tv [untitled] June 10, 2012 8:30pm-9:00pm EDT
>> caller: hi. good evening. great show. >> good evening. >> caller: i would wondering if you could comment on mr. blaine's foreign policy thoughts as secretary of state. what would his -- what his opinions were, did he go abroad? specifically interested in south central america. i was born in cuba. and -- during towards the end of the 20th century, you know, the cuban revolution was just -- had just started. i was wondering if mr. blaine ever went to countries outside of the united states and what his opinions were on colonialism, say, like spain or other countries. and if he did anything about or had any feelings about those types of issues. it is a great show. i will hang up and listen. thank you. >> thank you.
your question is so timely. it is time for us really to spend time learning about his years as secretary of state. we said earlier he served three presidents and some historians suggest that we look at blaine's legacy. it is really in the area of -- international affairs. can you speak to his influence and answer his question about whether or not he left the country? >> sure. maybe i will take the first one first is that's okay. i don't believe that he went to central or south america. >> europe. >> europe, yes. he -- he traveled several times to europe. to your open. in the period between the time he ran for president and the time that he became secretary of state in the mid 1880s, he spent quite a bit of time in europe. some of that time was actually with a very close friend of its, andrew carnegie in scotland. i -- in terms of his significance as secretary of state, development of the policies, as we mentioned
before, they were -- when they were primarily focused on sent federal and south america. and this was a really very progressive thing to be doing in american foreign policy. those areas had -- largely been ignored since the days of the monroe doctrine. he was very concerned that britain was having an unusually strong influence on some of the countries. particularly argentina. many of those countries were fighting among each other. and he felt that in order to have a strong and safe america, you also needed to have a strong and safe neighbors to the south. >> right. >> we have another political cartoon titled "the old scout." what's it about? >> yes. this is a pro-lincoln campaign piece. it is from the judge and shows blaine as an old western scout on a horse. with an old tattered hat. and -- he -- >> look at all the people
looking at him. >> yes. exactly. this is blaine, secretary of state. dates 1890. he's actually leading the people of central and south america into a new world. he's giving them leadership. and in many way this is reflecting his pioneering work in creating what became the pan american union, the opportunity for people to meet diplomatically in both hemisphere. >> where did he get these ideas from? >> it goes back to the monroe doctrine. they were trying to revitalize that older image of sort of hemispheric unity and defense. something that i find interesting is this notion that he did feel the monroe doctrine extended as far west as hawaii. >> yes. >> and he -- he had his eyes on my high. though he was talking about perhaps hemispheric integrity. he had an imperialistic strain, wouldn't you say? >> certain there hawaii episode, of course, this is at the end of his life and doesn't live long
enough to see hawaii annex. he sets tonight place, stephens was involved with him way back in the 1850s. and he sends in -- special diplomatic emissary to hawaii to basically ferment revolution. >> one of the quotes from his -- historian i wrote down that blaine envisioned an influential america based on its increasing wealth. you mentioned the -- that he -- really had an american centric view as he was doing this. even he was reaching out. >> very much, you know, he would have been very supportive of the notion of the consolidation of capital and the growth of american wealth and its expansion around the world. >> the interesting thing we have, caller much earlier on ask about thomas b. reid. and there is a very strong difference there between blaine and his world view and tomorrow b. reid who actually resigned from the house after the spanish war because he was so concerned about the imperialistic direction he perceived america going in.
there were very differing views in america in the late 19th century about the direction of the nation as a world power. >> serving under benjamin harrison. >> yes. >> how strong a president was he? >> i think he was generally perceived as a fairly weak president. and that blaine was actually the shadow president. and this is certainly reflected in a lot of the popular literature and cartoons again. >> i actually read a similar thing about him when he was secretary of state for garfield. >> yes. >> he was also -- the author was defending garfield as the powerful in that relationship. but he was defending it against a long tradition of people saying it was really bill clinton who was running the show then as well. >> wisconsin, rapids, wisconsin. had is david. david, you are on. >> caller: yes. i was wanting to know -- did he
have any influence or was there any fingerprints he put on wisconsin's political party to become progressive during that time period until the 1900s? 1910? 1930s that there's a lot of policies that we still look like. did had have anything to do with anything or any influence -- influencing anybody in wisconsin? >> not that i'm aware of. >> i think we are talking about the next generation of politics. we are talking about the teddy roosevelt era, progressive ear from the early 1900s and indeed, the reforms that you are talking about that wisconsin so noted for and reforms that also extended to other states as well. post-1900 usually. >> i think he would have been
pro-capitalists. if we are talking about workers rights, he was with the millionaires. he wasn't meeting with the laborers to see how they felt about things. >> bangor, maine, this is bruce. >> caller: yes. yes. hi. could you give us a brief history of the house that you are in, about the -- how the state was able to acquire that from the blaine donation. and also mr. blaine's death in washington, d.c., and subsequent burials 20 years later back into augusta? >> i'm going to ask you not to talk about the death now because we are going to show his grave site. about this house, please. >> yes. well, i think i mentioned earlier the house was built on a retired sea captain from bath, captain james hall in 1833. our state house right across the street had just been finished in 1832. so for hall as to blaine this was a really strategic location for a home. the house was acquired by blaine and his wife in 1862.
