tv James Monroe and Foreign Policy CSPAN August 29, 2015 5:41pm-6:01pm EDT
meeting innnual arlington. we spoke with professors and graduate students about research. this interview is about 15 minutes. >> cassandra good is the associated editor on papers of james monroe. she earned her doctorate at the university of pennsylvania. why is james monroe a significant player in american history? cassandra good: the first thing that people think of is the monroe doctrine, but he still has ramifications today, we joke at these papers that he is like force gone, he shows up -- forest gone -- gump. he shows up everywhere. if you look at the painting of washington crossing the
delaware, he is there. the louisiana purchase, he is involved. 1812, he just gets in hand in so many moments the first 40-50 years of the country. >> why does he have a global view of the world? cassandra good: he was sent on appointmentplomatic very early on. he was not educated abroad, but he was sent to france by george washington and that was his first experience -- and then sent back to europe later traveling to several different countries. i think that that really impacted his idea about foreign policy. >> what was he like as a man? theandra good: think description we see most often is
that he was a really nice guy. his personal papers do not survive for the most part, his wife's papers are gone, so we don't have much insight into him as a person, but he was well-liked, we know that. he was somebody who had integrity and people respected him. he is not known as the smartest, but very capable. >> was he an influential president? cassandra good: well, still discussing the monroe doctrine and other things, he is still relevant. we are establishing with the world of presidency is, so all of these first presidents are important. >> the monroe doctrine did what? cassandra good: it changed america's role in foreign policy, for at least a century. recently it has
, it has toportance do with what american diplomats by the united date -- united states'role should be in the larger world. >> what was his writing style ?ike and what can we learn cassandra good: monroe's writing is not as eloquent as someone like jefferson, he is not concise or easily quotable. sometimes it is meandering and he had bad handwriting, so his letters are a challenge to read. but he was careful in his wording, he would cross things out in right over. i think that he was thoughtful
about what words he chose, especially for the public. frames have you focused on? cassandra good: james monroe volume five focuses on the years 1803-1811, he was in a europe, england, france and spain. so that is the bulk of the letters. interesting? >> he was sent on that trip to negotiate the louisiana purchase, which that was not supposed to be the louisiana purchase, it was initially to help get support of -- get the of new orleans, but then napoleon offered
louisiana because he had to pull back resources in the larger war in europe and the revolution in haiti. it had not been productive for him, so they offered all of louisiana and monroe was part of making those arrangements. that is the most famous parts of his time in europe. he also negotiated a treaty with the british. that treaty could have prevented the war of 1812. >> many people forget that there was a rivalry between the u.s. and france during this time. cassandra good: it was a three-way rivalry, spain has fallen in importance, but the spanish and french and americans are fighting over shipping to each other and the colonies, especially with the armies. have easilycould
gone to war with france as well. french were seizing american ships, but the french did not have the level of naval power that the u.s. did. back to the time in the early 1800s and walk us through how monroe would travel to europe and the time to get over there and meet with leaders and get that information back to the u.s., it had to be very long and cumbersome. cassandra good: it was a long journey to get to europe, weeks, depending on what time of year it was. four weeks.han you do not have international mail, so if you had to send a
letter, you had to find somebody who you trusted to be going where you needed to go. you might find a ship going into new york, but then somebody could hand that letter off to someone else to carry it to washington. so it took a long time. even traveling within europe, monroe goes to spain from london, you have to travel through france and spain and he -- a travel tiring -- ira diary, where he talks about not finding a hotel, the roads are a mess, there is a famine, and he talks about how impoverished the people are and how difficult it is to travel there. >> do you think james monroe had a sense of the role america would play in coming generations?
do you have a sense that he knew we were about to become a major economic power, military power? cassandra good: i think he understood that to a certain degree. he didn't write like jefferson, what he envisioned for the future. but when he makes diplomatic arguments, he certainly established that america was important and a rising power and deserved respect. he had national pride and he thought they deserved to be treated like an equal. >> as you read his papers, can you hear his voice? cassandra good: it is tough to know what his voice is, because we don't have private letters. >> why is that? cassandra good: in many cases, people ask that their letters are destroyed after they die. or destroy them themselves.
