tv [untitled] June 3, 2012 6:30pm-7:00pm EDT
this occupation might mean to them and they spontaneously began to organize small risings all across new jersey without any command from the congress or from washington. but washington's intelligence network told him what was going on. and he was able to very quickly act. he also knew he had to act in such a way that he could begin to rebuild confidence in the cause and to do that he decided in december of 1776 to throw into the test of battle all of his strength in a single effort. and it was an extraordinary act of decision that he made with his counsel of war. and they decided they would cross the delaware at four places and organized all of that. it was very complex. they set it in motion on
christmas night in 1776 just as a horrific storm that anybody here from the northeast will know very well about a nor'easter which came sweeping in. heavy rains, snow, sleet, and the conditions were just almost impossible. so nearly so that of those four crossings, three of them failed. only one of them got across the river just north of new jersey, just north of trenton, new jersey. and washington led that force into the storm attacking the hessians. the hessians had expected them to come. they had spies of their own. but then a small american force had attacked them in the day without orders. they thought that was the attack. and they let down their guard just for a moment and that's when the americans arrived. it was very carefully managed. the americans stopped halfway on and synchronized their watches.
that's the first instance i can find of an army synchronizing the pocket watches that the officers carried and then they attacked trenton from both sides within about two minutes of each other and won a great victory. then the question was what to do with the victory. and he had a couple problems there. the hessians were not drunk. we have eyewitness accounts of their sobriety, but the american army discovered quite a lot of liquor in the inns of trenton, and the american army got drunk. and washington had great difficulty getting his troops back again over the delaware river, more so than he did getting them across the first time. and he also was carrying back with him 900 hessian crystals. prisoners.
and the question was what to do about them. the prisoners expected the worst. and to many people remembered what those hessians had done after ft. washington, after other engagements around long island and washington could have gone with the lex telionis. it could have been an eye for an eye. but what he did with strong urging of members of the continental congress was to declare what he called a policy of humanity. that the hessian captives would be entitled to some of their rights that the american revolution was all about. they would be entitled to the right to life. that was very different from the law of porter in 18th century warfare. they were treated decently to their surprise. and this news spread rapidly around the world. we had a man now in paris as the
news reached europe, and it was benjamin franklin and he published essays on all of this and the idea of humanity began to spread. it wasn't universally observed in other parts of the american revolution, but the continental army tried to do that all the way into the campaigns of the 1780s. after the battle of calpins, when daniel morgan fought the group that was most hated in the revolution, tarleton's raiders. and captured quite a few of them. he wrote a letter up the chain of command and said we treated them with humanity. we weren't even rude to them, he said. quote, unquote. the americans made a point of that and what they were doing was linking the conduct of the war to the values of the revolution. and washington himself became a symbol of that linkage. and that linkage began to haunt the opponents of this war. and one of the interesting things or the way it haunted george iii after george went
mad, one of his delusions was that he himself had become george washington and we can see how this example of a humane and highly-successful leader spread with the idea of the cause. and then after that, it was decided in counsels of war that one victory was not enough. so they went back. and it was those committees of sergeants, the associators, who were the prime movers of that. and the american army went across the delaware, fought series of battles, all of them very different one from another. one was a delaying action. a very difficult retreat from the road down through lawrenceville, new jersey. and they did that with great success. the purpose of that was for the american army to occupy a hill
above trenton on the south side of the town. and there to draw the british troops into an attack which happened in a second battle of trenton. and the british were defeated in that battle. then washington who was then in a tight spot, a light came on and he and his counsel decided they would try another attack and washington led his troops around the british armies to attack a british brigade that was in princeton ten miles away and the result was a battle of princeton and again another victory. so washington had won four victories in this very short period and they were very different one from another. and it was frederick the great looking on all of this, saying this was the greatest military feat he had ever seen in the conduct of that campaign. and that was only the beginning
of that campaign. it went on in which all together the american army and the militia fought something like 80 engagements. they were very small, mostly foraging parties, but what they did was slowly wear down the british and the hessian troops who were in new jersey. it was a heavy blow on that force. then as the revolution went on, there were something like 24 campaigns. washington and his two lieutenants who commanded in the same open way, that's green and lafayette, commanded in ten of them and they lost many battles, but they won nine of those campaigns. nine campaigns. there were other -- all the other campaigns, maybe something like 13 or 14 depending on how one counts, were commanded by other officers who didn't master
