tv Book Discussion on First Entrepreneur CSPAN March 20, 2016 8:30am-9:57am EDT
>> and that's a look at some of the current nonfiction bestseller according to the "new york times." many of these authors have or will be appearing on booktv and you can watch them on our website at booktv.org. ♪ ♪ ♪ >> good evening, everyone. is his lovely always to get a full crowd like this. my name is douglas bradburn. i'm the founding director of the national library for the study
of washington which is were you or, so you may get. congratulations. and it's very exciting to have these book talks, these free book talks, and they're sponsored by ford. the forgetting the doctor and, of course, we've never accepted any government money. they been offered in mount vernon since the 1860s, since 1861 it took over the estate of george washington. they were the founders of national historic preservation but they are an all woman run organization and they are all built on private donations unpatriotic individuals and foundations from the people who coming the people who coming to visit it at the great honor to serve that mission to preserve the estate at the highest level and to teach people all over the world about the life, leadership and legacy of george washington. and we couldn't do without the generation of important donors like henry ford. as many of you know an early don't think he did not its first fire engine. and ever since we've gotten the
fire engines from ford motor company, and they sponsored a number of exciting things including this book talk. i also like to welcome the c-span audience is coming tonight and we always a push when they come out and help to publicize these great events. they are popular and department on c-span as well. now, we have a very special guest tonight, an old friend to mount vernon and the story of washington. we have tried one who is the editor in chief of the washington papers at charleston. this this is one of the most extraordinary scholarly projects of the 20th and 21st centuries. the copy transcribed and all of the correspondence of george washington in a professional manner meant to stand the test of time. it's use by all historians are right on the era. it's an extraordinary collective work of scholarship has been going on since 1968 at the mount vernon ladies association have
been funders and partial funders of the project since its beginning. the recent past we have renewed our partnership. i'd like to think our friendship with washington papers to help them create a comprehensive edition of the martha washington's papers as well as other family papers of george washington's family. and ed lengel is heading up the leadership of those programs as well. people encompass the scope of what they're doing now, they changed the project from the george washington papers project to the washington papers project. we are delighted to have him here tonight to talk about what he does on the side when he's not doing all that other stuff, which is right many, many books. these extra nearly prolific, i'm not envious at all about this, but he got his ph.d in 1998 from the university of virginia and since then has published six monographs in addition to all the edited volumes that he is the sole editor on and the project he manages and the horde
of minions that he is working for the. he is an extraordinary example of work ethic and discipline and capacious love of writing. he's a wonderful writer and has really developed a great popular style in magazine writing in addition to the scholarly style that he can always bring to bear. so it is a very challenging thing for people who are formally trained in the ph.d universe to be able to walk out of that sometimes, to get out of those intense conversations, to try to look at the bigger picture. and tried by the a master and has become a master at that. but if that isn't enough the thing that makes him so extraordinary as and when is he doesn't just write about george washington and the founding era, he writes about world war i and european history in world war i in military history. he has just agreed to write an article on the greek civil war. i said which one? the one in 1944.
what, 1825? know, god forbid. let's do the middle of the 20th century. so he's an extruded range and it's my delighted to welcome up here. he is widely known, he has won many awards. i've said enough. let's give up his we can talk about his new book, hot off the press, "first entrepreneur." ed lengel. [applause] >> what doug was trying to say i think perhaps not in so many words is that i'm a hack writer. [laughter] but i do try to understand my subject your i do try to be honest about my subject, and washington is an endlessly fruitful subject. as i can work at the washington papers since 1996, i began as a student now, and it's been 20 years now, and they've been directing the project since
2010. we changed our name from the papers of george washington to the washington papers very deliberately because we didn't want to offend martha. lest it be suggested that martha was in some sense an auxiliary to george, or that she operated in a shadow or that her role was in some way to prop him up and to help them to become great. we need to emphasize the fact that she was in herself a very important person. so we thank the mount vernon ladies association for supporting us in this vast new expansion we begin in july of last year to publish the full papers of martha washington in two volumes, and the papers of the washington family, which will be in three volumes in the letterpress and then a comprehensive digital addition that will include george's parents, his siblings, martha's
children and martha's grandchildren, georgia's stepchildren and stepgrandchildren, and a good friend justice of the supreme court bushrod washington, one of those favorite people. so first of all as i began to talk about george washington as an entrepreneur, i need to give thanks above all for this work, for what's good in it, to my good friends jim and carol porter were in the audience with us this evening who really developed the idea of writing a book. we had lunch, or dinner actually it was, a few years ago and pointed out to me, do you know there's been nothing written about washington as an entrepreneur businessman since 1930? and that book in 1930 by a fellow named richard is possibly the dullest blog ever written
