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tv   Book Discussion on Madisons Hand  CSPAN  January 16, 2016 2:32pm-3:35pm EST

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planted in the minds and hearts of people. you take south africa after apartheid, the first three election, millions of people were voting who never were given enough education at all. no fault of theirs but they were denied -- how would you so get them into the mode of thinking about what constitutions are or what constitutional government is. so, one reason i appreciate what this national constitution center is doing, because it is doing the hard work in america of reminding each generation that it takes constitutional culture, civic education, generally shared notion of constitutional values to make constitutions more than simple play scrap of paper. so i think that's very valid. i think that's one reason magna carta has survived as part of our sense of constitutionalism, is that in the anglo-american world, these ideas have, i think, taken root. as you move to other cultural systems -- and you know what i'm
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talking about if nowol the news -- other parts of the world where political leaders will insist that the values we take for granted, they say that's culture imperialism. that's your system but we don't live that way. well, it's not clear that those leaders have always consulted their own people about how they feel about those pronouncements from the top. so thank you for that question. are we out of time? okay. thank you so much. i appreciate it. thank you. [applause] [inaudible conversations]
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>> next up from the bill of rights day festival. mary sarah bilder talks about james madison's note on the 1787 constitutional convention. >> well, good morning. i'm mike earhart, the scholar in residence at the national constitution center. a great privilege for me to do that. normally teach at unc chapel hill, which is not that far, at least by airplane, and it's terrific to be here today with mary bilder to talk about her terrific new book, which is called "madison's hand." revising the constitutional convention. so i'm going to talk to mary for roughly an hour, but you'll also have the chance to write down questions. there will be people coming through, giving you the chance to jot down some questions on
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index cards. just as also built of -- little bit of background, mary is a professor of law and distinguished scholar at boston -- sorry, also mic'd, which hopefully is going to carry throughout the room -- but we are here today with mary sara bilder, whose book is "madison's hand: revising the constitutional convention." mary is a professor of law and distinguished scholar at boston college law school, where she teaches property, trust and estates, and american legal and constitutional history. and in case you missed it, i am mike gearhart, scholar in residence here at the ncc and also constitutional law professor at unc. but back to mary, which is much more important. mary is also -- has also been a visiting professor at both columbia and harvard law school
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and a member of a number of distinguished places, including the american law institute, and a fellow of the american bar foundation, and her 2004 book, the transatlantic constitution, colonial legal culture and empire, was awarded an award from the american historical association. expect great things for the next book, which we'll talk about now as well, which is a remarkable study of madison's relationship with his notes. now, that may seem a little dull but i can tell you it's not. because they are one of the primary ways we understand the american constitution. mary, why do people think of madison as the father or the snugs. >> so james madison outlived everybody else and if you live the longest you get the last word. that historian drew mckoy called
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him last of the fathers in another wonderful book on madison, and by the time he was -- he died when he was 85 years old,, and as he got older he started to keep track of what was left from the convention. young men used to visit him and ask him about the convention, and he -- they'd ask him could you pressure your notes, and he said issue don't know, let me think about it. people would write him, we think you're the last one. he is like, no, this person is still there. this person is still alive so by the end of his life he really was the only remaining person who had participated in the philadelphia convention that wrote the constitution, and because of that, sought of outliving everybody, he got to be the most important, and also he left this remarkable set of notes. it's the only sustained account of what happened at the convention that wrote the
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constitution. so he sort of doubly important. >> yes so madison is a very competitive fellow, as we'll discover in a minute, and turns out to be quite a constitutionally significant way. so, how does it come about that he was taking those notes? >> so, let me backtrack. people might think like, notes, whatever. the notes are held by the library of congress and they're considered a top treasure of the american people. they're probably one of the most important manuscripts held by the library of congress, and the book argues that he took those notes originally as a diary. he was particularly interested in keeping track of the proceedings for thomas jefferson. we tend to sometimes think that thomas jefferson was at philadelphia, but he wasn't. he was in france, and he missed the whole thing. like a big party and he thought the party was in europe, but the party was back in the united states, and he actually doesn't come back until after the
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constitution is ratified. so, madison, i argue in my book, took the notes for himself but also very much so that he could share with thomas jefferson upon jefferson's return, or in letters, what hat happened that summer. >> yes. in fact the notes sometimes are given an authoritative status in the construction of the united states constitution, which we're looking at, whether or not they either have that status or, more importantly, what that status might actually allow for, or mean. how did you discover that madison revised his notes? >> so, every -- there's hundreds and how much books written about the constitutional convention, and every single one of them tells the story that madison tells in his notes because it was the only version of what happened that makes it seem like an exciting drama and a play, and it's the only account we
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have. and when i began to write this book -- i have little kids and thought i'd write -- my first book took a lot of research, so my second book i thought i would just sit in my office and read the notes and tell the story of madison's version in the notes, and i became very interested in what the notes probably looked like on the day he finished writing them in 1787 because when the notes were finally published by dolly madison she mention that it were revised. everyone has known they were revised. i was interested, what did they look like on the day he left the con sentence is a went back to try to reconstruct that, more and more mysteries began to be apparent that the manuscript that we had taken as having been written that entire summer, probably hadn't been written the entire summer. so the book argues that madison actually never finished the manuscript that summer but finished it somewhat later.
