm blood and to invite you to tell us how you think of the declaration and its part of the american story. >> guest: you think you have these rights, doubts rights, doubts, and we give up some of those rights. 4b, it was not so much of the government but to what is the best argument against slavery? when you grow up under
segregation use the founding document as the point* to think segregation is right. finance ingrained it in us with our faith in god. they did not have to go to the bible but to the founding document. that is always something you carry with you. when you are treated badly. to say it affected your self-esteem. it did not affect my at no point* to in dade number one did we know that we were
equal. my grandfather said so and so did the declaration of independence. them may have taken jim crow laws but no matter how contradictory, it starts there. then again at eeoc. who knows how i became a judge. i was only interested with all the problems of the country, the same set made us worth having. then you come to the understanding the founding document is a wonderful thing. that was the mid 1980's worried more about the
budget and getting in trouble over age discrimination than a voyage was a great consequence but spent eight hour after hour with the things that you write about and speak so eloquently, for me, that such a document to go to gettysburg and of the carnage and the lives lost and a great battle at fredericksburg. talk about antietam, shiloh antietam, shiloh, all these battles for people defending
not have that battle they did their part. have we done hours? i was going to be a priest. but if you were called to do something every seminary looks for the next vocation for the call. to be able to earn the right to. >> host: you mention on the first page god come by the declaration of the dependents has a promise from the very beginning. in doubt by our creator with the most military language
appealing to the supreme judge of the world. not talking about robert. [laughter] as great as he is. [laughter] but to look at the constitution and the references are not so common. my student wrote to an excepting article sunday is used of the constitution. but so we heard they took conversations about her was references to god on 9/11. so the thought to of those
references in the national discourse and public cultures. >> we are kidding ourselves if we don't think it is essential part of our formation. to argue atheism now? of first amendment is congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion so stay out of it and leave people alone. we knew what their religions or. they believe that god. i will not revise history. i drop in a religious environment. i was proud of it. are i would be enormously
angry right now. [laughter] and to be unapologetic. >> it is remarkable to talk about how the "we" has changed also women becoming a part of the democratic inclusion. >> we drank to that. [laughter] >> that was repealed. but most have. it makes it more perfect. >> but it is less perfect. >> i don't drink. but i understand. [laughter] >> host: with religion is extraordinary. the constitution fees every
american to be eligible for public office. that was not the prominent feature of the state constitution many that had a religious test. >> in doing good to have the establishment religion. i and stand but the country moved on. i group added time people respected i remember the church was open all the time and nobody broken board gauged with the sacrilegious contact. i was the altar boy with my u.s. government surplus but beg and scared of dogs more than anything else i really like where i grew up i
cannot superimpose that want to the current day but our country is what it is. but there was nothing in front of me to say was okay to keep trying nothing that explained all of the wrong and hurt and anger and the things that happened. nothing to deal with. to make you a good person. so i know the smart alec. but to they did not walk in
i was a black catholic in savannah georgia. [laughter] now that is insular? what is it? so, but nobody bothered us. i was the only black kid in my school in 1965. and 64 there was another young man at the left so the next two years i was there by myself in savannah. nothing bothered me. i hear people say these things about their tolerance but they are really identifying a lot more. i kind of like the idea that you start. neither one of us is -- and nobody seems to care. nobody is pointing it out. we notice it, oh you look like you are of indian descent.