about george washington. there's no doubt about it. this thing is extremely dull. i hope my new summit of improve your i think it can only go up hill from there. of course, a tremendous debt is owed to mount vernon, but also to the work of my colleagues, current colleagues and former colleagues at the washington papers project in virginia. we've been working since 1968. we have remained on schedule, i shall point out, from the very beginning. we are going to be finished eight years from now, and we really will be finished eight years from now. this is not an empty promise. and identifying, securing copies of, editing, transcribing, annotating and publishing every known letter to and from george washington. we've got 70 volumes now. we've got another 16 claims to go but we are just finishing up the revolutionary war. these are available not only on letterpress and online, but free
online through founders online. is very important emphasized his are available to all of you to the root, tuesday, to learn from their i owe a tremendous debt to my colleagues on the washington papers for the important work. for the financial papers project, we began three years ago thanks to a grant from the national historical publications and records commission, which is a granting arm of the national archives, to edit and publish all of washington's financial papers. it is a fascinating estimating document for washington, for his family, for the whole community. it's amazing how this collection of his financial papers is not simply a series of lectures, budget documents the everyday life of thousands of ordinary americans, both free and enslaved. people who were on the mount vernon estate, who are part of the community and interacting
from mount vernon to dustin hall, the seat of the fairfax family, to alexandria throughout the region. there will be an incredible genealogical tool, incidentally, and will be available freely online beginning at the end of the summer. we begin with washington's three main ledger books, and have expanded into all of his other account books, receipts, vouchers. one of my friends, the economic historian john mccusker has suggested we should not call these simply washington's financial papers. which implies he was a financier, but his business records. but it goes even further than that because there is public records. as commander in chief of the continental army, although very scrupulous and careful accounting took as commander-in-chief, and also as
president. these were very public accounts, and they are very important documents. so those, working on those documents was, as well as jim and jill carroll's idea, it was this wonderful resource, this new resource it was the genesis of this idea, "first entrepreneur." it's looking at washington through a different lens, seeing a different aspect of this endlessly fascinating man. but also to put washington in the context of his family and into the context of his times and into the context of his nation. and what would become the united states of america. how did yo he manage his accoun? how did you develop as a farmer and a businessman and an entrepreneur and, as i try to show in my book, how did he take the lessons that he learned and the principles that he
emphasized, and how did he apply them to the leadership of our new nation? and how do his lessons and his deeds resonate down to this day? it is a fascinating topic. we need to begin looking at washington as an entrepreneur with the washington family. john washington was the first washington to arrive in virginia in 1656. and his idea was to simply load up a ship with tobacco and sail back to england and sell it there. he had no intention of remaining in virginia. we owe the whole future history of our country to the fact that his ship sank. [laughter] he was ready to go. he was going to go back, and,
the poor guy, his ship sank. he displayed among the first attributes of the washington's, and there were many of them, adaptability, flexibility. he decides, well, my ship has assigned. he complains a lot. the washington's are a lot of complaints, who's going to pay for this loss? but he is also very adaptable gentlemen and he decides that well, this is the rounded, i've lost my ship, i'm going to make my fortune here. the next thing that he does that is very characteristic of the washington is that he marries very well las. [laughter] i'd like to before go on in this thing, to talk about good marriages in the washington family. i'd like to emphasize the fact that this is not a matter of the washington man looking around in the audience and sang, was a good choice for a wife? because the women are waiting to
choose to be swept away. simply didn't happen that way. the women were also making choices of their own of who they wanted to marry, it was the right man for them. we have looked way too often, and i'll talk about in the context of martha, why did george choose to marry martha? will, because she was very wealthy. isn't there another site it is? why did more to choose to marry george? why would the wives of the washington's choose, the women who became their wives, why did they choose to marry the washington's? it was partly because they understood that the washington's were very sober minded, very determined, very focused man, and they were dogged and they were intelligent, if it were not wasteful. and for the women, of course, part of the go with a defined event would be a good border, it would be a good father to the
children as they hoped they would have and would also manage their estates. when you look at virginia in this period come into 1600s in the 1700s, there is a tendency to assume that these wealthy individuals of the virginia gentry were complacent, that somehow they had easy lives that they could look forward to future of comfort and wealth. this was a very volatile period. when a jim trueman, a farmer, a planter could in equivalent of an instant lose the entire fortune and find themselves impoverished. and the one thing that was always a threat at their door was debt. debt was that that no one are of prosperity in this period, and i'll get more to the. john washington marries well. he begins to develop his the
state, like many washington's, that's focused in land and people at that time. he's very assiduous, very determined, and he died young. unfortunately, like many washington's, i believe john died when he was 46. his son lawrence died when he was 38. their grandson, augustine, likewise died when he was in his 40s. augustine washington is a fascinating character who we far too often see through the prism of mason locke weems, parson wins and his legends of the washington family and the cherry tree story. i would venture to guess that if you ask any american with a well educated or not how they know i guess in washington him and he wouldn't know his first name by the way, which is a george washington's father, how do you know him? on, he's the guy who asked washington, did you chop down the cherry tree?
