tv Book Discussion on Our Man in Charleston CSPAN September 26, 2015 6:00pm-7:01pm EDT
at costco. >> thank you. is this working? okay, good. it's great to be here at politics and prose which is really one of the great independent bookstores in the united states and i love independent bookstores. [applause] i was here once talking years ago and i never forgot it and i've been looking forward to coming back ever since. it's also great to be here and see so many old friends from the "washington post." i feel the post has turned out for me tonight and i appreciate
that. i'm going to tell you a little bit about the book and how i came to write it and then move as quickly as possible to questions and answers are or at least questions and attempted answers about the book and about the south and the confederate flag and all kinds of things like that. if you are not tired of talking about that already. where's that southern accent. i can hear creeping back in again. we will start the questions and answers before the talk. actually i was born in nashville tennessee and my father's family is from north georgia and from atlanta and my mother's family is from west tennessee around union city to and i went to elementary school in atlanta, and that my move to oregon when
i was about 11 years old. i did my best with my southern accent as quickly as i possibly could because everybody made fun of me for that southern accent. it's that kind of thing in the lunch line where somebody comes up to you and say, say something and you say what you want me to say and they crack up and you lose it. it does come back and if i go into a filling station in south carolina immediately i'm speaking with a southern accent. otherwise you get that, you wait from around here are you? [laughter] so 25 years ago i was reading a biography by a famous british explorer riches -- richard francis burton who visited the united states in 1860 and disappeared for several weeks somewhere between washington d.c. and new orleans.
i don't know what he was doing and i don't think anybody does thought i had a hunch that there might be a compelling story to be told about british spies in the american south on the eve of the american civil war and if you played with those elements fiction or nonfiction baby could sort of have john locke arabi the confederacy. it seemed like a good idea. this was a project i picked up and put down and picked up and put down. the one day that i said i'm just going to do nothing but work on this book was early in september of 2001. i close the doors, i turned off the tv and thank god the super the building came in and knocked on the door and said did you see the planes that just hit the world trade center? so that was the beginning of the period when i was not working on the book. americans changed as they develop them books evolve and so
does the history we live in. it took me about 15 years before i came across a private in palm palm -- british council robert bunch who was queen victoria's man in charleston south carolina around 1853 to 1863. he had been a footnote in countless books about the civil war. nobody had ever looked closely however at who he was and what he was doing. in fact all interpretations of what he was doing were almost completely wrong. indeed to this day and i just checked, there is not even a wikipedia entry for robert bunch actually there is one. it's in german. german wikipedia, why did they doing it? because the germans were methodical and they got them in there somehow. there's no english-language entry for robert bunch so far. eventually i was able to find a lot of his private
correspondence and i read through his dispatches and letters that were scattered and archive celebrate england. i realized he was a critical player in what amanda foreman has called the gray area where diplomacy and espionage meet and without him and his reporting great written might well back the secession of the slaveowning cotton growing south. this minor diplomat is incredibly duplicitous spy who is thought of by the slaveowners is a great friend and ally has helped mightily to defeat the confederacy and to determine the fate of these united states. so i knew i had my man in the book is no longer going to be a work of fiction. this was a history that might change the way we think about the civil war and growing up in the south i thought a lot about the civil war. but in the meantime a great deal of new history is being made.
the united states set out to occupy foreign lands, the far right movement claiming the name of the tea party developed a powerful following even as a black man who loves at the lincoln was elected to be president of the united states. and then just a month before this book was to be published news broke of a horrific massacre the menu while ame church in charleston and once again a furious debate began about the confederate battle flag and the civil war and what it is that we should or should not remember about all that. the coincidence was appalling but it wasn't completely surprising. one of the things i have learned over a quarter-century quarter century researching one little corner of american history while covering as a foreign correspondent the succession of american military actions abroad most of which have been forgotten is that the one war that never ends for many people
in the united states is a war between the states and one of the most important lessons i learned about that war is how badly we have failed to understand this most obvious lessons. needs to be remembered that the history of wars is largely a history of delusions, the streams of rapid victories based on simple strategies that lead to long nightmares of slaughter. the french write about what they call a pathology that takes over politics and the press and eventually a whole people discouraging all debate and dissension. costs are not calculated. benefits are fabricated. the rhetoric of glory disguises the grotesque realities of combat until armed confrontation not only seems inevitable, it is inevitable. i will leave it to you to ponder the problem with this today.
