tv David Mc Cullough The Pioneers CSPAN August 14, 2019 2:46am-3:41am EDT
>> i will give david a moment thank you all for coming and thank you for your patience a beautiful day to be here of the executive director from the library association and the board of trustees we welcome you to this wonderful day that what truly is a memorable hour in one of our great historians david mccullough. [applause] for those of you who may not be familiar felt and 1929 and avid reader who thought she
had a collection book of ohio writers and from there to symbolize and today winning book awards and festivals and publications and then to promote our state is on the truly great literate centers of the united states. and a 2019 marking the 90th anniversary can you think of anyone who is more perfect to celebrate the 90th anniversary celebration than david mccullough? [applause] three years ago he presented the award for the wright brothers how many of you have read that? he told us he was working on a new book he was particularly excited about and we said when he finished it we wanted him
to share it with us and as a bonus he has brought his wonderful wife and his son. thank you. and a special thank you to our sponsors from mount vernon and the capitol square foundation of which i am pleased to say is bringing david and his friend doris kearns goodwin tomorrow we would love to see you there. simon & schuster, the publisher and c-span who is recording this event on to book tv. very special thanks to the first lady thank you.
[applause] and also to all of those have been very involved and i might add former governor thank you for coming. [applause] >> and to say maybe we need to draft mccullough for 2020 so we just begin putting together the days events we are both huge mccullough fans and said let us know if we can help in
any way. so when mike introduced david? so i am very delighted and it is my pleasure to introduce someone in many capacities as the 70th governor of ohio. [applause] >> thank you very much. we are delighted to enjoy the 9h anniversary. if you have not been to their book festival it will come up again next year and don't miss it if you love ohio writers and went to meet them it is a
great opportunity. fran was there this year i did not have my schedule correct but guarantee i will be there next year. is our great pleasure to welcome david mccullough and his wife and the research assistant welcome probably isn't the right word for this pittsburgh native while researching his magnificent book to perfect flying and to spend a great deal of time in the bicycle and print shops from wright state university also spending many of the day at marietta college library at one of my favorite places which is lafayette hotel.
and did that by working on his new book everybody has got one. the pioneers. david mccullough said it best himself i grew up on the ohio river where the story begins. it is in my bloodstream to. a two-time pulitzer prize winner and a recipient of the presidential medal of freedom and for over 50 years he has informed us and inspired us with his introduced us to fascinating characters bringing new insight and perspective to the understanding of historical figures that we thought were already knew. we are very delighted to have him today. you then can write history
with the character of david mccullough. to write history as effortlessly as if telling a antidote. to be referenced in that enthusiasm for research has made his book so compelling. and although he writes with a novelist skill he never resorts to inventor never draws a conclusion not backed by hard facts. they are filled with fascinating subject matter in research and prose. one of my favorite quotes from david is one of the truth of history that needs to be made
clear is that nothing ever had to happen the way it happened. probably bob and ted remember that also. my wife loves him also his voice and loves to listen to him read the wright brothers book and i must tell you, david, i began to worry a little bit and have become a little jealous. [laughter] when she started to listen to your rendition of the wright brothers for the third time. [laughter] i love your voice to but i was a little concerned. [laughter] we are thrilled in the pioneers he is once again devoted his talent to a truly
ohio story taken the stories of five of the earliest settlers and brought them to life. these remarkable americans and early ohio pioneers risk their lives leaving the comfort of new england to be part of the settling of our state. i must admit it may come as a surprise to some of you, my favorite mccullough book is about harry truman. he writes a stirring account of truman's come from behind campaign in 1948 devoting 135 pages to this thrilling victory. a lesson for anyone running for office you truly cannot be her own person. you can do it your way and despite what the experts say when they tell you you can't
win, you can. please help me to welcome back again david mccullough. [applause] >> thank you. thank you governor and all of you. i have never in my life have had such a warmhearted and up lifting appreciated welcome as we have had since we arrived in ohio several days ago. we can talk about the pioneers
of marietta and now in columbus. the generosity and the spirits and the honesty and the decency that so many of us grew up on is so prevalent and apparent in part of the everyday life of your state that i hope you don't ever take it for granted and keep it going. you are wonderful. thank you. [applause] don't get too big for your britches. i think the dedication to community and to family which are so important are major
objectives in the civilization that the predecessors are so espoused. i came upon this subject by chance that i often thought somebody should teach a course the role of luck in history and good luck and bad luck. i had the very good luck to be invited to give the commencement speech at ohio university in 2004. of course i accepted it was a great complement for guy realized i started to do a little homework from ohio
university and i was told the oldest building on campus called cutler hall who was cutler i wondered? once i found out i was entranced with the man's career. moving on to yale where i had graduated and the fact he lived in massachusetts where i live for go the fact his first job after he graduated from college was at the ship supply store at martha's vineyard that my wife's family has been part of that for five generations and the fact his son was born in martha's vineyard and in order to get to ohio you have to go through pittsburgh.
