tv Lectures in History CSPAN October 25, 2015 12:00pm-1:06pm EDT
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and brings you archival coverage of the campaign trail. starting on november 8, join us for the "road to the white house rewind," every sunday at 10:00 eastern and continuing through the election. here on american history tv. next, a seminar on the early years of the revolutionary war. is part one of a two-part lecture. ellis: ok, here is where we are going today. we're going to take a look at the courtship of abigail and john, our first chance to talk about the correspondence which , is the basis of our course and historical understanding of the relationship. there is about 1200 letters between them. that is a lot.
and if you think about it, will we ever know as much about modern-day american political leaders as we know about those people in the late 18th century? it seems weird. we would think we would know more. i think we want no less. unless all the e-mails between hillary and bill find our way -- erased, if you will -- [laughter] and it is distinctive in its candor and intimacy. dolly and james madison had a great relationship, they are together all the time. and because of the paradox of proximity, because abigail and john are apart, we know the most about them when they are apart. and they leave a record that is really unprecedented.
i have made the case and will repeat it here that this is the most fully revealed marriage and partnership between prominent american figures in all of american history. and we can contest that and come up with other examples, but i still would defend that just for the purposes of argument and our discussion today. ok, here is where we are going. we are going to look at the adams and their careers in 1765-1775. when the american revolution is starting to happen. then, we will do a dissection of one of the most famous letters in the correspondence, all of you have seen this and perhaps taught it, remember it is in every women's anthology in history. we have a few new things to say about it.
we will take a look at a very , the summer of 1776, lots of things are happening at the same time. both politically and that they -- they are writing the declaration -- the british fleet is arriving on long island with soldiers to destroy the continental army. and abigail and john have all the kids, all four of them, in boston up for inoculation. so you have this personal and this public story going on at the same time. and we are going to take a look at what adams might've said if he wrote the declaration. a brief review of what we talked about last time. we do this at the beginning of every class. it will be brief, but if you want to say something, correct me, or insert your sense of what we agreed on last time, this is the opportunity to do so. ok ok?
we are flying in a very high altitude over the landscape of the late 18th century in america. and we were noticing certain features, one of which is this thing called the american revolution. which is going to happen at that time. it is happening. we notice that the term revolution is trickier than it first seems. because winning a war for colonial independence is not itself inherently a revolutionary act. and so there might be a different term we could use to get at this, and the term we were playing with is american founding. rather than american revolution. the textbooks you use will all say revolution. the american revolution does not
fit the classic european definition of revolution, we said. it is not a class conflict, one class does not replace the other. it is not like the russian or french revolutions. or the chinese revolution. but it is possible to argue it is revolution, i think it is, and it is a revolution because of what it creates at the end. the largest republic, nation-size republic, in world history that then becomes the liberal model for the nationstate in the 19th and 20th century. that is a big deal. ok? a big deal. we noticed that the war in order to have a successful secession from the british empire, and that term conjures up the fact that the confederacy in 1861 is
going to say they are merely doing what the american colonists did in rebelling against the british empire when they rebelled against the union and lincoln, lincoln equals george i. that from a purely conventional perspective, there is no way cotton no army could defeat the british army and navy. i know we have great pride in our military and continental army, all of that stuff. but that this was a no-win situation, if they fought the war in conventional terms. so that on the one side you can make the case that it is a miracle. and actually washington said this at the end. he called it a standing miracle that we won the war. he said with all of these ragtag
groups, all amateurs -- he always called it a standing miracle. i wonder what a sitting miracle look like? a lying down miracle? [laughter] that is true. but i did not say this last time, it was implicit. i think our own experience in vietnam and more recently in iraq has made us more aware of then we were of the intractable problems the british faced in winning this war. they are fighting what we now call a counterinsurgency operation, with a force at any given time of 50,000 or 60,000 troops spread out. in order to win this war, they need 500,000 troops and they needed to be able to occupy any country they conquered permanently. that was politically and economically impossible for them to do.
so once washington figured out how to fight the war, irony of ironies, the way to fight is not to try to win, the way to fight it is to make sure you do not lose. right? preserve the continental army intact as much as possible, do not fight battles unless you have a tactical advantage, etc. they won. tada! not only did they win, but at the beginning of the conflict, we go back to this -- nobody says the americans are fighting in order to acquire an empire in north america. nobody says that is our goal.
