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tv   2016 Gaithersburg Book Festival  CSPAN  May 21, 2016 12:00pm-2:01pm EDT

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>> the mayor, the governor, the united states congress needs to know that and respect that and make sure that that happens going forward. and that a takes hundreds and thousands of calls from people like you. >> i couldn't have said it better. what a great point. we have, i think, time for maybe a question or two. does anybody in the audience have a question? if not, i will go on. >> it's not a question, but i wanted to thank you very much for your comment about dr. carla
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hayden, and i loved your response to that. >> well, thank you. does anybody else have a question? do you have a question, sir? >> thank you. just a question about the montgomery county library system which is really important here. since one out of three people here were born in another country, here in gaithersburg and a few others called the english conversation club, i've been with it for about ten years where we teach immigrants english, we help them learn the culture, help them, you know, get a driver's license, help many of them become citizens. and recently we're talking about technology, i started broadcasting our meetings live on facebook live, and we've had thousands of people around the world watching the meetings from the montgomery county library. >> thank you. gentleman in the back. >> i just wanted to say one of the best things about living in montgomery county is the great library system and the great staff members they have there. how -- with libraries offering
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an ever-expanding variety of services, how do you define concisely a library's mission without making it too vague and too much of a catch all? >> well, we're actually just working on a new strategic plan for montgomery county, but i think, i think as my fellow panelists have said, you know, the true mission of the library has not changed. our mission is to provide lifelong learning for people and to provide a place for people to gain access to information. so i think what that means is it's regardless of what kind of format it's available in, if it's a print book or it's an e-book or whether that learning takes place online or in person. i think our mission has stayed very much the same even though the way we might deliver those services has changed. but we do have a new strategic plan that will we'll be coming t
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with shortly, so you'll see how some things have changed and how we're trying to better reach the community's needs. >> i just wanted to take just a quick second to thank everyone. like i said, we could go on forever. i wish we had some more time to talk about some more things, but i want to thank becky clark from the library of congress. visit the library of congress. i want to thank mary ellen from the montgomery county public library system. emily from the american library association, you're not going to find a better organization fighting a better battle. go to their web site, help out any way you can. and i also wanted to thank kira and, again, get a plug in for library jury room, a publication that i nerd out and my journal reviews everything, not just books, graphic novels, film, audio books, i mean, it's really a great resource. i want to thank everyone for being here. as i said, i wish we had more time to talk about more things,
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but i think the good news is seeing everyone here and knowing everyone out there's listening on c-span and hearing what's going on. i think, you know, the library's alive and well. it does great things now, it's always done great things, and it will do great things in the future. thank you all. [applause] [inaudible conversations] >> we're live today from the gaithersburg city hall grounds in maryland bringing you the seventh annual gaithersburg book festival. it continues in a couple of minutes. [inaudible conversations]
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[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] >> here's a look at some of the current best selling nonfiction books according to "the new york times." topping the list, cnn host
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anderson cooper and his mother, gloria vanderbilt, discuss their lives in "the rainbow comes and goes." in "grit," angela duckworth insists that production is a bid to success. 60 minutes' correspondent leslie stahl's look at the role baby boomers are taking in taking care of their grandchildren. and in when breath becomes air, facing mortality. our look at the best selling nonfiction books according to "the new york times" continues with "five easy three cease" in which george stone's explores ugh solutions to-many of the country's challenges. followed by the sleep revolution, huffington post co-founder arianna huffington's
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investigation of the risks associated with sleep deprivation. next, in five presidents, clint hill looks back on his 17 years protecting u.s. presidents. and wrapping up the list is kate anderson brower's look at the life of modern first ladies in "first women." that's a look at some of the current nonfiction bestsellers according to "the new york times." many of these authors have or will be appearing on booktv. you can watch them on our web site, booktv.org. >> host: you mentioned that there was a bit of a kerfuffle when you were doing bress for this -- press for this book, but i'm going to quote from you here, and we're talking about president obama here, and this is you speaking. everybody refers to him as the first black president. i'm not saying it's wrong, i'm just saying that it's interesting. it would be great if it didn't matter and that people could call him this. >> guest: yes. >> host: so do you consider him
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to be the first black president? >> guest: i do, i do. but that's only because i'm playing by the rules that have already been set, hear what i'm saying? i always, i always tell my friends i bet you, you know, i would bet you that growing up there were black folks that did not accept him or black folks that said he talked white. and, you know, after you reach a certain level, a lot of times these same black folk turn that around and say, okay, now that you've established yourself, now we can accept you, you know what i mean? you know, we as a race, you know, from and because of slavery, we've been put through so much that when it comes to identity, it's confusing. it's really confusing. i can understand how, you know, we as black people want to find as many from our tribe as
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possible. i get that. but at some point that's to going to have to, that's going to have to end. because where do you draw the line? where are you going to draw the line, you know? there are some black people that are lighter than you, you know what i'm saying? and they've been treated a certain way their entire lives. and it's just, it's not fair. you know? i think at some point we're going to have to, we're going to have to move on. >> you can watch this and other programs online at booktv.org. [inaudible conversations] >> the seventh annual gaithersburg book festival will continue live from gaithersburg city hall grounds in maryland in a couple of minutes.
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[inaudible conversations] >> booktv tapes hundreds of author programs throughout the country all year long. here's a look at some of the events we'll be covering this week. on tuesday at barnes & noble in new york city, historian sean will leapt will argue that political parties and partisanship are necessary to insure a working democracy. also that day we'll be at george washington university in washington, d.c. for colorado governor john hickenlooper's talk about his path to public office. we're back in new york on wednesday for a program at the carnegie center for ethics and international affairs where former center for disease
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control and prevention official ali khan will talk about the world's deadliest diseases and what safety measures he thinks should be put into practice in advance of the next pandemic. then on thursday from our studio in washington, d.c., senate barbara boxer of california will discuss her life and career in conversation with senator amy klobuchar for an upcoming episode of our author interview program, "after words." and also that day at the heritage foundation in washington, david satter, former moscow correspondent for the financial times, will weigh in on russian president's boris yeltsin and vladimir putin. that's a look at some of the author programs booktv's covering this week. many of these events are open to the public. look for them to air in the near future on booktv on c-span2.
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[inaudible conversations] >> author and fox news analyst juan williams is next live from the gaithersburg, maryland, book festival. he's in conversation with author craig shirley discussing mr. williams' latest book, "we the people." [inaudible conversations] >> okay. good afternoon. i'm bradley graham, i'm the co-owner of politics & prose along with my wife, lissa muscatine, and on behalf of everybody here at the gaithersburg book festival,
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thank you, thank you so much for coming. this is, of course, the seventh annual festival here in 2008ers burg -- gaithersburg. this is the fifth consecutive year that politics & prose has been here as the official bookseller, and we really want to commend the gaithersburg staff and all the festival sponsors and volunteers for working so hard, especially hard this year given the weather, to make today possible. and thank you all, really, for coming out. you're all a very hearty, hearty bunch. a few quick administrative notes. now would be a good time to turn off your cell phones or anything else that might go beep. second, if you're tweeting today, please use hashtag gbf. and, third, we really want your feedback. so, please, at the end fill out a survey. they're available at the back of
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the tent or on the gbf web site. and if you complete a survey, you have a chance -- a chance -- to win a $100 visa gift card. finally, juan williams will be signing books after this presentation. he'll be, there's a signing line on the other end here of the festival grounds. and copies of his book, "we the people," are on sale in the politics & prose tent which is just out here, over there. now, a quick word about buying books. even though this is a free event, there's no charge for the festival, it does help the book festival if you do buy a book. the more books you purchase at today's festival the more publishers will want to send their authors here to speak in the future, and the more authors themselves will want to speak. plus, purchasing books from
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politics and prose or other local bookstores benefits the local economy and supports local jobs. we're very delighted to have juan with us today. i'm sure he's familiar to many of you since he's been part of the journalistic establishment of this town for several decades now. juan and i overlapped for a number of years at "the washington post" and previous incarnation. before i became a bookseller, i was a journalist at "the washington post." and juan worked there for 23 years as a national correspondent and political columnist. he then spent over ten years with npr before leaving and concentrating on fox news where he now frequently appears on various shows sharing his seasoned perspective on many issues of the day. in his new book, "we the people," juan has a compelling premise.