and he died in 1893. she in 1903. and then the house was really inherited by their surviving children. then in the 19 teens, the house went to blaine's grandson, walker blaine beal. and walker blaine beal was tragically lost in the last month of world war i, 1918, in france. and so the house went back to harriet blaine beal again. she gave to it the state of maine in 1919 as our governor's mansion. it was restored and remodeled so it could be used as the home of maine's governors. governor and mrs. le page are the 21st family to live here since 1920. >> let me introduce to you another gentleman we would like to bring into the discussion. and let me show you as we start
out here, neil is joining us. "continental liar" from the state of maine. a campaign slogan used against james blaine, of course. and neil is joining from us inside the blaine house, the governor's mansion. how did you get interested enough in james blaine to write a biography about him? >> well, basically pit -- i have been involved in this house since 1966. i was -- assistant to the governor. so i into you all about the blaine house. and then later on, another governor, angus king asked me to be co-chair of friends of the blaine house. i was spending a lot of time here. there was a little bit about blaine here. but there really wasn't very much. and there was -- no up-to-date biography of him. the -- the previous biographies were about 70 years old then. and had been -- two of them written in the 1930s.
early '30s. so -- i thought it was high time that this -- as if mating character who came within a whisker of being president of the united states should have another biography. that's how i got involved. >> you said fascinating. what are other adjectives you would use to describe blaine? >> sorry, would you repeat that. >> what are other words you would use besides fascinating to describe him? >> well, the one that they used a lot was magnetic. and they called him the magnetic man because he had a magnetic personality. and apparently when he was walking into a room he filled that room, and everybody sort of flocked to him and so he was sort of a natural in that regard. >> i know you have been listening to our conversation. do you have a favorite james g. blaine story we haven't told tonight? >> oh, boy. i didn't hear everything that you said. i was -- i'm going to start by talking about the first time hay
was secretary of state, and i don't know how much you got into his relationship with garfield. >> tell us a little bit about it. >> all right. garfield was like a protege of his. in fact, he helped him get through a real tough patch down in congress when garfield was accused of corruption. of take something stock he shouldn't have taken. he got in out of that. they were just very close friends. but in 1880, when -- blaine was running, the second time, and he kept -- mrs. grant from getting the nomination, but, again, he didn't have enough force to get the nomination for himself. so -- he -- he turned it over, he turned his votes over to garfield. and that's how garfield, who was a very dark horse, when the
convention started, happened to end up as the republican nominee. and the sort of quid pro quo quo was that the number one job in the cabinet was to be secretary of state. and so it was sort of understood between them that he would become secretary of state. >> let's take another telephone call. we have less than 20 minutes left in our 90 minutes on james g. blaine. hillsborough, ohio, this is chris. hi, chris. >> caller: hi. i'm curious about blaine's relations with thadeus stephens and charles sumner, both radical republicans before and during and after the civil war. the relationship with sumner might be particular lynn interesting to sumner's chair of the senate foreign relations committee. >> thanks very much. >> is that something you can take? >> well, i could tell -- particularly thaddeus stephens, blaine made a name for himself when he first was elected to
congress by taking on the thadeous stephens who everybody was afraid of. and contradicting him. i don't know exactly what his relationship was with sumner was but blaine was not a radical republican. he was a moderate in that regard. he still wanted to build the republican party in the south. and that's why he was so strongly for suffrage for the -- for the freed slaves. and -- and for that part of reconstruction. but he was not for, you know, tremendous punishment for the south some of the radicals were. >> our callers are here for our three guests as we talk about the life and times of james g. blaine. unsuccessful nominee for president in the 1884 election. grover cleveland was the successful candidate.
