tv Unshackling America CSPAN August 27, 2017 9:30am-10:32am EDT
a couple quick things before we get started. time to turn off your cell phones. we have c-span booktv with us today and you don't want to be the person whose phone rings on the recording. when we get to the question-and-answer period, please step up to the microphone next to the podium so they can get your question on recording. also make sure that it is in fact a question. normally when we finish any event, we ask you to fold up your chairs put them against a bookshelf. please leave them where they are as we have three more than this afternoon. after finished talking, he'd be happy to sign books available behind the register in the line will start to the right of the podium. in "unshackling america," mr. randall to control american trade water and how in spite of the of the united states ultimately becomes the world's largest independent maritime power. publishers weekly said of the book revisiting the chesapeake affair in which a british ship fired on and mustered an
american group, brings to life were played out in the name of trade and c., lakin land. the complex international entanglement with the revolutionary. pad is interested in military history will invariably find something of interest. mr. randolph is an author of six biographies the founding fathers. he's a distinguished scholar and professor emeritus at champlain college. please help me welcome willard sterne randall. [applause] >> at afternoon. it's always a pleasure to come back here. i say come back here because it's happened several times in the first time in 1993. i'm happy to still be out to get up out of that chair. when i was in high school, if we learned anything about the war
of 1812, it was usually just three things. it was caused by impressment, the impressment of sailors are the british, whatever that meant i was never really clear and i've never heard the word connected with anything else. and that was one by henry jackson at the battle of new orleans. what really flummoxed me was that supposedly happened after the war was over. after the treaty was signed, that was never explained. it made no sense. in the recent bicentennial of the war of 1812, a lot of which took place in washington, it was still portrayed as the second american revolution.
we were told there was still no winner, no loser. tempting really only important to the canadian well, i've devoted 16 years to find out what happened because i wasn't really sure. still, after all those years, after writing about founding fathers for years in teaching american history, i couldn't even get a textbook. one hunt the duke of wellington beat and killed the battle of new orleans, so what happened to napoleon, so i stopped using that book. buy textbooks really didn't and it is only half of 600 pages in a textbook on the war of 1812. i think it's more important to them not.
i would like to argue the american revolution was not to wars of independence, but an unremitting fifty-year long struggle for complete independence from britain, overlapping two armed conflicts linked by an unacknowledged global struggle. winston churchill in his history of the english teaching peoples called an unofficial trade war. none of the founding fathers could possibly deny that the revolutionary war was only the first phase of a far longer ordeal. traditionally we were taught that the revolutionary war was the entire american revolution. after american colonists hoped the british and the french from north america, the british began taxing everything without
representation. so we rebelled and we won our independence at saratoga in yorktown. john adams signed the american revolution this way. the people of america had been educated in the habitual affection for england as some other country and why they thought her kind. , no affection could be more sincere. when americans discovered that another country was willing, like leading the bath, two -- of their brains, it was no wonder their affection sees and changed into indignation and horror. supposedly that all ended with the treaty of paris in 1783 negotiated by frank grant, john adam's, john jay, a treaty
guaranteeing our independence or did it. we had gained political autonomy, but were we truly independent? did we have true economic independence? it turns out we did not. immediately after the treaty was signed, britain reimpose the colonial area navigation act of 1756. this cut off the united states from its natural long-standing trade with all of her neighbors from canada and the british colonies in the caribbean. the act forbade direct trade between the united states and england except aboard british british goods in english bottoms, which had represented 80% of our trade before the revolution. britain also demanded her treaty
allies, spain and portugal are american as well. since we are no longer british colonies, britain no longer paid tribute monday to cover our ships in the mediterranean. in so states began to older sailors or rent them. primarily algeria, where 1.5 million sailors from different countries were enslaved between 151800. so we joined a long line. george washington, our first president witnessed the reign of terror and the outbreak of the napoleonic wars. in the united states an internal power struggle began.
if you are sympathetic to the french, like jefferson and madison, you opposed washington's policies who made a a federalist party. note in the comments to shame. that's amazing that we talked about what the constitution and what isn't. political parties themselves are not in the cost to shame. but they formed over the rivalry between hamilton and jefferson in over the question of which side you took in the napoleonic wars. newspapers were formed, which was the beginning of political parties. vitriolic news stories began to appear. leaks from the capital. jefferson was publishing the diplomatic mail before washington got to read it.