certainly the first lesson we should learn from the war between the states should be that it was based on delusions, which our -- which "our man in charleston" understood and reported on with uncanny accuracy. the reasons that the fighting began in 1861 and the reasons that it turned out as they did seem simple to me when i was young and enormously confiscated when i studied the conflict more closely. states rights yes and free trade, the insult of abolitionists the south loss of his dominance over the federal government and the economy's addiction to slavery all drove the southerners toward secession. amid the turmoil the extremists played off each other so effectively that the voice of the moderation the voices of the majority on each side were lost and to an amazing extent have remained obscure to many
americans ever since. and yet as counsel bunch saw a perfect way clearly because it was stated perfectly clearly by the powerful people he knew both privately and publicly and indeed was stated in the ordinance of secession for almost every one of the confederate states ultimately there was no question that the south seceded to defend slavery and the north went to war to stop secession. this is a simple concept. you can reduce it to 140 characters. the next time you see anybody or hear anybody say the war was not about slavery you can tweak that out. the south seceded to defend slavery in the north went to war to stop secession. that's what the civil war was about. there should be no debate about that today and yet there is, because people claim to delusions with greater faith and conviction than they devote to.
so let's not debate why it was the south seceded, why was the north went to war but here's an aspect of history that is not denied so much as it is ignored. let's understand when secession family seems inevitable the strategic notion that made it actually seemed possible was based on a single stunningly simple and stunningly wrong calculation. the secession is assumed that britain, the most powerful nation on earth, had no choice but to support the cotton growing confederacy with official recognition and support they came to a fight the secessionists believe the british would supply the money, the arms and enable power to guarantee the south separation from the union. they would sweep away what was it worst the paper blockade. they would all up but was in
fact a tiny federal army at the beginning of the war and that would be checkmate, game over. why would the british to that? why would the secessionists believe that? because raw cotton was the most important international commodity of the 19th century. we could say it was in 1950 when oil was to the 20th and 21st without it britain and france would shut down and hundreds of thousands of people would lose their jobs overnight. britain got 80% of its raw cotton from the slaveowning south. so the secessionists figured their britain really would have no choice but to back them. the confederate tail would wag the british bulldog. i think i will say that again. what they did not count on was that the british might hold their noses and accept the fact that slaves grew cotton for british mills but london, in
london could say that was an internal problem for the united states but there were limits. where the british judah line on this whole question of slave grown cotton was on the question of the slave trade with africa which republican politicians in britain and indeed in the united states had recognized for more than 50 years as essentially a holocaust in which successive reduce government's fight against relentlessly deploying navels godman suffolk coast of africa cuba and south america and eventually spending an estimated 2% of the gdp of great britain in the struggle to shut down the middle passage. what counsel bunch did in a secret dispatches was to take the rhetoric of the southern extremists and turn it against them. the fire-eaters as they were called argued that slavery was not a necessary evil in their world which was a popular view, but positive good for the
interior lack grace which got in fact had created to be enslaved and this being the case they said the slave trade with africa must be reopened it in fact how could he say it was a bad thing because that would be denying slavery was a good thing. bunch used that extensively. he reported on it in enormous detail. it also escaped nobody's noticed that the south was running low on slave labor and the price of slaves and risen astronomically. when the things that people don't understand was there was this bubble market in humans before the civil war. to keep expanding its cotton growing economy the south needed more land and they could conquer that. it was a big part of what manifest destiny was about. that's what texas and the war with mexico is about and that was what the efforts to take over central america and cuba
were about. but once it conquered the land it would need more slaves to work the land. the land wouldn't work that much unless you could open it up and grow within the cottonwood eat it up and you would move on. a great thing about slaves is that there were portable. as you expanded west you could keep taking your labor force with you. they didn't have to think about it. they didn't get a chance to think about it. so all of this played into bunches -- and so convincing was he that with his arguments the southern states would have no choice but to reopen the slave trade even when the confederate constitution bandit officially in 1851 the british envoy to washington broke back to the foreign office saying don't pay any attention to that. that's just something they are saying for now and they will change course immediately when they are in attendance at that
happens. every time that the crown came close to backing the confederacy and there were those times certainly in 1861 and 1862 the question of the slave trade came up and every time the south gave the wrong answer to the british cabinet. so what was it that drove lunch to do all this? ultimately although he was no master spy would have to say and some key respects he was a little like george smiley. he was at rational representing the interests of his government as best he could, a provost job involved i love this phrase excursions into the mystery of human behavior disciplined by the practical application of its own deductions. which i think some of my colleagues from the washington post will find similar to the job. thanks to our man in charleston
united states remained united even if in the minds of some the war between the states goes on. [applause] now questions and answers. oh come on, please. yes. >> actually i have two questions for you. the first one is a simple fact. i grew up in trust and i was curious if you know where he was living when he was in charleston. c he started out on -- which tragically then it's not such a tragedy now but it's a couple of doors away. and then he moved to -- and he was just two blocks. c largely south the bronx. >> area much.