it is all constitutional arguments to be free of the tyrannical regime of parliament in the british ministry. but at the end of the war, almost by accident, whoopsie, we get the land between the alleghenies and the appellations and the mississippi. and that creates an interesting problem, an interesting problem the british had before the war. you can see this as a continuation of the french and indian war. the french and indian war of 1754-1753, the brits and the french are fighting for european control of the american interior. by the way, there were these other people called native americans have been there for 600 years. there are about 2000 of them. they are in the french and indian war, they control the balance of force. whoever gets the native americans is going to win. and the americans are in there just as allies. and so, the american revolution becomes the next chapter in that same story.
it is no a fight between the brits and the americans for who controls this area. and we went in. the native americans site mostly with the brits. they think the brits are going to win, because as anyone would have thought, if the brits can win against france, the concert they win against these amateurish americans. we did not talk about this. once that happens, a native american presents east of the mississippi is probably doomed. it is a tragedy. here is the final point in making. we were making tragedy. the biggest item in the landscape is a huge crater. and it is called slavery.
and we said that any historian, or any writer of essay questions for the advanced placement exam, who fails to make slavery a central topic is doing a disservice to the american history. it is there. it is the ghost at the banquet, the elephant in the room -- whatever you want to call it. that said, any historian who brings his or her political agenda in the 21st century and uses that as the exclusive window through which to view that problem is also doing american history a disservice. that we have to first come to grips with the way in which it was seen in the way it was perceived by the american leaders at that time. also by the african-americans trapped within it, if we possibly can.
and we left it at the end, this is a tragedy. and the question we have to discuss, the question we will not discuss here, but the one that you as teachers i think should raise with your students is, what kind of tragedy was it? a shakespearean tragedy, meaning that human agency had a hand in it and we could have done it differently. they could have been solved. or is it a greek tragedy, my little latin background from the jesuits. tis the will of the gods. it is embedded, intractable, no way to solve it. we do know beyond any shadow of a doubt that if it had been faced squarely and put on the
agenda in the constitutional convention, the constitution would have never been passed. but are there other ways it could have been removed? we will talk about that and subsequent classes, but concerning that on the record now, we call attention to slavery's significance. true to the historical situation in the late 18th century. interestingly, you get to the antebellum. you get souther's saying it is erners saying it is a positive good. we are taking care of those people, better than they would be if they were back in africa. they say that. calhoun says that. interestingly, nobody says that
in the late 18th century. there are people that wanted to be removed. franklin says that. adams says it from afar in london. and other people like slave-owners, such as jefferson and pinckney, it is a necessary evil. we cannot do without it. our economy cannot work without it. but nobody makes a moral case for slavery in the late 18th century. they know it is wrong. they all know that slavery violates the values on which the american revolution was based. there is no disagreement about that. ok? so anyone that claims -- and the south would say it is not, but it is -- and the confederate flag thing?
we understand there have southerners live grown-up that understand it is a patriotic thing, but go back and read. when south carolina secedes, they tell you why. it is slavery. the civil war is about slavery. and anybody who argues different way from that is a fool. ok. when i was in the army, are there any questions? that meant, do not ask any questions! [laughter] have i said anything you would to comment on? yes, david? hold on, david. you are the guinea pig, it is going to happen 100 times. david: i want to go back to
revolutionary founding. you got me thinking about what terms we are going to use. last night, i came up with a thought -- joseph: my goal is to set off explosions in your consciousness. no nuclear weapons. david: just grenades right now. the founding was the war. the actual war. they got us away from great britain, the revolution occurred when those four guys came up with the idea to create a constitution. and then got ratified, it changed the entire thinking of the spirit of 1776. joseph: adams is not in us. david: i know. there is a book about this. it is that new book. [laughter] i don't want to promo the book, but that is interesting. it is possible, counterintuitive , to what i would think.