and george said, i cannot tell a lie. i tested was much more than that. i guess it was a savvy businessman in his own right. he was a very careful record keeper. he was a superb entrepreneur he believed in investment. and he was very great. he ventured out into other areas of production, not just about the way became involved in something called the principia on works. what this meant was, among many other things come in addition to helping to go the washington family wealth, the guy was away from home a lot. his first wife died leaving lawrence washington and another child to be taken care of. and augustine had to go around managing the estate, to guide to do with taking care of the children and he knew he needed
to find another wife. and he found one of the most unappreciative women in american history, mary ball, mary ball washington issue would later become. that often we didn't make the assumption that well, george washington didn't like his mom too much of therefore she must not have been likable. that's very unfortunate because she was a remarkable woman. this is another case again the decision to wed goes in both directions. we can only infer from the documented evidence what the reasons were. i'd like to think that with mary deciding, and she bent single before this and that face the prospect of a single life for the rest of her life, she was in her late '20s when they got married. at a time that was regarded just as the verge of a woman's marriageable age. and so she was facing ahead of her probably a life of spinsterhood as it was called at
the time. she married augustine i think partly because, again, she saw this as a very sober minded, very focused and entrepreneurial individual. augustine was interested in her, apart from personal qualities about which we can only guess, but the fact that she was tough, strong minded, strong-willed, independent, and above all he needed a woman who could manage things. who could manage a family, who could manage an estate and who could manage wealth body was running around doing his own various things and following his own investments. mary ball was all that, and she had to, when augustine died in 1743, she had to bring all of these qualities to their in the management of the estate and in the management of her children. her firstborn being george
washington. the decision was made for various reasons, among them being the augustine had died and was a lot else to think about, that george would not go as his older half-brother lawrence had, to school in england, but would instead stay at mount vernon and received his education through tutors, and also i think very clearly from her. she certainly spent a lot of time with them, talking with them, educating them. as well as the education he received from others in his area. and among the principles that she passed on to them, it's a very clear, with this very simple principles of thrift, determination, of hard work, of organization. the washington's, to which washington especially, was a really detail oriented, organized a guy. his older half-brother lawrence
was not that way. and even augustine was really not that way. george was super organized from an early age. that wasn't just a negative personality trait. that was his mom telling him, look, you've got a lot of stuff going on. you've got to be very organized and very careful. and i think, i like to think i should also inculcated in him a horror of death. i often make the joke that there were two things george washington absolutely had nightmares about, and one of them was thomas jefferson and the other one was debt. [laughter] i can't really say which was worse at this stage he didn't know tom yet, so that would come to haunt his later years at any stage it was a debt. and debt was terrifying. again as i mentioned the virginia gentry, he saw what happened to that, too many of his neighbors. neighbors. you can see them in newspapers,
this lottery and fire sales of gentry man going out of business and what would happen. but she was a huge influence on his life. she's also the woman who prevent him from going off to see when he was 14. he resented this. the relationship became very intense and very problematic later on in life. but again part of this was, he had an irresponsible side to them but she was constantly keeping it down and he chafed at the restriction. young george had the great fortune in addition to having a mom who focuses education on things like geometry, mathematics, accounting and the rest. he had the great good fortune of which i am profoundly jealous, that he had a good first teenage job. which i did not. and i would venture to say most
people did not. he had an excellent first teenage job. he got this through connections with the fairfax family. and lord thomas fairfax, the proprietor, george is a good friend, george william fairfax, whose wife sally fairfax, some of you may know to get some sort of a relationship with early on. but his connections with the fairfax family gave him this opportunity to work as a surveyor. surveying gave him an opportunity to apply his own native abilities, again and geometry and all the rest, but also the experience to learn what it's like to earn money, he began as an apprentice, but then to become an independent contractor and a surveyor on his own right. to begin to say that money, earn that money, save that money and invest that money. he had to learn this lesson early on from relatives and/or
friends who would try to touch them for loans and then wouldn't pay him back. george washington was not a guy you want to borrow money from and then not pay him back. believe me. so we know he had a temper. when money was involved, that temper increased exponentially. so if you don't pay the guy back he's going to get really mad. so he learned how to judge character from that. but he learned how to invest. when he earns money, as a surveyor, what does he work with? he works with the land. he develops a sense of the lands wealth and reddish and potential because what does he do -- he invested in land. and saves and buys more and more and more land. also as a surveyor, and i
mentioned briefly during the french and indian war, he develops an understanding of america, and america's potential, america's potential richness and well that's not only buried within the soil waiting to spring out, but geographically. the connection of the east coast cities and settlements to the frontier, and how the waterways were essential to connecting east to west, and how they were potential highways of commerce and trade. he not only goes from east to west during the french and indian war, he goes north to south and back and forth. he learns a lot about the relationship between the colonies and great britain and the subservient nature of that relationship, which i will revisit any moment. he becomes, during the course of
the french and indian war, and although this talk i and this bk is about washington as an entrepreneur, i think it's important to remember that george washington was a combat veteran. and that even ties into what i will talk about in a moment about washington's abuse of peace and out essential piece this. as a combat veteran, washington understands a number of things about the nature of war and what war does and what its impact is not only on those who are at the front lines but on those who are at home who are also affected it in their own ways participants in war or what war does to a country into a people. he also learns, i think here, too, the extreme importance of fundamentals, the basics.
this is one element of washington's character that i saw early on and that it's taken a while to understand that if you look at this gentleman's station on detail, is often dismissed as a micromanager but there's a real purpose to the focus on detail, which is that detail matters. if you're in the service, and particularly if you're in a position of command, you ignore at your peril the basic fact that the men who served with you must eat. they must have shelter. they must have clothing, and yes, they must be paid. sounds silly for me even to say that. well of course it's obvious. you would be perhaps surprised to see how many people in the revolutionary war did not understand that basic reality. washington understood the.