in his case, personal letters we have are from friends of his, but the ones with his family were destroyed. family members probably made that decision that they didn't want to keep them. he did not have the sense that jefferson did about wanting to keep records of everything and that people would want to read all of it. or else, he didn't want us to. io of himuick i/o -- b and his family. >> he was born in virginia, he grew up mostly raised by an uncle, because his father died. he went to the college of william and mary, he was there during the revolution and he joined the continental army at a very young age. he was a teenager. he was wounded during the war
and ended up in and out of military positions. the rest of his career he was in public service until he retired after the presidency, still had some public service in virginia and then died in 1831. >> why did we enter the war in 1812? cassandra good: there is disagreement about this. plenty of people in the u.s. did war withamerica to do great britain. a lot of this was feelings of frustration and not getting respect. historians tend to talk about depression, sailors kidnapped by the british, british citizens that were escaping military duties. and that was an issue.
and commercial issues, where the british are seizing american ships. they do not want americans supplying france. and both of those things, we can see them as policy issues that are frustrating and problematic and they arouse strong emotions with people. they feel resentment toward great britain, like they are being insulted or humiliated, these are the terms used in a diplomatic writings and personal writings. they are talking about grievances against great britain. >> why was it such a significant war for the u.s.? cassandra good: in terms of policies, nothing changes after at war based on the treaty the end. it goes back to status quo, the way things were before the war. but feelings of national pride,
had felt in this war they , and if theywon did win famous battles. they felt like they were a power to be reckoned with. they felt like not a colony anymore. and america had asserted its importance on the world stage. this was a time when the u.s. had increasing global power. >> i would imagine in these papers, you are asking yourself questions, what would you ask him? cassandra good: i would want to know what he was telling his family about what was going on with great britain and diplomatic discussions, we can see some glimpses among friends, but it would be nice to know in some cases what he would tell a
french diplomat, or maybe a spanish diplomat, so he -- what were his true motivations, that is harder to get out. about smile when you talk james monroe, why is he a passion for you? cassandra good: the early republic is an exciting time, because this is when americans felt anything was possible. they had broken away from this republic, they felt like they were beating a path towards freedom for the rest of the world and they had a sense of possibility. in some ways, that is realized and in others, it was not. opportunities for african americans, women, other people ended up closing down in many
ways. 1780, we got that things would change radically and they didn't. -- but stillle people felt excitement. >> what is next? cassandra good: with the papers, we are currently working on six, which will be after 1811 until 1813, he will be secretary of state and the secretary of war. my own research i am working on a project on george washington, and other father and the way that his family understood their political role. >> are there james monroe descendents today? cassandra good: they are not direct descendents that would have the same last name, because
he did not have male children. just like george washington, he did not have any children to pass that on. but monroe did have two daughters. they have other last names. back.an trace ancestry >> and what about the papers, they are well reserved -- preserved? cassandra good: a lot of them are at the national archives. him, maybeand from 40000 and half of them at the national archives and at the library of congress. and some of the few personal ones and some political ones are in new york. >> misses a sidebar question, but the most interesting or different thing about james monroe you didn't know before you started these, maybe as a
person or public official or as a diplomat, what is it? cassandra good: when i was ,tudying in graduate school studying political history, monroe's name did not come up often. now that i have worked on his papers and see he is everywhere, i find that fascinating. for thessociate editor papers of james monroe, thank you very much. cassandra good: thank you. >> with live coverage of the u.s. house on c-span, on c-span3 we complement that covers by showing you relevant congressional hearings. toweekends, c-span3 is home history tv, the program that tell our nation's story. the civil war's 150th anniversary, visiting key evidence, american artifacts and
touring museums to discover what these artifacts reveal about our past. the presidency, looking at the policies and legacies of the commanders in chief. and talking to professors about america's past. featuringmerica, educational homes from the 1930's through the 1970's. c-span, funded by your local provider. you can follow us on facebook and twitter. night, senior fellow -- brown will talk about efforts in afghanistan. >> the u.s. did achieve improvements, but nonetheless it has gotten worse. this is where i hesitate and increasingly interrogate myself
and question myself, we don't know how it will end. it could be a moment of infinity. it is also possible that five years down the road we will be back in a new civil war in afghanistan, because isis is emerging and it is worse than the taliban. years down the road, there is a new civil war in afghanistan and a new safe haven for the taliban and isis, i would cash brown, on c-span's q & a. >> next, g. william quatman talks about his book "a young general and the fall of
richmond: the life and career of godfrey weitzel". ontzel joined the civil war the union side. involvementore his in the fall of richmond in 1865. the museum of the confederacy hosted this hour-long event. [applause] mr. quatman: thank you for joining me. i am so excited to be here on the anniversary of when this house was occupied by joseph davis. this is a fascinating story on a story that very few civil war buffs know. i've given this talk all over the country and people are surprised, they have not heard of godfrey weitzel before. over the next hour i will tell you why he was chosen to enter richmond 150 years ago today. you may remember his name when yo