you could get three times a week of newspaper full of what they called billingsgate after section of london were really shoddy newspapers were published. you could choose between the united states gazette or the gazette of the united states just to confuse things further. as war in europe metastasized globally in britain blockaded france in the country's friends had conquered in europe, the united states absorbed much of the french overseas trade. between 1790 and 1800, american carrying trade multiplied 4500 times. if in revenge, french warships and privateers captured 400 american merchant trips to keep them from trading with britain. president john not a succeeding
washington fought back. he built a squadron of six state-of-the-art large or small fighting ship that staved off the french and the caribbean in a war that is so obscure that it's called the qualified war and never even got a real name. napoleon backed off, but he never calmed aided american chp holders. it is 35 years before andrew jackson force the issue and friends paid a reparations. as they try to clear their debts with british merchants year after year with depreciated american currency, the british retaliated by refusing to leave therefore it around the great lakes and on the canadian
frontier. in the summer of 1791, then secretary of state jefferson and james madison who had just written the bill of rights took a summer vacation, we would call it a junket today although no one was paying for it to the new state of vermont. and while they were there, they learned that the british have built a new fort on an island in the middle of the lake below the canadian border. in other words, u.s. territory 1791 the war had been over for almost 10 years. jefferson hurried back to philadelphia to confer with washington about what they could do. if you haven't sensed this already, in many ways can a 30 year period between the revolutionary war in the war of 1812 house a lot in common are the issues of our own times.
toxic internal politics still struggling over ideology. persistent refugee crises, foreign powers suspected of manipulating american affairs. constant tensions over free trade. the demonizing of ethnic groups at that time. the indians, by some the french, by others the irish. as early as the 1790s, we had our first and second refugee crises. the reign of terror drove thousands of french to our shores. 25,000 as best i can count came to baltimore and philadelphia at a time of the combined population was only about 70,000 people. on top of that, there was a
slave revolt in the caribbean, which drove even more french to our shores. and then, in 1798, most of all the british surprised and irish revolt and thousands survived came to america, especially baltimore, boston and philadelphia. we were crowded with refugees. adams responded biscuits left out of such things as mccombs by eric are free of john adams. it goes by real fast. with the sedition act means is that anyone who criticized the government in any form could be arrested and imprisoned. and so our supreme court associate justice is router running carriages reading
newspapers and arresting and locking up the printers. the alien part of that they did so comfortable for french refugees who included the future king of france in quite a few dukes who were holed up in random digs in philadelphia and urged them to leave. when one former french government official who ran a bookstore, which was the hub of the french community in philadelphia was forced out, someone asked president now nuns why she had to go. he wasn't even active in politics. john adams answer was he was too french. now, hamilton who had a revival of fame as we all know in the last few years was a bad boy at
the time, barred from presidential politics by his own confession of the illicit affair. probably unparalleled in american history for high government official prince's own confession, making it impossible for him to ever be elected to anything again. so he split with atoms and made it impossible for adams to become reelected to the presidency. in so someone on the other side of the ideological aisle, jefferson was elect did a very few votes on the 35th ballot of the electoral college. jefferson was a pacifist, but as with everything else that jefferson, he was conflicted. he founded west point, but then he sent the united states navy to the mediterranean to fight the crusaders of the algerians.
he finally made peace with the dey of algiers by sending a ship load of silver dollars, 20 barrels of silver dollars on merchant ship to make the first payment. then he dismantled the navy. he put it in dry dock. but at the same time, america's merchant needs or jeanine. again between 181812, written increasingly was getting nervous to begin tightening its grip over america honors as if we were still columnists. exact gene custom duties in england, 25% and blockading carports, britain's navy carried
out 400 illegal searches and seizures of american merchant ships. the justification was to shop contraband but also find deserters from the british navy which was harsh discipline. as it turns out, my research shows that merchant seaman on american ships, 40% have been born in new england or ireland. britain scoffed at the new idea we had called naturalization if you were born english, you type english. and so they came into his two brothers were bringing a car grow approach from delaware all the way to new york harbor for the new york market as they neared the harbor, a british ship fired a cannon.
