tv Book Discussion CSPAN January 18, 2015 8:00am-9:01am EST
[ captioning performed by the national captioning institute ] [ captioning copyright national cable satellite corp. 2014 snfrmd ] >> produce a five to seven minute documentary on the theme "the three branches and you" for your chance to win a grand prize of $5,000. for a list of the rules, go to student cam.org. 225 years ago on september 25, 1789, congress approved the first ten amendments to the u.s. constitution collectively known as the bill of rights. next, author chris derose discusses his book, founding
rivals and explains why the bill of rights was a source of controversy between james madison and james monroe. a central campaign issue when the two future presidents faced off in a race for a congressional seat in 1789. this event was recorded in november, 2011 at the changing hands bookstore. it's about an hour. >> thanks to our gracious hosts changing hands. independent bookstores are a treasure. no one is getting out of here tonight until every copy over there is sold. so our book is "founding rivals -- james madison versus james monroe, the bill of rights in saving the nation." for thoseoff who showed up to see the lead guitarist of kiss, i regret to inform you, that was
last night. as important as this project has become to my life, i can scarcely remember the first time i learned about the historic congressional race between two future presidents in 1789. but what i do remember is reading about it in a book and it was treated with the one or two sentences you will see about this congressional race. and i thought way to bury the lead. all of a sudden, in a race between two future presidents, james madison, james monroe. they're delivering the most important issues that we talked about as a country. what kind of union we should have. all of a sudden, they're in the next page. way to bury the lead. so i decided i would read everything i could about the 1789 election. when i found no one had written about it before, i decided to tell this story. the book signing rivals cold opens at the inauguration of george washington. what many people don't know is that when he took the oath of office, two of the 13 states were outside of the union --
north carolina and rhode island did not lead a institution because of their concern because of the bill of rights, a guarantee of fundamental liberties. this is common about the anti-federal lists in the entire continent. many of them came at it from different angles. many of them believed you could not have a union that covered all of the different and diverse states. the independent states, regional confederacies but didn't think any government could be suitable. james monroe with the authority of anti-federalist opinions in that it would center around the missing bill of rights. while washington took the oath of office, two states, new york and virginia, were advocating for a new constitutional convention. in the words of james madison and george washington, they were
terrified of this prospect. they believed it where do you lived be infiltrated by enemies of the new government and the constitution will be scrapped and done way with and our union would be fractured, never to come together again. the book goes to the french and indian war which is a conflict thought between the new world and in europe. the first true world war we ever had, between the french and the english and their allies. as a result of this war, the english expelled their opponent from the continent. but as a consequence they removed a check that kept their columnists in terror. free from the americans and french, the american colonists were not so reliant on great britain. great britain tried to shoulder some of the cost of this under the colonies. what followed is a rising cycle of taxation, resistance, followed by oppression past the point of no return where we would end up in a revolution against great britain. both madison and monroe played
important roles. james monroe is in the college of william & mary when hostilities began. as a student, he wasn't excited by latin or grammar, he was out drilling with william & mary with his come patriots. the governor of virginia, lord dunmore, the royal appointees seized the gun powder in town, no one bought his excuse. that ratcheted up hostilities to a point where james monroe and the come patriots raided the governor's mansion which is still there today if you've been to colonial williamsburg. monroe was sent north to new york. and he would serve with washington in many theaters of the war faces like valley forge, german town, the philadelphia campaign, and the battle of trenton. we know the famous portrait of george washington crossing the delaware and going over to face
the hashings and were not expecting it. monroe led a vanguard of men across the river in that important battle. the job in the morning before the war was to secure the street heading to town so that no one would be able to alert the british and their allies as to what was about to happen. it was christmas. there was some revelry. they were unprepared for the attack. james monroe and his men were alerted to a process by the name of reiker. they started cursing at him. when he realized they were patriots he told them, i, too, am a patriot and it seems that something is going to happen tomorrow. i'm going go with you because i might be able to save some poor soul. that poor soul turned out the be james monroe, the future president of the united states. in a critical moment of the battle, james monroe charged the cannons, struck down by a bullet, and would have bled out in the streets in trenton had it not been for dr. reiker. one of two incidents where james
monroe narrowly escapes death. one of the things i focused on in founding rivals is how precarious everything that happened was and how small and minor and unrelated events conspire to make events happen. during the revolutionary war, james madison served in the congress. when he arrived in congress, he found a ruin nows state of affairs. nothing like what you could imagine today but they -- the congress had taken an enormous crippling national debt. when congress had exhausted its revenue and exhausted the sources of credit, they simply started printing money and giving it out to people. thank goodness our leaders today are too wise to do that. [ laughter ] i think it's really telling that madison served on the board of admiral si. it's a committee that ran the naval affairs in the united states during war. one of the first things they would do is deny a 3-month-old
request for bread and flour. it was not that this request was unreasonable per se, it was that they had no bread or flour or means to procure it to give them. they did send a note telling them to keep up the good work. an 18 gun boat in the saratoga was sitting in the dock instead of fighting the british for a wont of simple riggings. a few more cannons, a little more food before it could be deployed. the board of admiral si had to deal with the issue of several common criminals breaking into a warehouse and stealing all but a few bolts of the entire national supply of kansas. they were inspired by george washington's christmas raid. one christmas night, they broke in, they stole the canvass. congress had directed them to distribute the canvass to where it was needed. the letters are needed. the letters were humorous if it wasn't so serious.
