Skip to main content

tv   [untitled]    June 16, 2012 12:00pm-12:30pm EDT

12:00 pm
executive officer was claire bloom, the first female officer onboard constitution. so she would wear an 1812-style uniform which we have in our case here and because it was the modern navy, while she would have a lieutenant eppel on the left shoulder, she would have a navy purse. they said claire, we really need that once you leave constitution. it's fun to tell the current story of constitution as well as her history. it's all a part of the story and now constitution has women as a regular part of her crew. >> you're watching a flag raising at fort mchenry, the site of the desperate battle that inspired francis scott key to write the words of "the star-spangled banner." we are live until 2:00 p.m. today talking about the war of
12:01 pm
1812 and taking your phone calls. here are the numbers to use if you're in the eastern and central time zoerngs the number is 202-737-0001. and 202-737-0002 and mute your television set when you call in. joining us in the studio here in american history tv for the war of 1812 nicole who was the history professor of new york university and the author of 1812, the war and the passion of patriotism, thanks for joining us today. >> thank you so much for having me bill. it's a pleasure to be here. >> you write in the book that the war needs to be considered as much a cultural event as much as a military, vent. >> one of the things that's quite significant in american history is that it's the first war which was formally declared through a constitution process. in the history of the united
12:02 pm
states and depending how you define it in the history of modern democrat see's period and that makes it fascinating to find out if the public has a say in this war because there is a president who is elected and this is a democracy and he's answerable to the public, let's think about how you debate the meaning of the war and how public opinion is shaped and what's the culture that surrounds patriotism in this period. >> that term, passions of patriot echl, what does that mean to you. if you think about it, passion of patriotism, what are the emotions that are underneath patriotism? in the era of 1812 people were very interested in passion and they were interested in passion for two reasons. they thought passions were what
12:03 pm
really kind of stirred the soul and motivated people to take action and take forceful action. so if you were going to be an effective patriot you had to be a passionate patriot. at the same time the war of 1812 was very kohno tro veshl particularly at its inception. it became quite popular and it was controversial at the outset and opposed by federalists and federalists latched on to this idea of passion in the sense of passion as a source of sinfulness, of selfishness and even of sexual sin. they turned to the bible and turned to james 4 in the bible and federalists, ministers who opposed the war repeatedly turned to james 4 from whenst come these wars and fightings among you and come they not from
12:04 pm
lusts from your members. so federalists agreed that passions were a source of war and patriotism, but for this this was very much a negative. also two warring views of the passions. one as a source of effective action and true patriotism and the other as a war of selfishness and sin and this set up the cultural debate that surround the war. >> nicole eustice is a professor at new york university her book "the war of 1812 and the passions of patriotism." dan is joining us from springfield, missouri. go ahead. >> good morning. in regard to patriot echl, each of the areas that the war happened in the great lakes area along the coast with the constitution and in the south with jackson, each of them had their own regional problems whether it be the indians and whether it be the suppression of
12:05 pm
soldiers and whether it be the back. they all had their own individual means of support and fighting for their cause of what patriotism is to maintain a consolidation or to support their own area and their own cause. there wasn't a -- my question is i guess is there any one united thing that created patriotism outside of these three areas and their own individual problems that existed. that's a fascinating question and you're quite right that the nation was very divided at this time. according to political parties and according to different geographic sectionses that had different security problems and different economic challenges and so there really was a problem of how to unite the country around a patriotic project and that's part of what makes it so interesting to study the war and to study patriotism
12:06 pm
in the war and the creation of the unified patriotism is one of the sort of central accomplishments of the war. by the end of the war you have a level of unity that you don't have at the beginning of the war. so over the course of the war you have militia from different states who aren't committed to fighting and all of that will be transformed by the battle of new orleans which is a huge success, not really in strategic terms because it actually occurs after the signing of the peace treaty, but it's a cultural, it's a signal success because it's a moment when everyone performs the way they're supposed to and the challenges of unity and the challenges of commitment this had been there in the preceding several years are resolved in a nice way.
