tv Scars of Independence CSPAN August 29, 2017 11:09pm-12:12am EDT
the representative has an extensive reading list whenever we visit with him. one of the books was the university of the scars of independence a look at violence during the american revolutionary war. >> good evening. how are you? thank you for coming. i'm the manager of public programs here at the new york public library to welcome you to the conversation between holder hook scores of independence. the book is fascinating and for
sale outside if you haven't purchased it already. and it tells the story of the american revolution that is rarely ever told him. it is always our pleasure to be able to highlight that work. i want to quickly say that i had the distinct honor of working under lewis at the quarterly for many years and was one of my great professional and personal choice. so i couldn't be happier to have him here. recording for an episode of the podcast the world in time which he just relaunched and i
encourage you to go listen to it. without further ado, q-and-a will have been a little bit later so prepare your questions and answers. let me take that back. without further ado please join me in welcoming lewis luckman and holder hook. [inaudible conversations] okay, ready to go. i should tell you that i think
this is a wonderful book and i hope you all go out and read it. i thought i knew something about american history, and i didn't know this story. it's got all kinds of angles and questions. we are talking about first of all, what is the theme, give us a small sketch of the story you're going to tell and how and why you got to writing the book and what prompted you to do this work and where to begin and why is it important. >> thank you, good evening.
to provide the leadership and the broad political leadership. it is in the 1770s and on the one hand, americans are quite similar to the mainland to share the language and common religion and heritage of the political rights and the allegiance of the flourishing trade and so on and so forth. they also mean subjects in the part of the empire. on the other hand, the increasingly seen differences are so much. they regarded them as parochial and less traveled and see if it
is diluted through the lands they demand that the classification conflict through the presence of the heritage. whether you emphasize similarities or differences across the political spectrum, this emerging conflict is seen as a common phrase and this has implications once the conflict becomes a struggle for what counts as legitimate and illegitimate means of violence and how it should be treated in the field so on and so forth. >> when does the violence began
to express itself? is the boston massacre in 1770 and you start your book with that and could say a few words about that. but say the armed rebellion doesn't get going until 1774. explain how the violence begins to well up into the streets to. you are referring to the beginning of the book and i describe the boston massacre.
[inaudible] the committees collaborate with the crowds on the street so it soon gets rough and this is where we get into the gathering. what is important to understand is it is often said there is no guarantee in the revolution as there would be a decade or so ago. but physical violence and psychological violence are not the regrettable exception to the otherwise restrained resolution. they are necessary defining the parts of the revolution. becoming a patriot citizen a the
others. the subject to some forms of water torture and being cut in two by a law. if you are an anglican priest you might be dodging bullets if you are a loyalist writer or printer or publisher it might be burnt about and subject. >> is a group of petri nets and implementing this is beginning to break up 74 and 75. we don't get to the firing of
75. imagine the formula in imagine one third by then committed on the patriots signed up to one third of loyalist and in the middle undecided or hoping to find a way to stay neutral and then also bear in mind that they change over time according to the circumstances just because i take the oath of loyalty to one side or the other if they'd just may just be my only way of protecting my family and livelihood. we are talking about people
as elsewhere in the british empire it had to be crushed in the previous history. they are not to be treated like fellow countrymen. you were referring to the role of the opening for the american children. along the way they are not to be the criminals strictly speaking it captured underarms not to be treated as prisoners of war and destined in practice we might
get back to that so in order to orchestrate, george put in place admirals he was referring to and they have an interesting story. they are in westminster abbey at the one colony and that lands them the reputation to suppress the rebellion and my sense is that the mistake is to think that they could suppress the rebellion without the juice and
that's like other leaders being consistently overestimated in the real strength. talk about the dip division of opinion is not only a sharp opinion in the colonies but also in england besides that are pro- rebel and pro- empire. they want to lead against regiments to do so even if before the war they advocated are considered.
it is eloquent about the reasoning in this that i cannot get involved and if my duties as a citizen and officer than then the former have to prevail over the latter until we have a war against the enemies and french absolutist. >> as the war gets going in 1776, you pointed out in your book is one of the bloodiest wars in american history and that there are more americans killed in the revolutionary war than were killed in world war i or world war ii.
