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tv   Washington  CSPAN  September 1, 2017 8:01pm-8:46pm EDT

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are reading this summer. here's a look at some of the books that house speaker paul ryan has in his summer list. he is reading "washington: a life" by best-selling biographer ron -- is an in-depth look at the president of the united states. also in his list is strong fathers, strong daughters by pediatrician doctor meg meeker. she highlights the importance of the father daughter relationship. >> booktv wants to know what you are reading. sinister summer reading list via twitter at twitter.com/booktv or facebook.com/booktv. booktv on c-span2, television for serious readers. >> speaker brian mentioned ron's book on george washington. that won the pulitzer prize in 2011. and we want to show the author presentation now on booktv. let's washington was dignified,
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stoic, heroic and fiercely devoted to duty. but he was also a slave owner. an unyielding taskmaster somewhat vain and a failure business. unlike his peers, jefferson madison hamilton and items were all college graduates, washington only the equivalent of 1/7 grade education. ron chernow was born in brooklyn and is an honest graduate of yale and cambridge. he is considered to be one of the most distinguished commentators on politics, business, finance in america today. the st. louis post-dispatch has helped him as one of the most preeminent biographers of his generation and "the new york times" calls him mr. ron chernow is an elegant architect of monumental histories as we have seen in decades. in 2004 his biography of alexander hamilton won the
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inaugural george washington book prize early american history. mr. ron chernow brings political perspective to the politics of today. listen to his words. president washington, like president obama enters the office hoping for reasonable and sensible discourse. hoping to enjoy it. of nonpartisan politics. the two-party system emerges rather rapidly from his own cabinet. hamilton and jefferson heading up different rings. for two years there seems to be a political honeymoon for washington due to his doctor. but once the attacks start and apposition, they are ferocious and relentless. washington is actually accused of being a british double agent. all along during the revolutionary war. sound familiar? [laughter]
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ladies and gentlemen let's hear more about george washington from his biographer. please join me in welcoming mr. ron chernow. [applause] >> thank you hank for that wonderful introduction. it is always a thrill to be here at the miami book fair. february 1789, in other words, two months before george washington was sworn in as the first president, he was received a fascinating letter from europe from his friend reporting for the first time on the sudden madness of king george iii. morris said that in the king's delirious state quote - he had conceived himself to be no less a personage than george washington marching at the head of the continental army. and then morris added facetiously, have apparently done something or other to fix most terribly in the king's
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stomach. indeed, washington had. now, who was this commoner george who was such a legend in his own time? and of course ever since, that he actually managed to invade the feverish dream world of the deranged royal george? well, i first real interested in this question i was writing my hamilton biography.and one day i was reading a series of letters that hamilton wrote after he had a quarrel late in the world with washington that led to hamilton quitting washington staff as --. in these letters he described working for washington and said that he is moody, irritable and temperamental. and he informed his father-in-law with more than a touch of youthful bravado. he said the great man and i have come to an open rupture. he self for once at least repent his ill humor.
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and i can remember sitting there stunned. ill humor? did hamilton mean to imply that the saintly father of our country was this sulky, volatile boss? needless to say, this was far from the whole truth about george washington. and i hope in this book that i do both lavish and sufficient praise to washington's courage, fortitude, his patriotism, integrity and a thousand other wonderful traits. this is not a debunking book. in fact, my book is an effort to try to re-create the charisma and the magnetism that so excited washington's contemporaries. that have gotten lost somehow in translation to posterity. having said that, hamilton did paint very perceptive purchase of people. his comments began to open a window into george washington's emotion. all of these strong and powerful emotions swirling around inside him.