if you do not pay him if he did not maintain the accounts, if you do not finance your force well, he called money the same use of war. if you don't keep it flowing, the whole thing collapses -- the same use. that learning process of management is extremely important. he returns from the french and indian war in 1758 and he marries martha in january of 1759. i mentioned earlier how, again, martha had a choice of her own. it's frustrating have a narrative often goes. martha dandridge custis was the wealthiest widow in virginia. george washington comes back from the french and indian war and he says, aha, the wealthiest widow in virginia is right down the road. i need the money.
i'm going to go give her. and so she swims, and she sweeps her off her feet and carries her off back to mount vernon. it didn't really work that way. certainly he had his choice. she had hers as well. i would emphasize whatever their motivations may have been, and certainly money was part of it for george, whatever their motivations may have been, the important thing is that they saw each other as partners from the very beginning. they saw each other as partners. we cannot judge know how much love was in, how much love was not in. there's no question that eventually if not immediately they came to love each other and to rely on each other completely, but from the very beginning they saw their marriage as a partnership, and the partnership focused in many different areas but it focused primarily at the beginning of the management of their dual states. from mount vernon, which washington inherited from his half-brother lawrence who passed away, then lawrence's wife and
and that is now burning alone in addition to many thousands of acres. but there's a much bigger expansion not just in terms of size, but in terms of the type of the state. mount vernon is when washington takes management of it focused on acid has been for ages, for generations on the cultivation of tobacco. and i like to imagine writing through mount vernon in 1761 you would have heard the birds chirping. you would have heard the occasional work of a spade in the field. you would have heard the enslaved men and women singing, talking to each other. you would've for the free rockers talking to each other. the work of the occasional plow is pretty much a very peaceful
surrounding. this would contrast profoundly with your experience of routing through.herrmann and 1768 when you would've found it possible and high the production and industry that it became an enterprise in its own right with noise and work of multiple different types all at the same time. you would've heard metal clay bimetal. you would've heard spinning and weaving. you would've heard shoes being cobbled. you would've heard men holiday mats in the book would have gone out on the potomac. how did all that happened? >> well, and it was washington's that the tobacco system just was not going to work in the long run. the tobacco system had a number of disadvantages. one of them being that tobacco drink soil. another team that tobacco is
labor-intensive. it requires a lot of human beings working on that production to produce a relatively small amount of tobacco compared to other crops. for washington, the thing that upset him more than anything else was i to cultivate and sell tobacco company need to work with the british colonial mercantile system. .net u.s.a. plantar produce the tobacco. msn to turn it over to british agent who shifted on british ships to europe. they decide where they think it can and should be sold. they figure out what prices they can fetch and wearable go and then they tell you how much credit you have learned. you don't get any cash out of it. you get credit. they say well, and this has been over and over again here we are
sorry we weren't able to get as much out of it as we thought we would this time so they can only give you this much credit. the americans use this credit of course to purchase british goods being that there's another dimension to it here in virginia gentry were all about conspicuous consumption. all about how you appear, address, entertain, the quality of your salary and the quality of your carriage and everything else. the tendency is not just essential manufactured goods, but to buy luxury goods in britain. things that have no project to value whatsoever. they are all about appearance. what to bring back with your credit? can't invest in anything. he just wasted. what happens? debt. debt which washington has learned to fear and hate above all else.
see himself in his own essay begins to fall in the early 1760s, fairly heavily into debt. george is partly to blame for this. it's interesting in this account if you look up to 1759, and he spends a fair amount of money, wasting money on cards and billiards. i really want some talented artist to pay washington playing poker or snooker or something like that. i just got a fair because he spent a lot of time on it. the accounts in 1759 company he marries martha. the expenditures on these few men have been like this. suddenly it disappears exception doesn't play a game of pool from time to time. no more cars. 1762 is suddenly his plane cards again. i just know that he was wanting to martha isao monaco at the guys once in a while.
he doesn't waste a lot of money, but he raised them. he has trouble beginning to learn to develop a more disciplined lifestyle. when the experiences and witnesses if he decides to switch over and to beat. what this change in number from tobacco to wheat do? it is completely transformative. it allows washington to produce, to sell on own right. he renovated the grist mill, spends quite of lot of money on it to make sure brews high-quality flour. he sells george washington richie washington brandon flowers throughout the region and throughout the caribbean rim flowers as being sold and made out of this flowers been chomped on by sailors and caribbean vessels and breaking their teeth on it. but also, it allows him to
reallocate labor. i will specify slave labor as well as free labor. different industries that can become productive and self-sufficient. you don't need to go to somebody else to get your clothing, tools, shoes, food. you can produce all of it right here and with a surplus you can tell it. now ferdinand is going to be restoring the fishery. i'm really excited about that and reconstruct and about that washington would've used in seeing how the fishery would've worked. the fishery was really important. it was profitable in its own right to people working on the estate. mount vernon becomes an enterprise, multidimensional, multilayered. it is an amazing transformation.
washington sells through alexandria and there's much that i can say about the growing disenchantment with the british they are clamping down on american industry. this is a feeling that american shared in general. i was simply very briefly say that washington shared with his countrymen a sense that we were on the verge of what would be called in later generations take off. we were about to reach a point where we could really grasp towards prosperity and there is dissent that was was the british holding us down. the sense of frustration at being prevented from becoming prosperous in our own right is a major incentive towards revolutionary sentiment bacillus taxation without representation and all the rest of it. washington believes for a long time right up to 1775 the rebellion as a last resort, but
he believes pretty confidently that economic warfare is the way to break free of great britain. read up to 75. until it starts to boil in lexington and concorde, he really believes economic warfare and boycotts is the way to break free. there is a vision of the future involved and implicit and resist and to the british. and there is a fascinating series of documents called the fairfax results of 1774. washington and george mason mixed on. let me quote briefly from the 14th result. they are interesting because they look towards now what do we do now, but our future goal. the 14th result in average earning that tap into china's colony should be buried in eternal oblivion.