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>> it's almost like a detective story because we discovered the notes weren't just revised but may well have been revised with a very important purpose in mind. and to take us back a little bit more towards the beginning, in what capacity did madison come to the constitutional convention? >> madison was -- when he went to the constitutional convention and we think of him as famous. this is the picture my publishers put on the cover. a very nice -- a beautiful picture of madison, the picture i wanted but they were right -- i wanted the picture in the middle of the book. probably can't see it. but he looks like a kid. he looks 14 years old, and he wasn't. he was -- this is a couple years before the convention, and i thought that was a great picture. actually a beautiful portrait of him, but he was very -- quite young. in this mid-30s.
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looked even younger. he actually wasn't famous yet. he was -- he wanted to be famous and thought he was really smart, but when he showed up at the convention, there were people like benjamin franklin, george washington, other people who had already made their reputations, and so part of the story that i tell in the book is about a different madison than we sometimes think we know. a madison who is in some ways trying to figure out who is he? and trying to persuade everybody to agree with what he thinks is the right new foundation for the country. >> also part of the virginia delegation, which you might want us to about. turns tout be a very significant delegation there at the convention. >> so madison goes -- the constitutional convention was actually the second effort to write a national constitution. madison had been very involved in an effort the previous year at annapolis that failed because not all the states had shown up.
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the virginians persuade congress to authorize a second convention, the convention we know as the philadelphia convention, and the virginians were the major movers and they get to philadelphia early, they had decided to hold the second convention in philadelphia because that meant that the people who they thought were the other really important players, the pennsylvania delegation could just roll out of their houses in the morning and wouldn't be late. that would be a good idea. and so the virginians put together a very important delegation that includessed edmond randolph and george washington and though go to philadelphia and everybody's is late. so they spend a lot of time figuring out what plan they should advance. from the beginning of the convention, the virginians present a plan, and if you -- i'm a lawyer and if you do any kind of lawyering, you know that one of the most personality things is to sort of -- the most
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important things toils get your plan as the foundation and then everybody elves is arguing against your plan. that's what the virginians are able to do. then they sit around and wait and wait and wait, and madison's extremely aggravated that nobody else is on time for the convention. so the convention starts over a week late while they're waiting for enough other delegations to begin, and when he takes his notes the first day, he writes, the date the convention was supposed to start and says, it doesn't start 'til -- and then on the next line he finally writes: may 25, when enough people finally showed up in town to begin. so he is part of the important virginia delegation that writes the very first plan, draft, for our new discussion. >> d new constitution. >> was the the report ore was there a reporter. >> there was a reporter, william jackson, who kept an official record of the convention, and the national archives holds that record today and that's the official record that was kept,
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but the way you were supposed to write an official report was you just wrote down the motions and the vote. you didn't write down what everybody said. no one at this time thought that you ought to have a verbatim record, and so a number of members of the convention took notes themselves during the convention, and madison took extensive notes and then wrote them up twice a week and that's the manuscript we have today. >> the notes he took turn out to be not necessarily the notes we've got. >> right. >> so, how extensive are the notes he took during the convention and then what did he end up doing with those notes? >> so, i teach -- when you teach, your students transcribe everything. they type super fast. madison was writing with a quill pen and didn't know short hand.
