tv American Artifacts CSPAN February 14, 2016 6:00pm-6:36pm EST
we need to think about that. whereas our place in the long period of time humans have been here, are we going to be proud of the legacy in the future? staff recently traveled to santa barbara, california to learn about its rich history. you can learn about santa barbara and other stops on our cities tour by going to www.c-span.org/citiestour. you're watching american history tv. all weekend, every weekend on c-span 3. >> during campaign 2016, c-span takes you on the road to the thee house as we follow candidates on c-span, c-span radio, and www.c-span.org.
>> each week, american artifacts visits a historic places. we'd traveled to learn about congress hall, the meeting place untilngress from 1790 1800. our guide is park ranger matthew ifill. in the years that washington, d.c. is being built, philadelphia serves as the temporary capital. the second floor was the united states senate. the house of representatives -- each representative at that point in our history -- 130,000ted 100,000 --
people. we had 106 members of the house would fit in this room and eventually from 16 states. the story of philadelphia as a capital, we are taking the story of a new constitution and doing things like adding a new state to the original 13. also the bill of rights would become part of our constitution while philadelphia was the capital. secretary of state thomas jefferson would formally the commitment to the constitution by coming to congress in this building and officially announcing we have changed our constitution, which of worst, the bill of rights is a -- which of course, the bill of rights is a huge part of our history. but also the amendment process itself. we are proving that part of the
constitution works, that we can update and make changes to the constitution without having to start completely over from the beginning. but really this building, to a large degree, it is creating the american political system, the two-party system we know today is going to begin here and it's going to begin with issues, much as you would expect. we have debt and spending arguments and debates in this building. it's not any different except we doe details from what today in washington, d.c. we argued about that from the revolutionary war. alexander hamilton wanted all of the debt in the state to come through the federal government and then to use that debt, paying it off, to build credit for the young united states, and not everyone agreed with that plan. and foreign policy questions
would rise. a lot of americans felt like we owed france. they helped us in our war. we still do not like the british very much. for george washington, the first president, the notion of neutrality was preferable. we didn't really have any money. we did not have a navy at all and our army was not much to's didv, so we were not -- we not have a navy at all and our army was not much to speak off, so we were not in a position to go fight a war. so he serves with the neutrality proclamation which divides us into this question of, ought we be doing more to help france? and then george washington will send john j, our first chief justice of the supreme court, send him to britain to negotiate with theaty, again
idea of keeping us out of the war and settling questions of rights.er and these he seemed like a good candidate for washington to send. of the treaty he brought back becomes very controversial and really one of the tipping points in creating these two parties leading to what we know today. the treaty basically becomes publicly attacked in the press, in what would become the democratic, republican party, jameske thomas jefferson, madison would start vilifying this treaty. what is interesting is nobody has actually read it. and yet, it's going to be pilloried in the press to the point where a lot of people hate this treaty they do not know anything about. side, they are in
favor of the treaty, in favor of building the young economy of the united states, staying out of a war, trading with all sides in europe, not the limiting -- not being limited by a alliance with france. we see this treaty become a head point between these two sides. and the senate approves the treaty. according to the constitution, the senate approves treaties and they are done. the problem is, the house of representatives basically says we won a chance to discuss this treaty as well. to see ally demand of the papers and so on. he says, no, the senate approves it, you have to deal with it. what the house is going to do, maybe what we will do is take away the funding. we won't pay for this treaty. theill just not spend
money, therefore, the treaty will effectually diet this point in time. -- will effectually die at this point time. fight in the house of representatives in this room is whether or not to pay for this treaty. on the last day there is a big crowd in the public how can he. you have men like vice president john adams, supreme court justices sitting in the balcony, where weurse, an era love our speeches, long political speeches, deep, infused with rhetoric. the best speaker of the time is a man named fisher ames. he is a federalist. he wants this treaty to survive. he has been ill. everyone is waiting to see if he will speak on it. and he does.