we are now beginning to talk about the years of 76 through 283. this is a very bloody conflict in most history books, so to pretend that it was a matter of idealistic gentleman and so forth, but it's not. talk about some of the kind of combat, talk about the looting of the villagers and atrocities on both sides. >> you are absolutely right with the exception of the american civil by my count is the second. the revolutionary war per capita
is the highest number even if you count only as the portion of the patriot population. it is significantly larger than the korean war. you are referring to the impact of both civilians and combatants captains, so they are at risk of assault and rape and this is different in fact american women are at risk by not just british.
we know about some of the instances. some leaked to the british courts-martial and upstairs in the manuscript reading room i am able to read through some instances. we also know about the stories in the positions of some american investigators after the experience as a 13-year-old girl who with two teenage friends and older female pregnant relative is raped by british soldiers at the house of their grandfather in huntington county new jersey and the continental congress this is one of the class of incidents in that region. the continental congress in and that the rumors of these
assaults sends out a commission to investigate the. they are disseminated in the british isles and we might come to speak about an aspect of that to do justice to the issue we need to recognize on the one hand the experiences of the individual traumatized women and on the other hand also see the patriots but the revolutionaries used as a political tool in the model and in the propaganda war that shattered the war on the
they have something like 16,000 american prisoners by and do that that is an enormous number. >> i will give you an example of an atrocity and what we can learn from it from the moral dilemmas. it is the scene of a nighttime surprise attack by several hundred british forces on 104 continental sleeping across the six parts to maintain the
element of surprise but also to play on psychology of those that are about to be attacked. american forces are much less accustomed. they realized they had no chance and seek to surrender but this is where the british forces continue to. what we learn from the statement of some of the survivors is some of the assailants seem to have doubts.
so they sent back to the commanding officers work. what about washington crossing the delaware and attacking the haitians christmas day is that the same kind of thing? >> it results in a good spin story. you know about the german troops because that is one of the territories that are hired from the british crown. they have the reputation of being from the land in the
british courts they've been hired to support. there were a few instances i was able to show that in most cases they battle for justice. it was a wonderful spin in the cover of the book as you might be able to see it close enough called the call it the death of general mercer at princeton. they seek to surrender into the story is he did ask for a
quarter and it was refused and "blood and the patriots and the philadelphia coffeehouse choreograph to death in a story in oil. >> talk about the propaganda war now because that is a very important part of the story. they are better at it than the british. it connects to one of the surprising findings. bear in mind this isn't just about strategy and manpower, this is as much a war of persuasion. it matters not just how each side conduct itself but also which story each side can tow.
continental congress and many of them have legal training and they might use the army officers that have access to evidence. it's to document what might have occurred and then they would have discarded utterly that might give hints and they interrogated and took eyewitness statements and they would document the specific nature of the surviving and dead american soldiers and they put in the report and send it in and
congress would immediately publish it with all of this evidence for the newspapers across the colonies in britain. this is a phrase used at the time american hearts and minds into the british bearing in mind that it is a highly contentious and you are right they win the propaganda war if you want, hands down. i suspect part of the reason for that is that it's easier to spin a narrative of the victimhood and the british empire had gone on another empire so even when there were instances where it's the other way around and the americans are guilty of breaking the code of the war the british will not turn.
