tv American History TV CSPAN January 3, 2015 1:44am-2:03am EST
throughout 2014, c-span city tours features the history of communities throughout the country. here is a look at one of those cities. ♪ ♪ we are standing here at historic fort sneling. it's the first foot hold in this region for united states expansion. during the early 1800s, you begin to have this idea spreading across the country of the manifest destiny to spread
from sea to shining sea. it's the right to extend across north america. of course, that's problematic because there are other people who lived here first. the american indian nations. in this region, that was primary the dakota. fort snelling establishes and it's a foothold for expansion. nothing was the same after it was established here. relations between american indians in this region and the united states government began to change. about 1650 the first europe yaps arrive in what would be minnesota. they are arriving because of the fur trade. they are interested in exchanging furs with the indians who lived north of here. they are exchanging for furs and manufactured goods. the fur trade is what really establishes european presence in this region. it goes on for over 200 years. it is because of the fur trade
that the army eventually, united states army establishes a fort here. they are interested in protecting the fur trade interests once it becomes a part of the united states possession after the war of 1812. so the fur trade is the engine -- the economic engine that drives the united states' interests in the region. the dakota had their economy to a large part based on the fur trade throughout the 17 and 1800s. so when the fur trade begins to decline, that's when you see a shift in relations between the people. >> aim, fire. >> in 1851 the treaties were signed, which the dakotas creed over 24 million acres of the
their land to the united states. so then by the 1860s, you had divisions between those who wanted to maintain traditional way of life and those who didn't. you had food shortages. and you had increasing pressure from immigrants coming into the area. in 1862, the small group of dakota decided to declare war on the united states. they began attacking civilians trading posts, farms settlements and there was a six-week war. solders from the fort were sent to fight in the war. as a result, dakota treaties were aboutry gated. they were for theed out of minnesota. fort snelling became the site. over the winter of 1862 and
1863 dakota, were held there. because of the living conditions, the poor quarters there, many of them died. there was acts of violence against people in the concentration camp. it was a horrible place for them. it was part of this effort after the u.s. dakota war to remove the dakota from minnesota. what's really tragically ironic is that this place, which for many is seen as a place of birth of their people is also a place of their confinement in a concentration camp and expulsion and genocide. it's important when you think about the story and the history of this region that you think beyond the walls of fort snelling. we try to push people to think more about what does it mean when all these cultures came together? what perspectives did they have
on these historic events? you could look at a single event from multiple angles and multiple perspectives. that helps us think about the world we live in today how can we see things through someone else's eyes. how can we be more understanding of multiple perspectives? so you can look at the fort in multiple ways. you can look at it as the expansion of the the pioneer spirit moving west conquering the wilderness. or you could look at it as a place of interment for the dakota that we are here because of the u.s. dakota war of 1862. you could look at it as expansion and colonization of native lands by the united states government. there is the story of african-americans, free and enslaved. this is a place that was to be free of slavery. yet you have existence of slavery in the walls of the fort alongside free
african-americans. so the fort is a wonderful way to explore the splex tis s kprex tis of history and how people's choices and decisions shaped the world we live in today. we are inside one of the furnished squad rooms in the stone barracks which wases the home for the enlisted men. one thing people notice here is there are only six beds. soldiers were required to sleep two to a bed box.
each of these bunks would have had two soldiers sleeping in it. a soldier in the 1820s would recognize much of this as what he would have lived in. it was used all the way up through the civil war this way. the only difference being during the 1860s they would have added an extra bunk on top of the beds. fort snelling was the central rendezvous for minnesota's volunteers and draftees during the civil war.