>> my real question is in south carolina and the revolutionary war we basically said the war was very ugly. a lot of hard feelings. there were a was lost and a lot of the independent were in charleston. so i can see why there are economic reasons to potentially cooperate on both sides but did those old hard feelings still influence some of those politics between the confederacy and britain? >> actually it was kind of confused in charleston as a result of those emotions. some correspondents in fact that he's sending back are saying they have made me the head of the society and they are doing all of this and in fact it was this whole thing going on in 1860 or 61 where the secessionists were saying to the
british we really would like to be part of the empire again. maybe we could answer to the clean again. maybe this is really our destiny because after all we are aristocrats and what we want to do. at the same time he would know that they were celebrating of actuation day which was the day that the british pulled out of charleston. they were mixed messages not only in the same community but from the same people. >> you mentioned he you mentioned he said son many dispatchers to report to london etc. so sometimes washington apparently otherwise some british ships. apparently he was some kind of code because i find it very odd that the messages were not intercepted and read. how did he get away with that? >> some of the more but not the ones i would have revealed what he was doing.
in fact he was at the center of the huge diplomatic incident in 1861 because seward had spies everywhere and was doing his damnedest to intercept all the correspondence he could but he we thank was not opening diplomatic -- but what happened was bunch in order to get his correspondence out after the war had begun often had to employ carriers who were kind of hit-and-miss. a lot of them were naturalized americans who would come to britain and one of them got caught by seward's people and one of them had a note saying that bunch had been involved with an effort to talk to confederate government about observing british neutrality. sewer demanded that bunch be removed from his office in the british refused to do it because they knew, they knew what bunch had been reporting and where his actual analysis was and where
his loyalties were. and they refuse to take them out but they wouldn't tell seward that. because of its infusion they created an enormous amount of tension or what is called the trent affair where the british and the americans almost went to war. all that happened within the space of about three months. >> he used to code. a lot of the letters, not a lot but quite a few of the letters that i got word and code and i fear that it was a one time tax. in fact there is uncoated correspondence where he keeps telling lord lions for them since it was the british minister to washington, you know i think i'm going to master this code thing. i'm doing a best on it but it's so time consuming and he would
break out of code frequently so there are some letters that her little bed in code in a little bit handwritten. and then there are couple in the collection of correspondence that it's not a one time pad my devout cryptographers to veto. the code is like this and the d. code is written across it. >> thank you for this and i come to all of this from a different perspective than those people who were enslaved. so i certainly take the whole issue of slavery, its causes, its ramifications, the way in which we see it still reflected in certainly in charleston very seriously. i'm sure you are probably aware that rahm emanuel was a founder of that church and i'm glad that
you mentioned him several times in your book. i'm curious as to when you were last in charleston, the time you spent there and what your thoughts are about contemporary charleston and if you have seen the statue that is now in hampden park? at the magnificat statue. santa last summers in charleston was emanuel ame. i haven't been back there since and i'm looking forward to going there in a couple of weeks as a matter of fact. i only talk about my book blitz to get a better sense for the way things are. i have a lot of friends in charleston who have been talking to me about the situation down there. and of course my father lived in south carolina and carolina for 25 years. i was horrified obviously by what happened but gratified by
the reaction to it finally by the powers that be in state government. nikki haley comes out and says we have got to take that flag down. that's good if you have republicans state senator. >> saying it's time for it to come down and i think that's good and the debate is good. it's good for people to remember that the battle flag of the army of northern virginia is a the flag was blown bye bye robert e. lee and he rolled it up when he surrendered and he put it away. it wasn't flying over washington college when he was the president there. it started flying again as a response to the civil rights movement in the 1950s. that's what that flag represents. when i was going to school in atlanta most of the state flags
of georgia where the battle flag of northern virginia and of course it was flying over the state state capitol for full-tiy father was teaching at the university of south carolina. i'm glad that people are finally looking at that issue more or less in the face although there have been 100 plus pro-confederate flag rallies. i don't know how big, scattered around the south. >> and there will continue to be but i don't want any of us to forget or under ms. -- underestimate the power the families of the emanuel nine and their unbelievable acts of forgiveness. >> and christianity. >> christianity absolutely. >> thank you. you all are going to have to
fight it out there. >> i've been noting that the texas state board covering textbooks has been recently considering history books of slavery and i'm curious whether you have had any opportunity to talk about your book in taxes. >> not yet. >> communications to those people what you might recommend to those trying to get a broader view of history. >> that would recommend that every grade. [laughter] buy this book. but i don't think that's going to happen. texas is still one of those places where politicians stand up and talk about secession. what are they thinking? or are they thinking? >> two questions.