a cannon ball in front of them than they did what they were supposed to do. come to stay there until the search party came. the harbor was full of people waiting. if you have a ship load of fresh produce, wasn't going to be worth very much as he sat there until the day go away. but another cannonball came out then took off the head of one of the brothers. somehow, he met his brother, and managed to get the boat into the harbor were angry crowd formed as he carried the rest rest of his brother's body to her first stock market and put it on the sidewalk. the british council had to barricade himself in his house. the city's mayor ordered a public funeral. then commandeered ships and chased after the perdition
overtook them and brought back some of the ships that had been seized that day. and this is the first violent confrontation in an american court. but it was followed soon after by the chesapeake affair. the chesapeake was one of those six built as heart of our first navy. it was going to take its turn coming out of jefferson dry dock to go to the mediterranean to relieve another ship on the station. they were cluttered with fear. no one could even find the matches for the canon and a british ship fired a warning shot and said we are coming aboard. they were looking for four sailors that he jumped ship, literally taken the british ship commanders private dinghy and escape sure. they were looking for them as deserters.
they refused to let them aboard. they couldn't find that. the decks were still littered with anything. sweeping the american back with cannon fire. it is the first time an american ship had surrendered and the captain was disgraced. the ship then became a prize in the british ship that capture the. and so we are down to five but was too much even for jefferson was diplomatic efforts continue to fail. and so, 1807 became the year of the american embargo. that is one of those words right up there with the precedent that you get in high school and you really don't understand it. what does that mean? at the time they made a
palindrome onto that and call the thief grabbed me. basically what it meant his all-american maritime commerce was prohibited by congress. but isolationist experiment proved an instant catastrophe. in one year it destroyed 80% of america's import export trade, causing the worst depression since the revolutionary war. entering u.s. ports drop 50%, which meant that 50% of the customs duties were not elect did and customs duties were the principal form of revenue for the united states. it was a catastrophe.
the docs were deserted in many recent irish refugees moved west especially to kentucky where the population went from several thousand to 400,000. the lien was free. there they encounter becomes the -- tecumseh, one of the more fascinating figures i think in american history. he and his people had been pushed around by the american military in the land acquisitions entreaties from alabama to the great lakes and have actually set up a capital in the place. another one of those high school names that you wonder about. i guess we can all remember tippecanoe. but i thought that was something
from some other time. tippecanoe and tyler too. that is how we learned our history because our history so young we almost have to have nursery rhymes to remember it. tippecanoe is the capital of tecumseh. unfortunately having not rather been so while tecumseh was out recruiting other indians to join the confederacy, to stop the new americans from spreading across the continent, his brother led an attack on american army. and i didn't work and tippecanoe was wiped out and burned. the result of that is tecumseh turn to the british at a time when we had 3009 in the army. tecumseh had 10,000 warriors. so you can understand why panic spread along the western frontier after tippecanoe.
it were fact developed in congress. remember, war hawks. that term has struck. if you're promilitary committee were still called the hawk. i think at times from that episode. the war hawk faction captured the off year elections. their spokesman, henry clay of kentucky became speaker of the house and he packed all the key committees that the war hawks. the upshot was a declaration of war against britain on june june 18th, 1812. easy to remember 1818. the senate were sharply divided along sectional lines by this time. the south agriculture and the last predominated in congress by now. commercial new england and new york descended from the work.
the senate split in 18 to 13 in the closest war vote in american history. the american army as i said was a little on the thin side. people may be the word. 3000 regular army. madison, the president had no military experience, but he was an astute politician. basically she he turned to his governors who then appointed relatives and friends as our officer corps. but he also turned to veteran said the resolution -- revolution who had been young soldiers 35 years before. but now, some of them were too old to be sitting on a horse. for example, henry dearborn was put in charge of the american army. he really wanted to stay in boston because he loved to buy supplies. he burned up the appropriations
happily. but when he did and he had his first review of the american army, first his hat fell off. then he lost the grip on the saddle in henry dearborn selloff in the horse ran away in front of the american army. but madison also pointed someone named william hollywood that in the nature of the revolution engaged in the northwestern army in charge of the entire, what we call the midwest. hall had a couple of problems. one inebriated into his new duty station in detroit, he took his daughter and grandchildren to be out on the frontier rate your tecumseh so it comes that in the british attacked teacher at company in the corner weeping
and surrendered without even conferring with his officers. william hall became the first and only american general ever to be court-martialed and sentenced to death. the sentence was not carried out a year later because of his war record in the resolution, which really embarrassed his adopted son, who at that time scored the only american victory in the first year of the war. bicycle was the captain of the uss constitution, better known as old ironside. in the ship to ship title, soon after the declaration of war, it got its name because it was made of such fixed chunks of oak the british isles bounced off.