the man in charge of the warehouse said we killed three of the men responsible. we know where to find the first. -- the fourth. congress wrote and said, that's right, but we want our canvass back. madison and monroe find each other and begin a correspondence that stretches over five decades. at this point, madison was back in the legislature and monroe had gone to college and dealt with many of the frustrations madison had. talking about the articles of 1777, the congress put together a plan to try to unify the united states. the continental congress had to conduct a war in the most powerful country in the world. in 177 they sent the articles of confederation to the states. the letter accompanying it sounds like an apology. they said this could be the best that could be adapted to the
circumstances of all. the articles of confederation was unable to raise troops on its own, unable to conduct any rational trade poll sichlt after the war, the european powers would punish our her chats, producers, hit our producers with heavy taxes and terrorists. because the national government had no capacity to create a revenue, a trade policy, they would be able to play the 13 states against b each other, if 12 states were to respond in kind to great britain one state would look around and say, you know what? we're going to lower our tariffs and have the british goods come through our state. it was impossible for the congress to do anything. totally unequal to the task. the idea of some sort of north american union starting in 1764 was the ultimate congress. that was benjamin franklin's idea. it was not created with the idea of independence in mind, it was
created in response to the feuds generated by the french and indian war and that was to be a body to coordinate the response of the impending war. this was attended by 17 delegates in 17 colonies and one lobbyist. the meeting broke up inconclusively. but that framework was conducted to the articles of confederation. they bring in the supplies to feed and clothe the prisoners of war. war. he said, you know what, under the pretense of saying they bought too much, they seized all of the merchandise.
at one point, congress has to deal with the mutiny, no revenue to pay soldiers. the soldiers have to lose their patience and as the war comes to a conclusion they're not feeling better about their chances of getting paid. once the hostilities are done, they weren't very optimistic about what might happen. so they went to philadelphia, a group of sold yefrs went to philadelphia. they're pointing guns to the windows of the members of congress. they're menacing members of congress. congress is trying to figure out what to do. he has to appeal to the governor of pennsylvania who tells them it's not my problem, one of the reasons philadelphia lost the capitol and would only get it back for the temporary period. john dickinson wasn't able to help them out. they wore flee like a group of
common debtors to prince ton, new jersey and reconvene to the old dorm in prince ton. one of the most important issues madison and monroe had to deal with in their time in the virginia legislature and in congress was the question of the mississippi. the spanish were of the belief because they controlled new orleans that free and peaceful people could move across international boundaries without impunity. why should the american people not at war with spain be more restricted than any other place. the growth of the american west. unimaginable had we given it to spain, we probably wouldn't have gotten it back. a northern confederacy led to john jay, the minister of spain
and in this time in the debate, the foreign minister in the articles of confederation. and john jay thought as follows. he thought he was a foreigner. the mississippi river was off place. who heard of it. we're going risk a war we can't win for a river we can't use. he was of the mind to try to give the river away to the spanish. this gets to the heart of the problem that the continental congress, congress in the articles of confederation had the capacity to bring together the military might of the nation. if it had, the spanish would have never dared to provoke us to a war. it's the quick thinking of madison and monroe and the rivals that prevents the mississippi from being lost to the united states forever. we all know about the problem of the congress under the articles of confederation. madison and monroe worked hard to try to altar them. they try to do two measured.
