tv Book Discussion on City of Sedition CSPAN October 1, 2016 10:00am-11:01am EDT
worse, the us census counts people who are incarcerated and state and federal prison as residents of the county where they are serving time. and representation. the rural areas are home to minority of the us population, and the majority of prisons. urban americans favor democrats because of disenfranchisement and they favor republicans. and representation because of how the prison system works. mobility remain stagnant, urban neighborhoods are more segregated today. than they were before the civil rights movement. >> you can watch this and other programs online at booktv.org.
>> good evening, good evening. thank you for coming out here to politics and prose, thank you for coming to politics and prose for another one of our lively and enlightened -- can't hear me? okay. thank you. please silence all your cell phones at this point. let me go through them some housekeeping details. and and during this
york city during the civil war" is a very appropriate book for revising and reconsidering history. in regards to the civil war, we have often encountered a very narrow dialectic perspective, the adversaries are divided along the mason-dixon line between slaveholders in the south and industrialists in the north. thankfully for the past couple decades, the faulty lens of history and "city of sedition: the history of new york city during the civil war" by john strausbaugh is one of those books in a better direction, so
it has taken the new yorker to write a book about new york that reveals how complex the city was during the civil war, different parts of the city, definitely entwined with the cotton industry and because of that not everybody sided with abraham lincoln. some history books expect us to believe. john strausbaugh covers downtown manhattan history as editor of the new york press from 1988 through 2002. the new york times the night before, series of articles, videos and podcasts on new york city history. he has written the washington
post, previous books, reflections on the birth of elvis. today's rock till you drop, and the village, and resident of greenwich village on the east side in brooklyn heights, please welcome john strausbaugh. [applause] can you hear me? i used to do theater so i am good at that. can you hear me? i want to thank politics and prose, thank you for being here, thanks booktv for being here as well. it is entirely appropriate to come to washington and talk about new york city because the two cities had a high level of interaction and effect on each other. washington was the nation at
capital, new york city was the capital of every other thing that mattered. it had a huge impact in creating conditions for the war and it was a hugely confused impact, new york was a great boon and a great pain to lincoln. no city raised more men, money and material for its war, raised more hell against it. it is easy enough to explain it huge influence starting with its size. and at this point we are talking just manhattan and not even just manhattan but the southern half of manhattan from 42nd street up, in that space in 1860 you had 800,000 people, that was 200,000 more than the nearest biggest city, philadelphia. if you add brooklyn, which was
then a separate municipality, a metropolitan area, that is another quarter of 1 million. dc was 75,000 people so it was tiny. new york, this huge thing sitting up there was the center of banking and commerce, more banks than the entire plantation south, the center of merchandising, the biggest manufacturing center in the city, we don't think of new york as a factory town but it was the biggest factory town but not just then, for a long time after this, the biggest and busiest seaport and the media center, new york papers like the tribune and harold were national papers around the country. it was hugely confused because new yorkers were fighting their own civil war among themselves when the larger civil war, in some ways north and south conflict within the city.
from the south came cotton. after the spread of the cotton gin in the 1790s the cotton trade, international cotton trade exploded. the us exported half 1 million pounds of cotton in 1800. it was exporting 200 billion pounds by 1860. con represented 60% of the us exporting to the world. and it was a huge deal, the next commodity was tobacco. cotton thread tied new york and the south together in a long codependent relationship. the explosive growth of the cotton plantation straight across the south was largely funded by new york banks because that was all the banks were
there. the new york merchants supplied planters with everything from pianos in their parlors to plowshares to the clothes they put on their slaves. new york not only shifted a significant portion of cotton but new york harbor was where those ships came back filled with european goods and that made new york important to washington dc or washington city as people called it back then. it had a big impact on the federal government, it drew large portions of its revenue from the customs in new york harbor. the federal budget was coming there in new york city. it wasn't just bankers and shipping magnets who profited from cotton in new york city but thousands and thousands of workers were directly and indirectly profiting. dock workers obviously but also shops, people who worked in the hotels and gambling houses and
restaurants where lots of southerners and plantation owners would come up in the summer entry new york city as their home away from home during summer months. everybody in various ways was dependent on maintaining the cotton trade which means they saw in their best interests to maintain the plantation system and slavery. new york workers also feared that if 404 million people enslaved in the south were suddenly set free they will come flooding north to take their jobs away. the big irony there, the 12,000 free blacks in new york city, the exact opposite was going on. white workers took their jobs and froze them out, it wasn't going to be a problem, white guys fighting for their jobs. because of cotton, and enormous economic tie to the cotton south.
