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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  August 25, 2013 11:45pm-12:01am EDT

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the german market would have this kind of influence. the film houses the would be that general market could be influential of hitler not just enough market but having their representation in hollywood to the impact of the film's here in the united states and globally. that is a preview of the books of harvard university press this coming fall.
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>> you are watching book tv on c-span2. we are the bookexpo america publishers annual trade show in new york city. joining us now where is the well-known best-selling author who's written over 20 books, biographies on james monroe, patrick henry and his latest book called mr. president george washington and the making of the nation's highest office. what did you discover new about george washington and this biography? >> the constitution had executive power in a president of the united states, but it failed to disclose what those powers were to visit and it didn't even tell the president how to use them. it told them simply that he was to execute the office of the
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president. what does that mean? it means nothing today. it meant nothing then and that is what the framers wanted. they had lived for years under an absolute monarchies in indolent and under the tyranny of that malarkey and they were not about to recreate the rtc they created a figurehead in the first president of taking the oath of office was to be just that and george washington and penn the commander-in-chief of the revolutionary army army that defeated the world's most powerful army on earth and one the nation's independence. they adored him and they elected him by the unanimous vote the only president to be elected unanimously. so he took his oath of office
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and swore to preserve the to protect and defend the constitution of the united states even if it meant violating the law of the constitution. was the spirit? it was to form a more perfect union and to ensure domestic tranquility to provide for the common defense. to do that, he had to cease powers that were not under the constitution. and he seized the powers in seven areas. in my new book "mr. president." i call these the seven pillars of power which continue to hold up in the edifice of the presidency today. >> what was one of the first actions that george washington
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>> interestingly he took us to war. congress wasn't even in session. but they were considered a foreign nation. the indians in the west were attacking american settlers in the wilderness and he just wouldn't tolerate that. he told the general to raise an army and go to a war with the indians and that is exactly what he did. people said president nixon took us to work illegally in cambodia that george w. walsh took this to war illegally in iraq and they did that washington was first. and he said the precedents. he seized this power of the president to take us to war without the concern of conagra's and he felt it was a national interest and they had gone to
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war more than a dozen times in our history and they declared war in those conflicts. the president has taken us to a war buy unilaterally in violation of the constitution. but to defend what the president salles at that time as protecting our national interest. >> who were the leaders of congress at the time and how did they oppose this? >> they were opposed that they were out of session. they met in the two sessions about six weeks each session. most of the time the congress goes out of session. the leader in the house of representatives was james madison, who became the fourth president. but by the time they came back this was a fait accompli. we were already at war. similarly, washington had no money. congress passed the budget for
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having appropriate any money and no funds were due to come in. the president had to run the office and sent alexander hamilton, the treasury to the local banks to borrow money. he spent it without the authorization of congress. as a result they created the bank of the united states to which was the predecessor of the federal reserve that has the money from which the president can draw when the congress isn't there. the congress has to appropriate the funds and deposited them to see that they are deposited in the federal reserve and the president has to write to the tough -- the right to spend money when he feels like it and he does. >> is the discussion among the public about these actions and what was the reaction? >> yes and no. you must remember that time
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there were only about a dozen or two newspapers. by that time the news reached the public it was often months old and the public was scattered across the nation. 95% of the people were farmers and the mind of their own business and tended to their farms and tried to feed their own families. they were less concerned. the element of the public that was concerned were the people and a handful of cities, the five or six cities along the coast. the bankers of course were concerned. and these were the concerns of the people of america. it was a tiny minority. >> so, with all that said, did george washington plays and his relationship with congress for the next several years because of this action? >> no, it wasn't that he
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poisoned the atmosphere. he sees the power this was a fait accompli that the public was so behind washington. no one in congress could afford to have him. he was the only man -- jefferson said north and south are ready to fight each other. but if they have you to hang on, speaking to president washington, they will stay together. and his presence really was held the nation together. it was a dramatic period. everyone thinks the government is dysfunctional today. welcome to democracy, folks. if you want a smooth functioning
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government, get a dictator. so this had been going on since the beginning of time in this country and it's part of democracy where you have a huge country with a large number of different interests. the interests of wyoming are not the same of rhode island. the interest of north and south are different in the interest of the banks are different from the entrance of the homeowners. everybody has a different interest. the government is on the dysfunctional when you disagree with it. >> this has been going on since the beginning of our democracy. and as they say in my book, mr. president, george washington holds this together and sets the precedents that still created what some critics called the imperial presidency together today but nonetheless it is a
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presidential structure and it remains firm. >> did other presidents build on what george washington that? >> absolutely. the obama administration has been criticized for investigating the press and the press leaks. john adams asked congress for del law called the alien and sedition act and put 12 newspaper publishers in jail and one member of the house of representatives for criticizing the president, just criticizing the government. they were put in jail. none of the things that are happening in our democracy today is new. these things have been going on since the beginning of time and it's the price that we pay for living in a free society. everybody else is not going to agree with us. >> final question and a preview of the book what is the relationship between thomas jefferson and george washington
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like? >> very cold because jefferson was in those days called a jacoven and he believed that people should be freed and all the people should have a vote and should be free to vote as they wanted to. he thought the population was capable of delving into itself and washington did not. washington believed then only land owners being able to vote and he believed in law and order jefferson said the tree of liberty is water and tyrants and rebels. he believed in of people and fought it was a small price to pay. unlike washington, he was a constant hypocrite. he writes the words all men are created equal.
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so, what jefferson believes is not of a great interest to us historic because he was such a hypocrite in many ways. washington is really the founding principle to washington on the basic principle of the country today. >> that is a preview of the newest book coming out in october of 2013 quote, mr. president george washington and the making of the nation's highest office." you are watching book tv on c-span2.
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>> coming up next on booktv "after words" with guest host kenneth feinberg special master of the 11 compensation fund. this week urban anthropologist elizabeth greenspan and her book "battle for ground zero inside the political struggle" exposes
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the bitterness with which many different groups make a claim to real-estate considered sacred by so many. this program is about one hour. .. study of the various political, social, and other that went in to the final decisions


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