[laughter] and rosie said you have got to write the book. and then even another circle to the story the first and the pioneers were published but then it was decided that they needed a national publisher in the first national publication was from new york by a firm called a-letter s barnes. that was my wife's great-grandfather. so there is a connection we cannot deny or take for granted. the big sudden change in revelation really is when i
got down to marietta because i found there was a collection of archival materials and my assistant, mike hill going down as the greatest researcher, i saw this breathtaking collection that i knew we had opened king tut's tomb. it was thrilling. let me just try to describe why. it is said that there is just so much of it, there are literally thousands and thousands of letters, diaries, memoir letters, diaries, memoirs, unpud journals, maps, data of all kinds, drawings and oil
paintings. but it is the quality of it all. the writing, thinking, honesty of expressing what they were brokenhearted about. how they were suffering. and all the work they had to do. and the onset of epidemic disease and the natural fiascoes of storms and earthquakes. all of that happening one after another one year they almost are to death. so compared to them we are all a bunch of softies. [laughter] truly.
know i could go on for hours about the lessons of history and why history is so beneficial and important. but i think two of the most important lessons to be learned it has to be passed on to children and grandchildren. the first is empathy. to put yourself in the other person's place and imagine what life might have been like or what they went through as people understand why other people to put themselves in their place and gratitude for what other people do for our benefit for what they did long ago and we should never take that for granted.
one of the things unfortunately we do take for granted as the public school system. also that all men are created equal. not just on paper but in fact those two aspects of our national life began here. first public school system anywhere in the country here in ohio. why did it happen? because of one man primarily. the charter of the northwest ordinance 1887, 1787. states very clearly there will be public education. there will be complete freedom of religion. the attitude that is
fundamentally respectful and decent and, there will be no slavery. remember there was slaves in every original colony. so all men are created equal, yes but we have sleep - - slaves over here in the slave quarters. it will not be that way in ohio. that was due primarily not to say entirely to cutler who wrote the basic tenants of the northwest ordinance. into his son f from. they call that the polygrapher somebody who knew about everything. has a doctor of law and
medicine and divinity in all three at once and practiced all three. almost the leading botanist of his day. 's interest of languages and everything. believed in the importance of the good life to learning and had a love of learning like anybody i have anybody have come to know or read about. he never lived here. he came out to see how everything was going but back home in hamilton massachusett massachusetts, his church and his parsonage are still there in superb condition. the first covered wagon left to come to ohio is still there.
and his son came out here with his wife, for children, they are young and hopeful but nothing even the most difficult daily tasks to be a farmer of the rocky ground of new england it was nothing comparable to what they faced here. they came out and on their way coming down the ohio river their children would die of disease on the banks of the river. they arrive here mrs. cutler had stepped off the boat or the barge at one point and
hurt badly and suffering from disease himself when he arrived here. so they had hard work. we have no idea every day and all the children worked. they were put to work right away. even cutler did not have the education his father had because he was raised by his grandparents who are farmers in connecticut. it's important to keep in mind for what he did. although i was asked in an interview just the other day of all the scenes in my book
which do i wish i could be to see firsthand and a new right away. the first big movement after the election of thomas jefferson and emily have a party name yet. they call it jeffersonian's. to decide they would get rid of the rule to introduce slavery into ohio. into people in the legislature were leading the fight leading the charge to stop that. to keep that from turning into a slave state one was general putnam who was the leader of the group that came out to settle here along with ephram. and the other was cutler himsel himself.
and he is absolutely devoted to stop this and he gets quite ill. he could hardly get out of bed. there was even some question if he would survive. and the day the vote would take place, rufus putnam came into the boarding house room. he was old enough to have been his father. he came in and said you must get well and be in your place or doom and gloom to your favorite measure. according to one account putnam carried him to the convention on the stretcher.