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needless to say, emotions that he and check with formidable self-control. but i came to learn that george washington was not this kind of worthy figure, bland but if we are honest a bit boring who has taken up residence in the american imagination. no, revolutions are not made of such team stuff. and i began to wonder even though there had been so many books about washington, whether george washington seemly, the most familiar figure in american history, the man is portrait we carry in our wallets was perhaps at bottom, the lease money figure. i thought that perhaps there were other significant dimensions of his personality that would enable me as a biographer, to bring him to a vivid and three-dimensional life would make him immediate and comprehensible to people. i am here this morning to report after six years of very intensive work on this book, i
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founded george washington who is complex, a man of many moods, often strong in fiery opinions. fierce hard-driving perfectionist who had the immense force of his personality under that stoic facade that we know so very well. what has happened in the course of history is that in our very laudable desire to venerate the father of the country have sanded down the rough edges of his personality. we have turned him into this impossibly stiff and lifeless figure. very much like the standing portrait where he is standing there with his arm rigidly thrust out.but it stands to reason that that wouldn't figure could never have defeated the british empire. the mightiest military regime of the 18th century. could never have presided over the constitutional convention. could never have forged the office of the presidency. quite obviously, the man who was able to do all of those
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things must have been a force of nature. although he kept that force carefully under wraps. now, unfortunately, in order to fashion a first port of washington, the poor biographer has to begin by taking up a sharp machete and hacking his way through a very dense jungle of myths and misconceptions. about george washington, and i have discovered that he had been very well educated americans, their minds are so cluttered with all of these tales. so let me retire some of the most egregious errors. however trivial they may seem to this highly cultured audience. you have already heard the cherry tree story was pure invention. it was invented shortly after his death after a transport
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there were stories that would humanize him. our friends rushed into the vacuum armed with all of these fictitious tales. the cherry tree story has been unfortunate for many reasons. one and most obviously, it's been used to terrorize american schoolchildren for 200 years now. [laughter] it has also created as we shall see, a very misleading image of george washington as this cold and -- character when he was anything but. another common myth as we already heard was the wooden teeth. again, it is estrangement because obviously digestive enzymes would rot would in the mouth. george washington would lose his teeth in the 20s. by the time he was president he only one tooth left in his mouth. very brave and very lonely lower left bicuspid. he had a full set upper and lower dentures made. you can see the lower is a
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little round hole where the tooth was. and they were painful to examine. i can only examine how painful they were to wear. it would have been scraping incessantly against his raw gums. they were made from elephant or walrus ivory and they were inserted with human teeth. we now know that in 1784, he brought 19th from slaves, possibly his own that were inserted into those iv frames. this sounds good, i must tell you, in 18th century it was routine for people to advertise that, dentist to advertise they were buying tea. often the ad said, white teeth for white people. so washington was doing something weirdly egalitarian, if indeed, he had 19th from his own slaves. and of course what happened over time as the ivory aged and cracked and stand, it developed a grainy look that to the eyes of later generations look like wood.
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the most significant thing that i discovered about the dentures, they were connected in the back by curved metal springs. the only way that washington could hold them in his mouth is by keeping his lips firmly compressed. but this meant every time he opened his mouth to speak it would relax the pressure on the springs and it was always the possibility that the teeth would come flying out of his mouth. whether it is coincidental or not as president washington gave a suspiciously large number of speeches, they were only one, two or three paragraphs in length. [laughter] and other common myth that i find universal is that george washington wore a wig. so how did you get a very strange and distractive hairdo? he had these wings on either side. he then sprinkled powder, grayish powder on his hair very common at the time. if you look closely at some portraits of the time, if he
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was wearing a black velvet suit you is he a fine dust on his shoulders did not dandruff, it was a portrait artist showing that the powder had sprinkled down onto his shoulders. and then most significantly he put the remaining hairs which he drew straight back over his back and tied in a black satin bow. that style that we would call ponytail in the 18th century was called a q. even though it looks quaint and genteel, the "q" was considered a family of military look. so anyone seeing washington walked down the street would have said, there goes the general. finally, everyone repeats that george washington was six feet three inches and and a half. and i discovered as a left into this that it all rested on a single piece of evidence. which was after washington died and he was measured for his casket. he measured six feet 3 1/2.
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that would seem to settle the controversy, right? wrong. i will need to do an experiment when you go home tonight. lie down in bed on your back. just relax. you'll see that your feet will fall forward, your toes will point out words, if rigor mortis were to set in it would add about three inches to your height. i collected in the course of doing the book, i collected about 40 quotations from contemporary letters and diaries of people that commented on washington's height and about 35 of them guests and guessed correctly that he was six feet tall. then came the real clincher. before the revolutionary war, washington, like most virginia planters under his clothing from london. and so every six months he sat down and gave his london taylor a very precise description of his physique and described himself as a man who was
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exactly its feet tall. now, we all know that the one person you cannot lie to you about your height unless you want to end up looking like the laughingstock, is your taylor. so i think we consider the case closed. george washington was six feet tall. which was of course relatively tall for that time. now of course he spent five and half years fighting in the french and indian war. in fact washington was really, he was a precocious he was kind of a prodigy. by the age of 23, he was a colonel, he was put in charge of all of the military forces in virginia. virginia was both populous and powerful in the union. his perseverance, his bravery were already the stuff of legend. but i must warn you when you start reading the book, young washington is not yet the wise paragon of later years.