the first and the smallest is if it's made into a movie who would you like to play bunched? >> i don't know. i haven't really given it any thought. >> the second question is when he decided this was a person of interest where did you start your research and what primary resources did you discover? >> i've focused on bunch when i was doing this research and i was going through the consular dispatches at the british national archives which is a great place to work. if any of you haven't been to cuba you should go. it's terribly well organized and this with a 19th century diplomatic correspondence they were bringing out the original correspondence read so they would bring about annika and photograph it. you can take a visual camera and
photograph all of it. i would go to the queue and get what i wanted to bring it out and photographed hundreds of pages a day and i could look at everything on my computer when i was working on the book. but that consular correspondence a lot of it has been looked at for maybe a half a dozen books and papers over the years. what hadn't been looked at his bunch is correspondence dating back to 1853 with the various ministers here in washington. and that was scattered all over the place. at oxford in the library you can find his correspondence. john crampton was bashar say and a minister up until 1856.
and then his correspondence with other ministers was that the norfolk records office in norfolk england. as it happened the biggest trove and i would absolutely recommend that you get them to let you win and go there it's the most unusual research experience i have ever had. the biggest trove is that aaron delk hastle in west sussex which is the duke of norfolk's estate, was and still is. it's an enormous castle. if you ever saw the movie young victoria it doubled as winter palace in young victorino. the archives are kept in the archive tower. you go in for security and you go up the archive tower and they have a table covered with green cloth and use it there and you look through his correspondence
with lord lions. it's just fantastic stuff but it's also kind of a funny and funky place to be. you are through leaded glass out of the west sussex countryside and there are these leaning against the wall at or the young victoria posters that they had gotten. it was a great place and that was really the motherload in terms of really refining history of bunch. >> he was primarily due of the diplomatic dispatches? >> his personal correspondence with the british ministers was very witty. it doesn't hold anything back in the personal correspondence.
he says sometimes outrageous things but usually true. >> both parties is the same, and, like the bible. >> or in this case i think it would be a random symbols. in this case it would be random symbols. the code or a lot of the code was in greek letters but not all of it so the one time pad is actually a pad that is given out to two parties or multiple parties and then there is a way of figuring out the correspondence of the letters but if it's a one-time pad it's almost impossible to decrypt i'm told. >> it was originally created as an original from both parties? >> there are is this
correspondence were especially especially -- they started using encryption in the correspondence that i read in 1869 around the time of the john brown affair where it looked like everything was going to go to hell in a handbasket. the ones that are decrypted are talking about troop deployments in south carolina as a result of suspected slave uprisings and things like that. you sort of have to guess what these things are when it's not decrypted. >> a local note you mentioned the track affair. one of the people who was arrested in that on the high seas i believe was william corcoran's son-in-law of former congressman from louisiana who was serving as secretary to the tube diplomats.