they tried to pass an end post. so the trade that comes to the united states could be taxed and the they would have revenue and stand on its feet and pay its debt, particularly its war debts for the brave soldiers who won a revolution. it never passed. never passed the requisite 13 statuses. the second thing is being able to regulate trade policy across the continent. talked a little bit about that because the european powers were belligerent and they wanted congress to be able to respond in kind. another serious issue. 13 states. 13 forms of currency used, 13 standards for weights and measures. currency was subject to dramatic fluctuation. and the courts, there was no national judiciary. so if you were a new yorker trying to buy something in virginia you didn't know what you were buying, paying for, and
you could be sure you could get hometowned if the deal went south and you had to file a lawsuit. so they were trying to unleash an economic engine to create a mill 25ir unit but also the economic one to unleash the productivity of the american people and something that's allowed us to be the most prosperous country in the history of the world. the states wouldn't have it. the first to call the national amendment of the states and look at the articles of confederation. james madison gets john tyler, james madison is a former member of congress suspected of having gone federal. and john tyler who never served in congress had more credibility to call for the new national convention. so that's what happened. unfortunately, when the delegates met in annapolis, maryland, the state didn't send the best people they had. some states didn't send anybody.
nobody sent the full delegation. they met for a few days and decided the best we could do is write up a long letter with all of the problems that you can see with confederation and distribute it to the states and agree to meet in philadelphia may next. we all know that gathering is the constitutional convention. james madison goes as a delegate, james monroe does not. james monroe, the fapter of the constitution. it was more likely to succeed coming from somebody else other than him. imagine having leaders like that today who doesn't care about getting the credit but cares about getting things done for america. that's james madison. edwin randolph, the governor of virginia introduced the virginia plan; it's the first substantive debate of the constitutional convention and the basic framework for our government today, the executives, the two
branches of the legislature, and the judiciary and all of the characteristics and the powers that we associate with the government today. serious fights in the constitutional convention. both sides walk out at different points. the biggest issue that they have to contend with is one of representation. in the congress of the confederation, every state had one vote. the bigger states got to send a bigger delegation. but all of that delegation could do was cast one vote at the end of the day. virginia has over 700,000 people and delaware has less than 50. and the virginians, not surprisingly, didn't understand why someone in delaware had a right to so much more representation. those are the big problems, but the southern states -- not the southern states, but the smaller states would not yield on this point. it's a question of yielding to them in the spirit of accommodation or scrapping the whole enterprise and going back. they agreed the house of representatives who you would be based on population tnd senate would be based on equal
representation around the state. from philadelphia comes the constitution. in history books, we tend to gloss over this period in history. it goes straight from the constitutional convention in philadelphia to george washington taking the oath on the balcony of federal hall. what transpires in between is nearly a two year knock down dragout fight across the continent over whether to ratify the constitution. each state elects a constitution -- a constitutional convention to sit in judgment in the constitution of philadelphia. i focus two chapters on this book on the virginia ratification convention as the largest, most culturally important, most commercially important state in the country. it is critical that virginia ratifies the constitution. they decide they're going to hold a ratification in june. some states would approve it, some states wouldn't.
there would be virginia to take them and broker some sort of compromise. the problem was they created a third party in the convention. they were able to overcome the objection and vote for ratification. randolph was one of several in philadelphia to refuse to sign the constitution. and there's a lot of suspenseus issuspense around what he's going to say when he stands up in richmond in the virginia ratification convention and what side he's going to come down on. these objections to the constitution haven't changed. my principles, my positions on this haven't changed. i have my doubts. but at this point, seven states have ratified the constitution. eight states had ratified the constitution, excuse me. i'm not going to be the one to separate us from our sister state. so at the end of the day, there's a lot of debate,
fascinating from the leaders in american history. patrick henry leading the anti-federalists along with james monroe who decides that despite the frustrations with the current government, the constitution was too dangerous. it was missing the bill of rights. he couldn't get behind it. he could get behind the powers of congress over the revenue in trade. there had to be a bill of rights. so he reluctantly came out full force against the constitution. george mason is also in the constitutional convention, richard henry lee. some of the most important people in american history all in this room in the new academy in richmond. at the end of the day, the anti-federalists try a gambit. why don't we stop what we're doing, recommend amendments to the states, and pick it up later. that would have had the effect to end the process. the mow men tunnel would have stopped there. the vote in new york was going to be so close that alexander hamilton kept writing madison saying all is lost if you don't
pass this constitution in virginia, no pressure. but everything is lost. new york ratifies only after virginia ratifies and only then by three votes. the federalists agree to a declaration they're going to call for a convention unless and until there's a bill of rights that comes out of the first congress. what the anti-federalists do say let us put that aside. that measure fails from 88 to 80 votes. eight votes. james modson didn't know he was going to participate. the anti-federalists who controlled the government scheduled it earlier, madison probably wouldn't have made it. he gives his first speech in a long career, gives the first speech in support of the candidacy in support of the ratification convention. aren't we glad he decided to go
down and participate because they get out of there alive by eight votes. seems inevitable to us today, but that's how close it was. but following that is a legislative session by patrick henry and anti-federalist allies, a chapter in my book called the terrible session. if you were a federalist, that's how you would have seen it. a number of things happened right off of the bat. virginia calls for a new constitutional convention. second patrick henry who could be very petty and personal in his politics, took a supporter of james madison came up with a pretense for him not to be eligible for a legislator, and then referred to the committee on privileges and elections. the committee said of course he's eligible to be a legislator. it doesn't make sense. it was reported to the floor. and they offered an amendment that was not eligible and conveyed against the constitution for a long lengthy speech.