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-- washington first rebels against the british. not for idealistic reasons but for selfish reasons. the british deny him the royal commission in the army. the british sell him shoddy overpriced goods from london. the british band settlement west of the allegheny mountains at a time when washington is amassing real estate there. the british are bad for business, the british are bad for your career. so in those early sections you will not feel that you are getting the company of historic greatness. even though there were a lot of admirable and good traits that would have wondrous things to come. the banner washington's early years was not royal george but someone infinitely more formidable. his mother. mary boyle washington. she was, to speak frankly, a very difficult woman.
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very querulous and self-centered. she took no apparent pride or pleasure in her son's career. here she had more to boast about than any mother in american history. and we have no comments about her praising the commander-in-chief or if she was even still alive when he became president. we have no evidence that she intended the wedding of george and martha washington. we have no evidence that she ever visited them at mount vernon, although she lived in fredericksburg, which is not very far away. historic rumor has even tagged her as a possible tory during the war. george's father died when he was 11. george is the eldest son. mary felt that george should be taken care of her rather than pursuing his career. and so, even when he is in his 20s and he is out on the western frontier, he suddenly received a letter from his mother one day thinking urgently needs a new duct
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servant and some butter. as if you're supposed to travel in his regimental duties and go fetch his poor mother some butter. [laughter] late in the revolutionary war much more bizarre, washington receives a letter from the speaker of the virginia assembly he says dear general, something has been going on here in the virginia state capital at richmond that no one has had the courage to tell you about. your mother has been here for a couple of months. she has applied for a special petition for emergency relief. claiming poverty and hinting at abandonment by you know who. [laughter] the commander-in-chief. washington was a very dutiful son and brought his mother's beautiful house in fredericksburg and given her a lot of money. and that was his reward. i speculate in the book that the first grade in general that george washington ever had to do battle with was his mother. [laughter] with this very difficult mother
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to deal with in a father that died when he was 11, it is no wonder he does not start out as a saint. but then what happens? fascinating, in the mid-1760s with the stamp act and the townshend duties and the boston tea party and the intolerable acts, washington begins to realize that all of his personal grievances simply reflect a larger political problem and that the deck has been stacked against the colonists. and then suddenly, and rather gloriously, all of his feelings about the british are elevated into these universal principles of freedom and liberty and justice. it is rather miraculous to behold. and he begins to find his political voice. and that political voice is very strong and very militants. you know, if ever there was a man who was a noble by circumstances. if ever there was a man who was pride of by a just and righteous cause. that man was george washington. who, as you shall see,
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transcends his origins in a way that has few, if any parallels in american history. now, all of us, if we know any investment revolutionary war we know washington crossing the delaware and valley forge. both events in their way a little bit misleading. washington deserves full credit and crossing the delaware and -- he actually lost more battles than he won. but i also argue that he cannot george's member of the usual scorecard of battles lost and won. because this is a rare case in history. what he's doing between battles is arguably more important than what he does on the battlefield. he single-handedly holding this ragged army together for 8 and a half years. in the face of constant shortages of men, money, clothing, blankets, shoes, muskets, gunpowder, on and on and on.
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only george washington has the strength of character, the clarity of vision and the tenacity of purpose to maintain the cause.and there was you and we all know about the bleak winter at valley forge. as you'll see in the book there are many other winters that were just as bleak as valley forge. nobody but washington would have the coverage and stomach to hold this army together and holding the army together meant holding the cause together. it meant holding the american nation together. if you do not think there is at least a grain of truth to the great man or quick woman in history please read this book and let me a book and let who could have stepped into issues in this battle. there were other general smith strategic plan point that were his equal but they were jockeying for power and sidetracked by petty disputes.