but we believe that he had an outside influence -- outside influence on american history. we are learning more about that tonight. woodland hills, california. you are on the air. >> caller: yes. hi. >> hello, eric. >> caller: hello. how are you? continuing on about james g. blaine's personality, i was wondering certainly is larger than life character. do you see him embodied in any current politician? thank you. >> well, let me -- ask -- neil briefly and ask the two guests. >> it is they see an embodiment. giving them time to think about it here. >> no. i don't think so. he was -- he was considered a very congenial person. and, of course, he came from way as we say here in maine, came up here as a young man and immediately was accepted by people here. because he was so good with people.
and so he was sort of a combination of various people we have now but i don't see anyone that has his intellectual depth. he was a very bright guy, very well read. i was reading about his going to parties in washington and being described as being surrounded by all of the women there because he was reading them poetry. >> gets us all the time, right, elizabeth? have either of you thought of comparisons to today? >> i thought of bill clinton actually. certainly in some ways that kind of -- great personable style. larger than life. very commanding. my understanding of bill clinton is that when he walks in a room, you know, he just sort of takes center stage without even trying. >> and a great orator. >> and great -- very bright. clearly a very intellectual figure. the other person that i thought
of was lyndon johnson in terms of his being a party man and nothing everybody and knowing how to gather people together and do what he wanted. >> also how to work the system. >> how to work the system. little corruption here and there. >> we are live inside the governor's mansion in augusta, maine. we have about 15 more minutes on james g. blaine. falls church, virginia, sean. you are on. >> caller: hello. good evening. i was wondering was there -- was there a residence on dupont circle? was there any connection between mr. blaine and -- the southern -- >> okay. >> we'll take it in this room, neil. residence in washington, d.c. >> yes. in 1881, when blaine became secretary of state, he decided to build a large gilded mansion
on dupont circle, and that house is still standing today. and it was a house that he only kept for a few years, and then, of course, in the post-1884 election, he and his wife traveled a lot. and it was at that same time after giving up the washington residence that they i built another big guilded age victorian summer cottage on bar harbor, maine. then when he became secretary of state, for the last time, he actually acquired secretary of state william sewell's house near the white house, near lafayette square. that's the house he died in 1893. >> he had sold the dupont circle house. >> yes. >> i mean, he -- he was there for a very short time. he had one of his daughters was married there. his wife hated the place. it is absolutely mammoth. it is still standing on massachusetts avenue. >> 2000 massachusetts a in washington, d.c. interested in james g. blaine
and would like to see that period of history. just 12 minutes left. pittsfield, maine, up next. this is stanley. >> caller: yes. i would like to know how -- are there any books that either elizabeth or earl may recommend for reading in regards to mr. blaine? >> i would suggest the book you are holding right there. >> if you want to know about the time period or the state, in addition to this, earl, other books you can recommend. >> yes. first, i would agree neil's book is the most recent and up-to-date and comprehensive understand of blaine. you have to go back to the 1930s to be find two biographies of him previous to that. as to state history, actually, neil also was an author to turn to there. he has done a couple of wonderful overview histories of the state of maine.
>> you are getting a lot of valentines in this room here. >> i bet. keep it up. >> while we are talking about houses, in your book, you describe the scene when james g. blaine learns he's successful in attaining the republican nomination in 1884 and goes to the front door of this house. to greet his supporters. >> well, actually he was -- when the news first came, the people were gathered right down by the river. around the post office, joe manley was the postmaster down there. finally, they put up that he had gotten the nomination.
also, the blains had a telephone. so the phone rang, and his daughter maggie picked it up and learned that he had won. and up and learned that he had won and she ran out to the front lawn where blaine was lying in a hammock, and she told him, "you've won, father, you've won." so that was how he learned the news. and then everybody marched up the hill from water street to come up to greet their hero, and a huge crowd gathered. then it started to rain. one of the -- you heard a voice yell out from the crowd "we've been waiting 11 years for this rain." so blaine said, you know, they were all getting soaked. he gave his speech then, and then everybody started pouring
in here from all over the country. and they had a train come from california, which had the california delegates to the chicago convention all plastered with blaine stuff. people started coming from all over the state of maine and all over the united states, and then john logan eventually -- they called him blackjack logan. he came and spent a few days here with blaine. >> i want to thank you for adding to our rich knowledge of james g. blaine. one more plug for your book because our program is running out here. "continental liar from the state of maine," it's available. we'll learn more about this colorful and very influential man from the 19th century known not only across the united states but around the world. top sail beach, north carolina, douglas watching us there. you're on the air.