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he makes the point at the outset that because the united states has changed so much since its birth, it should have another, more modern set of leading historical figures to inspire and to serve as examples. much in the way the original founding fathers have done for previous generations and still do to some extent. so juan offers his list of more than who two dozen 20th century visionaries and model achievers profiling each of them and describing how in their own significant ways they've helped reshape america. and he's about to tell you who exactly made his cut. juan will be in conversation with craig shirley who is also an author and has written, among other works, several books on ronald reagan. so please join me in welcoming juan williams and craig shirley. [applause]
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>> juan, thank you for being here today. by the way, i think we are going to take questions from the audience at some point. i always like to start at the beginning. so just tell us about yourself, where you were born, where you went to college, high school, sports you played, things like that. [laughter] >> well, thanks, craig. and thank you all for coming out on a rainy day. it's a pleasure to be here. you know, one of the great pleasures, i think, about being an author is learning things. the writing process, getting involved with new information and then being able to share that information. but, of course, you need somebody -- whether it's craig or all of you -- to share with, to get into conversation with. and part of the joy of a book festival is learning what people think about what you've written and sort of taking you to a new height in terms of your own capacity to experience life and the written word. so thank you all for being here. so in answer to your question,
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craig, i am 62 years old. i just, i had a birthday april 10th. the book was published april 5th. it was kind of a birthday gift. >> to yourself. >> to me, exactly right. [laughter] but i hope, i hope each and every one of you -- because i think it's an -- i mean, craig was telling me earlier, tell them the three principles of being an author. >> there's no such thing as writer's block, and there's no such thing -- you have to tell yourself everyone's waiting on the book. [laughter] >> i think it's a birthday gift to you all as well. [laughter] so i was born in panama in 1954, and then my mom brought three kids to brooklyn when i was just 4 years old. i went to public school in brooklyn, new york, and i won a scholarship to a quaker prep school in poughkeepsie, new york. then i won another scholarship at haverford college just
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outside of philadelphia. i was the editor of my junior high school paper, my high school paper. and after my freshman year at haverford, went to work at the philadelphia evening bulletin. and right now i don't think there's an evening paper in america, mr. shirley. but -- they're all gone. >> no, no. >> so i really began at an evening newspaper and went from there, you kno i got a dow jones -- dow jones used to own "the wall street journal." they had a newspaper fund internship for young people, and i want to work for the providence journal one summer, went back to the bulletin. very much wanted to stay in philadelphia and be a journalist for the evening bulletin, but this was the era of woodward and bernstein, and they weren't hiring young journalists. they wanted people in mid career who were experienced investigators and the like. everybody my age wanted to be a journalist at that point. i'm not sure they wanted to be woodward and bernstein, but they wanted to be more like redford
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and hoffman, the guys in the movie, right? [laughter] but i really wanted to be a journalist. i love journalism. it's a passion for me. and basically, anyway i couldn't get a job at the evening bulletin, but i got another internships. two, in fact, as i remember. one was at the "philadelphia inquirer" which still exists, and the other was at "the washington post." and i thought if it's an internship and i'm going to be out of a job in three months, i think i'll take the washington postbecause it was, you know, the hot newspaper at that time. so i stayed there, as bradley said. not only did i meet bradley, but i met carla cohen who ran politics & prose for a long time. and one of those people that i met during the reagan years was this gentleman, craig shirley. >> 23 years at the post. sorry it didn't work out. [laughter] pleasure how many books have you written?
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>> well, it depends if you count things like, you know, there are books that are, like, there's a book about black farmers, and i wrote the preface to it which is lengthy -- >> right. >> but the heart and soul, i think the reason that anyone in this audience would buy that book are these incredible pictures of black farmers through the south. >> right. >> but other than that i think it's eight books. >> eight books. what are you working on mow? [laughter] >> i just finished this one, yeah. >> i'm perpetually now working on new books. are you the same way? >> no. i, i think i must need to sort of, you know, till the soil one more time and find my direction. it is, for me, such a, you know, you talked about your three principles. but i think the thing that strikes me is that people say that for a man the closest thing we can come to childbirth is writing a book. [laughter] and i think that's true for me. so it takes my body and brain a while to say, oh, my gosh, we've gotten through it.
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because books consume me. i work, you know, in newspapers or magazines, tv, radio. they are very immediate platforms. but they are ephemeral to some extent. you mow the joke about, you know, you say to your dad or your mom, oh, i had an article in the newspaper today, did you see my story? yeah, it'll line the bird cage next dayment. [laughter] and then you say, mom or dad, i had a piece in the magazine, and they say, oh, it'll be out of the doctor's office in a month. but if you write a book, it has lasting value, you know? it's always amazing to me that you go in a library x there's a book that you've written. i always think, gosh, what kind of a library is this that would have a book like me? [laughter] but, yes. so when i do a book, it consumes me, just as you said. i wake up and think why am i not writing the book. it's me. >> how long did it take you to
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write "we the people"? >> five years, but the idea has been in my mind for more than five years. >> sure. >> i'm not always sure i can tell you when -- >> i know exactly what you're talking about. >> but i know that that was germinating in my mind for a long time. and it goes back, actually, to something i was doing for, in the pr, and --npr, and it goes back to the '08 campaign. right around that time i was looking at changes going on in american society for npr for a series called "changing face of america" and looking at huge points of difference that had been, you know, at the start of the century, if you will, 21st century, that were defining american life. everything, things like, you know, people going from no gambling, no legal gambling to now gambling being everywhere. >> everywhere. >> that's a huge change. and in my lifetime, things like people not smoking -- people smoking everywhere to not being a able to smoke everywhere.
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>> you used to smoke in movie theater. >> ball game, people -- at an athletic event, people smoking up a storm. so i did that, but also what occurred to me in the midst of the '08 campaign was how radically things had changed. obviously, with president obama elected and thinking look at this coalition and look at the idea of an african-american as president, this is pretty incredible, you know? magazines with headlines not in my lifetime did anyone think that something like that could happen. so i knew it was a radical amount of change going on, and that idea then grew into this book. >> what's your favorite part of the book? >> well, this -- there are two things. one is, so the book'sen been out for a month now, and one thing that surprises me is the number of people who come up to me and say bill bratton? >> yeah, i was going to ask you about bill bratton. >> how do you get him in with ronald reagan and eleanor roosevelt. >> exactly. people say how can a policeman
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be part of the newfounders of america in the 21st century? we'll come to it. >> okay. >> but the second thing is when people ask a version of the question you just asked, craig, which is what's your favorite thing, i say to people, well, to me the biggest change that's taken place in american life has to do with american women. and i don't think people appreciate, i think i didn't appreciate it. >> right. >> so if you'll allow me, i'll tell you a quick story. >> sure. >> the quick story is this. when i was doing that npr series i mentioned to you earlier, i was very intrigued by the 2010 census that said, guess what? right now we're a nation of more than 300 million people, but a quarter, a quarter of us are under the age of 18. under 18. i had no idea we were such a young nation. under 18. remember, people like craig, me, i mean, we have kids, but 18 -- >> came to the tail end of the
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baby boom or right in the middle of the baby boom. >> yeah. >> right. >> but people under 18 don't vote. people under 18 don't have money to give to politicians. people under 18 typically are not involved in political organizing. so they're not the kind of people that i'm calling on the phone like i'm calling craig when he was in the reagan administration. so that's just not the people i'm in touch with. >> when we were 18, we couldn't vote. >> that's correct. >> right. >> so i thought i would go and talk to people who were under 18, get a better sense of this very large, larger cohort than the baby boomers. that's how big the under-18 population is in the country. so i went out to a high school in minnesota, right in the middle of the country, and i was trying to figure out in talking to these young people what's on their minds politically, socially. and given the huge demographic shift taking place in the country, higher number of not only african-americans, but hispanics now the second largest racial group in the country. and in minnesota you've got
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hmong, somalis, that whole somali issue with the terror threat and all the rest, all that going on there. i thought, oh, you're going to have cliques in the hallways and classrooms, everybody's going to be separate. minneapolis being historically a homogeneous, white community. so i go there and, to my surprise, no, it's not racially or ethnically separate. people are very much mixed, and the younger people play together, date, everything, eat together even in the cafeteria. you know how they talk about separate tables? not really. you do have separation in terms of here are the governments and here are the athletes -- the gothst, the athletes, the smart kids -- >> hasn't it always been that way though? >> i think -- well, you know what? i thought racially because we still have high levels of racial segregation in american public schools -- >> right. >> -- thought at this school you're going to see it, but no, at this school it wasn't true. >> interesting.