the majority of new yorkers were pro-south and anti-abolition. they were not copperheads at the time. new york was a major northern hub of the trans-atlantic slave trade, with a direct effect because slaves are not being brought into the united states by that point. still a huge international trans-atlantic playpen, shipped out of new york were picking people up in africa taking them to be slaves in cuba and brazil and places like that. congress declared this piracy as early as 1820. then everybody turned a blind eye. an open secret new yorkers were investing in slave ships and profits were enormous with many slave ships were fitted out in new york harbor, right under the
eye of the harbor. if they were caught the slave ship captains which didn't happen very often, there were a dozen ships, the atlantic is pretty big. if a slave ship captain got caught which didn't happen very often, and brought back to new york for trial it was very, very rare for him to get convicted. more than half the time they never even made it to the trial. judges injuries were notoriously lenient with them. if they were convicted and sentenced to anything they would be sentenced to two months or four month in jail as opposed to being hung. in the whole long history of new york's involvement in the trans-atlantic slave trade, only one slave ship captain was ever hanged for it and that was because he had the bad luck to get caught after lincoln was in the white house and the civil war had started so the politics had shifted.
there were republicans running things. he was hanged in the jail in manhattan in 1862, the slave trade from new york dried up. they should have hung somebody a whole lot earlier. that is the lesson there. that is proslavery in new york. on the other side, a small but very influential core of abolitionists, the white abolitionists tended to be from the new york, they were new englanders like horace greeley who people knew as uncle horace in the day, founder and editor of the tribune, one of the most widely read papers in the country and at plymouth church in brooklyn heights. it was plymouth church that invited abraham lincoln in
february 18, '60. in february 18, '60 abraham lincoln is not even a dark horse, a candidate for president, hasn't announced the standard, he is so unknown new york newspapers couldn't figure out his name. several just went with a lincoln because they didn't know his first name. because of that, churchs were not able to attract a crowd. greeley and others brought him to manhattan instead of brooklyn and switched the venue to cooper union in manhattan the speech he made in february 18, '60 was the most important speech of his career because it made his career. he got his picture taken by matthew grady in his wrinkled coat, leaning on some books, that photo and consciousness speak went out around the country and introduce the country to this a lincoln.
pretty soon he announced his candidacy and get elected president. it has been said without that speech and that photograph it is highly unlikely the abraham lincoln we know as a historical figure would have happened. for all that even though new york state voted for him, new yorkers and brooklynites did not. they voted against him, very anti-lincoln. they saw lincoln as the man who would go to the white house and free the slaves and the slaves were coming to washington and they voted against him again in new york and brooklyn in 1864. new york city and brooklyn never elected abraham lincoln. the instant he is elected, southern states start to secede, new york business leaders panicked at that point. secession would mean the end of their trade to the south and
leading them holding $150 million in unpaid debts from the south. $150 in those days would be $4.5 million today. they are writing petitions coming getting their workers to sign them, writing their congressman, doing anything they can to stop the south from seceding. when lincoln passed through on his way to the white house, he got a very cold reception. walt whitman, very cold reception, he got a lecture from the mayor, ferdinand woods who famously when southern business partners started seceding suggested new york city should secede. people took it as a crazy idea, looking at at least one of the presidential candidates, i won't say his name, maybe we should
revive that idea. when lincoln -- buchanan and the democrats are out, republicans are in. we need to remember washington is a southern town. after he was elected there were many southerners who quit when he got elected. they stood in line for the satisfaction of refusing to shake his hand for the job seekers still came, one of the most inept, i think, and dividend came from new york, herman melville. his years of writing popular see adventures were well behind him by 1860. his more recent novels like moby dick had gone unread and unloved by the few who read them.