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in fact the kind of shorthand tom people took wouldn't have been able to keep up with the speaker. so madison took a set of rough notes during the convention itself, using abbreviations, and then on wednesday night, when he wrote his correspondence and on sunday he turned the notes into a more finished project. and anybody else who tries to figure out notes a couple of days later knows you have to do some creative interpretation. so, even as madison took the record we now have we was obviously figuring out what he meant and he also knew what health writing only twice a week. so he -- his notes reflect often what happened. one thing that was really fun in writing this book was, once it became vowels he was writing twice a week, it solved a major mystery. people who speak on saturdays in
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madison's notes always give great speeches, and people said, wow, the saturday speeches were great. one of the best saturday speeches were great there was no convention held on sunday so he had a whole day to write notes um just from the day before, and so it's not surprising that if you looked at the notes, the saturday speeches are dominant. >> of course the people giving the speeches are talking at the convention know madison is taking notes but don't necessarily realize that the notes he is taking will take on an iconic status. >> right. and many of them were taking notes also. we have a lot of different notes from the convention he want the only note-taker. >> some of the folks talking at the convention may have -- if they'd known better would realize that somebody that didn't necessarily respect them or agree with them would end up
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with the authoritative notes, madison is transcribing. hamilton and pinckney. >> so, madison's notes -- historians and law professors and judges have tended to think when madison took notes he was taking them the way we would think a report we're take notes, but he wasn't hitch was taking them for himself and thomas jefferson. so he focused on people who were either allies of the virginians or were his arch enemies, or were people who said things he thought were interesting. and there's a lot of people who don't ever show up in madison notes and who knows. they might have said things but madison didn't write them down. a couple of people loom very large in the notes. madison was fascinated by alexander hamilton, and so alexander hamilton wasn't there for the entire convention, but
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his speeches loom very large. madison was, i argue -- found charles pinckney from south carolina extremely annoying. pinckney -- that's the only way fountain it. pinckney was about madison's age. he was -- there's these letters in the library of congress with pinckney -- that pinckney wrote madison. pinckney had this big hand writhing, huge, and after the convention, pinckney actually writes madison this letter that says, here i am, i'm married, having a fine time, i gather you're still a bachelor. which was in your face. and pinckney and madison were staying at the same house together, and there's a lot of competition between them, and pinckney actually introduces a plan also at the convention, at the beginning, and madison doesn't record it.
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in fact madison basically leaves pinckney out almost entirely through the beginning of the -- of his notes so when we read the notes it looks like pinckney never even had a plan. historians now believe that pinckney had a plan. actually a quite interesting plan. >> and so tell us about the other plans that were introduced. >> the virginians had plan -- the virginians thought the problem with the government under the articles of confederation that had been set up at the time of the revolution was that the states were too powerful and they thought we didn't have a great national government and we needed a great national government to defend the country. to. i press the european pures and have the economic power at that time the european countries would lend to the united states,
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and george washington thought it was an enormous problem. soldiers had not been paid so the virginians wanted a strong national government, very, very strong national government, and pinkney also wanted a strong national government, and there were another group of states, states will delegates where they were very small populations, small boundaries, the small states, and they were very worried about these plans where the large states, they felt, would dominate, and so everybody who came to the convention came trying to figure out who would actually run the national government, and the large states wanted the population to be largely determinative. they would basically run the government. then the small states very much wanted to keep the state representation that had existed under the articles of confederation because they then wouldn't be completely dominated by the large states.