at the end of the war they left and returned through the fort. the garrison fluctuated quite a bit depending upon the year you are looking at. in the 1820s most estimates are around 500 people would have been here at the fort. that's about 350 soldiers and about 150 civilians and enslaved people. that's a rough estimate. it fluctuated based on the goals of the army whether they wanted a large garrison. they were called off fighting that war. of course by world war ii the number skyrockets. during the period that the united states was involved over 300,000 men and women passed through fort snelling as they were inducted into military service. it depends on the historic area you look at. bottom line is this was a busy place throughout much of its
history. we are standing in front of the place we believe dred and har ayatollah scott lived when they were at fort snelling between 1836 and 1840. when guests of the fort hear the story of the enslaved people that were here many are surprised. they may have heard of dre d scott in high school history, a long time ago. they didn't know he lived here. they didn't know he and his family were herement they didn't know the institution of slavery existed this far north. it surprises a lot of people. we hope learning about these people whose stories are important and realizing what happened here at the fort really impacted american history. the scotts' experience here informed part of the legal case when they sued for freedom throughout the 1840s and 50s.
part of their time means they should be free. the case when the to the united states supreme court. because of the dred scott decision in 1857. it's stated dre d and harriet didn't have the right to sue in court. as african-americans, as black people they were not citizens of the united states. also that the missouri compromise which limited where slavery could exist in the country was unconstitutional. enslaved human beings at the time were property not people. it furtherered the divide between the north and south prior to the civil war. one of the direct causes leading up to the rupture in the 1860s the fighting in the civil war had its origin right here with dred and harriet scott. evidence about the daily lives of enslaved people here at the fort is scarce. we believe that they were primarily working in what'sle called domestic slavery.
that's cooking, cleaning doing domestic chores for their owners. in this case mostly they were officers here at the fort. dred and harriet scott for example, belonged to dr. john emerson. he was the post surgeon. they would have been in his kitchen. the enslaved people working under that type of condition would have been living inside the places that they worked. so for a long officer's quarters down in the basement kitchens, we believe that's where the majority of the enslaved people working and living would have been and it's arguable that this is the place for the first major african-american community and what would become minnesota right here at fort snelling. it was a stone fort.
you don't have the context around it. you miss out on the important role it played not just in minnesota's history but in national history. you are miss the narrative. you miss the whole point of this being here. if uh you don't have the large wrapping around it you will miss out on the other stories. all the other stories that shape the history. they may not have realized it at the time. what those people did shaped the world that their descendents would live in. our world is shaped by what people did then. if we think in terms of a small piece, you can't get the full story. the full amazing, complex, diverse story. >> to learn more about the cities on the 2014 tour and watch videos from sites throughout the country, visit c-span.org/local content.
this is american history tv on c c-span3. the c-span cities tour takes us on the road traveling to u.s. cities to learn about their history and literary life. we partnered with time warner cable for a visit to austin texas. >> we are in the private suite of lyndon and ladybird johnson. this was private quarters for the president and first lady. when i say private, i mean it. this is not part of a tour that's offered to the public. this has never been opened to the public. you're seeing it because of c-span's special access. vips come into this space as they did in lyndon johnson's day. it's not open to our visitors on a daily basis. the remarkable thing about the space is it's really a living, breathing artifact. it hasn't changed at all since
president johnson died in january of 1973. there is a document in the corner of the room signed by among others the archivist of the united states and ladybird johnson telling my predecessors myself and my successors that nothing this this room can change. to my left down the block is the colorado river. this is an important site in the city's history. this is where waterloo was. it was a cluster of cabin occupied by four or five familieses including j. carol. i'm standing at the spot where the cabin was. this is where mirabella mar was when he and the rest got word of a big buffalo herd in the vicinity. they jumped on the horses congress avenue -- wasn't the avenue.
it was a muddy ravine then that led north to the hill where the capitol sits. the men galloped on the horse s. they stuffed their belts full of pistols and rode into the midst of the buffalo firing and shouting. lamar at 8th and congress shot this enormous buffalo. from there he went to the top of the hill to where the capitol is. he told everybody this should be the seat of a future empire. >> watch our oh eventses from austin saturday at noon eastern on c