he was now writing poetry which nobody read. he came to washington hoping for a diplomatic post and he didn't get it. so we are back into it. for all they feared and tried to stave off new yorkers and brooklynites tried to sign up when the war started in april 18, '61. part of that is because at the time they were signing up for three months. a lot of people were convinced that was all it was going to take, get a uniform, kick them but, and come back wearing laurels in three months. it was an adventure for a lot of them. a lot of working men it was a paycheck. there had been a big depression in 1857, the panic of 1857, 100,000 workers in manhattan lost their jobs. when the war started, more lost
their jobs because trade with the south disappeared so they were signing up for work. and they thought it would be three months and they would be home. it didn't work out that way. when they saw the carnage of battle, blue run and fredericksburg and chancellorsville and antietam, volunteers in new york city went. i bring that because new york doesn't feature much in civil war history because so much writing, it is military. the nearest battlefield was gettysburg which was 200 miles away. yet some remarkable new yorkers played significant roles on the battlefield including one of them who came within an ace of losing gettysburg to the north with one of my favorite characters in the 19th century and one of the greatest
scalawags. dan was born around 1819, nobody knows for sure. as a young man, i love this, as a young man he was meant toward by lorenzo who had been in italy and was a rival of casanova's. in vienna, some of the mozart -- he had to leave europe with creditors, coming to new york city and his household in the 1830s, nobody is using the term bohemian in the 1830s, and one of the first bohemian households in the city, dan is the young man hanging up there. danny -- a rarity in the 1830s. it was rare enough in the 1910s the people wrote they ate spaghetti in greenwich village. it must have been a wild ing to
do. i digress. dan is elected, the democratic machine the ran politics in new york city, gets elected to the state legislator, he takes it up to albany and scandalize is the legislature and in the 1850s, he is down here when he catches his wife dallying with philip barton key, the son of francis scott key. a hilarious scene where philip is on the street, they lived on mafia square and waved a hanky and parting the curtains of the upstairs window, giving a signal to let him know it is okay and he could go in. one night he was waving the hanky, dan runs down, shoots him dead like a dog in the street in lafayette square, the biggest murder trial of the century. a lot of people say he got off
because his lawyers used what was the very novelty fence, temporary insanity defense. they didn't need any defense. he had a jury of 12 married men. when the war starts not much longer after that dan raises excelsior brigade, one of the chaplains described as, quote, the scum of new york society, reeking with vice and spreading moral malaria around. they fought bravely and well all through the war and dan who had no military training whatsoever was a very enthusiastic and reckless leader and they loved him. then he gets in trouble at gettysburg. dan marches his brigade in front of the line, they instantly get involved with confederates. when the union line is grappling to reform behind a cannonball shoots dan's right leg, the
union survived obviously that day, luckily for dan, general lee made his own rash moves a day or two later. dan is in the hospital, they amputate his right leg. in those days when they amputated on the battlefield they had a pile outside the hospital, dan was not going to land anything so ignominious, had it boxed up and sent to the army medical museum in dc. you can see his leg bone to this day as a successor to the national museum of health and medicine. when dan -- he would always go to visit his leg. another bunch were just as serious as excelsiors, they were recruited by a good friend of lincoln's who modeled them on the french squad. they are those dashing north
african cavalry men with baggy pantaloons, they were wearing these outfits. they were all over the union and the confederate army. elmer filled his ranks with new york's notoriously undisciplined volunteer fireman. the u.s. army is small and a lot of officers and southerners place the confederacy and congress is adjourned and lincoln can't officially declare war or raise an army so he appeals to the union states, send any troops you can. among the troops that were first to arrive, they instantly made themselves unloved, they were allegedly breaking into shops, rating brothels, a lot of washingtonians were like please