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>> i started talking to the kids and got zero because they don't read newspapers, they're just not plugged into the news in the way that i think those of us in this audience are plugged in. so i said to a woman who had attended the school -- she had gone to the school, her children attended the school, she's now a counselor at the school. i said what's the difference in this school between the '70s and today? she said, juan, it should be so obvious to you. you asked to meet with the very best students. what'd you to notice? i'm like, i don't know, what do you mean? she said, hold on. you asked to meet with the top people involved with student government. didn't it jump out at you at that point? and i'm like, come on, what are you talking about? and she said, wait, you asked to meet with the students who are getting scholarships to go play sports, division i sports at the best schools -- >> presidents of all the clubs, everything. >> correct. >> yeah. >> what did you notice, juan? and i'm like, oh, boy. [laughter] she said, well, it should have
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been obvious to you that when you met with the students who have the highest s.a.t. scores, eight out of ten of them were young women. it should have been obvious when you met with the student editor and student government, seven out of ten young women, and how could you not notice when you met with the best athletes that after title ix9, five of the ten were young women? and i was like, wow, you know, it's raining. somehow you forget there are rain drops involved, and you don't see the pattern. oh, my gosh, she's right. >> close to it, yeah. >> young women are so strong, so influential, so much the achievers in modern society. and i was, like, wait a minute, it's not just young women. it's the case now that in the last few years america passed the tipping point where half the work force is made up of women. >> right. >> we're now the case where it's 87 women in the congress, 20% of the senate. we have three women on the supreme court. the attorney general is a woman. >> women in the military -- >> women in combat -- >> women in media, women
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reporters. >> absolutely. megyn kelly is the star of stars -- >> right, right. >> or you stop and think about -- >> all of them, all of the networks and cable. >> even in college the majority of students in college today -- >> yes. >> -- young women, the majority of people in professional and graduate schools, young women. so in "we the people," i talk about how my wife has a graduate degree, master's degree. her mother had a master's degree. my sister is a lawyer. my daughter is a lawyer. my sister-in-law ran part of obama's campaign here in maryland, you know? my niece is a doctor. next weekend my son gets married, he's marrying a doctor. the women in my life, the founding fathers would have no idea. remember, no women signed the declaration of independence. no women at the constitutional convention. women could not own property, women could not vote.
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so if the founding fathers came back to life, i mean, they would be like what are, what is going on? how did these women take control, right? >> it's a different world. but there are consequences. this just didn't happen organically. this happened because society recognized that women have been historically discriminated against, so it needed to be addressed. so there was, you know, efforts done to push women forward. have we reached a point now where we need to say, wait a minute, we don't need these? it's all happening naturally now? >> well -- >> one consequence that i think of is that i know a lot of -- we know a lot of women who are, you know, in their 30s and 40s and unmarried. invariably they say there are no good men. [laughter] is it because we're not manufacturing good men? we're only manufacturing good women? >> what was that? >> [inaudible] >> we're still here. [laughter]
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>> that's one. >> that was a statement from big sexy. [laughter] you know, in all seriousness as a black guy -- >> right. >> -- i think this issue is very large in minority communities where you see minority women outperform the minority men -- >> right, right. >> it's even more distinct than what's going on in the white community. >> right. >> and so your question about what's going on with the boys is very serious question to my mind. >> right. >> i do think that, you know, it's a change in the economy. >> right. >> that's part of it. it used to be if you had -- >> but there are structural differences in society too. >> that's what i'm saying -- >> yeah. >> not only the attitudes, but the culture. you asked to stop helping women along, i'll just tell you this quick, funny story. i was once talking to the head of a university. and as i pointed out to you, women are the majority of
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undergraduate students right now in america. and i was saying to him, well, you know, why is that? he was saying, well, we have -- we're making every effort with the young men. in essence, he was saying we have affirmative action to bring young men to campus. >> interesting. >> and i was like, well, why bother? if you have better qualified young women, why don't you just take them? and he said, well, you have to understand. girls like boys. [laughter] so they want boys on campus. [laughter] now, when i thought about this, i thought, wow, what an insulting statement. [laughter] you have the boys on campus to attract the girls, that's about it. [laughter] they have football programs because the girls want that kind of activity and action on the campus. but it's all about the girls. anyway, in this book, in "we the people" i tell the story of betty friedan. and this gaithersburg book festival is a good setting to
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say that betty friedan's book, "the feminine mystique," has told over three million copies. >> profound cultural impact. >> unbelievable. saying that american women are being underestimated, underutilized in terms of intellectual compassionty that the happy suburban housewife is a myth and it's not satisfying to american women and the like. it led to the feminist movement, but craig touched on this earlier. it has changed us as an american people in terms of family structure. women saying, you know what? i may not need to get married earlier. why is my life about getting married and having kids as opposed to developing my career, my educational background. these issues, this change in america as we live in it as opposed to the america of the founding fathers, i think that's why betty friedan is one of the founders of modern america as we know it today. >> you know, i just want to say, you've stimulated a lot of thinking. i'm sure the founders wouldn't
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recognize america today, but i'm not sure that they would disapprove. the country they envisioned was a country of individual, of rugged individualists, of maximum freedom consistent with law and order, and people were allowed to rise to the highest level of attainment without the heavy hand of nobility or government. >> right. >> so this hypothetical, but do you think the founders would approve of america today? >> well, i tell ya, one of the ways -- people say, you know, what's your book about when you bump into them on the street, and i always say i have a little elevator speech. the elevator speech, craig, goes like this. it's an answer to your question, which is that if thomas jefferson, alexander hamilton, george washington showed up at the gaithersburg book festival, they'd be rock stars. we'd say, hey, forget juan, let's go meet the founding fathers, right? [laughter] so they're walking around and you say, hey, mr. hamilton, there's a hit broadway show about you and george washington. [laughter]
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you don't know, we have colleges named after you, we have a city named -- it's unbelievable. and they would say to each and every one of you as they walk around gaithersburg, they'd say, you know, on that big highway we saw there were cameras on the lamp post. what are those cameras for? and you'd say, oh, they're for speeders and for criminals, you know, to prevent crime. and they'd say, wait a minute, you mean the government has you under constant surveillance? >> yeah, yeah. something about the fourth amendment. right. >> i can't believe it, that's the way you live in america today? so i don't think they'd be so happy about that. >> okay. but what they would be happy about, how -- only the elites actually read books in 1776 and 1787, right? but here we are at the book festival, everybody reads books. so i would think that they would approve the democratization of reading. >> oh -- well -- >> access to knowledge. >> obviously, you know, mr. jefferson's library, the library of congress. >> library of congress.
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>> so, yes, they would appreciate. but, i mean, it's like title of the book, you know, "we the people," or, i mean, it almost makes me want to cry, the words "all men are created equal. ." it's so inspiring, such a beacon beyond our shores but to the world in terms of ideal of governments and how we should treat each other and how we should organize ourselves as people. and yet, i mean, obviously they did not recognize blacks as fully human, and they gave women no rights. and when you talk about who got to read books, who got an education, it was the elites. >> yeah. >> it was absolutely an economic elite. >> wealthy gentlemen, yeah. >> i think everybody should come inside here. [laughter] it's pouring. >> we have seats available, and there are chairs over there. >> seats over here, yeah, over here. please. you, at one point you were talking, and you made a gesture like this, because i want to ask
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you about your writing routine. you were thinking about things, and it reminds me about a story about james thurber, of course, wrote the walter mitty books. he was at a dinner party in the 1920s, '30s in new york city, and there's champagne corks popping, people laughing, food being served, music being played, and he's staring off into space not conversing with anybody. he's doing this for hours on end. finally, his wife turns to him and says, james, stop writing. [laughter] now, i have a certain routine. michael crichton, you know, would have a cup of coffee and eat a ham sandwich and start at 1:00 and write for five hours. the next day he'd start at 2:00, and the next day he'd start at 3:00, and that's the way he wrote. do you have a particular routine, the way -- a regimen, the way you write? >> well, because my day job is so unpredictable which is as a
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journalist, you know, sometimes things happen. you know, this political year, for example, with conventions and donald trump and all the rest -- >> sure. primaries, late night primary coverage. >> absolutely. so there's no way for me to -- >> well, that makes it doubly hard then. >> right. but let's say it's a blank day. >> right. >> like, let's say it's a saturday, and hopefully nothing's breaking. >> like the gaithersburg book festival. [laughter] >> right. on those days what i do is i wake up, and getting to be an old man, i don't sleep as much as i used to. i would wake up even on a rainy morning, and i would have a little oatmeal and coffee, and then i -- my brain, i think, is working pretty well. >> right. >> it's interesting. i have two periods where i feel like my brain is really in gear, and i think it comes from being a washington post -- brad graham might have something to say about this. so my brain works really well from about 10 to 1, but then all