>> what's coming out to the end of the war. how does it so happened that after the war, some kind of reconciliation is possible? these are two sides are treating each other brutally. what happens to the loyalists? many of them have flooded to the exile. can they return, are they allowed to keep their property tax are they accepted into the new united states of america plex >> it is a very mixed story. about 60,000 white and black loyalists go into permanent exile taking with them about 15,000 slaves, but that leaves the vast majority of loyalists
who wish to stay overturn to the communities. stay or return from the temporary exile. the peace treaty between the british crown and the new united states declares amnesty in the right to reclaim the property. the reality on the ground is very different so one of the papers i was studying here were papers of the last british general and he reads a trick to tried to make the journey back to reclaim property and meeting not just with discrimination renewed popular violence. there was an outbreak of political motives. so now, it is by no means a
foregone conclusion. overall, the new american nation does end up reintegrating itself somewhat faster than other societies after. it helps that 60,000 or defensive opponents and are already in permanent exile. this is where we come to the leadership figures like washington who insists that the new nation needs to comply with the peace treaties. alexander hamilton makes a career defending loyalists against this discrimination and in the property claims and he is adamant that the tolerance must trump what he calls the little
vindictive passions of the few and also has an argument that the new nation has the capital that comes with the loyalists so the cross communities in the 13 states, individuals think about the capital and professional skills because the power of the former neighbors and work out the reconciliation. there's one other critical element to why this works out and that is to do with memory or never forgetting. >> the first step happens immediately in this moment that the initial aftermath of the war. the patriots control the stories and they write it out as the founding narrative and the loyalists in turn understand the
price so they don't nurture the way that american southerners were after. >> the story is whitewashed right away. there is little interest in talking about the disaster until the period of world war ii is idiocy and 1883 the historians that are referred to as that embarrassing episode we would try to mention as seldom as we can and then even excuse to dominate the initial narrative and gets written out in favor of the claimed harmless war and that this explains i think in part by the changing
geostrategic circumstances. this is where the united states and united kingdom have special relationships and so there is this episode of violence. >> last question. what lessons can we learn and how does this story of the violence and scores of independence bear on our circumstances today? we are still very good at spin. the fact that the foreign policy has been based on shared servers amid state-sponsored terrorism
that we've seen that. was that sort of an idea in your mind? spinnaker i should preface by saying i do think there are good reasons this is a good and urgent moment to confront both internationally and in the domestic context it seems to me they have clung onto this not least of which because we live in this age of global conflict and terrorism and debates about the nature of the patriotism that i would turn it around and
say that it is precisely because we deal with these uncertain times and uncertainties and failed states that we should engage with these tensions between the moral purpose as a violent means of pursuing it. i read it as a cautionary tale for the entire which at the beginning of the century had a rather more aggressive approach to nation building in understanding and understanding the relationship between violence and nationbuilding i think remains relevant today. i would also if you remember the debates about extraordinary rendition, enhanced interrogation, critics within the u.s. congress and outside cited the insistence on the proper treatment in that debate in the past decade and when it
gets closer to home as americans are trying to forge a path forward from the divisions the extreme polarization as we've been talking about in the intimidation and the press may be as we were talking about the reintegration and hoping that story the society can find ways as i would hope we wouldn't be at the cost of forgetting how we got to this point. >> we have time for some questions. >> there are two microphones. >> thank you very much.
so, given what we've learned with sectarian violence in iraq and the balkans and other places, it is never so simple as loyalists and goebbels and so it was famously said that politics is a strike of interests masquerading as principals in the conduct of public affairs and private advantage and it is a continuation of politics by other means, so i'm kind of curious who do you see the players are in a timeframe that are using this to gain advantage and using the war and instigating the war for public advantage and seemingly private interest and how do the immigrants at that time because you have this whole melting pot, how do they come into this and how is that sectarian in a more complex level as far as immigrants from different areas
because they may not have the same status? >> those are very good questions and i will try to answer brief. i'm not sure individuals instigate a war at the very beginning to pursue private objectives but you're absolutely right once the conflict is underway at a local basis to the community you will find individuals who will pursue their private interests and declare loyalty whether or not they express their genuine political belief of their ideology. and many subtle old scores under the cover of fighting for the new national cause.
question of immigrants is very interesting. again, you need to look at this state-by-state. there is a certain pattern of smaller groups and minorities offering to stay with the british empire because they fear the new united states than the british empire and that goes for most native american nations. tragedy neutral, that doesn't work. some split up and fight with the empire hoping to be more protective. that didn't work out well.