go home. then a fire breaks out in the willard hotel and they go rushing into the hotel climbing all over, put the fire out. not long after that, they were among the first union troops, the union troops sent across the potomac to alexandria to route a small rebel force. ellsworth is leading them up the street, sees the confederate flag in alexandria, rushes in, tears the flag down and is coming down the stairs holding the flag when the owner shows up with a shotgun and killed him. he was the first union officer to be killed in the war within sight of the white house and lincoln who was said to love him like a little brother openly wept. one of my favorite new yorkers to serve during the war wasn't even an adult, his name was
gustav gus sureman. his family integrated -- immigrated from germany, taught a bunch of things. gus was 12 years old in shining shoes in city hall park when the war starts, signs up with a brigade, gus signs up, can't get away with that as a 12-year-old. his father gets sick and drops out before fighting in any battle leaving gus, you are signing up for three years so 12-year-old gus is in the army the next three years and serves on the front lines but every battle through gettysburg. he is also the forest gump of the civil war, the bugle boy for dan and the bugle boy for the new york general philip carney, who the confederates new as the one armed devil, philip carney is another amazing -- jampacked with amazing characters, got his arm shot off in the mexican war.
a couple days later writing into battle with a sword in one hand and strain in his teeth. everybody said well. can't do that to the confederates, the one armed bandit. at one point he was always leading his men from the front, rushing in front of them. kearny, new jersey, whatever, back to gus. when lincoln and his son tad come to review the troops, thad is the same age as gus, they hang around together, gus, in the white house, he and thad go to see a play in dc, invited backstage to meet the star, it is john wilkes booth, who is very polite to them. when general sickles is hopping around on one leg, he leaned on
gus to get around. a whole lot is going on in new york city. that is what the book is about. i am getting there. the war as business men feared, created havoc with the economy, the waterfront went silent, shops closed, thousands of people lose their jobs, all the dockworkers and shipbuilders and people at restaurants. new yorkers being new yorkers they turned around almost instantly. by the end of summer things were turning around remarkably. it started when new york banks gave a large loan to the federal government for its warchest. these are the same banks that have been funding the south 50
years before that. cynical explanation for that, when talking to banks the cynical explanation is the right one, they were hoping by pumping a lot of money in the warchest right away, would end very quickly and they could go back to business with the south. for new york the great thing is the federal government spends that money, a lot of that money in new york city, buying medical supplies in brooklyn at the time. they bought uniforms from brooks brothers who were starting out at the time, the waterfront gets busy fitting out warships, and the business men replace the loss of cotton with the south with will, lumber and other commodities from the west, a lot of investing on wall street, speculating on wall street, speculating on gold because the
price of gold, it makes a whole new class of millionaires and multimillionaires in new york city called the shoddy aristocracy. and they -- like new money everywhere they were wearing diamonds. .. none of them had any interest going to fight and die for. they saw slavery as a good to go for them as in their interests. because of that plummeting volunteerism lincoln is forced
to begin conscription in 1863. the daft allows a man to buy his way out if his name comes ' -- they turned a drum and would pull names out of a drum and other newspaper nicknamed the drum "the wheel of misfortune." so you could buy your way out of serving for 300s. was a working man's annual wage friday 1863. so then it was a rich man's work and a rich man's -- and a poor mans fight. their waged has been -- we are steady or even dropped some but wartime inflation doubled the price of all the staple. a loaf of bread, wheel of cheese, costing twice as much. so they have a lot of grievances building up among them by the time of the draft. and the see the draft as the final insult. the first maims are drawn out of
the wheel of miss fan on a saturday? monday morning they start right all over the city. one history union noted the draft was the immediate spark, it's really, truly, belter to try to understand it's a a citywide worker's revolt. they'd had it. it's still the deadliest rioting in american history. they thought there were hundreds of people more died. and nobody knows, of course, to this day. afterwards lincoln put the city of new york basically under martial law, 10,000 troops. the great irony here is that at the same time william tweed and haw come up with a system whereby they would pay the $300 nor for any new yorker whose name is drawn in draft who doesn't want to go.