that same method of command and the americans lost all but two of those campaigns. dramatic difference in the way this style of leadership began to pay off. and then afterwards, washington was called to another sort of service as president. what he did was to apply that same style of leadership to the presidency. his cabinet was very much like his counsels of war. he tried to bring in very able people. he was comfortable in his first administration with people of high ability working under him. and he also picked people who were very diverse representing the diversity of the cultures in the country. and he could keep them -- he got hamilton and jefferson and john adams in the same room. and he kept them there for
three, four, most of his first term. using that same style of open leadership. it was a very flexible style of leadership. they had a cause and a principle -- set of principles, but they didn't have an ideology, a word that was just beginning to come into usage in the 1790s. they didn't have a rigid set of doctrines. they didn't have elaborately foreign policies, with a few exceptions. but what they did was to serve the idea of this new republican government in ways that moved it forward, but they were very flexible about the means. and washington would sometimes use the invisible hand of adam smith, and then he saw no contradiction in turning to the visible hand of the use of government to actually run what he called laboratories. we call them factories, to
manufacture the weapons that the republic needed to survive. and it was that sort of flexibility that, i think, was a key to what was going on here. he kept cultivating the art of silence and reserving his conduct with others. he was of the first generation to use the phrase public opinion, but he was not a democrat. he thought it was important he accepted the idea of the sovereignty of the people. he believed in the elections as fundamental to all of that. it never occurred to him he should choose his policies on basis of their popularity. in that way, he was very different from what would come later. he thought it was important that he should show himself to the people and so he toured the country twice, a huge labor to
go from maine to georgia as he did so that he could really represent to the american people what was happening. he had the capacity for growth and he grew on the subject of slavery, which is very interesting and another subject. and all of these things were going on at the same time. and then after washington, there was a period that ran through 1836. the presidents through andrew jackson all had one thing in common. they all had known george washington. every one of them. and they didn't copy him exactly. they were all different one from another, but they were inspired by that example of a highly-principled leadership, of a leadership that thought it was important not only to do the right thing, but to do it in the right way. that held to the idea of honesty, in government, and in politics.
and that, i think, made a major difference in the course of the early republic. then there were other leaders who from time to time emerged who had the same success that washington had. not many of them. i think abraham lincoln would be one. i would say franklin roosevelt would be another. all of the men -- one could say that washington was a little bit to the right of center. franklin roosevelt said he was a little to the left of center. i think -- abraham lincoln was right down the middle. and -- but all of them governed from the center. they really governed. and they tried to govern in ways that would engage a great diversity in their -- in their country. lincoln was very different from washington in the sense that he was born into a democracy. he became a matter man. washington hated parties. he believed in a nation. washington's thinking was not
precisely national, even as it became continental. he centered more on this great republic than on an idea of nationalism. but these men shared those same ways of having a set of values without an ideology. of having a large purpose without fixed and structured plans of the sort that became too rigid and constraining. of working closely with the people, but reserving their own leadership. and most of all, it was the capacity for growth. there's a wonderful book on abraham lincoln by eric funder, describes the growth of lincoln through the years, and the same thing could be written about washington. and then again about franklin roosevelt. now, he is commanding a global power, a completely different undertaking, at least in many of its parts. and he also built that broad base of very able leaders, putting republicans into the
major positions early in the war, secretary of war, secretary of the navy. working across party lines in that regard. also, doing the other great -- combining the other great strengths of leadership that washington had, but in a different key, in another era, in a different framework. and now the question is, what next? we can see that people took inspiration from lincoln for that same period of about 60 years that had worked for washington. and then there's a wonderful book by bill lutenberg on the lang shadow of fdr running at least to ronald reagan. even reagan turning against the new deal, but embracing that style of leadership on the explicit example of franklin roosevelt. and now what today? what for us? and we look in this country and find many great leaders in every field.