but that makes it probably a good idea. mainly, i would say, huh, the founding is the rescue of the american revolution. joseph: by establishing a nationstate. that is the founding. you are right, too. that is the more revolutionary act. i think that you are raising the question of terminology that has larger intellectual significance that is worth talking about. and, you know, you have to deal -- you serve on any committees, is interesting. put this on the ap exam. because there is no right answer to that. but anybody that can talk intelligently about that, they
know a lot about american history. david: i'm more comfortable looking at changes of thought being revolutionary, as opposed to wars. joseph: like this guy from the new york times, he wants me to write a piece on the eu and the united states. but, you know, the greek crisis is really the eu crisis. it has not been exposed, there really is no such thing as the eu. but i think that what americans do in the constitutional convention, even more the 1790's, is create a national union. the framework for it, even before there is any nationals. some people now say there is no such thing as a european union, there is no such thing as europe. the american experience is irrelevant. it is relevant because there is no such thing as the american people in 1787. even though historians have
said, we the people. the first lines of the constitution, we are going into stuff i have not talked about. marsh is someone worthy of writing about. you know, he is a peg leg guy. the is the same size as washington. he is six foot three inches. washington was measured in a casket. when they get ahead of jefferson for statue, the came over to mount vernon and did all the studies. but then he went back to paris and did not have the torso. morris was in paris. he was the american minister to paris. the torso to jefferson's statue in front of the richmond state house is governor morris' body.
without the peg leg. he is a real ladies' man. even though we had a peg leg. you figure that out. there is this episode where he leaps out of a window of this married woman to escape the arriving husband. and he breaks a limb. and he says we all wish it was a certain limb he had broken. that is not when he gets the leg, that is when he was a kid. anyway, in the august of 1787, they send the draft of the constitution to the committee on style.
if you can ever get on that committee, get on that one. that is the one you want on. and because madison and hamilton are on it, the assign the whole thing to this guy. he is a good writer, he tells good jokes. the draft he begins with says, get this, we the people of maine, new hampshire, connecticut, rhode island, down the coast. we the people of each of the states. he changes it. how does he do it? he just does it. and the whole thing going on in the constitutional convention, it is what is federal and what is state. where the line is drawn? and he single-handedly give the
constitution a national scene by beginning "we the people." in virginia, patrick henry said if they only said we the people of the state, i would not object. but that is not what they said. they said we the people of the united states. and there is no such thing. ok? they are virginians, new englanders. this is what we call a tangent. [laughter] or a sidebar. let me ask -- we have to move on to the theme for today. i'm going to ask, this is a way to get into this i hope, how many of you actually write letters anymore? ok, me, too.
is this experience familiar to you? do you agree or disagree? when i get a letter in the mail and it is hand written, and even better if it's written with a fountain pen, i am really thrilled. i say, great! somebody has sat there and done this. that person's thought process was deliberate product at the time to do this. most of the people that i know that are younger than me, including all my kids, they are insulted if they get such a letter. why insulted? i do not know. it is like this is anachronistic. it is like we do not do that. we do not write cursive. >> you cannot read it.
joseph: right. how many of you, as teachers, of the students you teach, how many write letters? a lot? or few? letter writing is no longer an art am in the way that it was back in their day. ok, alright. what is the difference between a letter and a tweet? or an e-mail? >> 140 characters. joseph: in terms of what it tells us about the writer and what it conveys as a document in its meaning to the reader? what are you looking for in a letter versus an e-mail? chris?
hold on, chris. you go. chris: you can delete, you can look at it and say i want to change that. joseph: you can cross things out. the deliver see the original draft of the declaration? chris: i guess with a letter, it is more deliberate. and an e-mail, when i write an e-mail, i'm try to respond quickly. i have like five e-mails. i expect there will be a back-and-forth, not like this is over the next five days. this will suffice. joseph: so the thought process of doing an e-mail matches with the thought process of the person receiving it. this is a -- you do not expect a long attention span. you want to convey information quickly.