old ironside defeated the warrior. so when the word got to -- back to washington, it carried madison's reelection as president because the people thought we could win, we could beat the british navy. were they aware that we had 20 ships? no, we are down to 18. they have 900 to 605th one combat ready. and pretty soon they were all bottled up in american ports by a huge blockading fleet from england. we went ahead with our plans to take canada. that is what americans wanted at the time for various reasons. so it wouldn't be so much trouble to smuggle everything across the border because one third had made a living from
smuggling for years. in may in boston, went across the border that the british never had to budget money for their army in canada because they were feeding their army. but still, americans from the west and south wanted to take canada to annex it. thomas jefferson wrote to a journalist, it would e. a mere matter of marching to take canada. very euphonious, very untrue. ..
he was the youngest brigadier general of the american army in the war of 1812. he had been from the core of exploration. event all over the west. he had seen pike's peak but he never acclimated. he climbed longs peak right next door but it would be named after him. at this point he has a first regiment of rifleman, and they landed in york in the spring of 1813 and were attacking and nearly defenseless provincial capital. the british had one can that it belonged to cromwell in 1650.
but some pentagon from war to war the war, to canada where it could only shoot straight. it was probably mounted. you couldn't raise it, mount it or lower it. york wasn't i was offended. pike and his regiment quickly took the outer defenses, and they were resting up before taking the last part of the fort. pike was sitting under a tree stump interrogating a prisoner surrounded by 200 british prisoners and 200 some american soldiers leaning on their muskets, rifles. when the british commander decided to give the order to light a match underneath the powder magazine directly under pike which contained 500 barrels of highly explosive gunpowder, so the man whose name is on pike's peak was killed by a
boulder falling on his head. most american casualties from that attack were from that explosion. once pike was killed, the american sailors and soldiers went on a three-day rampage. they quickly emptied all the taverns any provincial capital that were numerous. and after that they went to the government buildings. they mistook the leak of the speaker of the house of upper canada for an indian scalp, and they use that for justification to burn the government buildings. and then they went from house to house, and when people did come back when it was all over, they had bare walls. they even with to the anglican church and someone flatten the altar silver so it would fit into his backpack. the commander of the american navy, chauncey, took all the books out of the library. the next time he invaded, he took them back.
i guess he felt badly. [laughing] it's not the kind of war that we usually read about, but it was savage. it was savage. it was a war of rating, burning, and plunder. british officers could make fortunes of getting a cotton of anything took, especially ships. the commander of the british station in halifax, which meant north american waters, wanted to retire but he didn't have enough money until the war of 1812. but so many ships were captured around the chesapeake and off virginia and sold as prices at auction that his cut of 10% amounted to 100,000 pounds sterling. if you work that out in the millions in our money. saluting and plundering, but
very targeted. because we burned york, the british government in canada asked the british invaders in virginia to burn washington d.c., in retaliation. and they were ready. early in 1814 napoleon, after failing to take egypt, india, russia, was down to returning alone to paris and capitulating. that was a signal for the british who felt they had been stabbed in the back by their american cousins to send huge reinforcements to america. so they began by extending their blockade all the way from maine to new orleans. especially trying to stop privateers. this is another one of those war of 1812 words that you don't hear very much we would call them the merchant marine.
