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tv   [untitled]    May 19, 2012 10:00pm-10:30pm EDT

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yucca filamentosa, i believe it is native to eastern sandy areas. >> say it louder. >> yucca filamentosa. >> it does grow in sandy soil, yes. >> you mentioned two items. >> they are the two i know best and they have been found in archaeological sites all over the eastern woodlands, yucca less so, as i understand it. an alternative is the inner bark of the red cedar. i don't think it has as much tensile strength as the other. i haven't tested it. if i ever genuinely retire, which will be in the next millennium, i think, i want to try these all out and just learn how to make them. any other questions? >> back row. >> thank you for being here, dr. round tree. i happen to have come from the county that has the only two
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reservations in the state. i find it very interesting that it once again proves that no good deed goes unpunished, because the natives are what allowed us to survive and history alls reflects those who write it. thank you. >> when i write a book about indian history, if i catch it from both the indians and the nonindians, i figure i am probably being accurate. >> yes, ma'am. >> what is your feeling about the current controversy or whether or not native americans arrived 20,000 years ago and if you think they did or whenever you think they came, how long did they live in these coastal areas? can you answer that? >> you are asking a cultural anthropologist who is not
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anarchy olgist. i have no problem with people arriving in north america during any int glasal or any interstayedal. i committed myself on national public radio a few years ago on a show with jim action tell from william and mary. they said, where was the first thanksgiving in massachusetts or virginia? i said, neither one. it was in alaska 30,000 years ago. people is gonna walk where people sees food. the bearing straight then being grass land, albeit cold grass land with plenty of critters on it. people were going could come across it any chance they got. they would have arrived over here in north america. where they went after that, that's what i don't commit myself to. we are positive that there were people here in virginia for the cactus hill site, which is 16,500 years ago -- 17,000 years
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ago. that's a heck of a long time, friends, 15000 b.c. it was during the ice age when things were quite different. i have been to cactus hill and see the artifacts as authentic. people have been here. it doesn't bother me a whit. i am not a fundamentalist christian. i am a whiskey palian, a darwinist. i have no problems with long spaces of time. i think the indians have been here a real long time. >> since you brought up the ice age, i was do you go a tour of our museum, you helped to develop the indian portion there. i was giving a tour and somebody said that the early indians had interacted and hunted wooly mammoths. i had not heard that before. since you talk about the ice age, is that true, that the very
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earliest indians would? >> yes, wolly mammoths, masdodons most likely. yeah, they did. there were people here. naturally, they hunted them. you have to go way back in time to the ice age. if you have people back there, yes, they hunlted those. they didn't do it recently. have i worn you out? >> oh, no. >> thank you for coming. [ applause ]
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this week on the civil war. historians and authors, including david blight and stephanie mccurry discuss ongoing legacies of the civil war. the issues and controversies still being bourn out today. yale university's gil der letter man center hosted this event. it is about an hour and 45 minutes. good afternoon, everyone. >> good afternoon. >> i was in a bunch of southern churches recently. you either do it right or you don't do it. welcome. i am david blight directy for gilder lehrman center for
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abolition. this is the lecture series which we founded at least six, seven years ago now in honor of my colleague david brian davis, right here in the front row. david was the founder of this center, some 13 years ago. another way of putting it is the center was founded around david's work, which is still where everyone goes to understand, especially the intellectual history of the problem of slavery in the world for that matter. david was doing a kind of trance national history of this before anyone ever used the word trance national. welcome, david. we have done this in many different forms, had a single lecture, go away with people for three or four days in a row. we have had panels, series of lectures and so forth. sometimes we produce a book.
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today, we are just going to hopefully produce a really lot of interesting hot air on a subject on a subject that has currency. this is the civil war sus question centennial. those of us in this field have more than noticed. we can't seem to help it. a year ago now, in the spring of 2011, some of you may remember just about this time, march and april, everyone in the press in major newspapers to magazines, to everywhere, had to do some kind of piece on the meaning and memory of the civil war at its 150th anniversary. at that point, as members of this panel will return, it was often the first question from the reporter at some newspaper in north carolina or connecticut
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was, so was it really about slavery? or what about that black confederate thing? it is as though there are some resonant quick stories out there for journalists, the president to grab on to when they need to. of course, our job was always to deepen that story in whatever two minutes they would give us. i want to quickly introduce the panel as quickly as i can. this is not a group that's easy to introduce quickly. we are doing c-span. we are going to try to keep this on time. we are also streaming live on the website, i think. i'm going to introduce everybody and here is what we are going to do. i am going to offer a very brief definition of legacy, just one attempt at that word briefly.