chris: if i do right along e-mail, you bold their name. make sure they read it. joseph: you're not as raising your hand? who is that? kelly, chicago. they have to let you talk. kelly: when you are talking about tweets or e-mails, i feel like they are instantaneous and kind of knee-jerk -- not really thoughtful. in some senses, people can really hide behind them. as teachers, professionals who get e-mails, maybe they would not say that to your face. but with a letter, you really have to be conscious of what you are saying and you have to
really want to say it. and generally, you are sending -- saying it to one person. joseph: you are opening up a pandora's box. you know, you're talking to the most technologically incompetent person in the world. we are not humble about that. do you think, and maybe matthew this is what you were going to ask him a that we are going through a cognitive revolution? based on the means of duplication that most people now use, that psychologically and communication that most people now use, that psychologically and cognitively, makes us much more, much more quick, but our attention span is much shorter? kelly: yeah. joseph: you cannot ask what you would 100 years ago.
even if it was good for them. kelly: i feel that people are very sort of hidden behind technology with their writing and thoughts. they do not have a lot of accountability for what they say in something that is so quick. joseph: they do not expected to you to read it carefully. kelly: nor do a lot of people. is a good or bad thing as far as a revolutionary written word? i feel at the letters come are people going to keep tweets? no, they just toss them out. what is would be left of our record? who will read what we wrote 200 years from now? joseph: my agenda is just not speculative. it has grounding and what we -- in what we will talk about today, you have been reading their letters.
let us say the letters of their correspondents, when they first meet each other and the courtship starts, my thesis argument with you is for you to consider -- we are talking about people from another place and another time. and if you want to understand them, you have to understand how they think about time and use it, and how distance makes a difference. not just time, but distance. you know, like, they are going to write a letter. when you write a tweet it is immediate. boom. you presume that. when they are apart in paris, he is in london, it is six months. and so the way you write a letter and the way you read a letter is different.
it holds a different mentality. i like it, part of me still lives in that anachronistic world. but i think as teachers talking about students who are adolescents, you are introducing them to a different universe. it is almost like going to a foreign country. is that ok back there? do you get what i am saying? you have a sour look on your face. [laughter] maybe this means serious. how about a smile from west virginia? mackey, wait for the microphone. mackey: when someone says they take time to write a letter, you are extremly careful about what
you are saying. you want to say that the person on the other end will receive your words in the way you intended. you have to really watch you put things down, pay attention to all of the thoughts and feelings that you want to make sure get through to the other person. it doesn't happen with the technology aspects of writing these days. joseph: is it fair to say something has been lost? something has been gained? there's a trade-off. you don't want to make it all good and evil, but -- mackey: when you want a response, you are hoping that when you write it, you want your words to impact it party in such a way that their response is something that is going to be -- joseph: equivalently delivered -- deliberative. if you get the three-line response, that is not what you are looking for. mackey: writing has become more superficial. getting them to dig deeper and letter writing, slowing down and really thinking about what they
need to put on paper, to be able to not only share their thoughts and feelings but gained a response that they are looking for, it is a challenge. joseph: where do you teach? albuquerque? the land with no vistas. they are different. i drove from outer albuquerque to santa fe. it was like one extensive mirage. you assign a five-page essay. discuss the letters from john to abigail on the following question, was abigail adams a feminist? good question, right? they write this five-page thing.
it is filled with sentences that are simple and not complex. and you make comments on the draft, like it should be taken seriously as an essay. which is what you have assigned. the student's honest response is, why are you doing this? the comments you are making operate on the assumption that this is a deliberate essay of a thoughtful person communicating in words and language. she or he does not ever do that. ok? like they literally do not think that is what language in the written form is about. you are behaving badly with them. not only do you give them a bad grade, but if you change their syntax or you question it, i have little things that have worked out. like huh or jerky.
rewrite, we all work it out. but as a teacher, it is the most labor-intensive thing you can do. it takes a hell of a lot of time. the way in which we are responding to the work of our students, we need to have a conversation with them. because we are really imposing a set of rules that are part of letter writing -- alright. what did you think of the courtship? they meet each other and abigail's father -- he is not impressed. by the way, she is only 15 at this time. hindsight is a real
disadvantage. we know what is going to happen. it will turn into a 59-year-old marriage. it is the first time we hear their voices. by the way, in the original edition of the corres that e -- of the correspondence that was compiled by their grandson in the 1950's, lots of these letters are censored. because their honesty about physical attraction is considered excessive. ok? it is interesting, most of the letters are censored. it is like, we are more puritanical than the puritans. [laughter] they talked about things we find, ew! ok?