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of a sudden, i don't know what happens, but from about 4:30 to 7:30, i can really rock. and i think that comes from being trained to handle deadlines. because that's when, you know, the first edition of bulldog, you'd have to get the story done by about 7:30, 8:00 at night. from the time i was a young person, that's when i really had to perform. i felt like there was no getting around that deadline. so that still is part of my makeup. >> i'm usually into a glass of wine about then. [laughter] who's your favorite writer? >> well, i have lots of different kinds of favorite writers. i was looking around the gaithersburg -- >> you can't mention anybody at fox. [laughter] >> no, i won't do that. i don't want to offend you. [laughter] >> only one. >> only one. [laughter] but, you know, i mean, i really -- for example, i noticed that -- [inaudible] >> yeah. >> and i was thinking i really like lawrence block. i like lawrence block mysteries a great deal. and then, of course, you have,
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you know, i mean, there's no getting around, when people ask me what do you think of the great books of the 20th century, i think invisible man -- >> right. >> i just think that's an incredible piece of work. >> right. >> so there's no shortage. i'm a big ready. i'm a big fan of books. >> right. the front coffer here, you've got -- cover here, you've got in mount rushmore style billy graham, ronald reagan, l nor roosevelt and thurgood marshall. why those four individuals? obviously, this is about post-war america, the people who had the most impact. but there are other people, lyndon johnson or john kennedy or other people who had -- henry kissinger -- who had dramatic impact on post-war america. why are these four on your cover? >> well, i don't know about you, craig shirley, but i do not design covers. [laughter] >> but -- >> but i love the idea, which the idea is they came to me after reading the book and the book taking so --
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>> actually, i do. >> you design your covers? >> i have a big hand in them. >> not me. >> but in the book you mentioned eleanor roosevelt, daniel patrick moynihan, martin luther -- all the people you mentioned here are -- >> i think that's because the person who designed the cover read the book, thank goodness. [laughter] >> that'd be a first. >> okay, all right. well, i love the concept, that they read the book and they came up with this idea that there could be a new mount rushmore, right? and who would be the figures on the new mount rushmore. what they did, as craig as just told you, they put up eleanor roosevelt, thu good marshall, billy graham and ronald reagan. and i think their idea is you can see this is not about politics, this is about people who were so powerful in making a change in american life that they have, in fact, created the modern america as we know it today. they are founders of america as we live in it today, and that's the idea. >> besides bill bratton, who
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we've already discussed, the other person who kind of sticks out a little bit is eleanor roosevelt because she never held office unless you consider the -- >> u.n. >> well, u.n., but also her husband appointed her to civil defense, to run with laguardia. >> okay. >> but why eleanor rooseveltsome. >> well, because of human rights. i think one of the big changes in our, in the way that america operates in the 21st century especially as contrasted to the founders' era is that the founders -- remember, in george washington's farewell speech, he advises against foreign entanglements and says, you know what? we're going to look out for ourselves and take advantage of god's gift of natural barriers, the ocean. eleanor roosevelt comes along, and in the post-world war ii moment not only is she advocating for the u.s. to get involved with this united nations and the whole idea of a global community, but she's also advocating something called the
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universal declaration of human rights. that the kind of rights that we celebrate, individual protections and individual entitlements if you will that go beyond government, she says, are not just american ideas, they're ideas that we should promote, advocate, celebrate to the world. and so you get -- i cite the example in the book of when the boko haram bad guys kidnapped all those young women and took them off and how that starts a internet sensation among young people, but americans in general saying the united states and the world should go get this guy and go get those young women back. and, again, that's an exercise in the kind of values that we have in our culture today and the idea that we think we have every right to say to the world this is the way you treat people, this is the value of human life. this is eleanor roosevelt living
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through this moment. so eleanor roosevelt in terms of universal declaration of human rights, in terms of the united nations, in terms of global consensus about what is right and what is wrong is -- i don't think there's any figure that's comparable. i will note that when hillary clinton began her campaign, she began it at a park that honors eleanor roosevelt. so i think for clinton, eleanor roosevelt is her top role mold. >> i'm going to do something which i know as a fellow author i hate which is to ask you why you didn't include certain people, certain facts or certain things. >> sure. >> to my mind -- now, i know jimmy carter's in here, but he's not prominent. and to my mind, jimmy carter's actually underappreciated because he's the first president who actually injected human rights into the national, international foreign policy debate. before carter it was kind of an academic exercise. borders, military movements, things like that.
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but he was the first one to really kind of put, you know, who started to actually put a human face that there were p real humans involved. bill buckley's not mentioned who had profound effect on the american conservative movement and phyllis schlafly. so i'm just wondering why -- did you consider those three or building out those more? >> no. there are lots of people, i mean, that you could say -- the most frequent mention on front that i get why didn't you include are people like steve jobs, right? >> yeah, sure. >> people like zuckerberg with facebook. >> right. >> the technological people. >> right. >> but, again, i think -- technology is a huge change in the way we live. you can imagine the founding fathers being stunned at things like facebook or twitter coming from politicians in the middle of the night. they'd be like, wow, we don't know anything about this. but i don't think that they would have said, oh, we don't expect that 240, a 250 years later that there won't be tech lodging call development.
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and -- tech technological development. >> well, they were all groomed in the age of enlightenment, so there were developments -- >> printing. >> exactly. in terms of writing. they at least had an understanding there was new technology. >> right. so is that's why -- so in terms of the book reviews, which have been speck tack already, the one thing they all said is i thought he should have done a chapter on technology. >> right. >> but i really made a conscious decision, that's not -- i'm interested in economic change, yes. and you'll hear about milton friedman in terms of that. >> you mention milton friedman a lot. which i agree with, by the way, i think he had -- >> i mean, when you think about 2016, you got to think about the income inequality argument as one of the dominant themes of our political discourse at the moment. >> right. >> and i think the root of that is milton friedman. >> right. >> and then -- >> well, he also gives the republican party a new message which it hadn't had in many years. >> absolutely. to me --
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>> which reagan makes popular. >> -- it was the anti-keynesian message -- >> absolutely. >> so you go from keynes right to milton friedman. and i think right now and the arguments about how america's economy rewards or doesn't reward the middle class is tied into this milton friedman argument. >> you called the tea party far right. why? >> they're far right. [laughter] >> do you want to elaborate? >> well, i mean, if you stop and think about this is another element in the book. there's a, you know, it's funny, nobody mentions this guy, and he has a whole chapter in the book. his name is bob ball. >> i was going to talk about bob ball writing social security. >> social security. but bob ball comes in right at the start of social security not as the father of social security, but the -- >> first administrator. >> the person who's really administering it, making it work, fibroing ways to keep it
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viable -- finding ways to keep it viable. and then he does become the father of medicare, medicaid, a whole great society effort head start on life. >> right. >> and to keep social security going. and right in baltimore the social security building is called the bob ball building. but, again, a lot of people don't know who bob ball is. if you think in terms of obamacare at this moment, if you think in terms of the social safety net that we have in the united states, i would argue that the father of that is bob ball. so when we think about economic issues, it's not just the milton friedmans of the world, but it's also the bob balls of the world that i think have changed the way that we relate as a society. and bob ball, to me, is one of the founding fathers. >> you write here america was founded -- quote reagan here -- america was founded by people who believed god was the rock of their safety.
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and then you had on, if so, god and christian principles are not in evidence as guiding forces in the declaration of independence, constitution or bill of rights. i went to a documentary about george washington, and a lot of it was about how both the founders and the framers took a lot of divine inspiration. so, i mean, are you saying not in evidence in that in terms of their writing or in terms of their belief or behavior? >> no, no. it's in evidence in terms of the statement that we were just talking about, "all men being created equal." 9. >> yes. >> and i think there's a whole sense of divine rights that there are rights that come from god, not to be begin to you by government. >> right. >> that's quite evident. i think the difference was it was such a human endeavor. one of the reasons that the founding fathers if they came back to the gaithersburg book festival would be rock stars is that who has ever written something that 240 years later still holds? endures?
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honored by, you know, we talk about the political polarization in american society today. left-winger, right-winger, right? bernie sanders, donald trump, ted cruz, whoever. >> they all cite the constitution. >> all love the constitution. all work for change within those constitutional principles. you know, the constitution has survived civil war -- >> right. >> -- survived world wars -- >> sedition act. >> great depression, everything. unbelievable. >> yeah. >> the constitution. and so if you think -- >> actually, much of the constitution was suspended during the civil war and during world war ii, you know? there were strict -- >> habeas corpus and the like. >> sure. >> but it's within the larger framework, that's my point. >> roosevelt also issued strict regulations on radio broadcasts and newspaper reports. >> well, and tried to -- truman tried to take over the steel industry. >> right, right. >> but i think all of this within the idea of checks and balances, separations of power has worked.
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>> yes. >> 240 years later. that's pretty unbelievable, right? >> yeah. >> and i think that, again, the reality is that they would be stunned that their own creation has lasted this long. there are letters, letters among the founding fathers saying if this lasts five years, we'll be lucky. >> isn't that astonishing? >> we have about ten minutes left, do you want to take some questions? >> absolutely. >> [inaudible] of all the things that have -- [inaudible] >> horrified. wow, a little stephen king at the book festival. [laughter] horrified. well, as i said, i think they'd be stunned at women -- >> repeat the question. >> oh. the question was of all the things that have happened since the founding fathers' era, what would be the one thing that would most horrify.