but patrick henry thought a lot. so he was expelled from the virginia legislature. this is what you were dealing with if you were a federalist in the virginia legislature. one of the problems they were so outmatched is the leading federalist in virginia john marshall james madison, people spoken out of the virginia ratification, not part of the legislature. patrick henry, who put it like a closet. demanded the authority with absolute obedience able to get the measures through the virginia legislature. at the end of the session, james gordon james madison's street mate went insane. and the creepings thought for all of the world that he went insane from having to deal with the anti-federalist backlash in that session of the legislature, enough to drive you crazy. two other important things happened in this session. first of all, this is back when an original constitution, the
state legislators, elected senators. so james madison is offered up by the federalists as a senator. and patrick henry talks about rivulets of blood in the land. going to be turmoil to feel like the federalists to congress. never ever support your rights. james madison loses the senate election to two anti-federalists by a majority. patrick henry is not finished. the issue of redistricting is on a lot of people's minds perhaps. no more so than here in arizona. patrick henry didn't have the same sophisticated voting data that we used to draw these lines today. but he did have the results of the virginia ratification convention elections. two delegates were selected from
any county. the delegates were more or less on the record with their conventions on the constitution. so he created a district for madison that was probably 3-1 anti-federalist to federalist. not a great start. a lot of people asked him to run in their district. and they even passed something called the residency law that by the way you had to li in your congressional district for a year before you could run. targeted at one man. the federalist and anti-federalist on a party line vote with a fight over how to strike the residency law. and the federalists. so madison decides, you know i don't want the election being called into question in the first congress. i don't want this to be an issue in a different district. at that time the virginia
legislature was one of the oldest on the continent. it had a lot more credibility in the constitution. the constitution says you have to live in your state if you want to run for congress. a number of representatives now who don't live in their districts. they live close enough now to their constituents. madison said he's going stand and fight in his corner and going to fight for the district he lives in and the district he always lived in. the anti-federalists start shopping around for a candidate to take on james madison. able to convince james monroe to cover the banner. the former member of congress, the virginia legislature, extremely experienced and probably would have stood out head and shoulders above any opponent other than the friend madison who also had a long tenure in office. when monroe gets in to the race though, however reluctantly, he gets in it in full force. while monroe was in congress, he
lost the legislature by a mere four votes. campaign manager kept writing him telling him to come back and campaign in person. he ended up losing by four votes. you work with politicians for long enough, you realized the losses are sered on to them like a hot iron and monroe remembered what it was like to lose that race and he was not going to lose this one for wont of trying. he was busy writing letters to important people in the district. then as now, the candidates relies on local supporters in various counties in the district to give him advice of the lay of the land, important people to reach out to, when to come to the court date and meet with people people. that's what they did. they would write send it to the support earles. the supporters would go around and visit. some of them would call the essays the historical antecedent
to the blog commenter. anonymous essays. written in the newspapers. one of the enduring myths which i hope in the rivals is that you're in every election. this is the nastiest campaign ever. so i challenge you -- i challenge you to read about the election of james madison and james monroe which featured false and negative communication. the anti-federalists, and i should be clear, james monroe had no part of this. but his supporters that james madison has said that not a word of the constitution could be spared and he would not get you your amendments. james madison realized he represented the opinion. if we didn't give the right to regulate speech, why would we need a free speech amendment. he might have implied powers we never meant them to have. might give some rights and omit others.