there is no reliable evidence of this but cutler himself went to the convention and moved to strike out to make my objections as forcibly as i was able. it was an active fortitude and the result was never to be forgotten here. it cost me every effort i was capable of making to be tasked by a majority of one vote only. because he got up from his suffering and i got on there to vote, it was stopped and not just no slavery. not only ohio but the northwest territory that included indiana, illinois, michigan and wisconsin.
now imagine if the slaves had been admitted for go imagine what would've happened. there would have been no underground railroad. no harriet beecher stowe or tom's cabin the most influential influential novel ever written by any american. as a slave there would be no abraham lincoln or ulysses s grant the whole picture would have been different. this one man there is no statue of him he is not mentioned in the book and in effect he is totally forgotten so imagine the excitement we felt with all of these letters in private correspondence to his wife and others. and the putnam collection
alone as well over 1000 pieces. and then came the others i had the privilege of writing about like joe barker builder who became the first architect in all of northwest territory. very gifted get - - very gifted and is quite intentionally amusing. they did like to sing and dance of course alcohol and whiskey was the only anesthetic. if you were suffering that would be your painkiller.
we forget how important whiskey was. it was a currency if you didn't have money you would use whiskey. but i think here we are so actively involved we have to realize that nobody ever lived in the past. there was no past. there is no past. it was their present. they did not know any better than we do how it would turn out. they didn't know they would succeed. they did not come here to make money or be famous or to show
how much money they had or how important they were. they came here to create a good society based on their background. and they came here to create a good society for their children, family the community and the family mattered the most the highest of all. and they did not come here to move on. they came here to settle and to stay in to work and live and raise family and die here. in this wonderful concentration of material in marietta here are the graveyards they are all buried here than the remains of the mound society is part of the cemetery. and rufus putnam said we have
to preserve this. how do we preserve it or keep the developers from tearing it down? they decided to make it a community graveyard in cemetery and it worked. the first example that i know of in our country of historic preservation so they had history on their mind. and they had this ideal of education which was not easy and led once again by ephram cutler serving in the legislature for a long time toward the end he was in the senate. and communicating at that time
back home in marietta and her name is sally. the second wife because the first wife died. and he tended to overwor overwork, except on sunday and then he was up in the legislature one day and was reading the bible one morning and contemplating somebody said you know what day this is cracks he said it sunday know it's not. he mistakenly thought it was sunday as a traditional ritual
of recognition of the sabbath. otherwise he always worked. he succeeded what he attempted to do and very often he would pour out his anguish and frustration to his wife sally. >> i just attended for returning from a meeting from our hush and slumber in the adjoining room at the boarding house. the difficulty making thickheaded mortals to understand is sometimes vexing. >> this is the issue of public schools and of taxes are necessary to make that possible. this evening they have committee had to contempt - - contend with those combined those more designing than the
legislature but with specific us looks they calculate to entrap the unwary like bloodsuckers suck the public. see how things have changed? [laughter] he was fed up. truly tired of it by his hands and heart engaged in the laborers before me but by no means did he consider giving up. with his new england background and devotion to the cause of learning was no less than ever. but not without hopes nothing has changed in our system of taxation to get a law passed or establish a school district and encouraging schools and he succeeded. and along with it he succeeded in creating the first
university of ohio university. the first west of the allegheny mountains. i cannot overestimate the importance of that successful cause or crusade of his. and it all goes back to his father who believe the establishment of the university was of utmost importance and it was plain to everyone. it was the first object and lays a great weight on my wisdom in my mind it is the principal thing so therefore
get wisdom. and get understanding. know i happened to feel very strongly the people who do the most important work in our society are our teachers and professors. nobody is doing work more that will matter in the long run. [applause] and i don't think we can forget that or underestimate the importance of that but even just to pay them more but to give them more gratitude, respec gratitude, respect, sense of appreciation, i'm very proud to say i have a son who is a high school teacher and a daughter-in-law who runs a
preschool back in new england, the oldest preschool in the country. and i am very indebted that i know that each and every one of you are to certain teachers in school or college that uplifted our sense of possibility or who encouraged us. and i also have to say i believe strongly and required courses i think particularly american history a certain quantity of english which includes writing should be required at all levels. i think it's important because it is essential to the best kind of education but it's also important for young people to be reminded in life some things are required.