where i'm going and i hope you can respond is corcoran who funded the corcoran gallery here and has been amazing and also founded oak hill cemetery and the national arboretum and a few other things made his money selling u.s. government bonds in britain to finance the mexican war in the 18 50's. did you come across him and your research? >> i didn't really. there references and the track affair and the whole arrest of slidell and mason but i didn't get into any details about what he was doing but he sounds like another guy to follow. is there a wikipedia entry about? >> there are some wikipedia on him and he was an interesting and very benevolent guy in lots of ways. he founded a home, the louise
home which is now the louise hunt something, something, something. he was a good guy except he believes strenuously and states rights. >> said he believed in slavery and might have owned a few. >> know he had, believe he had freed his own slaves and washington in d.c. in the 1840s. >> we will have to look that up. on wikipedia may be. >> i think he said bunch left charleston in 1863. why did he leave and how did he get out? >> he left on a british warship because what the british were able to move their warships in
and out of charleston through most of the conflict and certainly through a early 1863 he left because it looked like the siege of charleston was about to begin in earnest in early 1863. in fact charleston never fell but at the time the thinking was yet actually lost his exit quarter which is the accreditation given by the federal government at the end of 1861 but the british just would not remove him. they were afraid however in 1863 when the federal forces moved in he would be in an ambiguous and dangerous position so they took him out. >> that the british government have any other diplomatic representatives in the south during the civil war and if so
what was their role and what were their relationships with your subject? >> while the british had 14 councils in the united states in 1860 but only two of them were paid professionals. the west -- the rest were more or less what they call honorary consuls although they did report in official correspondence. for instance molinelli in savannah is a big slaveowner and was a very rich man, married an heiress and was a very unreliable reporter. others were just desperate to get out. the ones who were more or less british citizens from britain. there was one in mobile alabama that seemed never to them in mobile alabama. he just couldn't stand it but there was another one who i
think probably we don't know enough about how he was paid to william muir in new orleans was quite good. he was a little bit more sympathetic to the south in his official correspondence then lunch was but his correspondence by and large was pretty straight there was one in richmond who was also okay but again he was almost an honorary consul and earlier there had been a best-selling british novelist but bunch was a professional and the other professional was archibald who was the consul in new york city. archibald was running a whole spy network in cuba at the same time. one of the things that i discovered and i should have said this earlier, one of the things i discovered when i was at the national archives was there are two sets of diplomatic
sanctions of all these consoles. one is a sad having to do with more or less conventional political and especially economic issues, customs barriers and things like that and the particular issues on the ground in the various ports they were in. the other set of correspondence is the slave. matt correspondence. the british were obsessed with the slave trade and in fact in 1860 the single biggest was the slave trade. they were tracking it everywhere on the globe and bunch is almost evenly divided between the slave. matt correspondence and the conventional consular correspondence. >> in the slave trade correspondence he referred to
what would they talk about? >> one of the things you have to know is that i think most people don't know is that the slave trade was outlawed by great britain and the united states in 1807. great britain emancipated its own slaves in the caribbean and elsewhere in 1833 and the southern united states obviously did not. but the slave trade one on to brazil until 1850 and two cuba until after the american civil war. and the slave trade to cuba was huge because the slave trade two cuba was a little bit different than the slave trade in the united states. growing cotton was one thing and sugar something else. sugar sugars that deadly crop for the people who work in that cane brakes and what the cuban economy depended on was the importation of africans that could be bought for 50 or $100
apiece and they would be worked to death and then replaced with cheap african labor again. now that is horrible but what is really horrible is almost all of that trade in the 18 50's was taking place under the stars and stripes, the american flag and the reason for that was that going back to the war of 1812 and the four the americans said the british could not search american flagged vessels and the americans refuse to sign any treaty of mutual search for suspects flavors. what happened was the would go out and they would pick up their cargo and if they saw a british vessel approaching they would run up the stars and stripes and refuse to be searched. because the americans theoretically were on the same side as the british in this
issue there was an american squadron as well off the coast of africa but they spent most of his time not capturing but interfering with the british capturing them. you offset remembered and this is something people forget the federal government was controlled by the south. that was what the south didn't want to lose. that's why they were was so much anger and paranoia and fear in the south in the 18 50's is because they saw they were going to lose control of the senate so one of the things they wanted to do was take over cuba because cuba would have given them two more states and for more senators to back the slaveholding cause. all of that was a loss in american history. people don't know this. it's not a secret come is just the people don't know it. if you know what it starts tell you a hell of a lot of things. certainly why the cubans feel they way they do about a lot of issues. it tells you how corrupt the