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it occurred to me that since i have asked everybody to talk about legacies, before they asked me to define it, i will offer a definition. then, i have asked each member of the panel to take two minutes. that's all they get to declare their favorite or could be unfavorite or least favorite legacy of the civil war. they get two minutes to state it and defend it. then, we will go from there. our first guess is tanahasi coats, immediately -- two people to my right. >> i would like to be tanahasi. >> you have been reading his blog. tanahasi is a senior editor of atlantic magazine. he writes for the magazine and a now quite prominent blog. he has many fans on his blog as i have learned. in fact, at least a few years ago, i started hearing from friends, tom thurston, my colleague is one of them, who kept saying, you have got to start reading this guy. he is talking about your books a lot. so i started reading him.
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he is the author of a memoir called the beautiful struggle about growing up in west baltimore. that memoir is among other things a father and son story, a hif vetting father and son story. tanahasi's father was a black panther and also a vietnam veteran. it is a memoir that seems inspired by you can correct this if you want the era of hip-hop. it seems to be in some ways a search for a kind of nonviolent masculine identity if i could put it that way in the '80s and '90s when he was on his way to howard university. he is a journalist that has worked for the village voice, "time" magazine, washington post, a lot of other papers. he is also writing fix about which he spoke earlier today in a student form and most recently among the other kind of blogs he has done on the civil war, he
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wrote a piece called why do so few blacks study the civil war, which the undergraduate seminar just recently read. i had one of the most interesting conversations by telephone with tanihasi late las last fall about the idea of tragedy. maybe we will come back to that. andr andrewbh. delbanco is a preimminent professor and professor of humanities at columbia, just awarded the national humanities award by president obama. he is the author of many books. whether you wanted that label or not apparently. among many books, i will just mention two brand new ones both coming out this year. that's not fair, by the way. indeed, nobody should publish two books in one year.
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one is called the abolitionist imagination, which i read in manuscript. it is a long essay, a probing provocative essay about the reputation of abolitionists with four people responding and very soon to be reviewed by david brian davis in new yorker books. you two can deal with that later. the book called college, what it was, is, and should be, which andy was interviewed about on connecticut public radio yesterday, if any of you happened to hear it. most prominently, he is known for his great biography of her man melville. it is on my short list of biographies to model if you are trying to do a biography about a model e also wrote the book called the death of satan, which is a book about american culture in civil wary roux. he edited the portable lincoln, et cetera, etsz and commonly writes for the new york review
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of books. gather gal agoer in tlagher is f the american civil war at the university of virginia. he taught for years at penn state before going to uva gary grew up in colorado and california. he went to graduate school at texas. i don't know what it is but maybe the texas hook that makes the neoconfederates think he ought to be one of them until they find out he is not. for years, he i had edited a series with the university of north kaur care press which has produced some of the best books we have about the civil war era. several of which he wrote himself. he is the author, editor of 30 books. i will just mention a food, the con fred ral war, the book called causes won, lost and forgotten, how hollywood and popular art shaped what we know about the civil war. he is the hollywood expert on
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this. lee and his generals and war and memory. just recently, the book called union war, which my graduate seminar read and took apart as graduate seminars always do yesterday afternoon. so who knows what questions may come from them, gary. gary is one of the most sought after speakers on this subject in the united states and his lectures are online or in many different places electronically if you want to look for them. stephanie mccurry, between andy and gary, taught for some years at san diego state and at northwestern and has been at the university of pennsylvania now at professor of history for eight, nine, maybe ten years by now. she was born in belfast. her family immigrated to canada. she went to high school in canada and came to the u.s. to graduate school. she did her ph.d. at suni
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binghamton. she is one of the most imaginative historians we have on matters of gender, race, class, among other things, about southern history and about american history. she -- her first book called masters of small world's about yoman households was a multiple prize-winning book and still rests on almost everybody's reading list and graduate reading list. she only writes books that end up on graduate reading lifts. her newest book called the civil war south won the frederick douglass book prize. another prize-winning book. stephanie and i have done many things together in this business and most recently, a conference in israel last summer, which we managed to scheme and get ourselves invited to, which was in jerusalem, a conference comparing the american civil war