12:07 pm
just a quick snapshot of what the u.s. was like, it was a population and where was most of that concentrated? >> okay. at the beginning of the war with the u.s. thinks of itself as a young and growing nation and it very much is. the first national census was taken in 1790, and in 1790 the nation had 3.9 million people in it. by 1810 on the eve of the war, 20 years later it almost doubled to 17 million people. so this is a nation that's rising rapidly in terms of its population growth and it's a nation that is looking very explicitly to its rising population numbers as an index of its strength. it's telling individual people that they can really contribute to the nation by raising families, what one author called rising families of freemen and that's a very big part of
12:08 pm
patriotism in the nation in this period the formation of families and where this relates back directly to the caller's question about problems with commitment and problems with unity is that if you're telling the people to serve the nation by starting families, well, the requirements of a good family man, staying home and protecting home and hearth are different from the sacrifice that you have to engage in in order to serve in the military and serve the country at large and in the early years of the war when the country was largely reliant on volunteer militias that were locally based and local militiamen were quite committed to defending their territories and they were more reluctant to cross state lines and to fight with the general army and that's what was overcome by the battle of new orleans when the militias actually performed wonderfully far from home and that was part of what was militarily, but also
12:09 pm
a culturally transform tiff element to the battle of new orleans. >> as we go to knoxville tom. we want to thank the national portrait gallery in washington and also the maryland historical society in baltimore and of course, some live views of fort mchenry. tom in knoxville, tennessee, go ahead with your question. >> yes, sir. i enjoy your show. i've been watching it in the last hour, and i know in the first three-minute segment, was there something that you can look up on the internet and vote whether you would have been for or against the war. i think in my recollection i would have been for the war at that time and i still haven't changed my mind that it seems to me that i've gathered from the conversation earlier was that most people are voting against
12:10 pm
the war. i think that's a little farfetched at this time because hindsight is 2020 and we can look back and see how much it did for the country as far as the international and what not. i'd like to comment on that and i like to talk about things that really happened and i'm curious to hear what you folks think about that. >> the war was quite controversial in its day. in fact, in the formal vote in congress, 100% of the federalists voted against the war. so some republicans also voted against it, but all federalists did, so it was a very politically divisive war at the beginning and the reasons for the declaration of war that were formally put on paper had to do with the british orders in council which had to do with u.s. shipping rates and with the
12:11 pm
british policy of impressment which was the policy of boarding u.s. merchant vessels to search for british sailors that had obligations to serve in the british royal navy which had the unintended or intended side effect of sometimes sweeping americans into the british nets, as it were and impressing, forcing american sailors into the british navy. so those were the stated represents for the war. the orders in council were reversed before the british knew about the u.s. declaration of war. so that was removed right from the very beginning and the issue of impressment was not in any way addressed with the treaty that ended the war. the treaty of gent which simply returned all matters to the status quo, so in terms of evaluating the effectiveness of the war, if you're looking at
12:12 pm
relationships with britain, the war doesn't change that much, but the war does have important effects on american unity and american patriotism and it also has very significant effects on american power on the continent vis-a-vis native americans who are the often, kind of unspoken element in the war, battles with native americans were a crucial part of the war and the balance of power shifted pretty decisively in the direction of the united states at the expense, particularly of the creek in georgia and alabama and the sehawshawnee, and the nativ american tribes. >> this represented the largest displacement of native peoples to the u.s.
12:13 pm
>> that's absolutely right. in georgia and alabama, creeks ceded 22 million acres to andrew jackson in the midst of the war, and the shawnee confederacy was shattered as a result of fighting in the great lakes region and perhaps most importantly of all, as a result of the war the british ceased to function as effective allies of native american nations. the british went to the treaty table promising that they were going to insist on the creation of an indian buffer zone between the ohio river and the great lakes that would have been a state for indians and they abandoned that pledge at the treaty table and they never, ever again asked for something like that. so following the war, you have the opening of western territories to the u.s. and you
12:14 pm
have the rapid integration of those territories right after the war. >> hi. i have a question about the hartford convention, and i know that there was a lot of fed ralists out there and there was a lot of smothering going on across the border to canada and when the hartford convention people came to washington, do you think it was a matter of bad timing because of the battle of new orleans or did they ever really have a chance to secede from the union over the war of 1812? thank you. >> briefly, i think the idea of cessation has been somewhat overblown historically. it probably was debated at hartford, but it was never really the truly sort of serious goal of the federalists.