thereby omit the powers. this is a new vessel launched by a government. try it out take it for a test drive see what happens and see if we need the amendments. james madison realized as a result of the contest in the anti-federalists in the election of 1789 that there was a significant sentiment in the country. and these people would never ever be satisfied until a bill of rights would pass and adopted. so in order to gain the confidence of his countrymen in this new constitutional government which he saw was the last best chance for creating a union that could work for the state, he acquiesces. george eve is the most prominent baptist minister in the fifth congressional district. the baptist and other religious minorities were an important political group. they were created like many political groups in time and
memorial because they persecuted him. baptists were arrested in private residences for prayer as we were declaring all men were creating equal as they were arrested for going to church, arrested for preaching the gospel. the folks are concerned about the new national government. a unanimous resolution among the baptist in the fifth congressional district. the resolution said that the constitution is not sufficiently protect our religious liberty. they deadlocked on a resolution of whether the yolk of slavery should be lighter. but whether the constitution protected freedom of religion, they believed it didn't. madison writes the letter to george eaves. rural virginia, 1789. one baptist minister that went to many different churches. he was actually the true sentiments on religious freedoms.
so it was madison who passed thomas jefferson's, virginia is it's statute of religious freedom. and madison went to george eaves and said if i'm elected i'll support a bill of rights and among that will be the freedom of religion. during an intense meeting when one of the congregations gathered to decide who to endorse in the fifth congressional district he was able to pull out his letter and rebut the anti-federalist lies distorting his opinion for the benefit of all. he did great damage to their cause in the words of one observer. so james madison and james monroe talking about some of the things that are similar in this election in the election today. one thing we don't see enough of james madison and james monroe maintained a high level of civility towards one another in the course of the campaign. they travelled together, they stayed in the same hotel room, they engaged in long, heated debates. one of the debates in the church that's there the hebron
lutheran church in culpepper, virginia, the oldest in the united states. they stood up for hours in the freezing cold. madison got frostbite on the way back. he used to point to it as the worst one he ever had. regaled with stories about that campaign. james madison and james monroe would both report to the mutual friend that they never abated and remained friends throughout. they disagreed passionately and fell out in important issues, they were civil to one another. even when their supporters weren't civil to each other, they were always civil to one another. that's reflect in the numerous debates and public appearances that they have in the fifth congressional direct. james madison really takes the wind out of his sails and able to win the election by 336 votes, out of 2,280. one of james madison's biggest
supporters wrote him and told him if this would have happened a fortnight sooner, he would have lost. if he had come back to campaign in person, he definitely would have lost. two future presidents for the first and last time in american history, what's important. we talked about the federalist opposition to the bill of rights. in the irs if congress, the federalists win lopsided majorities. north carolina staying outside of the union. virginia and new york are agitating for a new convention. the anti-federalists are coordinating up and down the continent, getting ready to sweep the legislative election. effectively putting an end to our union in our constitution. only james madison appreciates the anti-federal movement. what he did, right in the beginning of congress, he announces there will be a bill of rights, i plan to introduce them. and a in aches ongo to china moment, only the anti-communists
could have gone to that country. james madison able to bring the federalist majority to that side and pass the bill of rights. it was remarked that the anti-s have a new hero, an unlikely hero, james madison. because of the election in 1789 that the bill of rights passed, the union was cemented. we're all here today in the freest most prosperous greatest country in the history of the world. it's set against a very unpromising context. try to imagine if you will, a crippling national debt, a government that was intensely paralyzed by partisanship. a government that seemed inadequate. a leader that seemed inadequate. you can't imagine it, right? impossible to think about. one of my favorite quotes is that history doesn't repeat itself but it rhymes. madison and monroe found themselves trying to make it
work against the most unfavorable context i think anybody a decision maker would have faced. they wrote every generation faced challenges. every subsequent generation did whether it's pestilence, war, economic calamity, all three, the trifecta. but each generation rose to the occasion and passed on the the next generation in a great american tradition a country that was better, stronger, freer, and more prosperous than the one before. we're in trouble as a country. but the rivals an optimistic note from history facing the challenges we face today and how we as a nation can go forward. we have to get out of this mess. we have to work together to do it. the final line in the book which is not something you want to hear very often in the book readings is remember. i want everybody to remember how it looked in the past, if things are uncertain or difficult,
america has risen to the occasion. i'd be happy to take questions. [ applause ] any questions? >> besides the creation of the bill of rights what's another consequence of the 1789 election. >> two important additional consequence in addition to the bill of rights being passed. if that wasn't enough, the bill of rights cemented our union. two other significant events happened because madison instead of monroe. both of which i'm convinced if madison had been there instead of monroe, the country would have faltered on the tarmac. the first is called the division of 1789 when they introduced cabinet legislation to create the president's cabinet
position there's a phrase in there that says there's a secretary to be removed by the president. james madison didn't think there was anything controversial there. he touched off the greatest constitutional debate of the first congress. some people said the constitution is silent on this. and so congress could grant this removal of power, but they don't have to. other people thought they need to use the impeachment method to get rid of a subordinate not following your rule. some thought you can grant it to congress. some thought you can only use impeachment. and others believe that you would remove these people with the same way you appointed them with the advice and concurrence with the senate. any one of the scenarios would have been a dramatic blow to the separation of powers that we created. so critical to our government, madison called the constitution a sublime commentary on human nay chufr. he knew that the people in power was to co-less and get more power.