all manner of luxurious extravaganza to immediately be laid aside as totally inconsistent with the threatening and gloomy prospect before asked. mena for changes that examples of temperance, fortitude, frugality and industry and give every encouragement in their power to the improvement of arts and manufacturers in america that great care and attention should be had to the cultivation of flax, cotton and other materials for manufacturers. he goes on to talk about husbandry and wool and the rest. i think it is pretty clear based on washington's area of interest and expertise throughout his career that these results were written by washington. mason was extremely important, but ms. intended to look more at the political side. in war there is a lot more that i could say about war, but i'm not going to go onto it to
match. certainly as commander-in-chief of the army, washington applies his own management next. then run in mount vernon. but there's just a couple of principles that i would point out as commander-in-chief. washington saw big picture. he saw that this is going to be a difficult war and a war that we have a good chance of losing. it's going to strain every nerve, every resource to win. is it worth winning at all costs? is it worth winning a few burn down your country in the process , if you destroy your infrastructure, if your economy is growing, if towns, ports, villages are destroyed, families
destroyed and you end up throwing out the british and standing on a heap of ashes and facing a future of impoverishment and suffering. washington answer is a pretty resounding no to that. he views that as a primary obligation of himself as commander-in-chief to ensure that we emerge from the score within it that possible infrastructure and economy. another guiding principle of washington is that as commander-in-chief the army must not operate in isolation from the people, but the army must be integrated into the national at her, into the civilian population. part of this goes at the top.
there's no doubt about it. i've spoken about it before another's do as well. the part of it has to do with communication, congress, governors, officials feared but in researching the book aside from whitley different level here, which is really at the ground level. washington begins to talk during the evolutionary war. they used the phrase communities of interest. it talks about self-interest in a governing principle which i've looked at is the first time a cynicism. it is really not. he believes that patriot, loyalists, undecided are not fixed categories. people's decision to fight is the daily decision in the daily decision based in part on your son of hope and her sense of what is happening to your family and to yourself right now.
this war and this sounds like pandering but it's not because it is genuinely true at the women of america decided this war has to end, it would've ended. there are making decisions every day based on merit variants on the ground what war was doing to their businesses, families, where was the american army, what was its role. washington makes a conscious decision that is irony must join in a shared sense of interest with the american people. whenever it finds they can't come at a winter camp or other camps, the market is tangible, but also symbolic and the sense that soldiers should value their trading with each other day by day exchange is a sense of common interest. very conscious and very deliberate on his part.
but also we never see supplies and we recognize property rights that were present and visible and would isolate the british. we isolate them in push them out. the british are very enough that is. it was one of the reasons we lost the war and developed in that sense of interrelationships of common interest with the people. it was a significant part of washington's strategy and again there is much more i can say about that had i more time. returning from the revolutionary war and rebuilding mount vernon, two things i would emphasize here. washington becomes an advocate of the new husbandry, scientific husbandry, scientific agriculture, much of which is imported from great britain. many of the great expansions, the expansion of the mansion house primarily as doing this.
as well as the rest of the state. but it is based on knowledge imported mainly from grape written, which has undergone an agricultural revolution and known industrial revolution. i think of washington as an early advocate of the internet. having of such a thing he would have been a huge advocate because he had a gentleman named arthur young agriculturalists innovator from great britain are advocates of gathering all the information he possibly can from farmers all over europe and america, classifying information, publishing and disseminating it for everybody. there's another element here which is the problem of slavery. slavery should not be relegated as a side issue and there were slaves, too. slavery was certainly integral
to the development of washington state, the work in the labor of the enslaved men and women who were on the estate helped to create a more fundamental to creating washington's wealth. washington's relationship with slavery was problematic and that he grew up accepting slavery. it was what he knew. he began to turn against slavery because of the fundamental print bull of labor and work. this is a new discovery for me as i looked at a very few people i've often speculated why did he turn against it and they say well it's because of blacks fighting in the revolutionary war. they thought they could do what i soldiers dead, so one of the fourth. i've always been skeptical about that. if you look at initial writings about it, they come down to the sense that industry and morality go hand-in-hand, so much so that
there are really two types at the same thing. an industrious person is a moral person. a moral person is industrious grad much of this is bob from a sense of the work ethic we call the protestant work ethic from john locke and the ideas of others but washington is very practical about it. if you did not human beings the ability to enjoy the fruits of their labor, you immediately undercut any motivation that they have to work efficiently. they will do the minimum possible and they will resist. he sees that mount vernon day by day. they will never innovate. they will never work to the limit of their compact they will never grow or at the very process and have forced themselves in maine came them in system were also corrected and
it is also a dead-end for himself and his escape and they comes for me to believe for the country. economically as well as morally good again, two things back together. that was really the thought process are turning away from that and we can talk more about that in question and that the pair grew from that of confederation is a sense of the weakness of the government, its inability to raise taxes is fundamental to his eventual support for the constitution which again i could talk about more later. i want to talk for a bit before wicket to question-and-answer about the presidency. washington's goal as president of the united states, he says when he becomes president, right before his inoculation, he says to develop the national prosperity shall be my first, my