so, after that rioting and all those deaths, very, very few new yorkers were put in uniform who didn't go voluntarily anyway. so it was all for nothing. but i love -- they cranked up this entire bureaucracy in the city of new york, the point was to keep men out of lincoln's army, and workers weren't the only antiwar class. self of the newspaper ed tore were against the war. benjamin wood, the editor of the daily news. he called for open revolt in his paper against what he terms the hyenas of war. he was a good phrasemaker. he also wrote what was believed to be the only antiwar published in the north during the way. lincoln had several of these shut down because he decide they we prisoning treason, and a few of the editors are arrested for it.
one of them would was arrested breezily was as man named job mcmaster. the editor of a freesly antiwar paper. he went opposing lincoln to outright treason, sedition. and here's how he did it. in october 1864 eight confederate sack tours filter into the city. they're idea was to set new york city and chicago alight, burn them down and that would be a signal to what they thought were hundreds of thousands of copperheads in the north who would rise up in open revolt and end the war that none of. the wanted. when they got to new york they go straight to mcmaster's office and he says, oh, yes, we have 20,000 copperheads armed and ready. just set the fires and we'll rise up. on the night of friday. november 25th, they went around to hotels and other public blaze there were going to be people, in the city, including barnum's museum, and tried to set them alight. they're using something called
greek fire, which was kin of a 19th century napalm, except it smoldered and made smoke but didn't burn anything. so momentary panic and everybody said, nothing is really happening. they fled to canada. one of them was caught, brought back to new york, instantly tried and hanged at fort lafayette, which, by no coincidence, was the title of benjamin wood's novel, fort lafayette. ing in happened to mcmaster. during at the trial he said, i never heard of these guys, never met them, don't know them, of course. you would say that. and so there were no repercussions for him. one of the hotels they tried to burn down was next door to the theater where the famed shakespeareans,ed jedwin andon wilkes booth were on stage that night for the first and only time together in their lives
doing a performance of julius caesar. john wilkes' lodger plan for lincoln was no assassinate him. it was to kidnap him and hold him for ransom for the release p.o.w.s. he shared that plan with a few new yorkers who didn't bother to tell nick in power. he also bought a small cache of handguns and rifles. there was a copperhead who owned a violent shop and seemed to be involved in several conspiracies. that's another new yorker obviously committing treason. across the street from the teeter, across broadway from the theater where the boothes were doing their historic performance, an actress named lara keen was having a big hit of her own, others amazing person. not only a great actress, but she said to be the first woman
in the country to be an independent theater producer and she built ore hen -- her own theater on broadway. in 1858 she had a giant hit called by our american cousin." in 1865 she would do a one night revival in washington. the lincolns taped and so did john wilkes booth, as we know. the doctor first rushed to lincoln's aid was a 23-year-old new yorker. he had just graduated from bellevue hospital medical center six weeks earlier and was in washington to take a posting as an army surgery. could keep rotling -- rattling these if in the air. in the end or tall this explaining rioting and seditious activities the war on balance
was good for new york city. the business m seized the aunt to amass capital, expand markets, diversify, head out west and after the war the -- the west wasn't won by cowboys. it was won by new york money, the railroads and all that stuff. these guys lad the foundation for the booming growth of the gilded age which set new york city on the path to become the capitol of the world. and that's the next chapter of my book so i'll shut up. thank you very much. [applause] so we can could q & a. please use the mics if you have a question. if you don't may any questions, why not? here we go. great. >> i'm not exactly sure that the armed forces medical museum is
opened up in the new location in bethesda but it was great to go see and see brains -- >> didn't they have grover cleveland's brain there. >> some are still working there. >> i've heard it was great place. >> i'm from upstate new york, syracuse. did you talk in the book about the abolitionists in upstate new york. >> what i love about number city history and the around write so much is it's so rich and deep and messy and laird layered that even if you pick one subject out, it's very hard to squeeze it into a book. so actually this book was longer when i wrote quit anyway made me cut it. i do very little new york state. >> the politics are reverse now with -- back then, being the
seat of abolition, practically, in upstate new york, and more progressive -- >> lawsuit it was republican, new york city was democratic, and these days democratic was conservative and republican liberal. >> two questions, iokay. >> one, how do you go about doing the veatch for this. and the second question is sort of the atmosphere around lincoln and his thinking. we never get a clear picture of really how the man is thinking during these early years. there is nothing in the constitution that states that people can't leave if they want to. and anything that isn't said is supposed to be to the state, up to the states.