we find great leaders in american universities. you're in the presence of one in david borin, such an extraordinary leader that way. and there are 3,000 american universities today, and most of them are in the hands of very good leaders. we see good leaders in government. one of my privileges is to -- talk to the first classmen at west point, which i've done these last two years. and the leadership of these young men and of the general officers of the u.s. army are extraordinary today. and we find that everywhere in this country, except recently on pennsylvania avenue. and i wonder what the future holds for us. and much of it, i think, it was said by thomas jefferson that his toughest job of his presidential office was appointing other people to office. and that's now our job. we have the job of appointing
other people to that presidential office. and whom will we choose? i'm a centrist, and i'm not happy about my choices. as i think many americans feel on both sides. and somehow, as the arnold brothers said, we have to educate our masters. we have to find a way of reminding people of the leadership traditions that we have had in this country. and they have seen us through very hard times. times much harder than what we know today. and i believe that we can do this. yet again. thank you. [ applause ] >> questions? >> yes, sir? questions? >> we do have time for a question, if anybody wants to step down to the microphone.
anybody? please. they're being shy. >> here's -- david. [ inaudible ] >> about slavery. [ inaudible question ] >> yes. the question is, what about talk a little bit more about washington and slavery. it's a story of growth. starting with -- before the revolution when as i mentioned washington was comfortable in the role of slaveholding and became one of the largest slave holders in virginia. made a success of it economically. but then he began to think again -- i think during the war and as part of the war and one thing that happened was there were these former slaves who were in his army and he was very unhappy to find them there.
and issued an order saying they would be required to leave the army. the people of new england said basically no way, they're part of our regiments. so washington sent out another order. we'll enlist no more in the future. and the new englanders kept enlisting them. then he said, we will have them in individual units, but we will have no units that will be black units and then that was done as well in rhode island. and there was an entire unit of african-americans later in the war. as he was doing that also into the 1780s, he began to correspond. there's some extraordinary new work that's been published from scholars who have been reading the books in washington's library.
in them, they have found that washington was buying and reading many of the anti-slavery tracks of his time. they were pouring in from all over the world. and he was part of a kind of western movement that was -- had a very particular quality. it was not only british, but also french. it tended to be centered on gradual emancipation. and he was moving in that direction. and then he decided that he would not free his slaves in his lifetime. others were doing that. it was spreading very rapidly particularly in maryland, in virginia, especially in delaware. but he chose not to do that. i think partly it was complicated because things were not -- most of them were not his slaves. they belonged to his wife. and there was some complication about that as well. but he did finally decide as others did not to end slavery.
at his death. what drove him there, i think it was probably that idea of these men engaged in a struggle in the cause. and it has been observed that that's happened depend and again in the american reform movement. jane adams trying to explain why women suv ranlg was enacted. she said the decisive factor was the support of women in this country for the american war effort in world war i which won the respect of people who had to vote on that question in the congress and in the legislation. and i think it may have been something like that that was working with george washington on the subject of slavery. >> let's thank professor fisher for an amazing talk. >> thank you.
thank you very much. all weekend long, american history tv is featuring the history of wichita, kansas. a popular 19th century destination for cattle drives headed north to access railroads to eastern markets. posted lby our cox communicatios cable partner, c-span visited many historical sites. learn more all weekend long on americans history tv. >> looking at a small building located in north riverside park in wichita. the building is most well known as the girl scout little house because for 75 years, the girl scout council used it as a troupe meeting house and council activity place and also a summer day camp site. and it has an interesting origin, though, and hence, the historic name is now the wichita fresh air baby camp.