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>> so, turns out that madison's course is not just revising his notes at the time, more or less of the convention, but later. so tell us more about the times when madison actually was literally revising his notes. >> so, one of the really wonderful things about writing this book was eventually the library of congress, which is just wonderful, decided i wasn't a complete nut. for a long time they thought i was a crazy person. then -- they've took a lot of pictures for me. i was writing can you take a picture of is? thin the decided i was not crazy and they would let me see the manuscript, which is in a vault. the manuscripts from -- in a big vault and we went down into the conservefor's lab and i wanted to put the manuscript on the light table so you can see the water marks and how the papers
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changed. it was a wonderful opportunity and one of the really incredible things about the manuscript is it's quite small. madison had -- he was a very -- he wasn't a large person, about my size, and he had this tiny little handwriting so the manuscript is only this big but covered with revisions, and you seek the revisions the library of congress has a lot of images up on its web site of the revisions and pictures in the book, and the book argues that madison finished the manuscript about two-thirds of the way through until august, and then he got sick and started to serve on committees and never finished the manuscript. and then two years later when thomas jefferson is returning to the united states, madison had promised jefferson that jefferson could read the manuscript of the convention-buffs it's not finished. so madison has to try to finish it and he secretly borrows from
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george washington the official journal which nobody was supposed to see, and he makes a secret copy of the journal, then he use that secret copy of the journal to finish his notes you. can imagine two years after you have taken abbreviated notes, you don't have a lot of idea what they mean any longer. so the end of madison's notes bear a marked resemblance to the official journal, and madison then, as he was fitting everything in from the official journal, he realize head hadn't written down the important motions or things in the beginning of his notes because he was just interested in what he and his enemy is and friends were saying. so he went back and re-wrote the beginning by adding in all the little white spaces extra little notes, and then he started running out of space so he pasted little pieces on top of them all, and then he presents that thomas jefferson. i think thomas jefferson never read all of it. that is just my own guess. what thomas jefferson -- he
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immediately turned to the part involving alexander hamilton and hamilton had given this big speech where he argued, maybe the united states should have an elective -- like an elective monarch, a person that would live forever, trying to make the virginians look moderate, and thomas jefferson says there were people who were trying to create a monarchy, and from that moment on jefferson's convinced that alexander hamilton is an enormous danger to the united states and he is secretly trying to have a monarchy, and madison started thinking, gosh, there's things i wrote in the notes, i gave some speeches where i sounded suspiciously like all these things that jefferson thinks are a bad idea. so my book argues that madison took the pages and he took his speeches and he rewrote those pages leaving out the dangerous concludes he had made so thomas
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jefferson would not realize he had been more with the hamilton crowd than jefferson thought was advisible when he came back, and madison and jefferson been very, very close when jefferson comes back. >> turns out the revisions -- this may beatle with of an overstatement -- the revisions are not just occurring well after the end of the convention, but they tend to sort of happen in a couple of different areas. i want to zero in on a couple of the areas in which the revisions are being made. the first one of which is what we call federalism, the relationship between the national government and the states. telephone us about those changes. >> so, madison went to the convention -- we would think of him as a nationalist. we wanted enormous power in the national government. he wanted the -- want teed make sure the states did not get to vote as a state, and so he
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wanted in both the senate and the house of representatives, the states to be given votes based on population. so his idea for the government would have been that the states have no representation in the national government. the small states kept counting votes and realized the virginians would win under enough version of this. virginia way bigger, which includes west virginia which was separated at the time of the civil war and also included kentucky. so virginia is enormous and every time they run the vote count, virginia has all these delegates, and they worry about the power of virginia in part just because of that power and in part because virginia's interests were not seen as the same on important issues with a number of states. probably the most significant one is slavery. virginia held the largest number of enslaved people at the time
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of the convention, and in the north. states like massachusetts had already abolished slavery. other states were moving to abolish it. so that line about the future of slavery is very important. madison wants national power and that will protect slavery, and other people want the states to basically continue to be represented. >> so, tell us -- let's talk about slavery at more. turns out that maybe madison's positions on slavery were not, let's call them, enlightened or what we might think of as modern and might surprise folk heard discover what madison's positions were. >> madison of the framers has been largely not focused on with respect to his position on slavery; this curious. people may know george washington held a huge number of people in slaves but freed them at his death, and that his -- at
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his wife's death. thomas jefferson didn't free anybody except the people that sally hemings' children. madison freed no one. madison was the son of a plantation owner. the plantation held 100 people enslaved. at his desk, madison frees no one, and in fact his secretary was so shocked by that. that the thought maybe the will was a forgery. but in some respects madison had a very keep ambivalence about slavery limp understood that it violated the principles of the revolution. he says that in a number on occasions but could not imagine a world where slavery didn't exist, and he couldn't imagine world where african-americans were free. and in fact, the profits he thought would be made from the sale of the notes would be given
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throw american colonialization association. they thought african-americans would be freed and then sent to africa, and liberia is founded out of the american connellizeation's efforts. so madison was very comfortable with slavery and the book argues that madison is so comfortable with slavery that originally when he wrote the manuscript there were no comments against slavery in the manuscript. and only two years later when he goes to revise the ending for thomas jefferson and finish it, does he insert two comments suggesting that slavery was against the ideas of the founding. but those comments were written two years later and didn't reflect madison in 1787. ...