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with other civil wars. that was an interesting comparative moment. finally, john wit from yale law school. john is yale college b.a., yale law school, yale ph.d. in history but he is actually a philadelphia fan. >> that's true. >> the alan duffy class of 1960 professor of law at yale. they say he teaches torts but he is really a constitutional historian and a great one. several books, patriots and cosmopolitans, hidden histories of american law, another entitled the accidental republic, crippled working men, destitute widows and the remaking of american law and now forthcoming soon, very soon, lincoln's code, the laws of war in american history. this is a panel i put together to try to get obviously different perspectives on this huge problem of what is the civil war legacy. so i'm going to ask andy to go
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first. andy? yeah. two minutes. your favorite civil war legacy. >> thank you very much. delighted to be here. i am going to try to say two things in two minutes. david gave us a little bit of heads up. we got a chance to think about it. what popped into my head was a memory i hadn't thought of in a while. when i was about ten years old, grew up in a suburb of new york from a more or less liberal democratic family and i had a friend across the corner that was in a pretty strong republican family. we began to become aware that something that we now call the civil rights movement was underway. we found ourselves in a conversation about it. he said to me at one point, the trouble with black people. in those days, the terms were
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negroes, is that they are not grateful from having been freed from slavery. even to my ten-year-old ears at that time, there was something off about that statement. so the first thing i would say to keep it very succinct is, i think one of the legacies we deal with is that that sentiment is still around, that is, who bears what responsibility for what happened in those years. what does it mean to be a full-fledged member of our culture of our society. those questions still are obviously unresolved and i'm sure we will be talking about that as the afternoon goes on and unfortunately, there are still a lot of people in this country that would agree with that ten-year-old sentiment. the second thing i wanted to say, because i'm an unabashed presentist. i can't help think about the past in terms of the present.
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i think we are in an era where the current president of the united states and a number of other people are rather desperately trying to find some middle ground on which we can proceed forward into a collective future. so i find myself when i look back at the era of the civil war trying to imagine what it would have been like to be a person looking for the middle ground in a situation that ively, there was no middle ground. i'm not a bonafide historian, exactly. i think one of the cardinal principles of thinking about the past is that one wants to remember the people that one writes about in the past did not know the future. they were living ignorant of the future. one of the things i have tried to stress in my recent work is that some decent people who were
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appalled by slavery but couldn't see a way out of the impasse were trying to find a middle ground and, in fact, that's a fair, i think, description of what lincoln was trying to do for a certain period in his career and many others. so i find myself thinking about that a lot. that for me is a sort of personal intellectual legacy of the period. i'll stop there. thanks. >> thank you. my graduate seminar yesterday afternoon may have spent half the period, i think, discussing what was good presentism and what was bad presentism. it came out of your back, gary. they loved it. >> at least andy and i can get into a discussion. >> i hope so. i hope so. >> stephanie. >> want me to go? >> i want to be a little bit contrary and say that i think there is a distinction for me as a historian of the civil war between the historical legacy,
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how i think about the most important historical legacy and what i might think of as the most important living legacy. memory is history but the memory of the civil war is not the history of the civil war. it is the history of reconstruction of the jim crow south, the civil rights era, resistance to it, the lost cause, all of those things. the history of the war has to do with with events and their meaning in that time and place and it requires us as historians to go back to the documents, to the historical record and see what those events, what caused those events in time and place and consult the record of 1860 to 1865. for me, the questions that that brings up, that still require urgent answer are, what kind of country the confederacy wanted to build? what was succession for? these versions of the questions of the causes of the civil war. so the history of the war is to use contemporary evidence from the period to talk about the causes, the dynamics shall the
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consequences. so, to me, the historical legacy and the living legacy seem at odds. the civil war was, you know, in many ways the simplest way to understand it, i think, to me at least, it was a profound crisis of legitimacy in american democracy. a war that tried to resolve by military means, a political -- to settle something that could not be settled legislatively or laterally about the legitimacy of human bondage and the power of the government to restrain it in a democratic society. that was the heart of the fight. the way that was settled was definitive. the confederacy was beelten into total and unconditional surrender. so, to me shall the most important historical legacy of the war has to do with the profound and lasting significance of confederate defeat. it is really easy to forget that in all the disappointment of the post-war period. the violence, the