okay. slavery could have been handled differently. in other words, there were other strategies in which to resist it. okay, so my pithpoint is, before the -- my point is in the formation of lincoln as he goes into this great commitment, three months or whatever, where does this come from? who is he talking to? where is his -- are the bankers downtown coming down here to speak to him? is he communicating? >> there's sending message -- some of the merchants would come and -- but they were begging him not to do it. let them go. we'll figure it out. i'm not a lincoln scholar and i've read a lot who -- as you say, it's very hard to know what was going on in lincoln's mind. he didn't write it down and i've read a lot of people trying to figure it out. my approach was to go with hat he -- what he said and did.
it's pretty clear to me that he did not get engaged in the civil war to end slavery in the south. that was not the point. and he said that over and over and over again. he made that famous statement to horace greeley if i can win the war and not free one slave i will do it. if i can win the war and free all the slaves i'll do that. it's about winning the war. so people impute a lot of different motives to him. go with what was there. and it's also over the years it's become forgotten the that war was not about slavery in south. it wasn't. the war was about expanding slavery to all that new territory in the west. everything from the missouri purchase to california was new, whether those states were going to go free or slave was a huge issue. a huge issue in the south because of course they would like to have more slave -- some of those territories become slave states. that main the.
her they had in congress and in washington and et cetera. it was huge issue in the north because abolitionists got bigger and bigger, and more importantly, because free workers in the north were afraid that if that territory went slave, it would be -- they wouldn't be able to get work there because there would be slaves there doing the work. so, what his motives were, what his intentions were, if you go with what he said and wrote ex-believed a union in which any part of the union could say, i'm leaving here was not a real union and he woofers them to stay. >> but there's no justification for that. >> i'm just saying that was -- >> no but that -- >> nothing in the constitution -- >> -- don't deal with as a people for this historic disaster. and then the other part about you research -- >> oh, right. it's gotten easier and easier to do research now. you can sit at home. god love the internet. the internet has gotten amazing.
used to say it was a puddle a 100 miles wide and an inch deep but there whole university libraries and archives digitized. you can sit home and not have the to go to the university of whatever library anymore because they made their books available to you. i did a lot of period newspapers and magazines look of those digitized and are online and i read tons and tons books as you can see from the bibliography. and i'm not an historian, i'm a write her writes about history if read tons and tons of stuff. i learn as much as i can and then write a book. >> just very quick question on facts. always assumed that the british -- the west coast of africa did a good job of cutting down the slave trade but not perfect. clamped down and was hard to get slaves out of africa. >> you know the rest of the story, to the. >> go ahead. >> they weren't freeing the people and sending them home.
they were taking them to british colonies. they weren't enslaving them but were making them inden temperatured workers. on the one hand the british are patting themselves on the back anding slavery but they're still taking those people someplace else and putting them to work in their own colony. they were keeping slaves out of spanish clonals. >> -- colonies. >> the british were much better at interdicting. i don't remember the numbers. i have numbers in the book in one year they would catch, like 50, slavers and the u.s. navy caught one that year or something like that. >> it wasn't the americans. >> no. >> hi, my understanding is that the irish were the biggest ethnic group. the italians and jews had not really arrived. and that the vatican leaned pretty heavily toward the confederacy. did you pick up any church involvement. >> sure. there's tons in the book as well.