north was as well as the south and how much it was implicated in the horrors of the slave trade. if you look and i'm sure they have books on the slave trade here they are almost all going to be about slave trade in the early 18th century but the slave trade in the middle of the 19th century was every bit as horrible as the slave trade at any point. there were examples of people starting to reopen the slave trade with africa. the flotillas and other boats of the british were reporting on with pickup 400, 500, 600 slaves and lose 150, 250 regis throw them overboard when they got sick. or died and a lot of them did as they were to cramond and as one american naval officer who was involved in the short-lived
effort to stop the slave trade to cuba said, this is one of the ships after it stopped come he said there wasn't enough space to die in. and this is what the secessionists wanted to reopen. this is what they were arguing was good. and there's a chapter in the book were a ship called the echo or putnam was brought into charleston harbor and it stank. one of the characteristics of slave trade ships was that they were putrid and people could smell it. they took -- they didn't see the people unless they went to the unfinished fort sumter in 1858 where they took the slaves off the ship and put them in fort sumter andy reid to charleston mercury which was a big proslavery pro-secession organ and assess they were happy and
well fed, dancing. you read the dispatches of the men who took care of them, the sheriff would take care of them who was a pro-secession pro-slave trade guy and he said he describes the people so weak that they couldn't get over medals is high to get into the fort. they would have to sit down and swing their legs over, died one after another after another and even when they were put on the best american warship at that time in niagara and taken back to africa and back to liberia they continue to die at the rate of several a day. so when anybody tells you that it's not about slavery oh hell yeah it was all about slavery. [applause]
>> i was a great notes and on. >> i thought so. >> figures like bunch the unexpected heroes because they seized the moment somehow are really fascinating and i wonder if you have any thoughts about why bunch did this but also what causes somebody to act that way at that moment? >> well one of the fun things, that's the word, but writing a book like this for actually writing an e-book fiction or non-fiction its issa process of discovery but when things come together and nonfiction, it's
telling you stuff that you would never have known or would not have been smart enough to write about in fiction. the thing about bunch is that he is not a heroic character. what he did was heroic but he is not heroic. he's going down to south carolina in a teen 53 and he's going there because he thinks he's going to advance his career. he set console and he's tired of writing about ships coming in and out of ports and he wants the political question. there was a political question than which was called the niekro seeman act which came after denmark who in 1822 was accused of plotting a rebellion and horrific stories came out from the torture of us and other people and still people are trying to parse the truth from the fiction. it was a horror story that lingered with everybody. bessie was brought by his master
from the caribbean and he had won the lottery and bought his freedom before he came -- became a preacher in this prominent figure in the black community in charleston. so the lesson for white charleston onions was we don't want any free people coming from the caribbean and so what they would do is have a british boat landed with even a black stevedore on it he had to be thrown in jail and held there until the ship left. if the bond was not paid he would just sort of disappeared into the world of the slave trade, the domestic slave trade in south carolina. so that was the issue that bunch seized on it he thought he could make little headway and he negotiated with the governor and he did all of that and eventually he got that law modified.
but he was a careerist. that is what he started out to do but from his earliest days actually there with his wife and with his child he seen his correspondence this absolute repulsion not just of the institution of slavery but the way the people around him talk about it, the way they talk about beating their slaves. there is one incredible revealing dispatch had it been there for two months. he talked about a conversation with a lawyer who lived next door to him who said that he personally beat his own slaves both the men and the women after making them undress and telling them they were lucky to be touched by him. he gives you a feel for the atmosphere. so bunch basically said you know i just can't accept this but he was a member of the jockey club.
he would go to all the dinners and everybody thought he was their best friend and attack the charleston mercury when he sailed out on the warship in 1863 said he it must be being removed because he was too sympathetic to the south. >> wasn't there a mutiny of slaves aboard a ship. >> that was much earlier. >> remind us what occurred there. >> while there was a really good movie about it but what happened on the thomas dad if i could remember exactly because it was about 20 years and it didn't involve my people directly. so i didn't follow this closely as others but one of the great stories of the mutiny was that i
can tell you about was the same ship that -- the echo eventually was taken by the confederates when the war began and became a privateer and its seized a ship down in off the coast of south america that had several black crewmembers including the cook who was black. ship was being taken back to charleston as the price of war by the privateer and the cook killed the crew and sailed to new york instead. [laughter] and he became a great hero and in fact was on the slave at pt barnum circus as a great hero. you can read at grade account of this by harper lee in 1861. there were mutinies and they
were slave mutinies. but specifically about this amistad i'm not the person to tell you about that. >> thank you. >> thank you. i was involved a lot in civil rights. >> i thought you're on to say the civil war. >> i worked with a lot of young people. >> i'm glad i'm holding my own. the lamp of charleston took me back 50 years with the way people acted and what made the civil rights movement so incredibly powerful. when you talk about charleston, japan movement was there? i should know this. after the mexican war how much of a movement was there to take over parts? i remember we didn't do it. >> we did a lot of it.