>> i like your point about the persuasion and your discussion of the link to which the congressional authorities went to gather all this evidence and of course their success on the propaganda front and a great deal of your discussion here and the earlier article relies on that source of the reports but seeing as how they were prepared very specifically for a propaganda purpose, how can we treat these atrocity reports as anything close to a reliable primary source? how many grains of truth versus enormous fabrications and hyperbole, how do we get to that? >> very good question. and so, the you are right i made extensive use of those depositions. you try to cross check one set of evidence with other sources
and if it isn't intended for publication in the journal entry, private correspondence not just from the american side but especially the other side, the british suggest the same line of argument is that it's if it is the same way to cross check and so after the atrocity that we've been talking about, the small number of british officers right back to come to their families or make a note saying we won that military encounter between lost. >> the question of news and fake news is in the game.
long very different kinds of terms? >> thank you, it's a good question. you're right. very typically we use to see it is a white, elite. plus geographical religious and i mentioned briefly in terms of the exiles that were at the end both 9000 feet, 17 or 15000 slaves we talked about the native americans fighting largely with the british. i'm not rewinding the story about what it was about, there's the economic and the tax question, the question of self-rule and self-governance, it is more about what it
required to win the conflict on the part of both those and on the side of the british that was ultimately unsuccessful. >> the continental association you're talking about safety, these are wealthy people. >> not exclusively. >> but it doesn't divide rich and poor, i think that's what the question was. >> it's much more complex than that,. [inaudible question]
>> hello. it's fascinating, i think you do an excellent job documenting this pervasive violence, i buy that argument. i think ellen taylor has recently brought this up as well as robert parkinson and others, my question to, it brings to mind the comparison to the french revolution that you bring up yourself, historians for decades and decades have been obsessed over what drives this violence, what's driving the chair, is it for an invasion, as it counterrevolution or the ideology of the revolution itself? what i'm looking for this book to do and tell me is what's causing the violence and driving the escalating violence? >> human nature? i don't mean to be flippant,
would be very interesting for someone to do a systematic comparison. i'm not with this book proclaiming that the revolution is comparable to what is being called the first word of the french revolutionary time or the terror there is a bloodbath at the end of the revolution. the violence results from the conflict of interest, of ideology, of the passionate in approving the belief, and was some private interest the gentleman at the back was suggesting being sought out, i
believe you work on prisons of war, i find that statistic of the highest mortality rate, that is not by design, there's no british policy to destroy large populations of prisoners, so this is hardly a condition of circumstances, of the british having to accommodate thousands of prisoners in credit conditions, and not spreading abusive diseases. most state in that time would have been able to keep a live the entire population of prisoners, so does that begin to give you a sense?
>> thank you. he spoke very deliberate about the violence in terms of mental and physical cruelty that the british sent to the americas. i'm particularly interested in the acts of annihilation that was committed against women in my to leave this audience believing it was conceived to him british, over there and brought here, practice here to be cruel, especially mentally and physically to women? >> not in any systematic way. women play significant roles on
all types of revolution. we have known for a long time about the women on the revolutionary side who are critical in leaving the t boycott, who are supporting listening for the american soldiers, who are acting as couriers and spies. you find the same on the other side, but of course you're right, as in any modes of conflict that i can think of women were at risk of physical sexual violence from the armed forces and is were talking earlier about the british, there is evidence also continental soldiers, american soldiers with the malicious i most loyalists
[inaudible] [inaudible] [inaudible] >> wednesday book to become a more books that members of congress are written the summer. it at a the is string annette gordon-reed talks about her book, then eric on his book, "if you can keep it". journalist thomas friedman discusses accelerating pace of technology and globalization in his book, thank you for being late. part of our we could book tv in prime time on c-span2.
>> with the house and senate in session on tuesday, september 5 were taking a look at the work the members of congress will be handling, the federal budget, tax reform, the debt ceiling, and healthcare. join us for review of what's ahead for congress, thursday night at eight eastern on c-span and c-span.org, listen on the free c-span radio app. >> book to be on c-span2 in prime time continues. i want to show you what a couple members of congress told us about a book they are both reading. >> we recently visited capitol hill to ask congress what they're reading the summer. >> next on my reading list is "hillbilly elegy. this fantastic and everything i heard about it is wonderful. it talks about association of life in america, i've been looking into that issue and it talks about some of the
struggles of people in appellation and throughout the country. >> book tv wants to know what you are reading, send us your reading list via twitter, book tv or instagram at book -underscore tv, or posted to her facebook page, facebook.com/book tv. book tv on c-span2, television for serious readers. >> book tv visited capitol hill test members of congress what they are reading the summer. >> right now, reading a book called "the safety net that works. "really trying to understand the issues surrounding poverty and trying to find answers to problems that we deal with with people in poverty and how we move them into the middle class.