only aim to develop the national prosperity, to foster the national prosperity. at first and only aim. that is pretty significant i think. his vision for the country is focused on building the foundation for prosperity, on establishing the economy. the few main point there, establishing a national credit, establishing a stable currency, national credit being the trust others have that we will first fill our national obligations. a stable and secure government maintained through taxation, a government that will work to build an infrastructure that will tie the nation together by commerce. he believes commerce is what will unite us. he also believes incident with native americans if of old tires to native americans. naïve, yes in many ways it was,
but he did not view with native americans people to be conquered. he thought if we traded with them that trade with them that they would see the same interest. by western, commerce and government role is to maintain the peace piece is a central development of prosperity in homers that domestic and international. that is why he puts down the whiskey rebellion. briefly, alexander is often spoken of as the mckay who somehow created american economic policy during washington's administration. make no mistake about washington said the strategy. washington set the goals. hamilton's job in hamilton was not first choice for secretary of the treasury was to implement those goals. hamilton certainly came up with exceptionally detailed and very
important ideas and plans for maintaining the economy. washington studied every single word of everything that hamilton wrote and accepted most are projected from, came close to be telling the of the united states. washington's final achievement as president i think to maintain and give us a foundation for prosperity, the jay treaty aftermath when john jay was burned, and at least he wasn't actually burned or hanged himself. people were furious that washington should establish a treaty with the british in 1795 in which we really didn't get that much out of it. washington's goal here was to fold. peace, peace on the one hand. he was a man of peace.
not despite of having been a general and a soldier, but because he was a soldier and a general, he was a man of peace. not at all costs, not at the cost of the national honor certainly, but because peace is essential to give us a chance to climb up on around two feet and become prosperous and also because he's so great written very realistically as been in at least over the next several decades the best hope for our economic future. the british were by far the most advanced people, the most advanced country in the world economically. our interest is working with them in trading with them. we had a great emotional connection with them, but there is economically backward as they could possibly be.
finally, the road home and left the presidency personally in a bitter man, the factionalism, political faction is in. he turned to mount vernon not a broken man, not a backward looking man. he was not into nostalgia at all. he was not into regret than looking backward. he looked ahead. he looked towards developing mount vernon, that he was thinking of his heirs and his family. he was a great family man. he deeply regretted not having children of his own, but he adopted his own step children and grandchildren as if they were his own biologically. he looked to their interest over the long run. he wanted to leave them something behind. he had a great innovation for his scottish farm manager james andersen 1798. the distillery -- the
distillery. he had never dealt with this before. never had any comprehension of what a distillery and managing had meant. andersen comes to him and his ideas is to him and his ideas as you could earn a lot of money from this. i cannot do a scottish accent so i won't try, but he did. he did it in his own compelling way. washington characteristic was edited carefully, learn how a word and said okay, let's do it. build the distillery. this distillery becomes i believe is the case be time washington staff in december december 1799, the most profitable venture on his day. for those of you who like this tough, washington's recipe for i heard is disgusting. that is whiskey that they produce here is excellent. it is potent, but it is very
good. so he's already looking forward. he's already thinking of his family and venezuela. he decides carrots basically that is not going to pass everything down and one bull. he is one of the richest men in virginia. more needs to be done and he wrote neither -- never row but his net worth is. there's no question he's among the wealthiest man in america. he does not handed down a bowl. he decides to get each of his heirs enough that they can be reasonably comfortable that they can build from it, that they can become prosperous. he thinks that the process. he needs to work for it. unfortunately, many of them did not measure up in the long run and mount vernon with the last come into disrepair until and payable at cunningham came in 1858 and rescued it. so in conclusion, washington and
is an incredible example to us in many ways. as a mantra for newer, he is an example for us in the process by which he strove to achieve to become prosperous. he knew that everything he did would be closely studied and watched and he knew that as general, even if the farmer during the confederation and as president that he would be setting an old for us and that example was the sense that if you work hard, if you're focused, dedicated, if you have integrity, you can build your prosperity and you can build the country. set the foundation for the wealth that we have enjoyed up until this day and i think he can continue to serve as an example for us even.
thank you very much. [applause] >> thank you again. that was fantastic. we will take questions now. ultimately because of the people of the overflow room, could you please wait for the microphone before you ask your question. go ahead and pick somebody. >> your eager question or angry question. yes, they are. [inaudible] -- industriousness and morality and therefore weakened the country seems to run contrary to be a case accused
[inaudible] the terror department and the state department solidifying the country with a higher priority. >> he was clearly deeply divided on slavery, personally divided. the division was, as i was singing, the aspect of what first-term senator ken slavery in his own mind is that idea of the work idea in the labor idea. but at the same time, he is very much a law and order guy. partly for the reasons i mentioned. social disorder, instability, undermined because he believes
that nation. he he was quite amply afraid of what would happen if slaves were freed on a large scale. he didn't know what would happen. he was afraid what would happen. he was afraid of it cut massive social dislocation. even though he came to believe at least in theory and practically for his own estate as well but in the long run is like every other human bean. he has doubts. and so he had doubts in the back of his mind. yeah, but what is the slaves of mass bankruptcies. the different states of the planning class. there's an element of fear they are. it's a matter of washington being a human being.