people say horrible things about it but i am not black. little doubt that i should say i am black. [laughter] that i mean here for your. no one really brings the point that. i think what you should be more concerned about is the query are in the ivy league. that seems to be him more relevant than what faith you are. even with that, we can nitpick but these are good people. these are people who i go back to what i said, they are continuing what was started 200 years ago, the debate about the great document. there are good people. i mean i sit next to justice ginsburg. how often do we agree? >> a lot actually. >> be duquette. [laughter]
>> and cases are unanimous. >> well, the unanimous cases and i agree with her on all of the unanimous -- unanimous cases. i like that. that was really a shrewd move. there is one category, and the unanimous cases. [laughter] but she is a good person. she is a fabulous judge. and we are friends. i think that is what you want. you want people who still believe in working together and try to get it right but don't change their mind just because they are there. just because it's sort of a fad. we want them to think. the same way at the convention. we the people, the ratification. i'm going to spend time going back to read them simply because
that was the time -- do you talk about people actually saying what people mean. people actually fighting, people actually caring, people writing articles, the federalist papers. people traveling, people having meetings at home and in their churches. oh we can't do that i guess the people meeting in town halls all over the country debating. people actually, and this is fascinating, people actually read the constitution. i mean that something. they claim to love it but do they actually read it? they read it back in and save were not his university available. there was no internet to read it on but they somehow printed it and read it in talked about it and the people who couldn't read had it read to them. and they formed opinions so i think yes, i think it was a
debate about this country, its formation, what direction and the protections and i think it continues. it's the same debate. you talk about the commerce clause. you talk about geek show protection and due process, substantive due process. it's all the same debate, and it is an appropriate debate. and it's one that i would wish what sort of tried to reach the same high level that we saw in philadelphia. and that we are going to see at other points in the ratification who writes like this sort of defenses and arguments that you see in the federalist? who sits at home and draft arguments and letters at you saw
mason. he didn't have a staff drafting. these were people who were engaged in the constitution and i also wanted to know these were not scholars. these were not people that appropriated to themselves the sole licensed to interpret or to talk about this great document. these were farmers. these were businessmen. some of them who had formal education and some who did not. that they cared about this country and i think we still have it today. and you know i think that again, go back to your book. you talk about the written and the unwritten constitution. wealthy and written constitution is really what we have, that sort of trying to apply it to a fence and cases and trials and develop it and that debate continues on each one of them. that is why you've see the
different points. that is why the arguments are -- that is why your scholarship is so important and you know one thing i like about the tone of your book is, it's so positive. it's refreshing you know, and it's not i have all the answers but here are some answers. let's talk about it. it isn't up here. i tell my clerks when we work on opinions, you have got to explain this. they are bright people but i don't think they are doctors. it is their constitution too and we should explain it anyway and interpreted in a way to make it accessible to them and that is what i think you are trying to do with your book, to make it accessible and open it up. >> on one concluding note, we have been talking a lot about the past 225 years, this would
have arc of ever greater inclusion and talked as much as we might have about women's suffrage but that it cores is huge. it's revolutionary moment of additional inclusion. the amendments of prohibition aside generally tend to expand liberty and equality and it's pretty striking that in general amendments do that and they don't take us back. now, here is a thought experiment because my understanding of an unwritten constitution might be the constitution still to be written, and unfinished constitution. we are not done, history is an over. amendments are imaginable over the next 225 years if we look back. >> i hope you aren't expecting
any -- [inaudible] >> just thinking about, because you and i spend a lot of our time thinking about 225 years ago, 150 years ago, 75 years ago if we turn that camera around and try to think forward, 75 years from now, 150 years, 225 years from now, any thoughts at all? these are going to, but immediately but just thought on the democratic project in america or the world going forward. >> you know, i am not that creative. you know i wonder when people look back as we are looking back now, will they say we added something? will they look at what we have written and understand that we actually thought about things or
are we just trying to score points here and there are? i would hope that we can say that we have made, at least they can say we made a positive contribution, as positive as you and i think of those who were at the convention, those who participated in the debate. they added something. you know, when we do opinions, i don't like to get into this back-and-forth with my colleagues. i like at the end of it to say this is what i think we should be looking at are the approach that we should be taking. that doesn't mean everybody should agree with me or they should change their mind. i just think what you are trying to do is think it through and tell them exactly what you think without rancor and without
personal attacks. there is enough of that. but just try to add something. i think we are obligated, you and me and as we talk about this great document we are obligated to try to improve it. we are obligated to disagree but anyway that is constructive and a the way that ad something. a way that is worthy of the constitution. we think it's a document and we are obligated -- though you have kids. you teach them and they talked about things in a certain way into each other in a certain way, to their parents in a certain way into your parents with respect as a great document. and i don't deny it, i really don't. i have lived the law. i say it in spite of that. it is to us, it's you and i.
but it is you and i. we are talking about it. i have a job. i started this month to go back to that job that we are called to do. you and i have an obligation to do it in a positive way that ad something and what i don't want is someone to say well, you know he was there but it was cynical or negative and he didn't think it through. notice i didn't say i wanted to say i agree with you. i could care less. that's not my point. my point is do you think it through and communicate in a play that adds to this development you are talking about? think about harlan and plessy. >> john marshall harlan. the great dissenter.
>> do we quote from the majority or the dissent? the dissent that one day, 60 years later, it was the dissent, so you write it in a way that contributes. did you say that he was the lone dissenter? >> the sole dissenter. >> and as i understand it if my recollection serves me -- which is kind of interesting but these are little tidbits as i think sometimes as my wife says that i get too caught up in all these little things because you read these cases over and over and over. just the eloquence of it. >> we have all our biases and blood, this document, this is what he says. this document knows no