are they in love? how did they -- i'm trying to ask questions that do not include the answer in them, you know -- see if you can guess what i am thinking. the worst possible kind. here is a cluster of things i want to get at. when does it become possible to marry for love? because they married for love. and i think that in europe at that time, that is still unusual. it is not unusual in massachusetts and new england by the middle of the 18th century, but they just assumed, right? and we know that her family is not quite so sure about john. he is not quite of the social standing that abigail smith is. her father went to harvard.
john's father is a shoemaker and farmer. adams went to harvard. it did not mean as much then as it did now. he was ranked 23rd out of 45, i think. and the ranking is not an academic measure. it becomes that after the revolution. it is a social measure. he was ranked socially in massachusetts as sort of middle of the pack. among people to go to harvard, anyway. and academically, he is like number one or two. but socially -- she is from the quincys. they named the whole town after them. and her grandmother thinks that john is not quite good enough for her. right?
to which she says, this is the guy i want. shut up, i will get him. and she does. the correspondence, they assume certain pseudonyms or persona. why do they do that? it seems weird to me. what is this? >> diana? joseph: he is lysander? point, what do we make of that here? in some ways it is showing off, like i'm literate. i have read shakespeare, the classic breed on the other hand, you can say things in those characters that you cannot say straightaway and get away with it.
ok? so certain of john's about how he was to be with her physically, you can get away with doing that. we will see the same thing later today, when she is pregnant. and she is having contractions, she is writing him in between contractions. in the film on hbo, it is one of the great documentaries. it is handled in passing, but i would've make a great thing about that. anyway, the kid is going to be stillborn. a tragedy kind of thing. but the etiquette of that time precludes any discussion of childbirth or of the physicality of sex, anything like that.
you cannot do that. it is -- you just can't do it. they have to find ways to talk about it that are elliptical. i think it is interesting, the new englanders have trouble with sex. we southerners have trouble with slavery. and they both have ways and thinking to avoid it. alright, who is the better writer? abigail, who says abigail? you are smart suckers. that is what i think. [laughter] but i am hardly alone. most of the people who read all the letters, including the editors of the paper, one of whom is going to be here tomorrow, they think that, too.
she tends to write longer letters, more literary letters. meaning there is references in there. usually, it is often not revealed -- like there is a letter she writes at the end to jefferson, a real killer letter. nobody tells jefferson off like she does. ok? nobody! but the line i always thought -- what a great line, it is original. faithful are the wounds of a friend. wow, i have to use that. you know? it is from proverbs. i did not know that. she doesn't tell you. [laughter] but when i teach -- anybody ever read the adams-jefferson correspondence later in their lives? 1812-1826? whenever you teach that, you can
teach it to high school students. they can read it. everybody assumes that jefferson is going to be the more impressive writer. and almost everybody comes up and says, well, i am not so sure about that now. jefferson, along with franklin, the premier stylists of the late 18th century in america. but had this one student, she put it this way. she said this is jefferson. this is adams. jefferson is serenity, he floats. his whole mind floats. his ideas float. adams is tenacious, aggressive. what is the word?
he will be a string of verbs -- nouns, like seven or eight of them. they are like air bursts. and you can see them sitting there, grrr! he is writing these things. and letter writing in the late 18th century is an art. and most of the founders practice it diligently. washington is not great. i had to read all of his correspondence. every once in a while, but adams and jefferson are the best. hamilton is good, too. but he treats it like a memo. and abigail is right in their. certainly worthy. what is her education?
did she go to radcliffe? it did not exist then. she was homeschooled by her father, and by her grandmother who gave her a lot of books and stuff. she was not -- she did not have latin and greek. which is the gateway to learning in the late 18th century. one of the things that makes women in new england both even before the revolution but most especially after the revolution, women who are presumed to be literate and must become educated at least up to a certain level of literacy, it is assumed that they have the response ability for educating the kids. think about this. in society, who cares if they
can read? they don't have to vote. but in a society that is representative, republican, they and theye informed, have to be educated. that gives a role to women that traditionally they had not had. they have to be educated up to a certain level. i'm going off on a tangent here. alright, nobody -- ok? tom, wait for the guy. where are you from? tom: the great state of connecticut. wasn't the urge for literacy for women -- it predated the
republic. it was more a puritan thing. they had to be a to read the bible. joseph: you're absolutely right. it was a new england puritans . the literacy rates in new england are 90% to 95% in the first half of the 18th century. women's literacy rate were about 70%, men close to 100%. in the south, it is not measured as carefully. they do not have the evidence to measure. but the women's literacy rate is less than 50%. new england is distinctive, exceptional. we are in new england. and the way in which jefferson educates his daughters is not the way abigail will educate her daughters. the letters to jefferson, they learn how to play cards.