the irish catholics and -- the irish and germans came fleeing the famines and the political upheaval in like the mid-1840s. just a tsunami of them into new york. they completely changed everything about new york city. by 1860, some dish don't even remember -- it's like three-quarters of the adults in new york city are foreign born, which is driving the native new yorkers absolutely nuts. and also the native new yorker by and large were protestant and all these catholics and had a tremendous peer that the papists they were going to take over, and the poach was going to run it from the vatican. now the church is in a very curious position. because champism is such a hot button issue they're walking a very fine line. what the church said in america
is that slavery -- owning slaves is not a sin it's done somewhere where it's legal. like all those states in the south mistreating them is sinful but not opening them and that's the basic catholic line. >> i just finished the book called "underground railroad" and i wonder if you had a comment been the blend of fact and fission. >> i have not read it. but i've rather -- there's of course a lot of civil war books that blend -- that are historical novels and some fiction. i get a little antsy about that myself. write the novel or write it as nonfiction. get a little worried when they're mixing the two unless it's really clear that's what is going on, and you're learning something from that by their doing that. >> when talking about draft riots and all of the violence and conflict between the
antislavery and confederates, what role did immigration and white ethnicity, the different factions of protestant catholics, irish, germans can et cetera, play in that. always seemed to me that even though it's often put in overwhelmingly white-black racial terms that the experience of the massive immigration and then people being drafted and sent to war in a country they just arrived in played a huge role. >> absolutely. the irish especially. the germans had a interest different experience but they're the new people. they don't speak english. a lot of the irish didn't speak english. they were gaelic speakers. they were thrown into the dirtiest urban center in the country, so they're at sea.
and they're set pop and preyed pop. tamine hall was in its way good to be irish because they wanted their vote. they wanted to naturalize them some have their votes and a point where judge -- they'd put their hand odden bible and say, next bunk, and they all voted. tamine hall's way. i just alluded to it here and i get into it more in the book. there were -- it's call the draft riots. it was much more complex than that. it was a race riot, an economic riot, there were ethnic involvements. it was blamed -- the republicans and president protestants in town said the irish did it. it wasn't just at the eye wish. it was the works, the workers revolt and complex and confused and confusing as most new york city history is.
>> were the slaves in new york city? no slavery ended in new york city over gradual period but it ended in 1827. however, southerners could legally bring their slaves with. the when they came to visit so there were slaves in the city put not local slaves. there will 12,000 blacks and were free blacks. beyond their being free they're situation was not measurably better than in the south. >> was it legal to buy and sell slaves. >> no, not after 1827. it was could freeing she slaves. they started that in 1798 and let got until 1827, partly to give the owners and the slave owners in new york enough time to find buyers in the south for their slaves. actually i should say that's my interpretation of it. i'm not sure that's true. actually, i'm sure that's true. sure.
okay. i'm. >> i'm trying to imagine the geography of the factions in the city at the time. were abolitionists and republicans sort of occupying identifiable neighborhoods or kind of mixed. >> a very good question and, yes, they were. abolitionism tended to by a new england -- this is the white abolitionests. extend to be from new england, tended to have some money. they were usually moneyed people. so they were in -- for instance the fifth ward, which is the area around washington square park in greenwich village, which was the only ward that actually voted for lincoln and that is where the republicans and abolitionists lived. there will others in what we call the east village now but that neighborhood was a relatively upscale neighborhood at the time so they were there. there was obviously -- i didn't
mention this before probably -- definitely a class divide going on. otherwise, however, we have to remember, almost everybody in new york city was below -- certainly below 42nd street and a lot of them below 23rd 23rd street. this is 813,000 odd people room and a really tiny footprint. so they were in each other's hair all the time. >> you cue -- the incoming irish to be copperhead in their political leanings? >> they were definitely with the democrats, against the war. they had a very complicated relationship with the blacks in the city, but partly because they were on the two lowest rungs of the economic lad sore they were living with each other fighting each other, make loving with each other, and they mixed it up you see that in early minstrel music.