he says, if my strength will hold out, i will proceed to speak. is about an hour. i think it is about 55 pages in the congressional record. he collapses. and it is, do people remember the devastation and do we really want to do this again, fight a war for years? apparently some of the men had tears in their eyes, and when he finally finishes, the supreme court justice james era dell says,to adams and my god, isn't that man great, and adam says, yes, he is. there is a committee of the whole vote. the head of the committee was our first speaker of the house, and he breaks the tide. he is ostensibly on the democratic republican, jeffersonian side, so he should be against the treaty, but he is convinced that maybe not going to war is a good idea, so he
pass the bill to and he is vilified. he is vilified that he voted for this treaty against his side to the point where he loses his eight in the next election to congress, -- his seat in the next election to congress, it even worse he is stabbed on the sidewalk by his brother-in-law. he survived. i am sure that family gatherings became a little awkward. , and yet at the same time we are proving that new constitution, despite these difficulties, works. john adams will stand on that left one with thomas jefferson, also at the front of the room, outgoing president george washington, and this is a big deal. changing presidents for us is a fairly normal thing. we have big parades and parties
and it's a big thing, but this is a really important day, it is we were proving the system, where we, the voters elect our leaders and we change them when we vote, we are proving that system works, because the john adams election is a lot of first. will notrst time we have george washington as our president. george washington was the only man to be unanimously elected for president. not run for office. at the end of his first term, he did not even run for a second term. unanimously reelected. at the end of the second term, people tried to talk him into a third, but he's not having it. wants to retire. it's someone else's turn. he will step aside for john adams. we do not know if this works.
we have never actually changed our president. will the people accept this? we don't know. the other thing, john adams was contested in his election. he had to fight a battle against his opponent, who was thomas jefferson. these two-friends. obviously they wrote the declaration of independence together. it is, for us, today, a normal presidential election. we have never had a president who only got half the vote, we have never had a president who really had to fight for an election, and of course, the other problem in those early days, if you come in second, you are vice president, which means the new president is one party, the vice president is the other party. pick any modern election you the two opponents
together and you could see how neither of them would be particularly happy. thomas jefferson and john adams are not happy to handing at the front of the room together. it was eighth whole house. there's a lot of curiosity. but you can also figure out half the men in this room are not happy to see john adams standing up there. the other half are not happy to see thomas jefferson sending up there. and no one is happy that george washington is leaving us at this time. john adams could look around and see a lot of people who were not very happy. tears ine people with their eyes that washington was leaving them and he would later say if you look around, he only saw one person that day who looked happy, which was george look onon, who had the his face that said, john adams, you are fairly in and i am fairly out. but washington would quietly go to private life and i think very happily withdraw from the scene.
adams would be inaugurated. he would have a difficult presidency because now we're seeing the throes of political fighting going on, but it happened peacefully. we proved to the constitution continue we could t in times of difficulty with the system in place. in 1800, they would leave this building and moved to the current capital of washington, d.c. adams and jefferson would have another difficult election, this time jefferson winning and he would be inaugurated in the new capitol of washington, d.c. but this is setting the tone for our early history all the way up to today. , the room itself will start out as a courthouse. this would have been a courtroom, but around the time this building has finished , when it finishes
construction, i think they're hoping if we're really nice they will stay here and not go down to that city along the potomac. they end up expanding it to make a little more room for congress. at we think the setup looks like this. .e have a seating chart it shows the desks. we do not have any desks that have survived. we are fortunate we have some of the chairs. have 30 houses of congress. and as far as original items on the platform for the speaker of the house is in original. we have three cheers exactly
like that. we do not necessarily know which was which. we have one for the speaker of the house, one for the vice president, and one for the chief justice of the supreme court. we do not know which one is which. what we can fairly say is somebody important sat in that chair for speaker of the house. went, it this room became a courthouse again. this was divided into two double rooms for a lot of years. they divided down the middle. the time of the first world war, the city government have left this block and the historicecognizing the value of these buildings. they want to turn them into museum space. if you visited this in the years of the first world war, he