practice the harpsichord. learn to sew, embroider. nabby, that is what john quincy is reading, pacifists. ok, in this initial glance of them as they come onto the screen for us, i think that we see two people who fall in love. and express their love and waves that are gushy, like early love is. it is raw, naive. i liked it when they're getting ready to get married, and they are moving stuff up to quincy -- you will see the house.
it is small. she says i want you to take my baggage, and then, sir, you may take me. i like the line which he says i have writ to use some things i could not speak. this underlines the point. letters are deliberative and sometimes cause for expressing thoughts and feelings which, in conversation, you would not. it is deeper than that. just the opposite of our world, in many respects. ok, moving right along. we are going to do this more quickly. j.a. and a.a. from 1765. whenever you're asked a question about the causes of the
revolution, the war, the depression, some major event, it is often wise to break it into long-range and short range causes and triggers. especially wars, good on triggers. what we're talking about here is the short range causes of the american revolution. the coming of the american revolution. the long range causes are the demographic buildup of a population of about 2.5 million, if you include african-americans by 1776. i did not miss in this last -- did not mention this last , one but benjamin franklin of the first things he publishes, well, that is not true. he publishes it and 7051. -- it in 1792.
a pamphlet called "observations on the increase of mankind." it is not the study of promiscuity. [laughter] it is a study of demography. he says that the population of north america, the black population, it is growing at a rate at which it is doubling every 20-25 years. he said in 1700, there will be -- there were 12 in lisbon for -- 12 englishman for every american. by 1775, there will be three englishman for every american. push this forward into the next century, is he tongue and cheek when he says this? are his eyes twinkling? we can expect the capital of the british empire to be somewhere in western pennsylvania. [laughter] maybe in the vicinity of pittsburgh, which does not exist yet.
the thing that is amazing about his numbers, he is absolutely on target. how he gets it right without any of our statistical -- the things we are used to. there is a sense brooding about the american colonies, they had become a critical mass of population. and as bishop berkeley writes, "westward the course of the empire takes its sway." adams reads this. this is where it is going to happen. economically, the american colonies from 1700-1760 are really becoming more important to the british empire economically -- in terms of imports and export. you can do statistical analysis, but we are growing.
the colonies are growing. then, and there's a lesson here, the brits win big in 1763. try not to win big. if you win big, you get problems. the problem they have got is they have inherited the french empire in north america. how do we govern it? this is also interesting from an american point. this is when the british empire decides oh my god, we have to be , an empire. this is what happens after world war ii. what are we supposed to do? well, first of all, we will draw a line, and say nobody can go , across this line. the proclamation of 1763.
nobody can go across the alleghenies. this is really a great law. nobody can avoid being detected. and they are streaming across the alleghenies already because there is free land out there. they got this, how do we govern it? who is going to pay for the war? we have a debt of 150 million pounds, he fought this war for you guys over there, so you should pay at least a portion of that money. right? makes perfect sense from a brits' point of view. be part of the empire. that is what causes george iii and his ministry under lord granville to begin the sugar act. but the biggie is the stamp act. we pay too much for stamps now. what is the big deal? all paper had to be stamped,
like mortgages, legal contracts, newspapers. so that if you want to alienate the most powerful in the colonies -- lawyers and newspaper guys. and it is a tax which is unprecedented. that is to say that parliament has never before directly taxed the american colonies. and the presumption up until then has been that that right of taxation belonged to the colonial assemblies or legislatures. and that that was british tradition. you cannot be taxed without representation. it is, excuse me, it is all had ckneyed and familiar. this is when john adams enters
the stage and becomes one of the people to articulate the colonial position. it is no incident that he is just married. if he did not have abigail, the raging bulls that he talks about would make him a less coherent and less disciplined revolutionary presence. she is a stabilizing influence on his life. he has been auditioning for this. he has been waiting for this. he is like waiting for a cause greater than himself to latch his career to. just making money is not good enough. i need something big. he stand before the mirror in his room and pretends to be cicero. these are the faces you make when you give a speech -- the hand gestures. he sees himself as the american cicero. how can you be that if you do not have a cause?