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is that -- that was the operative word -- most horrify the founding fathers today. so we talked a little bit about surveillance and the constant -- and, by the way, that's why bill bratton's in the book, the police commissioner, because he really has made not only video surveillance, sound surveillance, predictive policing, all the things we live with, you know, amazing. anyway, so i think that, i think that beyond that, you know, i think gays, gay rights, gay marriage. would knock 'em out. they would have no point of reference for this. it's not -- i mean, george washington drummed a guy out of the continue innocental army because of -- continental army because of gay behavior. they spoke of it, wrote of it as an abomination. so if they are in gaithersburg, you know, this evening, saturday night, and see two men holding hands, i think they'd say, craig -- [laughter] what the hell -- [laughter] >> and juan -- [laughter]
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>> right. so, you know, i mean, i think the power of horror is there's some element of total surprise, you know? day becomes night, you know, the dead come back to life as zombies and all that. so i think for them this would be like zombie land. they'd be like, you guys embraced the idea of homosexuality in a way to them that they would be absolutely horrified. >> we have a microphone here. if you want to ask a question, just raise your hand, and we'll bring the microphone to you. >> your time at fox news change how you wrote this book and who you chose for the book? >> it educates -- the question was has my time at fox news changed me and the writing of this book. so i don't think there's any question that i'm surrounded by conservatives on a daily basis. [laughter] >> marinated. >> marinated. [laughter] and, you know, craig was in the
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reagan administration, so i knew him from back then. so i was being marinated among conservatives even back then. >> that's true. >> but it does change you to constantly have to go back and forth with really smart conservatives about the arguments from their conservative point of view. and part of my role at fox, some people say, hey, you're a punching bag over at fox because the odds are always against me. but i say, no, i think my role is more like foil. i'm allowed to punch back, but the key is to prop up the kind of debate that makes people have to deal with the other side's perspective so that anybody watching doesn't ever end up at the water fountain the next day and say, oh, my gosh, i didn't know that they thought that or somebody had that perspective or that point that would change. so, to me, that's the role. but what it does for me is it makes me bring my a game every time. i have to be prepared. if you're going up against bill o'reilly, you want to avoid being the pinhead bigtime.
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[laughter] so you want to make sure you know what you're talking about and have some confidence in it before you engage that conversation. so how does it affect the writing of the book, it makes -- it opens my eyes to the idea that, you know what? i want to be sure that i am considering. you heard craig just a moment ago say why didn't you include some of the -- phyllis schlafly, for example. but again, to my mind, having considered it, she does not match up with someone like a betty friedan in terms of prompting the wave of shift that we've seen in america in women's lives. >> have you gotten bill o'reilly to promote your book too? >> that's hard. [laughter] >> bill wrote a blurb for the book and not only that, he has told people that it's a great father's day gift. [laughter] and i'm trying to get him to say go to politics & prose and buy the book.
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[laughter] there we go. >> any other questions? >> what's, what is your next book? >> you keep asking me this. [laughter] you are on me, i tell ya. i don't know. i don't have, you know, i have ideas, but to me they're still at the point of, you know, it's like i need to put a little fertilizer on 'em. let it sit for a minute. you know, i always think there are people who do books, and they can be vanity books. they're about themselves, especially in the tv business. >> yes. >> they'll do a lot of that -- >> they're very predictive, aren't they? >> i think. or they put out books -- >> feature pictures of themselves on the dust jacket. >> yeah. well, so i don't do those books. i do -- so the first book i ever did, we were talking earlier, was "eyes on the prize: america's civil rights years," it was in conjunction with the tv series. but i think, you know, one of the great pleasures of my life as a writer is that on the 25th anniversary of that book, the publisher sent me a gilded copy because book's been in print for 25 years. >> wonderful.
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that's great. >> the book i wrote about thurgood marshall, still in print. to people still use these books. -- so people still use these books. and, you know, i wrote a book about issues within the black community and struggles based on bill cosby and bill cosby's speech prior to all the scandals that now surround bill cosby. and that book continues to sell. so for me, i'm really interested in doing books that have lasting value and that people, you know, when you read a book, i think it's such a gift to an author. i know bradley thinks it's when you buy the book. [laughter] but for me, it's when you take the time and you say, you know what? it's worth time. i find this book intriguing, relaxing, you know? especially i can easily see where you would say that with a fiction book, that it's engaging, it takes me away from my daily activity. bufor me as a nonfiction author, i am so grateful when
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you take a moment to read a book and then stick with it. and i want to know that i have given you something worthy of your time. >> when i wrote one of my reagan books, i got a letter from a woman in the midwest, and she said dear mr. shirley, i go to bed with you every night. [laughter] and then she proceeded to explain how her treat was to take a bath, have dinner, get in bed and then read one chapter of my book every night. which i framed that letter. [laughter] >> so my version of that is people say, you know, you're in my home every night on fox news. [laughter] >> you're in my bedroom. >> i always say, well, it's unbelievable, this new technology that allows us to see into your house now. [laughter] oops. put on some clothes. [laughter] >> looking forward to reading your book. >> thank you. >> and lot of talk about the founding fathers, and i guess, what they would see here. i kind of view that as, like, a
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parent and a child relationship and as the child grows up, it's way beyond what the parents could have imagined as they've created a foundation. it in rea time, tweeting and communicating opposite polarizing views of what they heard. my question for you is more personal on merrick garland, we have an extremely polarized
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political system today and should we have a vote on garland proceeding or do you think, part of government working as our founding fathers envisioned, instead of the separation, and -- >> the design was the president shall nominate and the senate should advise on this nomination. the hashtag the
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>> you mentioned gay-rights. what person on mount rushmore would you have for changing gay-rights? >> i think one of the more intriguing chapters is harry hey. also when there is senator goldwater, barry goldwater who late in life became an advocate of gay-rights on the right. harry hey is the person who began in the early 50s to organize around the idea that gay people should not be harassed and intimidated by police and politicians should not use the issue as a wedge issue and condemn them for their behavior. initially it is anonymous political organizing but it
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breaks through when people put their names and money to it particularly in the hollywood acting community on on the west coast and that leads to stonewall and we saw they are going to name the stonewall bar in new york, national historic monument, this tells you how tremendous the rate of change has been in society around this issue now that we have the supreme court affirming the right to gay marriage. unbelievable. harry hey is a chapter and with barry goldwater in this book. >> let's have a round of applause here. [applause] >> thank you all, thank you. [applause] >> remember juan williams will be in the signing area, his book "we the people: the modern-day figures who have reshaped and affirmed the founding fathers' vision of america" is available in the book tends. thanks for coming.
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[inaudible conversations] >> the gaithersburg book festival will be back live from gaithersburg city hall in a few minutes. you will hear from pulitzer prize-winning historian annette gordon reed and peter onuf, their book "most blessed of the patriarchs" is about the intellectual life of thomas jefferson. for complete schedule of the rest of our live coverage visit booktv.org. >> the heart of the problem is too many principals and school board members don't know or don't understand the limits the constitution places on their ability to control what students say and others simply disregard the law because they don't like it. as i worked on this book almost
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everybody i talk to informally set i have a censorship story either from their own days in school or from their children and longtime teachers, incredulously told me they had no idea students had first amendment rights and asked where i had come up with such a creative notion. i have to begin by giving you a whirlwind tour of first amendment doctrine as it applies to students and then i will turn to some stories that capture some of the particular contemporary dilemmas. the speech cause of the first amendment is very concise. it says congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech. as interpreted this means the government and anyone acting on behalf of the government may not silence speech because of its content or viewpoint. school district and everyone who works for them from principals to teachers to school bus
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drivers are the government when we talk about students freedom to speak. my research and comments are limited to public schools because the first amendment doesn't apply to independent schools whether secular or religious. they are not the government. the supreme court first took up the issue of student speech rights in 1943. and one of the earliest cases in which they actually upheld speech rights of any individual. annette versus west virginia involved elementary school students. they were jehovah's witnesses who were at risk of expulsion and being sent to a juvenile reformatory because they refused to say the pledge of allegiance on the ground that it offended their religion but it was not litigated or interpreted as a religion case. the consequences today of speaking up and being punished can be dire. many students enter the school
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prison pipeline as a result of being suspended, expelled or sent to an alternative school for troubled students after they engaged in protected speech. just like the jehovah's witnesses in 1943 the consequences are stark. it held people including young students could not be forced to say what was not in their mind was a concept we today call the rule against compelled speech. the court emphasized constitutional limits on the state's course of powers whether exercised by, quote, village tyrants or by the federal government and underscored that the first amendment was designed to protect nonconformists of all stripes. the court particularly focused on schools because the case involved two elementary school girls. it that because schools are educating the young for citizenship they must scrupulously protect individual
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rights if we are not to strangle the free mind at its source and to teach you to discount important principles of government as mere platitudes. >> you can watch this and other programs online. [inaudible conversations] >> the seventh annual gaithersburg book festival will continue live from gaithersburg city hall grounds in maryland in a couple minutes. >> here is a look at some books that are being published this week. sebastian younger examines relationships that develop in war zones and the difficulties veterans have reentering society, the fractured republic, national affairs editor live in lays out why he thinks the united states has become