>> caller: yes, i would like to ask you. what the historians, what blaine's relationship was to joshua chamberlain, later governor of maine after the sieve war. he was a republican. what was their relationship? >> of course, as you mentioned, chamberlain served four terms right after the civil war and chamberlain was a very independent individual and he was not comfortable with blaine's brand of politics. this is, i think, fairly ample evidence that they did not get along very well, and they were not close compatriots in the party. in fact, blayne did not go further in politics after he became governor. he became president of a college and later on collector of the port of portland. >> we had a caller that mentioned the town that was named for james blaine off the railroads. we did just a little bit of
research. there might be more. we did studies around there named for james g. blaine, mostly in the time period after his death. can you talk about honoring people especially james g. blaine by naming communities that were growing up around the country. >> one of the things i thought about when i learned that, i thought about it, and several of them were out west and i thought about his whole push for the western vote in the 1879, 1880, hoping to build that through chinese exclusion. i thought maybe he did win favors out west. i don't know if there was a connection but i thought it was interesting that a republican figure from maine and there was support from west. >> washington state and idaho in particular. jim is up next. hi, jim.
>> caller: most of blaine's history was during reconstruction. he was a moderate republican, but can you nuance a little bit to what degree he negotiated or supported the reassertion of power by southern whites? >> well, i'm sure he would have said that he stood firmly against the assertion of power by southern whites, but he was a moderate and he was in line with those who believed that the nation should move forward and that the radicals were really holding it back. and, of course, the radicals were in favor of punishing the white southerners and rebels as best they could, and i don't think it would have been in any way good politics for him to have stood up for white southerners, but i don't think he was really strongly going to take the position that they could be punished. >> in that regard, elizabeth, could i ask you, what's the incident with him sponsoring the bill that would exclude
citizenship for jefferson davis? >> right. right. in 1876 when he was throwing his hat in the ring for the presidency, he sponsored this bill that said that all the -- the remaining confederates, former confederates who had not yet been given amnesty should be given amnesty except jefferson davis, which was interesting. >> how did politics of that resound with the nation? >> well, it provoked a great fight in congress. some thought it was great, the yad that you would still hold jefferson davis accountable was great, and others thought that blaine was waving the bloody shirt again and the nation was moving away from the war and recommend sill yags seemed to be moving forward and why was he provoking this dispute again. >> we have five minutes left. independence, iowa, this is joe. >> caller: unlike joshua
chamberlain, william mckinley, blaine had no military record in the civil war but his running mate general john a. logan had one and was the first president of the grand army of the republic, that great republican organization throughout the states, and logan gave us memorial day declaration day. can you speak to the fact, was that a ticket balancing move in some sense or did it in part cover the fact that blaine had not served? >> i think there's no question but that what is a political balance on the ticket. logan was very well known. the veterans' vote was a very powerful force in the post-civil war period in america. blaine, because he was very much involved in an emerging political career, when the civil war broke out he was speaker of the house here in maine and in our maine house of representatives and he was about
to runl for congress, so he did what many men did at the time and he actually bought a substitute. it cost about $300 to have someone else go in your stead. cleveland actually had done the same thing. so it was a very interesting situation that prior to the 1884 campaign, you always had someone in office in the presidency, grant and hayes and garfield, who had been civil war officers. but blaine and cleveland were not. >> so whichever one of them had won, it would have been the first generation. >> it would have been a break in that generation, yes. >> we had a viewer who asked about his death. so will you now tell us the story of his death? >> yes. as has been mentioned, he was a man who was prone to illness all through his life. i think both real and imagined.
there was always mentioned that he might have been more hypochondriac than reality. by the same token by 1892, he was exhausted both physically and mentally, and, in fact, the campaign of 1892 was looming, and there was some talk of his being nominated for president. but he really wasn't up to it. and he bowed out. he gave only one speech during the campaign on behalf of the re-election of harrison, and then early in 1893 he died at his home in washington. >> where is he buried? >> buried in augusta, originally buried in washington, as was his wife wife. and then the state of maine brought mr. and mrs. blaine's remains back to augusta, and they reside in a beautiful memorial.
>> how long did she live? >> another ten years. >> we have very little time. we have a local caller. augusta, maine. this is jonathan. >> caller: yes. this question might be answered by earl shuttlesworth there. what was the relationship of mr. blaine toward the native population of the state? native-american population? because we know there were natives in the civil war, had their own regiments and what not down in the south. >> thank you, jonathan. i'll jump in because our time is really short. big question but short time. >> yeah. i'm not sure that i have a quick answer for that. >> is that right? any place to go for that? is there material available in maine's historical -- >> i would definitely look to neil's book to start out with. >> all right. one more plug for him. >> and also the state library. very good reference at the state libr