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george washington had an inspired simplicity. to give michael to pursue he would harness all of the energy and fortitude in his nature to achieve it. he had a focus and discipline and drive that was truly unique. now, whatever his shortcomings as a politician, washington was a genius. whatever shortcomings as a general washington politician was a genius. considering this stunning record, he was unanimously elected commander-in-chief by the continental congress. he was unanimously elected president of the constitutional convention. and he is twice unanimously elected president of the united states by the electoral college. obviously, that will never happen again. and mind you, he does all of these things without the benefit of a single focus group or poster or political action committee. he is just responding to his own instincts. and because he never seemed to be grasping for power, people
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were that much more eager to give it to him. the more that the comfrey clamor to calm him come out of retirement, the more reluctant he was and the more people wanted him. now, washington is presence in philadelphia in 1787 was absolutely vital. the constitutional convention was held behind closed doors. it is washington's position as president of the convention and reassures the skittish public outside the doors that no sinister cabal is being hatched inside. and of course, it is washington's presence, is the assumption washington will be the first president. that and both of the delegates to create a powerful office of the presidency at a time after the revolutionary war. when there was a quite understandable fear of excessive executive power. in fact, if you look at the constitution, article 1 of the constitution by design is about congress. because the people felt that that was the people's branch of
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government. particularly the house. article 2 about the presidency is by design short in general. washington spent time dealing with an eternally squabbling congress to realize that no legislature could provide coherent and consistent leadership. and it is washington realizes it will be the executive branch, particularly the presidency that will spearhead domestic and foreign policy. and we are still living with washington's legacy today. we assume as a matter of course, that the president will define political agenda. and there is also no mention of the constitution of cabinet. washington creates the first cabinet. there were only three members. it was alexander hamilton, secretary of the treasury. henry knox secretary of war and thomas jefferson, secretary of state.i think everyone in the
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room can agree pound for pound the best cabinet we will ever have by far. [applause] he assembled the american all-star team. and like all executives washington was not afraid to hire people who are smarter than he was. although he was very smart indeed. he felt fully confident to be able to control these headstrong prima donnas. i know we are all kind of gazing back nostalgically at this era and i think is right to do so. in terms of the brilliance and the integrity of these people. but it was a nasty political period. i did a piece in the wall street journal last summer on the founders. for instance, john adams, benjamin franklin, he said his entire life had no one continued insult to decency and good manners. franklin set of items, he is always an honest man often
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arise member and sometimes and in some things, absolutely out of his senses. this was kid stuff compared to adams and hamilton. adams called hamilton the baxter brat of the scotch peddler. and he said that hamilton wrote had a superabundance of secretions which you cannot find cause enough to draw off. [laughter] doesn't get any stronger than that! hamilton, hamilton gave as good as he got. and he rejoined, i shall soon be led to say that john adams was as wicked as he is mad. the only one who really wises up of all of this partisan name-calling and mudslinging is george washington. and at the beginning of his term, he is a political handyman for a year or two. but in a two-party system springs up and the opposition party attacks him relentlessly for everything from plotting to restore a monarchy to as you
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heard earlier, he actually was accused of having been a british double agent for the entire duration of the revolutionary war. you think that some of the charges today made in the press are preposterous. i was particularly struck during this book. there were many things that surprising. one was how ambivalent washington felt about his own fame.you know wherever he went he was stated and lionized. he was not a gladhanding, backslapping personality. he was not a good extemporaneous speaker. but wherever he went, he had to give a few well-chosen words. and so you can see when he was president, he made a tour of all of the states. they would send out a delegation of dignitaries to meet him on the outskirts of town. he would always arrive an hour to earlier in order to bypass them. he would actually write in his diary as a the dignitaries are supposed to come and escort him out of town at 7:00 a.m.. i woke up at 5:00 a.m. and left
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before they arrived. i mean you know, also i found the aphrodisiac of power in full force and 18th-century. washington constantly had dutiful women swimming around him. when he was doing this trip of the 13 states, he wrote every night in his diary. he would record the number of women there. he would say arrived in new haven, there was 62 handsome and well-dressed ladies of the town they are. then the next night he would say i was in hartford, there was dinner in my honor. there were 73 fashionable and elegant ladies of the town there. and he was traveling with a tiny entourage. i guarantee you the person who's doing the nightly headcounts of the ladies was the father of our country. [laughter] now, even the privacy of his home he becomes a form of public property.a real prisoner of his celebrity. he is warned after the war he
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should get a special expense account to entertain people. he does not listen.in hundreds, finally thousands of people descend on mount vernon. washington is this impeccably polite man. he sees them all, he houses them all. the saddest line in his voluminous correspondence, june 20, 1785 he writes, this headline in his diary. quote dined with only mrs. washington. which i believe is the first instance of it since my return from the war. he had been back from the war for a year and 1/2.the first time he had dined alone with martha. and he had been away for 8 and a half years during the war. on the way back to mount vernon once for three days. now, i said earlier that washington was not this cold and priggish character of the cherry tree story. nathaniel hawthorne once mocked him by saying washington was quote - surely born with his clothes on. and with his hair powdered and made a stately bow on his first appearance in the world.