would've seen the room restored back to the big single room it would have been, but it would've just been a room filled with old stuff. , again the war ii goal is to try to get them back how they look to in those important days. we have one chart we have been able to find. one with the members, showing who was sitting where, one snapshot for congress. we have enough sketches to show the platform for the speaker of the house, enough original furniture where we can match up things that we think were here. unfortunately, a lot of the items that were here, if the city needed them, like chairs, desks, they use them. things that the government
might've owned -- for instance, the library of congress started in this building. they started buying books for the library of congress. a lot of things that went to washington, d.c. are burned when washington is burned in the war of 1812. we lose a lot of those early things. that is my the challenges. you do not necessarily have all of the things. but you do what you can to give people the sense of what it looks like when men like james madison or young andrew jackson are sitting in the room as members of the house of representatives. we are in the senate chamber here at congress hall in philadelphia. the senate is quite a bit more grand than the house of representatives would have been. the british have a parliament the house ofes,
lords, the house of commons and there's definitely parallels with our congress. house is very similarly set up to the house of commons, and the senate therefore would be based on the house of lords. obviously will not -- we will not have dukes and girls with noble titles, but we have states in every state is equal in the takes the the state place of the house of lords. the british, using that green color government, the colonies red wouldit, but the be much more that house of lords kind of color, so you will see red in the early senate here in philadelphia. that kind of has look to it that seems a bit on the higher end. the interesting thing about the senate is they are created with a bit more power, power they tied to the president. treaties in the united states
are with the advice and consent of the senate, approve with the advice and consent of the senate. there is 1 -- also any time the president makes an andintment to his cabinet, ambassador, supreme court, of course, those people would have to be approved by the senate, or rejected. here in philadelphia, we have our very first treaty approved by the senate, which was the jay treaty, and that led to a big fight in the house of representatives about whether or not to hate for it. of ave the worst rejection presidential nominee by the senate. john rutledge, who was one of the signers of the constitution, one of washington's first choices for the original six justices on the supreme court.
he accepts, but then resigns the servedthout ever having on the supreme court. he will become the chief justice of the south carolina supreme court. when john jay resigns, he is .lected governor of new york he leaves the post of chief justice. that leaves it empty. washington will tap john rutledge of south carolina. rutledge will come back to philadelphia and serve as chief justice. recessappointed during a of congress. he actually serves the session of the court as chief justice. when the senate comes back later that year, they then take up the question of approving john rutledge. now george washington never had anyone reject it that -- rejected that he has appointed. this is never happened in our young history. john rutledge has a number of
things going against him. people think he is crazy. he has definitely had some strange things to say. he has a reputation amongst some people. but also, where he will also get into trouble, and he made pointed comments about that jay treaty negotiated by his predecessor. he made some speeches. they were rambling speeches. he made some comments about the senate itself. would rate the newspaper and they would read what the south carolina supreme court justice would have to say about them, and they would remember these things and they would decide perhaps this is not the best guy to be chief justice of the supreme court. got to run the court for a while, but he was sent packing back home. the first rejection of a
presidential nominee. again, you are seeing the constitution in a lot of different directions being you see other occurrences where this happens. another thing that will not get exercised in philadelphia is the power of impeaching -- if the president is impeached, the house would vote to have an impeachment, the senate would basically be the jury in what is essentially a trial to decide the president should be removed from office. you look at the powers of the senate and cv things that they can do that tie them to the president in a lot of will -- and you see the things that they can do that type into the president in a lot of ways that gives them an advantage over the house. finally, the other thing about it a bite that makes