a human being never has complete and total confidence in one idea or another. they have to think it through. this is one area where it took you many, many years ending never quite completely decided on this issue and tell in his will he decided to free them. of course there were many other complexities, too. he can't remark displays. and therefore you are dividing families. there are many other considerations, but it's important not simple issue. >> i know washington didn't take any dowry for his service. [inaudible] did he ever used any financially
[inaudible] >> that's a good question. had he tried to draw on his own resources in any significant way to pay the expenses of the army, even to pay the expense is by this outcome as he called a military family, he would've bankrupted themselves. yes, he did spend some of his own money, that is idea he was even as it turned out, eight years of his life, all of which he had to be away from his estate. his essay was completely dilapidated by the time he got back in 83. i was a pretty significant sacrifice. his personal dances for expenses not just for his own food, his own lodgings, his own travel, but they were for all of his
secretaries, by the way, for very hearty young men who ate a lot and liked to dress well and like to do a lot of that he had to take care of all the different association with communications, with everything else ended up being quite a lot of money. certainly from our study in his account, both as commander-in-chief and as president, he was super careful in making sure everything was above board. his enemies, later political enemies george mason, thomas jefferson suggested he had oversight account for his own benefit, but there's no evidence of that. partly because he knew he made one misstep, he would be found out. back there.
>> i have an understanding -- i've read that he refers to investment in shares that i didn't know quite a bit about. >> key purchases shares in quite a lot of different ventures. some of them aren't come the names that are often land based companies on the western frontier that become a river company. earlier on the mississippi company. he purchases shares in banks what would later become washington d.c. in d.c. then he rents out. it becomes a landlord.
so his investments were quite expensive, quite diverse. when he dies, a big part of this wealth of the something will need should be calculated. you folks at mount vernon as well as other scholars who are lurking in this area will need to work with exactly what is the base wells in the different shares that he had. all that being said assert illustrated yours. many different areas of investment, but land remains his primary area of investment. i wish i could be more specific. this is an area we need to do a whole lot more work. >> i would like to hear more about martha washington.
[inaudible] >> so, her first husband as the lead was 20 years older than her. he was quite wealthy. his family was a difficult family. his father was to put it mildly and irascible man. i think it was hit on his gravestone that he had inscribed that he was married for x number of years, the deal they really lived when he wasn't married, something to that effect. so she married into a family like that. martha herself, guess she didn't receive the education
documented. that was because she was a woman. women did not typically receive the same level of education that men did. she made it to work against that. she was clearly a very intelligent woman. it is one of the most interesting letters that i've seen from martha after daniel custis dived 1957, she suddenly got to take over all of his estate. one of the very first letters she rises to the british agents robert kerry and co. went to george washington also deals with. the letter is to write. i'm in charge now. you have to deal with me. every aspect of our overseas trade, tobacco work you write to me and i'll make the decisions. we need to learn a lot more is one reason we are doing the papers of martha washington project now exactly what was her level of involvement.
she was such involved in damaged as much as a woman of her time could and she was also very visible. one of the things about martha and the revolutionary word and as wife of the first president of the united states as she did not view her role as totally domestic and looking around at home, but she did herself as having a public role. not just symbolic, but practically working in camps. she was to work with other women and there are lots of them to produce and maintain the army's domestic economy, to coordinate production of clothing, about their vital necessities. it was a biography by pat brady of martha washington, america like they came out 12 years ago this very good on that and also flora fraser has just published a very good outcome the
partnership between george and martha. but a lot more needs to be done. we need to understand her better than we do. [inaudible] >> sure. that is a natural question to ask. george washington's view of government and governments role in the nation in the economy was that taxation is essential for the maintenance of government and its infrastructure, but the government has a role to
maintain and as far as possible, develop a national infrastructure communications and the lack to further commerce. the government has a role as a salve for it to maintain a stable current date to establish credit to eliminate foreign debt eventually. and to maintain the peace domestically and internationally. but that is pretty much it. but ultimately, government cleared the field for the people by their own industriousness to produce their own prosperity. the regulation of businesses, washington could not have foreseen corporation snow in all their permutations tonight ancient century and what he would have done about them i am
not entirely sure. based on his conception, the government should not regulate business or just settled in the oil so that those businesses can develop skin produce. -- and they can produce. okay. [inaudible] >> well, these are pretentious issues we are discussing. books that he is reading, we do know many of the books that he has read. there is a wonderful book i had written down the title right after he marries marc, one of
the first books that he orders is a book on how to get rich quick. it really is. it is a self-help book about how to manage your estate. in the title it is get rich quick. so he reads some business books. he also read lock. he read adam smith, wealth of nations. he was not as widely read in those areas i say jefferson was. so far as businessmen and merchants in new york city, yes he interacted with many of them particularly during the course of the war, but also before and after the water and reaching out in diversifying on its own right and trading throughout the united states. i'm struggling off the top of my head to recall the names of particular new york businessman
and merchants that he worked with. he had close relationships with financiers, robert morris of course who eventually ruined his own reputation. but you know, this is another area certainly that he did in iraq, he did get involved in that world, but not to the level i could pull off the top of my head major business people. sorry i can't answer that more clearly. if you look at the washington papers available online, you can find many prominent merchants and business people corresponded with him. >> you have spoken in a very fascinating way about george washington's entrepreneurial
successes. i believe at one time did try mount erdmann, which was abysmal failure. what else did she discover about his attempts, ask for no real attempts are ultimately saved? >> well, part of the reason the brewers failed is because the was just really bad. it was awful. but this is actually one of the things. since he mentioned that, i have to talk about it. based always assumed that washington was always about wine. but he loved from early on and drink a lot of it. in the 1760s, he loved porter and though he would order porter often from dorset in huge shipments to mount vernon,
hundreds of bottles at a time. and drink it. he later on became fixated with the buy american movement, another thing i could've talked about before the war and after the war, only buying american bird ear. and they're a member of brewers in philadelphia and pennsylvania and maryland that he patronized that he was really into. so far as his failures were concerned, there is a modern concept of a fail fast it made. you know, if you see something you can invest in and let it sail immediately and get out of that. he didn't stay static in any one investment long enough for it to become a disastrous failures. some of its investment in land schemes did not work out. he has a mercantile partnerships for the sale of flour early on that did not work out because partners were incompetent. he had people.