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a lot of other people dealt with it. so he and jefferson, finally published -- only published after his death and very much part of the myth that the
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constitution was founded on a compromise over slavery, then there were no other options. so it was in the constitution. >> is there a way to figure out the accuracy? he is revising adjust for his own services, how can we say they are -- he is just trying to make a more accurate. better with what actually happened. >> i think he revised them as he changed his tone and distending of the constitution. i don't think he was completely out to do something nefarious. mostly he was interested in the constitution and the convention
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grew, in 1787, i don't think they knew they were writing a constitution. had ring my james madison bobblehead, i was traveling by airplane and the t s a is convince the james madison bobblehead looks highly suspicious in the luggage. you probably could get it in the gift store but this is a small one. you can get the constitution on a set of playing cards, do you have these in the gift store? probably. the whole constitution on a set of playing cards. the idea that they didn't have any idea in 1787 that 228 years later the document they wrote would be on playing cards. this is a magic powell. it is a joke. if you put it in water in reconstitutes itself. irresistible. it has james madison's face on it. the idea in summer of 1787 they
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knew they were writing the constitution they had no idea about that and madison, thinking the constitution might not get through congress, so only over time, slowly does it become apparent that what they did that summer was enormously important and madison begins to realize he participated in something important, not only that but is complete notes, one thing we often don't realize is the date they are celebrating today, bill of rights day is a very important part of that story. madison is singularly responsible for the bill of rights. he gets elected on a campaign promise that he will push through the amendments that include what we know today as the bill of rights. he is one of the few american politicians who fulfilled his
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campaign promise. >> that is a pretty big promise. >> he gets through the first congress and everybody tells him we don't need to do that, we don't need to get those amendments done, the constitution wasn't conditioned on those amendments, we need to do more important things, said the government debt, get the judiciary started, madison and oil is everybody by saying we need to amend the constitution and so that whole first summer, when madison wanted to amend the constitution he wanted the right to be interwoven into the original document. the way you what to do it was you would look at the constitution and actually revise it, cross out the parts you didn't agree with, put in new language and when he proposed the amendment he told everybody which parts they were going to get. roger sherman stand up and says that is a terrible idea. he says it will be confusing to
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people. so they bicker back and forth and roger sherman wins. roger sherman persuade everyone that the way they will amend the constitution is the way we assume you amend it, leave the text of what was written in 1787 intact but the amendments will be listed. that is how we see the constitution today. i believe until they did that it wasn't obvious that what happened would be so important because if we had continued to amend the constitution by writing the text again, what people had done in 1787 versus what had changed later would not be so obvious so partly is the amending the bill of rights the take the constitution's important place. >> how different are the notes at the end of his life, at the time it was taking? >> as he got older and older he realized words had changed so
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one of my favorites is the very first day of the notes, the very first day, in philadelphia, he says because we are going to revise the constitution and because he thought the articles of confederation was a constitution, he was going to revise the federal constitution. you can't say constitution -- he crosses out constitution, that has become confusing and puts in system of government. that is a late change. madison makes his notes reader system of government. we don't call it the national second constitution center or something like that. 1787 was this radical break, he makes a number of changes.