they're singing about the-under back north where they're from and -- the urban north where they're from and a lot of those those are i other rich and early minstrel music is not really that hateful form that it became later. it kind of became that later when it became commercial she successful and people were cranking it out and coming up with the worst possible song titles and song ideas they could. worse than -- morally worse. but in the early days -- you can see there's a love-hate relationship between the young irish and the blacks in their neighborhood. they're all together. the riots helps to end that. blacks wisely fled manhattan during and after the riots and the population of -- the black population goes down after that, and goes up in brooklyn. okay. i think we're done. thank you all very, very much. [applause]
>> here's a look at what is on prime anytime tonight. we tick off the evening at 7:30 p.m. eastern with a couple of this year's national book award finalists. first, heather anne thompson discusses the attica prison uprising of 1971. that's followed by kathy o'neill on how data algorithms impact society. and on this week's "after words" at 10:00 p.m. eastern, john dickerson, haves of "face the nation" recalls memorable presidential campaign moments. wrack up in primetime at
11:00 with programs on the current presidential candidates. first up, dick morris discusses his book "armageddon" how trump can beat hillary, followed with david k johnson's talk about the making of donald trump. and that all happens tonight on c-span's book tv. >> science is really the great equalizer. it is the one thing that stands between, say two brothers with, as much power as these two brothers have, charles and david koch, and two brothers that have as much as these two have, my nephews in chicago. now, in theory, these two sets of brothers in the united states should have the same access to justice. the same access to potentially to education or to employment.
at least to voting. and science is the one equalizer that neutralizes the vast sites of the megaphone of the brothers on the left side of the screen and provides an opportunity to the brothers on the right. this is based in some core ideas that really date back to very, very founding of the united states. thomas jefferson said, wherever the people are well informed, they can be trusted with their own government. and there is really the crux of some of the problem we're running into. if you have if been down to the library of congress you will have seen probably thomas jefferson's library that is recrate thread. the round book cases which contained virtually the entirety of human knowledge at the time and he had read all of those books and contained that in miss mind. he was a scientist and an attorney, sort of like francis bacon was.
and that was a possible idea back then. the well inched voter -- the well informed voter. what happens now, quart millenia later when science has continued to advance and is not at all possible for one person to know even a fraction of all that there is to know, how do we have well-informed voters that are able govern themselves in a democracy in the age dominated by complex science and technology? that's the rub we're bumping up against. well, in order to come up with this idea for democracy, to convince other enlight 'ment nations to not intercede in revolutionary war, jefferson reached for the greatest thinking of what he called his trinity of three greatest men, to come up with an argument that would convince them to stay out. he went to the thinking of isaac newton, inventer of physics who
said a man may imagine things that are false but can only understand things that are true. that's where we get into trouble today. if you take out your cell phone and turn it over and unscrew the -- wait a minute there nor phillip screws on the back -- it's hard to have know how, hard to understand things that are true when science and technology have become so complex that it's difficult for the average person to break them down now. a generation ago you could sit down at your kitchen fable you could buy a kit and make a radio. that's no longer true with cell phone. s. so at the moment that the cellphones, which like flying brooms are made by people cloistered away wearing long robes and uttering straining incantations, the moment that science becomes indistinguishable from magic we become vulnerable to disinformation campaigns because science by its very nature must
become in a way a function of belief. it's what do you believe in? scientist choose to believe in journals and the peer review process. but even those are vulnerable as we have seen lately from certain for-profit journals and gorgeouses for high. >> you watch this and other program. s online at booktv.org. eurasian are. >> here's a look at upcoming book fairs and festival around the country in october. the southern festival of books will we held in nashville, tennessee, october 14th. that same weekend it's the boston book festival held in the city's square. and it's the wisconsin book festival at takes place at the downtown madison public library in october 22nd. and on october 29th it's the louisiana book festival head held in baton rouge the state capitol and other downtown locations. for more information the book firs and festivals booktive will