he was a great soldier but a worthless businessman trying to get george involved in different ventures to buy western lands and to create the though. i was disgusted with the preferred to talk you can still go see the ruins of that. so there weren't any disastrous investment in your life which is telling of the south. nothing on a large scale. >> my question is that two of your comments. very early on washington enjoyed complaining. and later about mercantilism. so if i go to these papers
online, what i find examples of george washington explaining -- [inaudible] be my guest, you don't have to really struggle to find washington complaining. look at those letters he wrote during the french and indian wars before he really learned to restrain himself. the guy was a first-class complainer. he does have it around. i am trying not to be obnoxious about it because it wasn't like a passive aggressive thing. it was more if he could eat kind of grouchy@times. in terms of complain about mercantilism, yes, some of the most interesting correspondence is between washington and robert cary, his british asians. if you follow that correspondence from the early
1760s up to 1774-1775, and they are both quite candid with each other about washington's sense of the british mercantile system as well as cary sends out how the system worked. interestingly enough, kerry doesn't really try to defend it that much. boras in his apologizing for british national policies on this. part of it is like passing the buck saying this isn't my fault. back-and-forth come in the and the correspondence i would look at there in washington is pretty explicit. some of that i quote in my book. others you can find by exploring the washington papers online through the 1760s. now i say that with the caveat that sometimes when particular crises appear washington late 60s and 70s, he kind of keeps his own counsel and takes
a low profile in the aftermath of the towns in duties on such, he's pretty quiet for a while about his relationship with the british in its brother because he's petitioning the royal government for western land and such. more generally speaking he does talk about the mercantile assist him. i am not [inaudible] !
fiume and their financial applets and relationships with each other? >> yes, we do. the jefferson papers project was established in the true minute and a stray shin and have been operating from princeton for a long, long time. about a decade ago they opened a branch of jefferson's retirement series of monticello. they do first-class work and they have uncovered a great deal about jefferson. i cannot claim that any amazingly revealing new course on its has been in hybrid between washington and jefferson. i think some of the most revealing material that i have found has been jefferson smith in conversation that he had with
washington as president. washington intended, especially during the first term total fairly informal cabinet meetings. he tended to talk with members of his cabinet individually, more often records were not cap. jefferson was the exception. what washington wants to talk with jefferson and they would have been out, and as soon as the conversation is done, he would go in another room and write down every single thing they said. part of it against washington later on, particularly when washington started complaining candidly about how he was feeling and he was afraid his memory was going. jefferson would say tell me more. tell me more. so their relationship has been studied quite a bit. there has been a lot written about it. but it was clearly a very nuanced relationship. i think the men respect to each
other. we tended to focus on their points of division. they both respect each other very much, but they also -- washington was very much almost a black-and-white thinking type of individual when he feels jefferson has made a promise and he feels that jefferson has broken that promise, at least to keep quiet after he leaves the administration and starts working again then. he takes it very personally. i wish washington had been more candid in his songwriting, in his diary, which is interesting, but really not a whole lot of substance. the talk about their relationship. we worked with judge douglas franklin, adams, madison, other projects. >> let's all give a big round.
[applause] [inaudible conversations] >> -- a constant yearning or more questions to be at it. we need good research to be done. it's even put together the financial project is going to be a great sort out. there's younger ones now looking at land regulation, capitalism and america. the moment in which those questions lead the way with the wonderful book. washington --
[inaudible] you can help out by buying this book. you have an opportunity right outside the door. i will make him sit at that table until everybody gets their books signed. for those of you who are going to have similar questions, do that in an orderly fashion. we have a big event coming up. let's give him another round of applause. [applause] >> if you buy a book, you don't even have to read it.
>> i think the story of the obama administration has done just the untrammeled expansion of the newest minister has stated the agency's, the federal government as a whole. one look at the media, sometimes pc, piney signs here and there, lots of cases collected in this book it that the rest are it is just how large the government has grown over the last seven years that we might see it in cases like the obama cares -- it. we might see in the bailouts, here and there. it is a story and almost every area