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one of the things was be virginian, extremely bad news in the middle of july. going for a president without tenure. you know -- figure out like that, probably who your president is. a thing you don't really love on the record but couldn't change it because there's the vote count out there. he starts writing explanation, a procedural thing, he actually -- he writes in explanation and as he gets older, another explanation. he writes an explanation of the margin. at the point where his handwriting was so shaky as an
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elderly man, his wife's brother, another explanation to the explanation, out of all the pages, it literally hackers like this with explanation upon explanation. just seemed at the time to be a good idea. >> madison is a good loser. what are the things he lost. that he won on. >> he fought the senate we have it today was a disaster. he left, he wrote he was so sad the states had equal representation. it devastated him, the state was an incoherent concept that he thought was a terrible idea and he really thought it was a terrible idea and even after --
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he thought was a terrible idea and recorded in his notes, the connecticut delegation which has been counting, pretty sure the senate would end up representing the states, said don't push this too far and madison kept saying i don't care, i am pushing it far so he was devastated by the state's suffragette he comes around to that, he decides the current federal -- isn't such a bad idea. she also desperately wanted congress to be able to be told all the laws of the states. call that the negative concept that cow out based on the british model and he thought if you couldn't be so all the laws of the state it would be hard to be a national government because states to have whatever laws they wanted and they wouldn't all be uniform so he wanted congress to be given that power.
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and they decided it was a bad idea and that is held by the supreme court but madison thought that was a disaster that states would be completely out of control and left the convention very sad that that piece wasn't formed. he was quite happy with the fact the national government had been given power in areas like that so he was delighted with that. he lost and lost, only 35, 36. and give him a little bit of a break. as he got older he became very much a supporter of the constitution. >> given his no tie the most comprehensive are there people perhaps who had a bigger role in shaping the constitution and his notes reflect? in a sense, who are the losers because of his notes?
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>> i think there's a good person and complicated person would be charles pinckney, a huge slaveholder, determined that slavery would be completely embedded in the constitution. his cousin, general pinckney, will lead to speak to ensure slavery lives forever and madison eventually scored those sections out so completely that you can't read them. if i ever get a second chance at the library of congress they have equipment that could read those. maybe you can persuade the library to use their special technology but pinckney was given a smaller role. the person who was also given a smaller role that is unfortunate is governor morris of pennsylvania.
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morris fascinated madison, morris was of fascinating figure in all sorts of respects. but he spoke passionately against slavery. he is the person who probably spoken most passionately against slavery and in some ways predates the civil war. he says this division between north and south, places with slavery at not having slavery is a fundamental problem. madison rights that speech down but doesn't give morris a lot of credit along the way. late in his life, in his 80s madison grew more understanding of what happened at the convention and madison eventually says that the person who really wrote the final constitution, the last draft of the constitution looks the way
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we understand the constitution with seven major articles the draft before that had 22 article so the constitution didn't look anything like how we understand it and madison late in his life says it wants mores who took all these disparate sections and regrouped them into the way we understand constitution. >> we also tend to think of folks at the constitutional convention as framers. did they have a view on whether or not the notes, transcriptions of the convention should be kept confidential or private forever or not? did they have a consensus on that? >> one of the things i completely disagree with. there is a great myth that the convention was supposed to be secret forever and they did and allow the public in at the time. it wasn't unusual when the senate opened its doors in the new government, the senate
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doesn't allow anyone to come in either and only in the 1790s does it finally change its view that people should hear its deliberations. i argue in the books that no one at the time fox convention records should be secret forever, just that summer in order to allow people to go liberate without being supported in the press all the time. the notes themselves, the official journal, a number of people assumed would be published shortly thereafter. it becomes controversial between madison and jefferson and washington about the journal because it involves, they have disagreements about what the convention taught in terms of treees. in the 79s in the midst of a fight between president washington and jefferson and madison with hamilton, washington on one side and madison, jefferson on the other,
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washington takes the journal, the official journal and goes down and deposits it in the state department and only after it has been deposited and recorded and precisely how many pages, as washington say i deposited the official journal in the government archives at madison rights to jefferson what is he doing? it is crazy, because of that the government owns the journal and the journal essentially published but at the time they managed to be quiet. >> host: questions from the audience, as law professor i can tell you they're incredibly legible. madison's note, here is one. talk about the relationship between madison. >> >> guest: hamilton's revenge that he gets a musical and
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madison -- at the convention they were fascinated with each other. they both were incredibly interested in the major problem young political leaders thought was interesting. they could tell the united states would be a very large country but they couldn't figure out could you govern a large country using a republican structure and they were both interested in that and all the great european thinkers since the time of greece and rome said that wouldn't work, that would not be successful. the if you made the republic very large it would collapse. madison and hamilton were fascinated with the idea how would you create a very large country is in what we think of as it democracy, what they thought of as a republic and have it survive, they were deeply fascinated with each
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other. madison records things that i think had hamilton known what he was going to do with them would have allowed jim but they were close, the minute jefferson gets back madison join jefferson in disliking hamilton and really very swept up in jefferson's obsession. jefferson was obsessed with hamilton and there is a great set of secret notes jefferson keeps where he spends all his time recording how he was trying to tell washington house sneaky hamilton was that he records washington's responses and you feel so bad for washington because he is president, has all these people in his cabinet and jefferson keep showing up, hamilton said this and hamilton is like no i didn't say that. they're trying to govern the country. they once very close and not so close.