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but there was nothing puritanical about washington. and i'm not simply referring to his famous infatuation with sally fairfax on the eve of his engagement to martha. let me give you one story. washington had a friend named colonel joseph ward who remarried at the age of 47. washington consider 47 a comically advanced age to marriage. he wrote the following letter to a mutual friend. quote i am glancing at my old acquaintance, colonel ward, is it under the influence of vigorous passions. he then went on to suppose that ward quote - like a prudent general had reviewed his strength, his arms and ammunition before he got involved in action.[laughter] it goes on. let me advise him to make the first onset upon his fair lady with vigor. that the impression may be deep if it cannot be lasting or frequently renewed. [laughter]
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it is not a lot i am suggesting for inclusion in the school textbooks but it does give us a different take on george washington. [laughter] >> the marriage to martha i did not get the feeling was the lusty is the marriageable time but it was a very kind of, warm, productive and happy one. she give them financial security. she'd been the richest widow in virginia. she gave him emotional supports.washington was rather repressed and needed an emotional confidant. she was immensely skillful and washington was a cordial horse but a rather detached sort. so she gave washington the warm, stable home life that i think he needed to accomplish these monumental tasks. and i find the book to give a complete portrait of this marriage because the two of them made indescribable sacrifices for the country. you know it is always mentioned in passing that martha visited george and winter quarters during the war. in fact, it turns out that she spent a full half of the winter
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-- half of the war with him. typically that lasted five or six months. now there was this private man behind the public decide that i devote a lot of time in the book to george washington as a slaveholder. and earlier generations seem to think it a trivial inconsequential fact that he owned 300 human beings. washington was deeply conflicted over the whole issue. he opposed slavery in theory but he was never able to make an issue of it in public. you know even in the founding era, slavery was the most divisive issue. and washington being the embodiment of national unity, that this is a subject that he broached at his peril. i wanted to write a book in which washington's slaves are not simply faceless names mentioned in passing. but to the extent that the
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documentary record allows it really emerge as full-blooded human beings. for instance i talked about his remarkable valet and menservants, billy lee. who was a great hunter and writer and bracket -- accompanied washington every day of the revolutionary war and was very proud of it. like to reminisce in later years about the battles. talk about martha's favorite slave. she was a young seamstress who finally escaped to freedom in new hampshire in later years. most of all, they found white hercules who is the master chef at the presidential household in philadelphia. who also slipped off to freedom in the waning days of washington second term. slaves constructed every inch of mount vernon, they formed the basis of washington's fortune and i thought that they deserved to have a central place in the saga what i love about george washington, not
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the story of a perfect man. there are plenty of defense as a slave owner in business man. but this is a person of constant growth and of criticism. he is one of the 30s into a world of virginia where slavery is both commonplace and unquestioned. and his last and i think most visionary act in his will, he frees the slaves. i just want to you know close before the q&a with a pessimist reviewed hundred and 25 of his slaves were under the direct legal control of george washington. the other approximately 175 slaves are so-called dour slaves. to marriage by martha and legally pledged to her children and grandchildren. so what happens in his will, washington says that the slaves should be free. those 125 slaves that he controlled should be freed after martha dies.
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in washington i thought this through an immense detail. he provided a fund to train and educate young slaves who would suddenly be free. he created a fund in order to take care of any freed slaves who were too old or infirm to work. he thought this through an immense detail. he just overlooked one big glaring thing. which was that the moment that he died, his will was published, everyone knew the terms of the will and every statement mount vernon knew whether he or she was one of washington slaves or one of the dour slaves. and what it meant was, every time 125 slaves looked at martha washington, this is the second that the lady is dead i am a free person. martha was so our nerve by the situation and really thought that her life was in danger that she consulted washington's
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nephew in the supreme court. he said you are right to be afraid and he said, just go ahead and free the slaves now. which is exactly what she did which is a very smart thing to do. so a year after george washington died but a year before she died that slaves were free. i am just touching the service of a very rich and eventful history paper no speech on washington should last as long as the revolutionary war. i'm sure you all have any questions so i think you are coming and i'm happy to answer questions. thank you. [applause] thank you. [applause] >> i think people have questions. there is a microphone so please just line up. >> did you run across any archives information regarding washington's view of extending the franchise and in his later years, did you run across any
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of his feelings on how the results of the revolution turned out. did he have any misgivings? >> did he try to extend the franchise to know, that was not notable. what he didn't do, we know at the constitutional convention that the one point that he proposed because he was kind of a neutral arbiter, the one point he proposed that the past was that there should be one congressman for every 30,000 people is that of 40,000. he felt that then the house would be more numerous and hence, more responsive to the people. but washington shared a certain federalist elitism that the people should, you know, elect the most intelligent and prosperous members of the community. who would then look out for their interest.