we even have a merchant marine academy that is not called the privateering academy. what it meant was merchants financed, built, often serve as the captains, recruited the cruise, and they went out and attack british shipping, warships and commerce. in fact, they captured five times as many ships as the american navy in the war of 1812. american merchants held 2000 armed privateering ships. they captured 1500 british vessels. and one-third of those ships came out to baltimore. so it is especially galling to the british that no matter what, the blockade did not keep whole squadrons of american privateering ships from coming out of the chesapeake and going and having the audacity to attack british ships in the
english channel where they captured many of them. or as far as argentina. so they were especially annoyed at one captain, one american captain, john rogers, who had escaped a british fleet by using something new to the british. they called it i think he trick. new england sailors knew this thing about having small anchors as well as a large one, called a carriage anchor -- kedge. you could have your men turn the wheel on the deck the raised and lowered the anchor, and actually have a kedge anchor pull the ship forward. so when it british flotilla chased captain rogers and to ship, he sent for it is longboat and men had with kedge anchors and almost hand over hand you could say escaped the british
fleet in a 36 hour race. so that was a yankee trick. so when the british invaded the chesapeake in 1814, a particular target was the hometown of captain rogers. it's in maryland at the top of the chesapeake, beautiful little town now, but their vice admiral cockburn and his ships burnt the tavern and the home of rogers father, then looted rogers house. there's a wonderful watercolor in the maryland historical society which shows cockburn himself picking up things that he wants to take with him when he leaves. what he couldn't pick up what he took, he picked up a carriage and harpsichord. he wrote the carriage about in bermuda in wintertime and played
the harpsichord. had his wife play the harpsichord. yiddish officers were taking cows so they would have fresh milk on their ships -- british. anything they could loot. and this was deliberate, it was the policy of punishing the word they use was punish the americans for this stabbing at the back of the english at the same time they were fighting napoleon. as more and more british troops came over, more and more ships came over. finally an armada arrived in the chesapeake, 50 warships. with it, 4400 seasoned, battle seasoned soldiers from fighting napoleon in europe. they marched from benedict maryland unopposed to the outskirts of washington, d.c., where you have an infamous battle that's called the bladensburg races. because the american militia ran
so fast that is become known as the bladensburg -- that might not have happened if james madison had not been the only american president to go into battle with his troops. he had no experience and his mere presence meant that his generals did not know what to do or overcome. so it was a maryland politicians nephew, general winder, who spread the troops around, had them or they might have resisted the british, event the secretary of state james monroe who had been in the revolutionary war came out and rearranged everything so a cavalry couldn't see the british coming. the infantry didn't like that. it was a disaster. washington was totally undefended. that reprisal for your k-1 forms of fire. because the british brought with them papier-mâché globes full of
incendiary liquid that could not he put out. with special tools, slings come something like you use in highlight to be able to throw these globes of liquid to the windows of the white house, the capital, every government target in washington, d.c.. the british also gave strict orders to not take anything from civilians. so what that meant is they went straight for the white house. all through the bowel, dolly madison had been on the roof with a telescope trying to see what her husband was doing and messages are going back and forth between the two of the she was one of the last to leave washington. you know the famous story, also educating high school that she waved the cat out of george
washington's portrait. she order 15 your slave boy to take an ax and cut it out and she rolled it up and handed it to her coach is a citizen who happen to be there. here, take this to safety. what she did rescue was madisons government papers, the family silver, and the original copy of the declaration of independence. then she fled, one of the last to leave. when the british did calm, the only place that was resistance was from a privateering captain and his ships gunners who try to keep them away from the capital building and failed. inside the capital building they tried to blow it up. it wouldn't blow up. it wouldn't catch by. they fired their rockets. they had two rockets for more dangerous to the person firing than the target.
they spared only one government building, the post office. that's because william thoren were designed washington, d.c., was the manager of the patent office who argued that this is private property. these models are private property. they are not property of the government. so one gentleman to another gentleman, the british went up the street to the white house and finished off the dinner that dolley madison had prepared for the american officers. washington was on fire by the time they left. the navy yard with ships on the way blew up because the head of the navy yard had filled a will with cannonball and gunpowder and that is the british tried to drop something into. there's a terrific explosion so all the british high streets were from the blast in the navy
yard. the british took a month off as it often do after battle. in the meantime in baltimore, samuel smith who had been an officer in the revolution and knew how to fight against the british and to hold off the siege put 11,000 baltimore people to work, white and black, round-the-clock, volunteers in chips and they built basically two mountains. one they call federal hill, that protected the harbor which was the particular target of the british. because 540 privateer ship to come out of that harbingers are quite a few into. the commanders were looking for the cut of the loot. the best description of course of the battle for baltimore is from an eyewitness, francis scott key. the original is in the maryland historical society. read the second stanza. maybe you can't sing at, it's in
15th century english drinking song and i think that's what it would take to be able to sing it for most people. but francis scott key was there negotiating a prisoner exchange. he saw the battle and he described it accurately. he put in a local newspaper it was printed afterwards and it eventually became our national anthem. but it describes the bombs bursting in air, the rockets red glare. the fact is the bombs bursting in air because they weren't hitting fort mckinney because the french had low does canon so the british had to stay out of can enrage. with dawns early like they could see an enormous flag, some 42 feet long made by local flag makers and a slave that was the signal that they had survived that you could see for baltimore. the british navy and army sailed
away to another prize port, new orleans. now, what we do hear about is the crucial battle was on lake champlain picked because it was at that time that the british launched thei the presentation m the north with the veterans in the napoleonic wars marching down the new york sure and vermonters built a fleet in about six weeks. men cutting down 100 white pine trees a day in shifts so that in a matter of a few weeks they had enough timber to build a fleet to stop the british fleet coming down lake champlain. so this terrific battle on lake champlain that lasts two hours and 20 minutes, but it really decides the outcome of the war of 1812, because the british lost that naval battle to a 28-year-old commodore named mcdonough. because they have no ships to support their army, the british army turned around from plattsburgh and marched back to canada.