three branchs of government, executive, legislative, and judiciary. the greatest of these broken up in go houses and all pinned together with checks and balances. it's important to maintain that system to avoid tyranny. madison on the floor of the house. it's very uncertain what's going to happen. the first salvo was the amendment to strike the language, saying it could be removeable by the president. later on, madison will win this debate by getting behind the very same amendment not for the same reason that the offerers moved it forward. struck the language of the bill. then he added language that said there should be a clerk of the department which shall serve as second tafr in the event that the secretary is removed by the president or any other reason. so such an offhand reference. it makes it clear that the
defense of the congress is that the president could remove the subordinates at will. it's unimaginable to think that a president could remove a cabinet official or lesser official who wasn't in the agenda they were slated to work on. the second important consequence in addition though the bill of rights the location -- the debate over the nation's capitol in washington, d.c. and the assumption of the national debt. for those of you watching in washington, d.c., you are there because of this debate and because james madison won this election by 336 votes over james monroe. madison emerged as a focal point of the opposition in the first congress to secretary of the treasury alexander hamilton's plan for the states, for the federal government to assume the death of the states. hamilton realized this will get every state off to a good footing. would restore the credit of the states. it would cement the union and tie the union together. well, the southern states had more or less paid off the bill. the northern states more or less
had not. the southern states wanted to know why they should pay twice for their war debts when they had been frugal and in their opinion worked hard to pay down the debt. the northern states said if you won't come to our aid, what's the point of being in the union with you at all. people were talking about recession. a bout of influenza hit washington, d.c., nearly killed george washington, a precarious time for the country. thomas jefferson runs into alexander hamilton, well-dressed, clean shaven. looking none of those things in front of his house. jefferson said, what's wrong. he said my report to the public credit is going to fail. and what thomas jefferson did was brokered a deal over wine and food and alexander hamilton. madison wasn't going to vote for the plan. but he would not be too strenuous in his opposition. speculation that jefferson found
the votes hamilton needed to put them over the tom. he badly needed the bill to select the site for the nation's capitol. this is the first great compromise, the first of three before the civil war. this kept the people, the country together. so what would have been different if monroe had been madison. number one aside from the bill of rights, the power of the executive. he'd gone to war and risked his life. he was not about to vote for a new one to come out in a different name. he was concerned about the power of the presidency. he would not have carried the banner the way madison had. he would have voted differently on the executive session. the people who believed the president didn't have the power to carry his subordinates, they would have carried the day. and i think the country would have questioned what can you do for the president who's beholden to every employee in the executive branch.
he couldn't have emerged in the focal point of opposition the way madison did. madison was the leader of the federalist party in congress. it's important to know between then and now. now the speaker of the house, the leader of his party. the most powerful member. the speaker of the house was confined to a ceremonial road. the british house of common sense. they didn't have a lot of authority. they wanted the leader of the party. james madison the leader of the federalist party in the first congress. the leader of the federalist party opposing the plan. he was able to block this legislation the way james monroe would not have been able to. so he's three critical things. the bill of rights, the first great compromise and the executive question all decided differently because 336 votes in 179 in the federal district of virginia. >> where did you do your research, library, museums? give some examples?