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there are many different places where washington says that there must have been a special providence.that only overseen the revolutionary war but the constitutional convention and even his presidency that the, that things turned out so well. >> excuse me. would you care to comment on george washington's religious feelings?and while doing that, can you either confirm or dispel the myth of the prayer that was supposedly done during the valley forge winter? young private that comes upon washington and his wars in washington -- >> yes you've probably seen the pictures of washington playing on his nearest and valley forge and unfortunately that is another invention of the person who invented the cherry tree
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story. it is an implausible story. not because of washington's religiosity but washington was very private in his devotions. he would never have you know rather ostentatiously, and public and in full view of his soul has been praying in a fashion. in terms of his religious views this was a hot controversy. about this washington before the war was an anglican. which meant that after the war he was an episcopalian. washington, there were a number of things about washington's christian beliefs and practices that were atypical. he always talked about providence or the supreme author of our being. he only referred to jesus by name two or three times in his entire career. he would, at church he would pray standing instead of kneeling. again, refuting the mason story.
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he never took communion which presses, martha did regularly. very significantly, he did not call for a minister on his deathbed. which again, martha did. i have the feeling that washington was deeply religious. there is not a battle in the revolutionary war that washington does not you know, claim that divine providence had been looking out for the country. and so his papers are saturated with reference to a providence that is closely following american events and seem to be watching over the fortunes of the country. it is very hard from a kind of denominational or theological point of view to pin down with precision exactly what his religious views were. >> thank you. ask. >> and alexander hamilton, to
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extend with the relationship with mr. hamilton, how did washington take the marquees and the french outlook and help in the war to the extent that there was any? and how did he accept foreign support during the revolution? >> how did he accept foreign support? you know with difficulty. all of these french officers that came over during the revolutionary war, many came over from a very self-interested reason. they wanted to earn battlefield glory and they thought they would then go back to france and get a promotion. and a lot of them could not even speak english. and so, washington really thought that it was you know, the bane of his life as commander-in-chief that he's had to placate all of these french officers who came over. in fact, the story with lafayette is interesting
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because lafayette comes over at the age of 19, he quips a ship with provisions and munitions. he goes to philadelphia armed with a letter from benjamin franklin and franklin rights to the continental congress, you know, please treat the young marquis very well because he is very close to -- and he could be politically useful.the conquest, without consulting washington makes lafayette a major general. this 19 kid who is just arrived. makes him a major general which is the highest rank below commander-in-chief but they did it as an honorary title. lafayette then goes and meets george washington. washington writes a crisis letter to the congress saying, i don't think that the young marquis understands a title is merely honorific. he is kind of looking for a regiment to command. amazingly enough, lafayette
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becomes such a resourceful and really fearless general that he becomes one of the major generals in the continental army. and one thing that i found you know, this story about lafayette being a kind of surrogate son of washington, turns out to be true. the washington being a very formal man, did not like to be touched. and we have eyewitness accounts that when lafayette would see washington, he would throw his arms around him and kiss his face here to ear. [laughter] only a young frenchman could have got away with that with washington. [laughter] >> i was wondering about why martha married george washington as a rich widow. i'm sure she had many suitors and also, that she would be reticent of men wanting adjust for her money. >> i do not think it was surprising that she wanted to marry washington and all.
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you have to remember is that he had been the french and indian war for five years, the commander of all of the military forces in virginia when he was 23. he then meets her, i think he was 29 at the time. he was a military hero in virginia and he was famous for his bravery. he was starting out, seemed to be prosperous and successful young planter. and then he became a member of the virginia house of burgesses for 20 years. he was very closely connected with the fairfax family. his brother had married and fairfax, whose father was the agent for something called the northern neck proprietary that controlled 5 million acres in virginia. the fairfax family is most powerful, richest family in virginia. and george washington is a young protcgc.and washington was very, you know, tall and
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strapping. you know, we tend to think of him from the gilbert stuart pictures as stiff and rigid and cranky. he was, jefferson that he was the greatest horseman of his day. he was legendary as a dancer, he was a great hunter, he was a very - you know, very social and very genial personality. and so, i find it completely understandable that she would have been attracted to him. and he was -- and she had two children he seemed very eager to have children. >> no cherry tree,? >> no cherry tree. >> i would like to thank you all for coming. [applause]

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