when that word reached belgian, john quincy adams and her nucleic our negotiators, sat down for the umpteenth time in the year a negotiation and decided on a stalemate. both sides were broke that the british parliament did not want to appropriate anymore money to fight the americans. the duke of wellington said he didn't want the command. he was offered in america. he said he didn't want to be killed. he said i must not die. he had this idea that napoleon was not going to stay on alba turkey would stick around. by the time every american, every british general fought the americans have been killed by sharpshooters. so he stayed in europe. but both sides were really broke. in october of 1814 we could not pay the interest on our war bonds. we could not pay any of our debts. we were bankrupt. when we put the order in for the
1815-penny, the supplier of copper refused credit to the united states. so there was no 1815-penny. the diplomats were deeply in debt, including dolly madisons son who kept throwing parties, putting her mother and stepfather deeper in debt. he was one of the assistance to the delegates. the dutch in a french refused any more credit to the american peace negotiators. so we have status quo antebellum. that's the technical term. nothing happened historically. it was a hiccup. give it all back. 20,000 americans have been killed. 10,000 of them american indians. the indians basically lost alabama, georgia, and much of the south to andrew jackson's armies. when a british could not call
back their army and navy after the treaty and instead wellington west and his brother-in-law to lead an army into new orleans when he and 2000 redcoats were killed, the war was really over. ex post facto. what was it all about? what do we take away from this? for one thing, we now had our independence. the british would no longer impose their rules for their laws or their boycotts or the blockades on us. in fact, right from the treaty of ghent, john quincy adams and henry clay went to london and cite the treaty of amity in trade and they have been our trading partners ever since. 20,000 americans dead. who really won? the canadians. because for the first time
french and english canadians work together to resist the three invasions of the americans of canada. who really lost? the indians. the council was killed. the confederation collapsed. the frontier was open and our immigrants and our farmers poured west. but the revolution was finally over. we were now completely independent and we came out of it as the leading independent maritime power in the world. i think from the beginning that's what it'd always been about, free trade. thank you very much. [applause] >> that was terrific. >> thank you. >> and all the textbooks need to be rewritten.
so why did it take so long? it sounds like it had a huge impact, and the history that you talked about was precisely the history i learned growing up outside boston. >> yes. why did it say so long for us to find out why did it take so long -- >> why was it so completely overlooked? >> we overlook a lot in our history. hamilton can crowd theaters now, that nobody wrote anything about him for more than 50 years after he died. his party had been destroyed. he had been killed. jeffersons party had won. scholars didn't even do any research on hamilton until the civil war when the north discovered that the system worked because of hamilton and so we got put on the two-dollar bill. and because of the plaintiff he stays on the ten-dollar bill.
it's strange, the symbolism in ththe power of this. the war of 1812, we didn't win. andrew jackson one. and so the attention was on andrew jackson. he was the big winner. a man who negotiated the peace, john quincy adams, was booed out of the movie theaters by jackson and his supporters. because we came out to become henry clay said we need three more years of war to uphold our honor. americans i think had that attitude when it was all over. we have held our honor. our honor is warlike. from that time on we find the indians. we fight the mexicans. we fight, the soldiers of the war of 181 1812 where the geners of the mexican war and the civil war. i think the country changed once again it's true independence. he became much more i would say like the british military, commercial, and on the make. >> so one more question. how could we become the leading
naval maritime power in 1815 when the british still had her whole empire and they ran it through the navy? >> yes, but they were dead broker deified napoleon and the french for 25 years. they were so broke they didn't keep the navy up. they didn't even fix their ships. they let it rot. it was quite a while, they had lost, they lost the first empire twice. first to us and then in our war of 1812. and basically they want to settle down to business on both sides. it was an exciting time ticking after that, a time of invention, railroads, canals. you could now go up a river as well as down. you could cross the atlantic by ship. and so the interest of both countries was in trade more than anything else. >> thank you. >> thank you.