>> inspent a lot of time in madison reading room. the manuscript room in the library of congress named after james madison. the arizona state university library has fantastic resources and unlike the library of congress, they let me check out books and take home books that i had no business being able to check out and take home. my primary source are the letters. i let them speak for themselves when possible. madison was meticulous. he cataloged every letter he wrote or received. james monroe not so much. but there's a lot there about who he was and how he interacted with his come patriots. the library of congress is a great resource. i tried to go to places like the hebron lutheran church to see what it would have been like when madison and monroe sat out there after a church service and
debated the constitution in the snow nor hours. got to spend a lot of time in virginia. i was working on an election there. it was wonderful to be able to retrace the same steps and work on the election, to work to support candidate there is in the footsteps of madison and monroe. so those are the two principle places and the places i look for for this research. any other questions? >> why do you think this race was so overlooked by other historians? >> a great question, i get it a lot. it immediately jumped out to me to be historically significant. if i had to make excuses for whoever ignored it in not writing this book. thank you for not appreciating the significance of this race or writing about things that you thought were more important. i think if anything it's bookended by such consequential events on either side of it. the constitutional convention in philadelphia. the next thing you know, washington is taking the oath of office. and all is well. and one of the things that i try
to point out in this book is nothing is inevitable. the things you do have consequences, the actions you take, the thing that's in your power is never to give up. madison and monroe get scared. they get scared of getting a government that's equal to the states. after annapolis, barely anybody shows up. in philadelphia where both sides look like they're going to walk out. the congress ratification convention might not approve the constitution. it was desperate and close but they didn't give up. so that is such an important thing that we don't consider. it looks so inevitable. the steady march of history from the colonial area to independence where we throw off the bond of the most powerful empire the world had seen. and unlike other revolutions, not a monarchy, not tyranny, not anarchy. but an orderly free republican government. that was without precedent.
this is important. badly overlooked by history when i have first started just to read about this and to write about it. i went to the three volume life of madison written by reed, a contemporary of madison. i thought it would be a great firsthand account of the election. four pages in three volumes. withe think of congressional elections as part of trend. reactions to panic, war, rebukes to an unpopular president. we think of them as trend with the exception of the race between stephen douglas. one race we do know and talk about. the places they debated are well marked popular tourist attractions in illinois. anyone been to virginia? you can't go anywhere without seeing one of the grey and black signs to denote someone famous who lived there, the famous battle. the church of the blind preacher
a fair judicial system when a deal goes sour in delaware. a benefit of having a government with the national trade policy so i can open up a worldwide market. people not engaged in interstate trade, some of the folks that said i don't know about this government, i think it will invade my liberties. i don't see the consequences. so to generalize, that's why they fall in one place or the other. sometimes not that needed. the conclusions that people drew. they were in totally unchartered territory. a government unlike the world had seen. they came to different conclusions about it. james madison james monroe. both 17th century early inhabitants. similar upbringings, both well educated. monroe at william & mary. monroe at winston. they mirrored each others.
they served on something called the council of state. the executive. the colonists once they became free americans were terrified of executives. they didn't have one governor. madison and monroe both served on the council of state with the governors of virginia. they serve in the continental congress and in the congress of the confederation. they had almost exactly the same resume but came to two totally different conclusions and that was true for a lot of the countrymen as well. the second question. thomas jefferson's in paris as the minister of france at this time. he does receive the most complete postelection analysis in madison and monroe. thomas jefferson, dear mutual friend. twin pillars of our happiness. they tried to convince madison oh to move next to him in albemarle county.
they have monroe. if the three of us could hang out, we could retire be happy. reading books, talking about books, the big ideas of the day. the three pillars of his happiness. he was pleased to get letters saying our friendship was never set aside. i felt bad having to run against my friend. this is what happened. but we're still friends. jefferson is in france, but george madison want -- george washington wanted madison to win. nothing washington had against monroe. washington was responsible for promoting monroe through the rankles of the continental army. who lived through the winter of valley forge could see that person as a dear friend and kinsman. i quote a different book where he talks about valley forge, a name associated with misery since the 18th century. it was. some of the work fighting in the
war together. but because washington relied on madison, the advice, his counsel. madison is the principle advisor to washington and at least the first year of the presidency. to some degree, that role shifts to alexander hamilton. in thee be againing, james madison. one of the first congratulations he gets, congratulations on the majority of the respectable number of your peers. now help me write my inaugural address. that's what he does. james madison is the author of the first inaugural address. a call to the amendment to the constitution to satisfy the anti-federalists, setting the stage. congress asks madison to draft the response to washington. and madison writes the response like, wow, that's such a good speech, i don't even know how to respond. washington says, i have to send a reply to congress. will you write it. madison is happy to oblige him.