>> we took all the empty land. there was a lot of back-and-forth and i was wondering did mexico have slaves >> now. >> it would not if they get in the way cuba did. >> not the way cuba did at that point but the idea of a lot of the southerners was to expand into mexico and take slaves there. you needed to bring them to africa and there was also an effort in the famous william walker expedition in nicaragua to, so all of that was going on. in fact i was talking to -- who is interested in a lot of the same issues. they're three of us in the world
and it was interesting that the emperor of france when he took over mexico he was actually convinced by slidell one of the guys that the south would act as a buffer state between imperial mexico and the union government of the north. in fact the reporting from the french consul in the british consul said that's not true. they want mexico for themselves. you have to remember that cotton burn down the landed nisa death. >> i want to take all your time but i lift in austin for a while and one thing people may or may not be aware of is part of the reasons americans were able to take over texas was because the indians essentially stopped the mexicans and stop the spanish from going into el paso and when they went north they wipe them out.
this is the comanche in the kiowa but there were only -- and all of texas. only 2000 and california and part of the reason americans took over as they kept pouring in. they were like the english in australia showing up with a slaves and the cattle. americans get pouring in. >> ambition was to take all of mexico. the other thing that was going on and not to go on and on about this but the other thing that was going on is the gold rush had began in 1839 and then suddenly there was a -- for americans to get to california likely because of the comanche it was hard to go across, and the sioux it was hard to go across the continental united states of everyone was looking
for a quick break -- a quick way through the isthmus and one-way was the isthmus and another way was pure nickel wacha -- nicaragua. that hugely increase the value of central america as well as northern mexico. so there you go. [applause] >> chris will be appear gladly signing. please remember to fold up their chairs. [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
>> this is a reporter stream. on one hand you have the international federation of robotics who argues the deployment of robotics technology is the biggest job in history and you have people like the computer scientists who say no human jobs at all and he says computers will be able to -- robots and computers will be able to do everything that humans do by 2045. well who is right? i have read the literature now for a long time and it's all over the map and i'm convinced that the things that will actually make this happen one way or another, let me give you
one example because so many books point to this. my point is that it's extremely nuanced and two examples actually to get at this. one is that through the books and i won't name the books site the instagram versus kodak and the implication is 13 programmers had to waste 140,000 workers at kodak with digital photography versus chemical photography. if we pick that apart the person realizes instagram didn't kill kodak. kodak put a gun to a self-imposed the trigger many times in the proof is that is foody made it across just fine. obviously something else happened so the next thing you look at his instagram did not come into existence until the internet happened. the best number i can come up
with is 2.5 million jobs. and many of them great jobs engineering and technical jobs. i mean it's just a much more complicated subject and one more story to that point. i am part of the problem. it was my reporting in 2010 about this next wave of technology reporting on the fact that 355-dollar in our paralegals and 40-dollar an hour attorneys would be replaced by discovery software which is one of the things that kicked off this frenzy. at one point they be a year or two ago i was having this discussion with an economist and i was basically, my hair was on fire about the impact of robotics on china and of course the swirl of our manufacturing was going. the economist says you don't get it. in china the robots are coming to the time and i said excuse
me? he pointed out to me that china is a very rapidly aging economy. their workforces going to be shrinking. the chinese are going to need robots in their workforce and they are going to need robots in elder care. if you look at china and if you go to japan my god "the new york times" had this amazing article about ghost towns. japanese society is imploding on itself and shrinking rapidly. in korea at the same thing is true. look at europe which is also aging very rapidly. the irony is the u.s.'s an exception because we had immigration and we are somewhat insulated from that. >> donald trump or are you? [laughter] >> spending a billion dollars to develop a novacare robot and if you look at the dark outtakes of those robots you don't want those robots anywhere near grandma. we have got a lot of work to do. it's just a super complex and
fascinating. so the people who are worried about this problem how do explain that right now and america more people are working than ever before in history x-1 hundred and 40 million people and people say wait labor force participation is declining and you start to pick that apart and yes you are right labor force is declining but if you read the mainstream economist technology is a small part of that there are kinds of other factors. once again it's a very good question. next doug casey sits down with booktv talk about politics and economics term freedom fest and annual libertarian conference.