>> i might have missed this part, but because we in washington, of course washington is the center of the universe, i'd like to discuss the result of the war on the actual existence for acceptance of washington as a capital city. it'd not been, it had been greatly refile. within months are about to send it back to philadelphia and everyone was very dissatisfied. following the assault on washington though i think the americans unanimous said how did the attack our capital and debt sort of thing. thereafter sort of secured -- >> i think that's exactly right. they went from refiling washington as this swap with unpaved streets and just buildings scattered around, et cetera, to how dare they, those barbarians, how dare they? americans, we apparently have to be clobbered before we pull together. i hate to say it but look at the history.
look at pearl harbor, for example. so americans rallied because of this insult. that's how they saw it. they went from trying to get their money out of the united states and into canadian banks to actually giving it to defend baltimore, writing out all the contents of the bank accounts at the last minute fight against the british. washington basically had to be a sacrificial fire again the idea that our whole government was in a post office building, that's where the cabinet was meeting. that's where all can wear down to just having a post office. we should enshrine that i think. keep your post offices. you never know. >> one quick question about doctor thorns involvement. you made a remark that he had decide washington i soon you don't mean come he did, he did execute the winning design for
the capital and then interfered as best he could with the actual construction as long as he could. but there is a very famous sort of quote about him standing before, place himself between the british cannon and the actual patent office and saying don't you, this is the repository of american knowledge and blah, blah, blah and he thereby save the patent office. >> we always have one of those myths going. when someone is going to burn account in maryland at the end of the civil war there was a woman leaning out o a window, yu can't burn, you know. we have mythology. there's some truth in it. he did speak up. he did not sleep turkey made the argument these patents, these models are private and the british officer had orders not to destroy any private property. >> and the other fillies that
were said by using the same, whether it was false or true. >> people stayed in their homes, very courageously. they were also afraid of looters because of british didn't diluting. it was a lot of washingtonians who were disgusted that they had been left undefended. thank you. >> i hold that by 1955 edition of diplomatic history of the united states before i came here, and there's a section that talks about the french directory propaganda first against george washington as being the only instance in which foreign inflows was brought to their in an american election ever. could you talk a bit about that in your book? >> unfortunately, that book isn't used in classrooms. that would be very helpful. the only incidence of foreign influence, i would argue that prince albert, the consort of queen victoria openly expressed
sympathy for the confederacy and encourage the confederates to trade with the british. if you read the whole book, and i have, i think it's how you interpret it. but again and again there has been foreign influence. and we do it. it's what governments do. it's what diplomats to do all day long. but the level to which it rises, if it changes governments or policy, that's quite another thing. i think he is right on that count, but -- [inaudible] >> of course the french were opposed to anything english anything went to do that was pro-english. but the treaty was because we were stiffing the british on their debts, and until we start paying their debts with real money, the they were going to te the troops away. thank you.
>> about how the 50 historical left the british broke, but lord north who was the prime minister during our 177 1776 revolution s widely considered the most unsuccessful failed prime minister. i wonder, what was the long-term impact on the british, on the english government of the city you struggle? i'm thinking o of the attitude towards the other colonies like the great mutiny of 1857 and then the boer war which seems they drew the wrong lessons. >> the duke of wellington was a reformer, we did become prime minister kenny to get reform act of 1830. you get rid of the rotten boroughs. so he's an exception to awful lot of things. he's not just a soldier. so it depends on when you're looking for if you are looking between 1815-1830, things are getting better because the british are broke. they have to try something else.
many of them leave and come to the united states between 1820-30, and even more to canada here so england had really been beaten into the ground. after 1830, well, the begin to go farther afield. so you do have the 1857 mutiny in india which was a bloody slaughter. but it was because they kept doing the same thing. they would pick a minority party or a minority roller and vacuum against the majority, and that is that their policy again and again to kashmir, india, africa, et cetera. so you can gin governments can you change attitudes? that's my question. thank you very much for your attention. [applause]