in the early part of the 20th century, physicians, scientists, were beginning to be aware of how illness was spread and the importance of sanitation and in 1906 congress created the pure food and drug act and in 1912 the president created the u.s. children's bureau. and this brought governmental possibilities for funding and raising awareness for sanitation, particularly aimed at children. so new kinds of programs were instituted. among them were education programs for mothers and also health care programs for children at risk. in wichita, this building was built to become a summer hospital.
about a mile east of here is a residential area that also contained wichita's two earliest hospitals. there was a pediatrician dr. howard norton at the wesley hospital who was beginning to be interested in this idea of infant care. they actually put up a tent in the backyard of the hospital building. it was a platform tent with screen sides and a canvas roof. they moved very ill infants for the summer out into that little tent building and they were taken care of by nurses and student nurses. the idea was to get those infants out of the confines of the stuffy hospital, remembering that this was an age before air-conditioning and understanding how germs were spread where other ill people were being taken care of. that summer was so successful that they then moved to a more natural setting here in the park.
their second summer was held in those two tent buildings. in the third year, the tents burned to the ground just before the season opened in june. the women who had created the board of directors immediately began to rally the community to raise funds to build a new fire-proof building. that's the building that you see with us here today. the building, its architectural style was craftsman, built in 1920. and this park and the building in its setting is in the middle of a large bungalow neighborhood that was built in the 1920s. so the architecture of the building fits right into the residential area. the architect designed this building with very special windows, which are now boarded up because we have repaired a lot of them and we want to protect them from vandalism until the building is put back into use. these are triple-hung windows, meaning they have three sashes,
top, middle, and bottom. the function is to be able to open two sashes and to create a draft but the building. of course, they have screens on them also so flies and other insects would be kept out of the infant's hospital room. there are windows on all four sides of the building to create cross ventilation. the building is about 2500 square feet. it has one main room that was the crib room. it's been reconfigured somewhat. they had a small isolation room. they had a small bedroom for the overnight nurses because they served the patients 24 hours a day. this building is not the first one to be built in the united states by any means. kansas followed a national initiative. one of the first was located in new york city on land that was
contributed to by the rockefeller family. that was a very large camp with platform tents and they had many different programs. they had mothers, education programs, and they had summer programs for older children also. part of the background of the creation of a program here in wichita was the fact that in kansas, our secretary of the department of health whose name was dr. samuel combine issued a statewide campaign to promote the idea of sanitation as well as child welfare. he had some pretty interesting campaigns. one was called swat the fly because people needed to be aware of them. and he had another one called don't spit on the sidewalk. in many cities, they actually
imprinted that slogan on various paving bricks and put them on the sidewalks to remind people. i found news articles here in wichita about campaigns on our streetcars that conductors were to watch for people spitting in the streetcars. this was -- it sounds kind of silly to us now, but it was a very serious campaign to educate people. the fresh air baby camp was in operation from 1920 in this building until 1926. at that time, wesley hospital had built a brand new modern facility further away in the city. so they were able to create an infant ward. and the board of directors for the baby camp solicited the hospital and were able to move the camp program into the hospital in a special ward where they could operate it year round.
and so they no longer needed this building. so they turned the lease over to the girl scout council at that time. it's due for rehabilitation. to begin that process we listed it in 2007. that does not guarantee funding or anything. the national register status is mainly an honor. it honors the significance of the building as far as the social history goes. it also honors the architecture. the first phase is to repair the roof because obviously if the roof falls in, the building will be totally lost. second phase, which we kind of already started, would be to repair the structure of the building including these important windows. we removed 14 windows from this building. took them to a warehouse setting where we could lay them out on work tables. we took out the caulking.
we reglazed the glass and reinstalled the windows. we also painted them. so they are all now in working order. they are boarded up because we want to protect them from vandalism and weather until we can get the whole building back in working order. in the end, the fact that it's a physical reminder of a time when wichitans all over the community, those who could afford any kind of contribution, all came together to help solve a social problem and help those who were in need. this weekend american history tv is featuring wichita, kansas. learn more aut