i offer that not because it's humorous but a high standing that james madison had among the colleagues in the congress and the president of the united states. everybody wanted to be a part of george washington's inner circle. but only madison had the caliber, the trustworthiness, the intellect in washington's testament to be the principle advisor in the critical early days trying to figure out what is a president? what does he do? >> was there a great deal of debate about what would be in the bill of rights. >> such a great question. an enormous amount of debate over what a bill of rights would look like. in fact, many of the state ratification convention, virginia included, in fact recommendations to congress, long list of recommendations, we think you should pass these amendments in the first session. there were literally hundreds of different ideas around there.
but madison focused on a few things. number one, nothing structural. some of the amendments focused on weakening the executive. stripping away important powers from congress, like the power to regulate trade. we weren't going to go to anything structural. we were going to focus on fundamental liberties. madison is trying to take the wind out of the sails of the anti-federal movement. he's trying to calculate what measures they're going to use to do that. the englishman. the freedoms that people have. one of the great things about living under a tyrant is you pretty much have a good idea. you have a mad tyrant governing over you what are the things you would try to do if they could get away with it. for instance, if they were trying to tax the colonists in the aftermath of the french and indian war, one of the things that went through the roof. to catch them they decided to send soldiers to your house,
without warning notice, sanctions, they can go in and b -- search to their heart's content. the expression on-line. these fundamental liberties she had a long tradition in the united states. some of the most grievous conditions he had on the colonists. that's how he gets the list. the list more or less passes on how he introduces it. the bill of rights is 12 amendments. 11 passed. one of them pass in the 1990s, you've got the first one, you've got the bill of rights. in the 1990s, finally enough states ratified the amendment that said the following. if congress wants to increase the pay, that's fine. but the pay increase won't go into effect until there's an election for the house of representatives between so people couldn't vote themselves a lavish sal rip and retire, you
won't touch a nickel of it until you have the sale. a student in the 1970s in the university of texas wrote a paper about this. he said this is still out there. they could pass it. and his teacher gave him a failing grade. this is the worst idea ever. never underestimate the power of spite. he wrote a letter to every legislature in america. if you want this why wouldn't you want to pass this? in the 1990s enough states still hasn't ratified it. the 12th amendment, thank goodness we didn't pass it, one representative, one member of the house for every 10,000 citizens you. uh think congress can't get anything done now, wait until there's 10,000 members of the house of representatives.
>> what did monroe go on to do after losing the election. >> a great question. a happy ending for monroe. you may be able to sense some familiar sentiment. if you're a friend of mine, james monroe is a very frustrated attorney. he didn't necessarily enjoy the practice of law. at one point, you know, early on he says i'm getting a law degree so i can run for office. helpful in my political career. never going to practice. madison championing the bill of rights, james monroe is winning an indictment for stealing a mare from his neighbor. he's writing letters to irritated clients about the pace of litigation. some things never ever change. but what happens is there's a death in the -- one of the two senators from virginia dies and monroe is chosen to pull the vacancy. so monroe gets to serve in the first congress after all. monroe is on to a fantastic career. he's the ambassador to france. he helps to negotiate the louisiana purchase along with
james monroe who -- james madison who's the secretary of state for thomas jefferson. the two of them will have a little bit of a falling out over who should succeed jefferson as president. some of the conversations co-less behind monroe to go up against his chosen successor madison. madison brings monroe. the two preside over the war of 1812 together. they will go on to be the best of friends in retirement when their public careers are over. they will serve in the end of their lives in a state constitutional convention in virginia. they're fighting over the representation in virginia. western virginia didn't have the same as eastern virginia did. similar to a debate we had. madison and monroe tried
everything. they said one branch could be equal and the house -- they could be we're not going to take slaves into account. they said you don't know what you're talking about. this is the danger of bricknging old men to public life. they were so excited. to bring them to chair the convention. both sides running to succeed. and and. >> yeah, a lot of discussion. clear that madison moves out of the federalist, would have been
the federalist orbit. the two parties were defined by the constitution. so now that the question to keep the constitution is out of the way, they find new issues to fight about. the new parties fall along different lines. a split in the cabinet between jefferson and hamilton, madison is firmly on jefferson's side of that split. looks like no more questions, thank you, everybody. applause [ applause ] >> watching american history tv, all weekend, every weekend on c-span 3. to join the conversation, like us