12:15 pm
federalists wanted to see an end to the war, and what you have to realize is that washington, d.c., was burnt to the ground in august of 1814 and the treaty of gent is signed december 24th of 1814 and the battle of new orleans happens january 8th of 1815. so at the moment the treaty of gent is signed the u.s. has gone with the treaty table with the capital in ashes and that's the negotiating stance, at the moment that they're saying we have got to get out of this war, they have a pretty good reason for making that argument. things are looking pretty bleak and that's a huge shot in the arm for nation to have this terrific victory to have everything go the way it should and everyone fights the way they should at new orleans and this is why jackson emerges as such a
12:16 pm
hero to the nation after the war, but in a sense, the federalist argument is an easier one to understand in november and december of 1814. >> where is gent? >> gent is in belgium. >> let's go to fredericksburg, virginia. hi there. >> hi. i wanted to comment on what the gentleman had said. he said he would have voted for the war, and i would have, too. i don't really think that at that time, people were, i don't think there was a wide spret spread amount of newspapers and people weren't so literal about what was going on in the nation and the people now that are voting and they're not placing themselves in that timeframe of
12:17 pm
1812. and what it must have been like for the people. >> the professor, you had written in the book also, to answer deborah's question, that the proponents of the war had appealed to the national arter, she talked about the newspapers. how did they appeal to that arter? >> well, in fact, there were many, many newspapers, hundreds of newspapers across the country in this period. in the period of the early republic it's really when you have the first explosion of printing of the press and that's very exciting. some of them last only a few years and then they fold and die. others have ones that go on for decade, but cheap printing is really emerging in this period and that's part of what makes the war of 1812 so interesting to look at in a cultural
12:18 pm
perspective to look at what's being printed in the papers because people are reading the papers and ordinary people are interested in getting involved in the war so not only are there newspaper, but there's something that we don't have any more today, but you might think of as being almost leak a facebook posting or a tweet and that's the broadside poster. people could make one-page posters that could be hung up in a tavern and read aloud in taverns or in other public meeting places and these posters could be anything from a news bulletin that just gives very kind of straight, factual information or very frequently, these posters could have songs and poems on them and a big part of this period is the patriotic songs and poems that could be prined on the broad side posters
12:19 pm
and so you could tack a post or the wall or the tavern and everyone can learn the words to the song and just about every major event of the war is memorialized in the song and there are opposition songs. so there are very funny, satirical songs critiquing the war and critiquing battles and ordinary people are actually very involved in debating the war through this medium of print culture. >> we've been looking at live pictures of fort mchenry. a couple of people referred to the pole that's going up. you can take a look at it. we're speaking with nicole eustice from new york university and her book is "war of 1812." 15 minutes more with professor eustice and more from bel air. jim? >> thank you very much for taking my call. we're all so wrapped up in the
12:20 pm
celebration in baltimore, we're just about 24 miles from baltimore, but i wanted to relate a story if i might about the city which is also in our county of hartford county and whether or not eustice added any part into her book about the chesapeake bay and the admiral who came into the chesapeake bay and the upper part of the flats, as we called it and stormed the city of haverty grace and the british, of course, there's a wonderful story about the lighthouse keeper, commodore, john o'neal who was taken prisoner by the marines that left admiral's flagship. they burned about 60% of haverty grace, leaving only 40% standing. supposedly those of the elderly
12:21 pm
or the infirmed were left standing and the episcopal church has the brick where you can see the muss ket balls had hit and the story of matilda, commodore john o'neal's daughter rode out to the flagship and commodore or admiral codburn was so impressed by her ability to come out and want to take her father back because she'd been taken prisoner that the admiral actually released her father to her and in the historical museum in maryland they have a small snuff box today that was tossed over the side to the young lady from admiral cockburn and it's just one of the things we have
12:22 pm
from the incredible war of 1812 and haverty grace at one time was considered as possibly the capital of the united states and then it was moved, but i just love what you all are doing today and cutting over to baltimore and fort mchenry. it's marvelous and thank you for so much in this book that you have shared with us today. i just wanted to share that little story of my hometown. >> we appreciate it, jim, calling from northeastern maryland. >> actually, it haverty grace. >> it's okay. >> i think a lot of people mispronoun mispronounce. >> haverty grace, along with hampton because it was a fairly dramatic moment of british aggression and hampton was a moment when supposedly there
12:23 pm
were atrocities committed against the women of the town and this became a very important element of american propaganda. i mentioned at the beginning of the conversation that federalists were claiming that the war arose from base lusts and this was something that republicans really wanted to defend themselves against. they wanted to say we may be fighting from patriotic ardor and this is a virtuous brand of passion we're fighting from and for them to accuse the british of sinful lusts became an argument of anti-british propaganda and the haverty grace became a very significant element of american anti-british propaganda and you can see that in anything from very popular accounts of the war to official political inquiry correspondence
12:24 pm
and congressional inquiries into the conduct of the war. the rise of the u.s. population must have been a concern for them. you talked about the impressment of american sailors from american ships. what was happening in britain at the time of the population? it was emigrating to the united states? what was popular about the united states. they were always concerned about overpopulation. this is an island nation and it's got a pretty bounded land christmas they were worried of having too many people and that's part of what starts the colonial project in the first place. in the era of 1812 there's a very famous population theorist by the name of thomas malfis and they thought overpopulation was facing england and the war in general and that overpopulation was the cause of human suffering and the cause of starvation and the cause of want.