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politically polarized over the last half-century and the path to a more unified future. karen greenberg, director of the center on national security at university law school looks at the war on terror and creation of the modern security state in rogue justice. winner of the secretary of state medal for heroism, jay weston recalls his time working for the state department in iraq and afghanistan in the mirror test. in opposite of woe colorado governor john hickenlooper remembers his past from brewer to politician. polygon, former director of the office of public health and preparedness and response recount stories from his 20 years of fighting the spread of infectious diseases in the next pandemic. john tammy, political economy editor at forbes argues against the central bank in who needs the fed. look for these titles in bookstores this coming weekend watch for the authors in the
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near future on booktv. >> in terms of laws, what relevant laws are on the books to deal with this problem? >> vote buying is illegal in every state. there are state statutes that we have to remember because americans forget sometimes that under the constitution, the mechanisms of elections are controlled by the state governments. they are not controlled by the federal government so government steps in when there is discrimination of various kinds under law. so that every state has a vote by law, you are not supposed to sell your vote, not supposed to sell your vote or whatever, so not a question of the law not being there. people who are supposed to enforce at our local das and the local district attorney's are all elected and the local district attorney's greg malvo found out it really upset him
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don't want to prosecute because they in fact get elected in the same way by the same people and they are all in it together. so therefore they find reasons not to. local judges in those communities are elected so the system just goes on the way it always has gone on unless you make a federal case where there is discrimination of some kind and there are proposals to pass a law to give the federal government more power over voting in general that are in congress and the proposed constitutional amendment that has been introduced in congress but we know how hard it is to get a constitutional amendment and so i think my way which is explaining to poor and marginalized people what you could get collectively for your vote as in ferguson or flint, if you tell the vote buyers to go away and figure out what you
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want and get candidates who you want is a better interim solution than trying to wait around to see if you're going to get a constitutional amendment or people will come to their senses. >> you can watch this and other programs online@booktv.org. [inaudible conversations] >> annette gordon reed and peter onuf are next, they have written "most blessed of the patriarchs" about thomas jefferson. they start now on booktv. miss gordon reed won the national book award and the pulitzer prize for her first book also about thomas jefferson. >> good afternoon and welcome to the seventh annual gaithersburg
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book festival. i am a nonfiction book critic at the washington post. it is honored to be here in gaithersburg and take part in this wonderful literary festival. i have been to a lot of these and there are few that are as inviting and welcoming, excuse me? i will try to speak as loudly as i can. a few housekeeping announcements. for the consideration of everyone here if you can keep your phones quiet that would be great. if you are tweeting the event we need your feedback, there are surveys to complete at the tent and on the festival website. if you completed you can win a $100 visa gift card which you should spend on books. speaking of books our office will be signing at the book signing area intent a, line 4 right after the presentation and copies are on sale of their book at the politics and prose tend. that said let's get started. it is hard to imagine a better pairing of authors to discuss
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thomas jefferson. annette gordon reed is professor of american university at harvard university and author of the hemingway's of monticello which won the pulitzer prize for history after it was published in 2008. peter onuf is author of jefferson's empire, among several works on jefferson and he is the thomas jefferson memorial foundation professor at uva. he is thomas jefferson professor at mister jefferson's university. no pressure there at all. "most blessed of the patriarchs," thomas jefferson and the empire of imagination. much conversation about jefferson is on the contradiction between the ideal he imagined for the nation and the details of his own life and one of the strengths of this book is it is not a defense and not an attack. jefferson's aspirations were inextricably linked to his limitations. the book explores his for self perception and does so in part
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by focusing on the action at monticello which reflects him as a few places can. i am excited to hear from them so i will get out of the way. they will speak 25 minutes and take your questions. it is my pleasure to introduce annette gordon reed and peter onuf. [applause] >> thank you, great to be here and great to be here with my good friend annette gordon reed. she didn't know we were going to be good friends when she first encountered me. maybe you want to tell that story because we want to tell you about ourselves because it is interesting. >> an interesting thing for historians to collaborate in the way we collaborated. people do it but often one person will be one chapter and another person will do another. we wanted to have one voice in this and it is interesting we should do this because when i first encountered peter i expected him to be an enemy. in 1995 i had written a
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manuscript, thomas jefferson and sally hemmings, an american controversy and i was looking for people who would be open opponents to what i was saying which was basically that historians had given short shrift to the story that sally hemmings and jefferson had had children together and over a period of 38 years, historians mislaid the evidence so i went through and wrote about this and i was looking for people who would be in a position because that is the best way to know if you have a good story or not. not to listen to an amen corner but those will be opposed to it. he was a thomas jefferson memorial foundation professor at the university of virginia and i thought he is likely to be opposed to this so i called him up and asked if he would read the manuscript. fully expecting to get back, red pencil and everything and to my surprise he liked the book and suggested that the university press of virginia publish the book, the press at mister jefferson university and we have
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been friends ever since and having a conversation about jefferson for all that time. i didn't think at the beginning we would end up writing a book but when he thought he was going to retire and ride off into the sunset i was like no, no. he is as busy now as ever. i said we should do this project forever to keep them in my life and this is the result of it. >> the most jarring thing for me was i don't do people. i am a jack reed student. that is an inside joke for people who studied with my professor at johns hopkins. i am an idea guy. i had to say some things about jefferson over the course of my career because i am as carlos accused me of being the jefferson professor, now emeritus. the idea of doing a biography is the last thing i could imagine doing because it is all about a person. i was a bit taken aback when
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annette gordon reed invited me to do this and it is one of the best things that has ever happened to me. because i care about people, real people today, but dead people are not terribly interesting to me as people. >> i'm exactly the opposite. i care about you. >> took me a while to pick up on that. that was really hurtful. we would like to start off talking a little bit about the project and we will spend the first 20 minutes on the title and 5 minutes for the rest of the book but you might wonder about the title "most blessed of the patriarchs" because we could take a jeffersonian vote to find out how many of you love mister jefferson and how many are deeply conflicted at how many people hate him, that is okay. you would think he would call
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himself something else. this is a self description. >> that is why there are quotes on the title. >> where does this patriarchy business come from? we have two pools in the first section of our discussion and we will see what happens. one is to unpack as they say the first part of the title and the subtitle will get equal attention because that really announces our ambition in this book which is to say something interesting for the first time in decades about thomas jefferson. >> we would say the first time in decades because we have often said jefferson scholarship is run into a ditch and the ditch is hypocrisy. you use that word and that settles the discussion. you don't want to talk about him, take anything he says seriously anymore and we think he is an interesting person. biography and history is not
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about your best person who is your best friend forever. it is someone who is important in the world, who has done important things, helped shape society and no question jefferson has done that. we wanted to rediscover that person and talk about why he is an interesting individual so we take the phrase "most blessed of the patriarchs" from a letter jefferson wrote to angelica church who was one of the schuyler sisters, young people who listen to the soundtrack to that cast album know who she was and a handful of people get to see it apparently. but she is alexander hamilton's sister-in-law and jefferson knew her in paris, met her in paris and writes to her in 1793 after he is about to leave, resigned from washington's cabinet and has been bested by angelica's
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brother in law and is going home to lick his wounds essentially and talks about his family which is important to him and he says if his daughter came to live next door to him and everything works out as they have planned he will consider himself as blessed as the most blessed of the patriarchs. we loved that phrase because this is jefferson talking about himself in a somewhat unguarded way. he uses this phrase in another letter a couple years later but had an adjective, he says he is the anti-delivery and patriarch so he really means it. this is not a one off in this disruption of himself. peter says it is a bit jarring because the patriarch is someone you think of as an autocrat, someone with absolute power over everyone. yet he is the apostle of liberty, the apostle of democracy and for the common man. how did he come to think of himself in this particular way.
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we set up the book in the fashion that tries to explain him. with three sections. the first is called patriarch, the second is called traveler. we taken to france and talk about his experiences there and the third is enthusiasm. when we examine other aspects of his life that were important to him. music, visitors, privacy, prayer. jefferson's religious life is one of the more interesting -- all of it is interesting but one of the most interesting parts of the book is to think about how he thought of himself as a christian. that is the structure of the book and it all goes back to this notion of patriarch, unpacking what that means. >> we begin with that idea and this is not a conventional biography but we take jefferson home where he imagines himself to be in that letter. he always complained about public political life and how miserable it was and he was in it. for him home was a sacred place,
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it was the whole reason he was in politics, to protect his home. we take jefferson as seriously as we can throughout this book, but one thing we can't take seriously is his protesting that he is schizophrenic. they didn't have that terminology at the time, that he is two different people, the man who had to do politics, that miserable vocation and the man at home where he flourished. he wasn't at home all that much over the course of his life until he retired and second and more importantly, it was home that was at the heart of his political vision. it wasn't the negation of politics or the opposite of politics, it was the very reason for politics. what does home mean to jefferson? one thing it means, this is where the word patriarch comes in, it means control, dominion
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over not only his white family, very old white men know what i'm talking about when white guys were important, father knew best. i have never known best especially in this collaboration. there was something to jefferson and many men of his day with the possible exception of ehrenberg, who thought patriarchal authority in the home was natural. it was nature's designed. that is the way life had to be organized. there had to be a captain of that ship. there had to be somebody who was the head of household and household is the key term because the economy was organized by household. every household was an economic unit as well as the site of infection and domesticity that we still remember now, it used to be like that, right?