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disappointment, the violence and betrayal of african-american hopes in the post-war period. you can lose sight of what was so profound about what was accomplished. after their failure in pro-slavery nationalism, after they were beaten, slavery could never be reinstated or rehabilitated as an institution in american life. the huber russ of the plantar class was confirmed in their total -- in the total and uncompensated emancipation of 4 million african-american men, women, and children. in other words, the most important historical legacy to me is the simple fact that because they were defeated, slavery was gone and it would never come back. that doesn't answer the question of the living legacy. there, to me, may be not surprisingly, since i write about the confederacy, is the most important living legacy to me shocking and bewildering is
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the never-dying power and appeal of the confederate story, continually taken up, revised and retold in every post war generation. why this is escapes me. i have ideas. they are just as valid as the 100 in this room. i will say slave holders have always been the organic beating heart of american conservatism. that was true in the period between the founding and the civil war. i'm a person who thinks it is just as important to think about the power of conservative in american life as the power of radicalism and progressive forces. in that sense, it maybe shouldn't surprise us the confederates quick sodic quest became the very template for every other subsequent conservative protest. how confederates, people openly convicted in public opinion of treason and thoroughly defeated, retained the cultural power and
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speech rights to do what they did remains for me one of the most important historical questions of the post-war weird. it is bewildering how they managed to do it. many post-war societies struggle with the problem of memory. in franco, spain, the victories dictate the terms, right? they gag the opposition and the defeated people struggle to keep alive hebert read, censored and publicly disgraced version of their civil war. in the united states, there were no treason trials. there were no systematic attempts of political repression. there was no suspension of speech rights. where else besides the united states did the defeated retain such power, not just to keep alive their version of the war but to commercially pedal it? to do that from the moment the war ended if not before and to find a ready and even expanding audience for that, what they thought of as heroic script, the
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confederate epic, even up to 150 years after the ancestral. that ancestral class of people had been forced into surrender. that question about the contrast between democracy and fascism and its treatment of a defeated enemy looms really large but not very clearly in my mind when i think about the living legacy of the civil war which is the troubling question of why treason and defeat seem to make a better story. >> i think we got to come back to that one. >> gary? >> just coming down the line. i am going to keep this really short. i am going to mention two legacies very quickly. the very large number of people who were drawn to the civil war i suspect some people in this room may fall into that category. i do. i grew up.
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i'm from los angeles. i lived in southern colorado and the civil war has nothing to do with los angeles and southern colorado. it captivated me as a young person. i've been in a rut now for more years -- you can guess how many years just with a glance, a very long time. it is such a stupendously expansive topic that there is endless opportunity to go in different directions. it never becomes steal. it never becomes boring. the sheer size of it. the importance of the issues at ste stake, they don't get more important. the cast of characters is very difficult to beat. a president in the united states who wrote his own speeches and didn't last two hours. think about that for a minute. there is a lot going on that simply engages people and always has. i think the most obvious long term legacy of the civil war, it
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is so obvious we don't think of it very often, even though as a guild, we historians want to place everything into world context. what does it mean within a wormd context. quick naval gazing. the obvious, most important outcome of the american civil war is that the american republic maintained its status as a single increasingly powerful republic and went forward in a way that economically, militarily and cultural it wielded an enormous amount of influence, which would not have been possible had the confederacy succeeded. had the confederacy succeeded, you would have had at least two republics in north america. we all love canada. you would have had two republics in north american that were vying for a greater part on the world's stage. those two together sko not possibly have wielded the influence the united states did and has wielded and continues to
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wield for good or for ill. it does because the united states triumphed during the civil war and the con federalcy did not. i think that's the greatest legacy. >> so union victory was important? >> i do believe it was, yes. some people don't. and sometimes they send you e-mails. i got one last fall wishing that i would develop a case of virulent pancreatic cancer, because i'm mean to the confederacy. virulent. not just regular pancreatic cancer. the virulent kind. >> the prescription is terrible. >> i'm finished. >> tanihasi? >> the best way for me to illustrate this, i don't have a particularly objective answer. i have an entirely

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