12:25 pm
he not only thought britain needed to be careful about overpopulation, but thomas thought the united states' growing population which was such a source of pride was a huge problem because he understood in very direct terms that the growing european-descended population of the united states was encroaching on the land claims of indians and he critiqued american population growth. he said it had to be questioned, quote, in a moral view because he said it would lead to the extermination of indians. so thomas is critiquing the rise of american population basically because he sees that it leads to a need for more land. and that's very prof oblg tiff for americans who see their population as a source of strength compared to the british so the irony then is that the british, when it comes to their navy, do want to have a big population to draw from, and american patriots at the time
12:26 pm
really kind of enjoy that easterny, i think. >> let's hear from kansas next. zee jeff from topeka. welcome to the program. >> yea. thank you for my call. very interesting april. i was just curious when in 1812 they said in the earlier segment they said that the united states was broke, and i was wondering if the professor could explain why or how did the united states get revenue at that time of -- you know, around 1812, if there was taxes or how we got revenue and the other comment -- and the only other comment i have is it's no wonder the indian nations were upset with the united states or the white people with how we treated them. that's my comment and i'll hang up and listen. thank you. >> okay, jeff.
12:27 pm
>> thank you very much. yea, there were no federal taxes at that point and so most revenues were generated through tariff checks and the united states did not have a large military at the beginning of the war of 1812. in fact, some of the stories think that when the u.s. declared war it was more or less a bluff that they would declare war and the british would think we have our hands full with napoleon because they're fighting on the continent of europe so some historians think that people in the united states thought they could just declare war and the british will revise our impressment practices and that is might be a way to take canada because that was in the original goal of the war was to invade canada and that the british might be too distracted to be doing too much in north america so they don't have their finances organized to fight a
12:28 pm
war and that's part of the reason why the war goes so badly for so many years is that there's no professional army and no organized funding. basically, the war is going to debt and the national debt nearly triples over the course of the war. it goes from about 45 million to 127 million after. so how do they finance it? they finance it through debt. >> as we begin to wrap up here, how would you say that the war of 1812 shaped america's identity? i think part of what with the war of 1812 did that anyone who serves the nation can be a patriot and one of the earlier callers said if she was alive in 1812 she would have voted for the war. if you were alive in 1812 you wouldn't have had the right to vote, but women did have the right to be part of public opinion and that's part of what the war of 1812 did. it said women can serve the
12:29 pm
nation by bearing children for the nation, by adding to lives and families of freemen and men can serve the nation in many ways including by taking up arms and also by raising families and by breaking new farms and settling in the land. so part of what the war of 1812 does is tell people your aspirations for your family, your desire to have a farm and to raise a family of children, this is what serves the american nation. that's an idea that existed certainly back to jefferson's time with the louisiana purchase, but it's something that really gets cemented in the public mind and it says everyone who starts a farm, everyone who raises a family, male or family, new immigrant or native-born person and even black or white, everyone can be a patriot and the only people who were left out of this actually were indians. >> nicole


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on