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so we begin with the ideas that jefferson is not embarrassed about being a powerful, even despotic and autocratic man but to be blessed, it must be because he is enabled to do things for those that are in his power. power is a means toward an end. he sees himself as a benevolent steward. this opens up our discussion by suggesting from the beginning that jefferson sees himself and is not embarrassed to tell us that he is a slaveholder. >> what people think about, question whether jefferson is wrestling with this, go to sleep at night saying marco i am an owner of slaves, ain't it awful? no. he didn't do that. he was comfortable with the notion of progress and that eventually slavery would die. this is a difficult thing for us to accept because the idea that things would inevitably get better and better and better
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because i don't think many -- my impression is we don't think that way now. there seems to be -- the line to progress is not straight. two steps forward and three steps back, veered to the left, veer to the right, he actually believed, he had a scientific mind, thinking just as there was scientific progress, that politics was progress as well, society was progress so he could rest easy in this world particularly after he comes back from france as we talk about how france changes his understanding of slavery, himself as a patriarch, he always thought of himself as a patriarch who was responsible, that is the other side of it. we hear patriarch and automatically think of the bad side of it, dominion in power you are talking about, he is also thinking of himself, you use the term benevolent but responsibility. these other people over whom i
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have exercised responsibility. the family understands that that was the way. it is problematic now but not as problematic as exercising dominion over enslaved people. that section we cannot accept, cannot even then there were people who rebelled against that particular notion but that is how he sees himself. he grew up in a society, his first memory is of being handed up on a pillow to an enslaved person, talk about at the end of his life, many people discuss this, when he is dying his grandson says he says something, the only person in the room who knows what he is saying is an enslaved man, last manservant who understands what he is saying almost like mothers are the only people who can understand their kids when they are speaking, lift him up on his political that is what he wants and jefferson closes his eyes and soon after dies, the first
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person he remembers seeing and one of the last people he saw at the end of his life was an enslaved african-american person. these people bounded his life. so this is an institution he is comfortable in, himself personally, intellectually as a man of the enlightenment he knows this can't continue. he believes it is against the enlightenment but progress would come at this institution would go away. we can't accept that because we know what happened. we are looking backwards and understand what it took to do that. but that was the way of feeling comfortable at this institution so he didn't feel guilty. there is not this, we keep looking at contradictions and aren't you upset, how do you do it and that is not -- those are our views, those are not his issues. >> to make sense of this we need to explore that idea of the empire of the imagination we suggest in our subtitle.
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there is a tension here between the intimacy and entanglement of black and white lives under slavery and jefferson's comfort in that situation and the vision that someday there would be an end to slavery because as he tells us from very early in life, he announces slavery is a radical injustice and that injustice must be righted. he says in his only book notes in the state of virginia, the likelihood that the wheel of fortune would turn and there would be black over white, if there were a just god, that would happen. this is a startling admission from a slaveholder. in that sense in the long term not comfortable with slavery but right now in the short term he is was how do we get from the short-term to the long-term? that is the thrust of our book, tried to explain that. this is where enlightenment needs to be better understood. think of the trope or the idea of white spreading. this is the image that was very
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popular in this period of how it was the donning of an age of reason when enlightened men and women were able to discern patterns in nature, to make sense of what the creator had intended and that idea that there is an ultimate intention in the future, that all men would be treated equal, that there would be freedom for all the peoples of the world and here is the key point. he sees his enslaved people as a captive nation. a separate people. even while he lives with his slaves intimately. how do we get to a point in which those nations could be separated so that enslaved people could be free people and independent people? here is the key thing and it
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points to a fundamental problem with what we call democracy and republican government, and that is majority rules. that is the mother principle of republican government. jefferson's enlightenment, the rest of you, we feel enlightened with these glaring lights but you are cast in the darkness. only when we turn those lights on will you understand what your moral responsibilities are. you will see what needs to be done and we then will act as a people to rectify this injustice. in a way that we now find profoundly offensive, that is by racial separation, colonization as it was called in the 19th century, by the creation of an independent black people somewhere else, in other words ripping apart those intimate arrangements that life within households, plantation households, in which we explore
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and study jefferson. there is the arc of the story. how do we get there and how does jefferson live with this? he lives with it because he prays for it and believes in you, my fellow americans, i should say virginians. we are not in virginia, are we? that one day you will see the light. >> exactly and he did in fact believe that and that is the thing that is so difficult for us because we don't have that notion. we also have the notion that we are trying to at least on paper or idealistically to have a multiracial society. what peter is describing is the lack of his confidence that we could do that. in virginia he says if in fact there has to be emancipation but there has to be separation. white people will never give up their prejudices against blacks, black people will never forgive whites for what they did. how could you love a country that has treated you the way
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blacks have been treated. there has to be a separation and when you have that separation the people then could be in their separate nation, come together with amicable relations among nations but we reject this principle and so this has been the source of the problem with jefferson even though i have to say this was the feeling many people had during the time period. that was considered the enlightened position. marshall, james madison, monroe, harriet beecher stowe. all of these people did not have a belief that you could have this one country together because we talked about the fact that home was important to jefferson and family. the notion was the family is the basic unit, then the community, the state and out to the nation. how can you be equal citizens if people cannot be in your family? how can you say we are all one people if we are not actually one people? obviously he could not advocate
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for that. it is difficult to advocate for that now actually. everybody is one was not something that was on the table for him and he also suggested if we had that separation we would end up with a race war, people laugh at that, isn't that ridiculous but in point of fact we have had some version of a cold and hot war. think about lynching, think about what happened after reconstruction, lynching, all kinds of things, conflicts that have taken place among african-americans and whites and i should say the policeing of blacks lose this has not been an easy thing. one point we want to make is we are self-congratulatory that we are so much better than this person who was born in 1743 and never saw a train but in point of fact we still have people who have these beliefs even though of all the things we have seen, the holocaust, all the things that should have taught us about the dangers of racialized
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thinking, we are still in the ditch in that area so the idea is to look at this person in his time, the flaws, the good points, to be as realistic as possible in seeing it. >> you might think this book is all about race and slavery. it is not, but what is important is race and slavery are foundational to the life jefferson lives and he doesn't have a life independent of race and slavery and even his conception of the family, the bonds of love that tire family together is predicated on the society he lives in. we explore jefferson's life at home because we think it is key to the fundamental beliefs that he has about america, the importance of the american revolution and following him through his career in his various homes especially monticello that we try to make sense of his journey.