there is no plato, no decline of the roman empire. he is waiting for it. and he takes a prominent role. he writes a series of pam was, , theries of pamphlets first of which is the decision on the feudal law. which is written before the stamp act arrives, but it talks about major contributions in a variety of publications. some of which i would not recommend you try to read, especially this long attempt -- it is overly learned. conspicuously -- too conspicuously an attempt at a school kid try to show how smart he is. he carves out the following position, namely, the british have no right to tax us. and by implication, after a
while, they have no right to legislate for us in terms of our domestic policy whatsoever. they arrive violating the british constitution. i do not locate our rights, as jefferson will in natural law, i locate it in terms of british law. jackie, if i then say to you, go and show me the british constitution. go find it. where is it? they keep it in westminster? we have the american constitution and the national archives. i want to look it up, the british constitution. where is it? it is in england. ok. that is true.
way over there, far away in england. but how long is it? how many pages? >> 84. joseph: it is not written down. there is no british constitution -- a document. it is the inherited buildup of s legal precedent. , but adams can point to precedent for his cause. to wit, the thing to do is simply not obey it. if you are living in a place where that is a minority position, you are going to be in trouble. ok? suppose you are living in massachusetts, and you simply
say, look, i'm going to send out my newspaper without stamps. or i'm going to, you know, do this mortgage -- whatever it is. who is going to stop you? well, suppose someone does try to stop you? suppose there is a british agent who is a stamp collector in boston. he says you cannot do that. guess what? a mob appears in his house and talks to him. and says you like your house? , you might find another job. and if you do not find another job, we will tear your house down. tearing your house down means we will not kill you, but we will destroy your property. 65-75 is onefrom 19
that is constitutionally clear, and supported by the forces in play in new england. the thing that is most amazing about the stamp act is the uniformity of response throughout the colonies, not just in new england. you go read all of the newspapers, they all say, the brits are wrong, they cannot do it. do not say, we will not do this, because they will get in but, on this principle, they all agree. thes pretty unanimously position. adams becomes the articulate bostonian who represents this. i will go until 10:20, and then take a break. , to raiseget this in us toestion for
start with. adams' career can be summarized. all the names of the pamphlets that he writes. what is abigail? what is abigail like? na john quincy, 1767. there was one called susanna who died, who was born in 1768. charles, born in 1770. then tommy, i think in 19 -- 1772. and then one more that comes later.
she is giving birth every two years. is there any form of birth control? eh. she is breast-feeding, and that performs -- that creates some form of birth control. assumes she is going to be pregnant for the first 20 years of her marriage. all right. question that i leave you with and you get a cup of coffee. is what i just said the most sexist thing you ever heard? [laughter] to ase it relegates women nearly biological role in the historical logical process. the historical process.
or is it an accurate description of what women are injuring and experiencing -- enduring and experiencing as mothers and wives in this period that abigail is living? abigail is also reading newspapers. john is helping take care of the kids. but especially abigail, i want us to talk about how we discuss her as a political figure at this moment in time. take a break. we will be back here at 10:30. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2015] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] >> i say the things that don't come out. so this is quite unusual for me, but i do want to thank all of you for your friendship and your
law support. i shall remember it always. and thanks to the young people for this. announcer: pat makes an was the first republican first lady -- nixon was the first republican first lady to address a national convention. she was chief supported to her husband, and his behind-the-scenes political advisor. onight at 8:00 p.m. eastern c-span's original series, "first ladies," examining the public and private lives of the women who filled the position of first lady and their influence on the presidency. from martha washington to michelle obama, tonight at 8:00 p.m. eastern on "american history tv" on c-span3. in august, 1945, 70 years ago, american forces dropped two atomic bombs over jan.