[laughter] [applause] now i have to return a moment to the connection with how they were raised or educated with those who first established education here the wright brothers as many of you know were raised in a home, you can put four of them in this room easily with no central heat or indoor plumbing or water system no telephone, they had very little at all. but also a house full of books they were selected by their father who was a minister.
if you don't understand shakespeare then that's the reason to read it. they had to read above their level. he told them to learn to use the english language correctly and effectively on paper and on your feet. no matter what vocation you pursue. those two abilities will carry you farther than otherwise. now neither of those two men went to college but that stress the father made was without any question was a blessing of importance when i started to read wilbur writes
letters the great collection of the library of congress i thought what a vocabulary. what a mind. doing my work on my book which is the book that preceded the wright brothers, i was researching which americans were in france at the turn of the century. and then continuing my book into the 20th century and low and behold wilbur wright what the hell is he doing in paris. [laughter] he supposed to be in a bicycle shop in ohio. that i read what he was writing about because there were letters to his sister and father in which he describes his excitement overseeing the great paintings at the louvre.
he went every chance he had and studied the cathedrals and then i found out his sister catherine who was one of the most remarkable americans i have ever come to know, of course she went to or berlin one - - oberlin was one of the first women to go there, and her letters to them in the fathers were extraordinary. one of the greatest lines in my view everything they ever said or wrote wilbur wright observed no bird ever stored
in the calm. what does that mean? if you take it literally you cannot take off into the air with no wind blowing at you you have to take off into the wind you will that for amount to much if you don't have to face adversity if everything is easy for you. that is exactly the lesson to be experienced again and again with the development of the community of marietta and the lives of the principal characters that i call pioneers. separate, david brooks has a new book out which i find very interesting and he talks about the good that comes out of suffering. and that is the story.
and the high purpose involve the rights brothers father told them it is doing a life of worthy purpose. he never worried how they would make many and that was never on their mind much. and again those old values of truth don't lie or cheat or get too big for your britches. be loyal to your friends and your church and family and country and make yourself useful. the cutler establishes a school the whole third floor atop the parsonage to create a
private school he was the schoolmaster. and the theme was to be useful. all of that is so fundamentally true and obvious we cannot forget it. so if i had to confess i would be a short-term pessimist in a long-range optimist and i think history shows that. it reminds us so vividly not only what could happen of cruel or unkind or disastrous
or costly but what superb accomplishments can be made and it should remind us to be written about not just as policy in the military politics are very important. yes the military is very important. but i don't think that is half of it. the music and science and medicine i firmly believe in 50 years when they look back they will say the most important thing happening what we don't even talk about it. think of what has been accomplished just in our lifetimes. rosalie andy and i each had a
brother sadly inflicted by polio. the discovery of the dna, all of this is a major change to make us feel very good about our time. and proud of how much this all happens in this country. so we should all just appreciate coming in contact with an education but how much responsibility we have to make it even better and make it open to everybody to make it possible for everybody. so when i see a college like
marietta i have to tip my hat to that wonderful little college and what they are doing there with their library and the fact the belief in the liberal arts and the humanities and their emphasis on the humanities is admirable in the extreme. so i know you have like 137 colleges and universities in the state. superb and major universities. marietta is certainly one of them. and that is something for all of you to be extremely proud of. i am very proud now to be part of the ohio story. i have to tell you as i told the governor earlier, i wrote my first love letter to ohio.
[laughter] i will is a counselor near lake erie i just finished high school and about to go off to college and i met a girl and i wrote her a letter and she and i have now been married 65 years. [applause] we both feel we are off to a good start. she is my editor in chief. my secretary of the treasury. the chair of my ethics committee. [laughter] and my polar star. please stand up. [applause]
the speech that i gave at ohio university 2004 was 15 years ago. that is one i put a lot of time and thought into i want to close my remarks this morning with the same remarks that i close that speech with. i still think they are valid 15 years ago and this is advice to the graduating class. it was there on that beautiful campus, i will never forget it with rosie and my son before driving appear to columbus to
see how beautiful it is and to be reminded of that turning point in my life. went bad news rides high and despair were loudmouth and corruption is center stage with some keep crying the country is going to the dogs , remember it has always been going to the dogs. [laughter] it's always been going to the dogs in the eyes of some and 90 percent or more of the people are good people. generous hearted, law abidin abiding, good citizens who get to work on time. do a good job. love their country, pay their taxes and care about their neighbors and their children's education and believe rightly
enjoy book tv on c-span two. good evening everyone. my name is leah connolly and i am with the smithsonian associates. it's my pleasure to welcome you to this program. seven, the union spy. a few quick details before i introduce tonight's guest. first, please take a moment to silent your -- silence your mobile devices.