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and this may be the point we can conclude on. for him, an ideal republic is a family of families, one term we have used is he imagines the nation, the people as a mating pool. there could be any number of connections among us and our children and our children's children and when you think of these naturalistic familial organic terms about connections among people you get a much thicker, richer sense of attachment, of love that connects us all. this is something we aspire to, that moves us, yet it is fundamentally at odds with the lived experience of people who organized themselves as nations, as people, as nations in a state of war. may be a nice place to finish is
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one of the places you might not think a biography should go and spend much time because most biographies, the boring thing the go from one time to another marching through life, we talk about jefferson's obsession with music and our point in doing that is not to say folks, this has been a heavy slog for you, really upsetting, now we are going to relax and put jefferson in the parlor, you will listen to some music, a little music and feel better. that is not the point of this chapter. it is in many ways we think every chapter resonates with the broader theme we are trying to suggest. >> music for jefferson is a point of enjoyment. he called it a favorite passion of his soul. the people around him said he saying all the time. he saying for people for their enjoyment, entertained people. music, playing music, he was a violinist, there is indication he might've played the cello. there was a passionate part of it and the part that satisfied
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him spiritually but also the part that sort of mirrored what he thought life should be like and conversation, relations among people, everybody playing their part, harmony was important to him and it is interesting how he uses music as a metaphor very often for things in his life and giving advice to his daughter he talks about music, musical playing style. this is something central to him. something we should bring into the mix as well because you typically don't have it. this is something that is constantly a part of his life but you don't hear much about it. religion is another point we spent a good deal of time talking about. jefferson as a christian, his own version of christianity which -- >> we had some arguments. we tried arguing. doesn't happen often. >> we cherished this argument because it is one of the few times we disagree. i grew up as a methodist and there are certain things you believe if you are a christian and jefferson didn't believe
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those things. >> he had never met a unitarian. >> i had not. >> and of course i ask how do you know. so yes. we had a mild feud about that. i had to realize and this is a point of collaboration when you realize i was right, i might have been offending him by suggesting that. >> the last 20 years. >> offending him by suggesting if you didn't believe these certain things you aren't a christian and i had to realize, who am i to make that kind of judgment? there was a discussion about what goes in, what comes out, whatever, that was not my place. jefferson described himself as a christian, believed he was a follower of jesus. he did not believe in the divinity of christ, did not believe in the trinity, jesus was a powerful teacher and if we
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follow his beliefs the world would be better. that is why he wrote -- cut of the bible and wrote the jefferson bible, the life and morals of jesus of nazareth so i had to take him much more seriously and to the point we did a whole chapter on this section to talk about jefferson and religion which we think has been misunderstood on this point by people who assume he is an atheist which he was not an atheist. or people who think this is a smaller group of people, who think he is an evangelical christian. >> never too late to be born again. >> even when you are not alive anymore. so that is a big part of it, take music, religion, those kinds of things, we try to talk about him as a man in ways he hasn't been talked about before. we have talked enough. we talked longer than we are
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supposed to. as to your questions. >> complicated question but the bottom line -- >> going to give you -- >> so intriguing. [inaudible question] >> he is talking. [inaudible question] >> totally fascinated with tom and sally and trying to figure how far into their intimate relations are historians like yourselves willing to go? i just think tom is hanging around getting ready for bed and she is rolling up his socks and they are talking about medicine
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or the kids? >> we don't describe that. >> i did a whole book about sally hemmings and that is as far as i can go because i went to the limit of any kind of evidence that we have. all you know is this is something that took place over a very long period of time, something that i said before will be left to people who do fiction to explore because you just can't put words in their mouths. you can sort of judge actions. i will say this. people ask me all the time did they love each other? can't really know that. i could say that i am certain that he was attached to her because i don't think people have a purely sexual interest in somebody for 20 years or 38 years. that is not the way it works and if his name were joe smith nobody would have a problem with that but because he is jefferson
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-- i just picked joseph smith out of the hat. [laughter] >> see what i have had to put up with? you understand now what i have had to put up with. [inaudible question] >> the letters between jefferson and his daughter, they felt very strongly about the young lady who was supposed to be her servant, if we have that kind of evidence, we know there was some kind of acceptance, compassion and love. >> we know from other letters
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that -- letters between patsy and jefferson and the family that sally hemmings, these people were special in some way to jefferson. we know for people who don't know, sally hemmings's father was also jefferson's wife's father. you can tell by the way he treats the entire family, sally hemmings makes no sense just by herself. she is part of a web of relationships. he clearly sees these six people as separate, different from other people because of their connection to his wife. this is not just somebody who wandered in from no place. this is a connection, the way he treats sally hemmings's siblings and her, that she is different. it is not -- there is more to it, it is not the stereotypical kind of symbolic relationship or not even symbolic, the most
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common relationship, got to think most of these things is rate. anytime you put men in control over the bodies of women that is what you're going to have but anytime you have men and women, heterosexual men and women, presumptive lee heterosexual men and women living together like that in a household in that way things can happen. you can't act like it is something really bizarre. i think -- it was not symbolic. people would say yes, so what, and move on from it but he means a lot to people in the relationship has to mean something to people as well. >> there is a danger of anachronism and even asking the question because we have a total idea of love as the bond that is supposed to be achieved in a perfect marriage in a perfect relationship. i use the word love advisedly in talking about jefferson's
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politics. these are connections, affectionate, warm connections that bring citizens together and family members together. family is the crucial idea because sally hemmings could never be part of his family. he might have and probably did have great affection for her but we should not confuse or conflate that with love. >> i will push back on that because we don't know. i know it is anachronistic but i do believe with fiction writers that there are some things that go throughout the world. you understand what it means to feel connected to someone and it is not clear to me that -- we would understand jealousy, we would understand hate. love is the only thing we moderns say can't have existed in the past in the same way. we recognize hate, jealousy, all those things are the same but this one is not. just because we are talking
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about family, we are talking loss. people do not always -- what the law says it does, that is a way of saying because african-american people did not have legal families, they did not have love. you would never say that, you would never say that. this is a complicated thing and that is why it is such a hard notion, because we have an understanding of family. he can't accept it will be a partner -- parlor wife, and can't be family in that way. we really don't know. we really don't agree. >> we do know at least based on your first book sally hemmings
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didn't just appear. he -- he was 9 years old when he sent for the first time. >> he did not send for her. what happened was, people didn't hear sally hemmings, was she 9 years old when he sent for her? jefferson is in paris, he wants's younger daughter brought to him in paris, he left her behind and he asks for a careful negro woman to bring her over, someone -- isabel, isabel is 28 years old at the time. they don't send isabel, they send sally hemmings so he was not expecting sally hemmings to show up in paris. she was 14 when she got there and 16 when she leaves. he doesn't send for her, the person was supposed to come over and go back. the only thing you can speculate, i suggest this in the book, it would not make sense to
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send a 15-year-old girl on a ship with a bunch of sailors by herself and -- >> did she run his house in addition? she didn't run monticello? >> no. martha randolph was the most important person in jefferson's wife. without question. a lot of what happened with sally hemmings and her children is influenced by that relationship. that -- love, family, martha is the key in his life. his eldest daughter. >> describe your collaboration. it reads like it was written by a third person. >> which one of us? >> okay. i will get really sentimental. the only thing that rubbed off from jefferson on me because he
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was a sentimental guy too and say this collaboration has been very important to me because it is an expression of our friendship. that may seem irrelevant to your question but we have been talking with each other for 20 years about these things and it doesn't mean that if you could look at our writings separately, he is really boring and she is exciting, we are very clear but we did exchange manuscript often, we talked a lot but what is finally inscribed and printed on the page is the result of all that. we could identify up to 70% of it as originally by, though there would be questions about that too. what is gratifying to a collaborator and i am a serial collaborator though i won't do it anymore, don't worry. is that you do achieve unity of voice and it is more reflective
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of a unity of purpose, we wanted to do this thing with jefferson, we brought different strengths to it and they spoke to each other metaphorically speaking and that is blended into the voice that you read in this book. >> mechanically one of us would draft a section and then give it to the other person and the person would rewrite it and add stuff and put stuff in and take it out, leave it the same but we went through, that is how you do it and the point at which you don't know as you said who did what was the goal. our editor really wanted us to have one voice instead of as i said before doing one chapter, another person does another chapter and you can kind of see the seams. >> i wrote a book with my brother, you know my brother is even harder to understand than i am and it is easy to see which are his chapters.
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>> why are we picking these fights on television? >> thank you. i want to talk a little bit more about jefferson's vision of the abolition of slavery someday coming about. you talked about how but what you talked about was the notion of the separation of the races. that is really not so much how it would come about, but what would the status quo be after it came about. did jefferson or anyone else in his generation, very specific thing i'm interested in did they envision somehow this could come about peacefully? we know it did not but did they have a specific idea that slavery could be eradicated without a horrible war? >> as a young man he had a plan for emancipation he tried to
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submit and was rejected by virginia by the legislature. st. george tucker in 1796 had a proposal for the gradual emancipation of for slavery, really gradual. it was well into the 20th century when the last person would have been emancipated. this is the difficulty peter alluded to because he thought there had to be a republican solution, that is to say a solution where people voted it out. the experiences that he had as a young man, experiences with st. george tucker's plan that they would not even accept told him that a republican solution was not on the horizon. the people of virginia were not going to vote out slavery. this is where this notion of enlightenment, we never know, today we say someday in the future people will do this or will learn better, he had a plan for how to do it.
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as a timetable i don't think he obviously didn't have a realistic timetable for how it could happen and i personally think, i don't think virginia whatever have voted out, certainly not during jefferson's lifetime and because he saw other people make these attempts and he pulled back from it but it was something for the future. >> the question is a wonderful one that gets at the very heart of the history of abolition and emancipation and there have always been dreams for a peaceful solution, jefferson had the wisdom to see that the solution had to come from within. the master class would see the light in the future, some generation because the only alternative to that, this is what drove him to despair, would be a race war, or more likely, in his immediate experience in the 1770s and 80s, a war between the americans and the british
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with the french as american allies. and if you look forward to the american civil war you might celebrate that as the culmination of an abolition movement but what it really is is a war that provides opportunity for enslaved people to exercise some leverage and that is the way, with the possible exception of british emancipation in 1833 in the west indies which was also in a geopolitical situation of danger that britain faced, masters never want to free their slaves. jefferson wanted to believe these masters were different from masters throughout history because they were enlightened enough to break away from the british empire. if you could do that, my fellow americans, you can do anything. not true because of course the revolution in some ways was a revolution to consolidate the hold of slaveholders over their slaves. this is the situation we find
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jefferson in, that is bucking the opinion of his neighbors and that is the fundamental problem. >> can you talk a little more about france? >> we love france. i will start and you will finish. france is really important. >> did people hear her? >> we are talking about france. the pivot of our book we would agree. what we needed to do was get jefferson out of virginia. he was having a rough time there as you know, and give him a chance to be a visionary, to get some perspective on the american revolution and the state of virginia. being in france enabled him to do that. to suddenly see that a space that he wanted, had great doubts about his fellow virginians and they are all over his book about the state of virginia. in france those doubts diminished because he saw
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something much worse. he saw the old regime and he said what we have in america, we have wholesome families, farming their farms, this is the foundation of a healthy, natural society and also, this is the crucial argument we make and it is one of annette's great contributions of course it is all her book, to our understanding of jefferson, that is how jefferson's ideas about slavery took on a new color when he was in paris. >> he is there and he sees 18th-century france, free revolutionary france peasants actually starving. there is great unrest. ..

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