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>> hamilton, good thing he gets a musical because he may lose the $10 bill. >> medicine is not on any major coin. >> here is another question for the audience. originally there were more amendments. what were some of the others? >> there is great trivia about the constitution, so one finger not everybody realizes is there were -- madison had a lot, down to 12, 12 amendments which means what we think of as our first amendment was the third amendment whether you think it would be important if it was the third amendment like i have a third amendment right to speak. doesn't sound so good. the third amendment is quarter earnings soldiers. may be the third amendment is
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doomed. the first two amendments dropout, involved congress. one of them eventually ratified hundreds of years later, the twenty-seventh. so we only get the ten amendments. what is interesting is although we think of it as the bill of rights, a lot of people who write on this have shown that at the time they didn't call it the bill of rights. the amendments really only begin to be thought of as the bill of rights in the last hundred years and so our notion that the first ten amendments belong together is very much a product of the 20th century. >> what were the options for slavery? >> madison had completely crazy idea, slavery is embedded five
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times in the constitution never once using the word slave and two of those involved a compromise, the notion that people were held as slaves would get white people from that state more political power. madison actually suggested that one house represents three inhabitants and one house represents basically all the population including all the enslaved people on the 1:1 ratio. this would have not all lee embedded slavery deeply into american government, but it would have given virginians power, almost 300,000 people in slavery. the white population of virginia, it would have
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significantly altered the ways the government worked. >> they dominated the presidency. >> who runs the president, washington, virginia and the brief moments, that is right with adams and goes back to the virginians. studies of the early president and supreme court and congress, basically a southern slaveholder was president two thirds of the time, so sudden slavery dominates american life. >> another great question. to let a note but is conflict with madison? >> a lot of notes conflict with madison. one of the really fun famous when i teach this is have people look at a different set of notes and we compare them and other people, i personally think other
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people wrote more fun notes. madison converted, sort of scared of emotion or something so all of the notes, of your people's notes are often written first person and they describe when people get mad and so you see places where people said crazy things and you can go read madison and madison's notes don't like everybody is, we debating things so they disagree on that and also disagree about what madison wrote about himself. it is hard to take notes while you are talking. if i were to take notes on what i said today. i would say only brilliant things that they would all be completely coherent and they would have no ums.
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so they bear some resemblance to what other people recorded but are much more coherent, very thoughtful, they follow nicely. his own version of himself and what others heard were quite different. >> how about edmund randal, his place at the convention? >> edmund randolph is close to madison. they were very tight. randolph and jefferson's father's had both come into possession of plantations, madison's father lived for a very long time up until 180 one. madison's mother dies just shortly before madison, so madison never really can grow up in an interesting way and jefferson offers to sell him land and madison says no. but he and randolph are very
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close and randolph is very tall, good-looking. in the book i argue madison probably wanted to give a great speech introducing the plan but everybody looks at madison and randolph and they decide randolph is going to give the speech so randolph gives the great speech but randolph drive madison crazy, fought it was bad have a single president, randolph wanted like the romans had, a triumvirate. madison things that is a nonstarter and can't understand why randolph, over the course of the convention they grow apart and at the end of the convention, defines the constitution. >> near the end of his life i gather from your book madison is beginning to rethink the relevance. >> randolph when madison was
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redoing notes for jefferson he realized he had a written down, randolph's speech so randolph gives a great speech explaining why the constitution needs to be written and everybody else records it the way you record the first three speeches or something and madison rights two lines about it but he knew it and secondly i personally think it was a little annoying that was randolph giving the speech but when jefferson is coming back he doesn't have randolph's speech so he writes to randolph can you write me your speech on the first day of the convention two years ago so i can put it in the notes and will be there and randolph rights back know, i can't do that because that was too -- two years ago and i would makes everything up but randolph -- madison inserts randal's notes from that day in but as he grew older madison became more and more persuaded that the country needed to have a record
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of the notes. this is an interesting aspect. he wanted the country to have a record but he was ambivalent about the record. madison, for somebody who was going -- madison had an ambivalent reaction to posterity and here's one of my favorite stories about madison, people may know another useful piece of trivia that john adams and thomas jefferson died on the same day. they both died 50 years on july 4th after the declaration of independence. i personally think this is incredibly suspicious and don't understand why there isn't a major american motion picture about the fact that they both died on exactly the same day, happens to be july 4th. ten years later in 1836 madison is dying.
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his family and friends, it is late june and he is dying and they want him to live long enough that he can die on july 4th ten years later. you can kind of see the temptation. dolley madison's grandniece right back madison refuse to take the necessary stimulus which would probably have been opium to allow his body to live long enough to conveniently died on the same date. in steady diet june 28th. see how crazy that was? people did care about this but in a way that ambivalence about his own role, austerity, madison's whole relationship. >> back to jefferson for a moment. what role did he have? >> jefferson fought the notes would be a great political document, jefferson read the notes because he was so obsessed
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with hamilton. he thought if the notes were published it would show everyone how secretly evil hamilton was and it would destroy hamilton, and everybody still alive, and closed hamilton, jefferson will know i was close to hamilton at the convention will be a disaster. jefferson keeps pushing madison to revise the notes and publish them. throughout his life, madison says i will have them published posthumously. >> i want to focus a little bit on alexander hamilton. not just because he has this wonderful new musical but because in your talk today, the figure of hamilton justifiably limbs rather large and as you say people were obsessed,
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fascinated with it. tell us more about alexander hamilton. >> one of the things the book focuses a lot on the decade after the convention and i think one thing people sometimes don't understand is how close is the enormity came to destroying the country and maybe it was inevitable, you get the big brains in one room you have problems but very quickly around washington on one side, hamilton, and on the other side when jefferson returned jefferson and madison are all in the same administration and hamilton was more controversial with the british model, there were problems with the british model but he admired the nation state status of the british government and he thought if you are going to be a national government you need that kind of
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power. jefferson thought that was a disaster, that the state should be supreme. he was dubious of national power and he had lived in france before the french revolution, that spirit of rhetoric about liberty and equality and worried about monarchies and those two different visions just completely collide. as i mentioned washington was last to deal with them all. as long as washington was alive everybody had respect for washington. he is one of the people you can't find anybody who says anything negative, as long as washington was there, the system kind of held. and things fell apart, what is quite remarkable, the country
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survived. >> let one of them be from the audience. and notes that you mentioned that before in support of the decision, decisions may rely on the revisions later than the event itself. >> the supreme court for most of its history has been careful not to fight directly for the notes, they fight to the federalist papers, which were written by madison and hamilton in a period when they were close. i don't think this will change specific issues. what this pope will cause difficulty for people is people who believe in our regionalism have some pause and regionalism is misunderstood.
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is not the idea of a strict constitutional interpretation, that is an important part of how we interpret the constitution but regionalism is the claim that the only legitimate way to read the constitution is what people in basically 1787 or people who ratified it thereafter fought the constitution meant, no other meanings are acceptable and i think for that group of people, the sense of how difficult it was even at the moment for people to understand what the constitution meant and how many disagreements there are at that moment would be a little bit complicated. >> with time almost gone i want to come back to my original question about madison. do you think after looking at those revisions in terms of changing them a little bit, evolving views.
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is it fair to think still as the father of the constitution? >> i don't know that he was the father of the constitution but the thing i came away from was how terribly important it is not as objective record but has a way for us to understand how difficult be problems were that they face. i came away with the enormous respect for how close the country was to falling apart and how much different people with different opinions struggled to try to hold it together, how remarkable the document was that was written in philadelphia, but how different it looked to them than it looks to us. this is not the document they thought they were writing, and great surprise to all of them. >> mentioning a couple things about the building. we actually have a place where you will see the life-size model of the framers so you see how


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