unique is you get that longer-term. the longest elected term in the united states, six-year term, but early on, senators were not even elect did. -- elected. .enators were appointed originally, senators were appointed by their state legislatures. senators do not have to run for office. as a result, senators in philadelphia met in private. they did not meet in public. the house of representatives always did. now the senate starts getting into the room controversial bills like the jay treaty. one of the early senators sent namednnsylvania, a man albert gallen, probably most famous for being secretary of the treasury of the republican side -- on the federal side of the early senate, looking at the
strict rules would say he has not lived in the united date the requisite number of years to serve in the senate. so, the senate voted him out. he is rejected from the senate. naturally they want to know why the senator was kicked out of the senate. you get this growing public feeling, we want to know what happens when the senate meets. and obviously, they have guys sitting in the balcony watching the house. is they want guys watching the senate, because that is news. and i'm sure there are people in the house of representatives going, why do these guys get to meet and private while we have to meet in front of all of these people? finally after five years of meeting behind closed doors, the
senate relents and builds a small balcony and starts to meet in public. that's one of those long-standing traditions. but when you go back to our earliest days, this is where you are seeing they do not have everything that is set in stone. the constitution is only four pages long. oute men have to figure based on are about few lines. basicallyhington invents the job of the president going off a few paragraphs of the constitution. what do i do every day? when he was to negotiate a treaty with various indian tribes, what he will do, he will come into the senate and sit down and say, well, i'm supposed to do treaties with your advice and consent, so i want your advice and consent on these issues. i want to discuss. goes, we are not
really interested in talking about that with you in the room, why don't you give us some stuff and come back later? now for washington, he is not a youthat likes cons of, know, public accolades and he does not like to give a lot of speeches if he can avoid it. he will do an address to congress every year. at they do not call it the student of the union yet. but he will come to the senate for his inauguration for his second term as president. he keeps it low key. he does not do the bigger events that we saw downstairs with john adams, which was a big deal. his second starting term, more or less goes back to work. he did not want the day public ceremony to take place. that would happen with adams'
inauguration. so, again we are growing into united states would be today. when you look in this room, a lot of guys in the senate were the architects of our constitution. by senators being chosen their state, a lot of these guys had an impact on writing the constitution would be sent to by philadelphia. james madison runs into the problem in virginia that patrick henry is one of the great powers in virginia. henry is not a great fan of madison. madison, even though -- we called him the father of the constitution -- the obvious thelem of getting a seat in senate does not happen for james madison. he has to suffer through being elected in running for office and being a member of the house. as for election of senators,
that is a recent phenomena and in our history. that would be the 19th amendment. only just over a century ago. all of the men prior to that just had to court their state legislature. the lincoln douglas debates over the senate, they are not debating for people to vote for them. they are debating for people to vote for the state government to vote for them. it's a very complicated system. when you get into the 19th century, you get people going, we want to vote for our our own senate. that's one of the changes. you have to grow into how these things work. the remarkable thing is when you go back, most everything does operate the same way. we are pretty much using the system designed in independence hall that they taken to this building and use and continue on when they were when to
washington in the 1800's. when you look at this room, unlike downstairs in the house of representatives, the second floor of the building with the senate is a lot more original in terms of how the building goes. we had 32 senators. we started with 26 representing 13 states, and with new state -- vermont, kentucky -- comes into the union, they add new senators. washington,ave for 32 senators would go. the room would turn into a courtroom, and eventually it was the united states federal district court room in the 19th century -- they do not necessarily need this upper tier. desks go away. we do not know what happened to them. this is our best guess. need. you always in the mid-1800s when people
start thinking about american history, like we do so much of saying, we start need to start collecting things for independence hall. somebody says, they stuck them in the room. they were chairs for the federal congress, but either way they were displayed at independence hall. fortunately when we are restoring congress hall to look as it would have, we had 29 original chairs. the majority where the house. a couple of them are marked senate. some head it's a different political street. -- colored upholstery. we said let's put them all in the senate chamber. we will fill the senate chamber with 29 of the 32 chairs being original either for the house or senate, but original nevertheless. we arele on the ceiling
not 100% sure of the date. there are 15 stars above it. it is somewhere after the 15th state interest the union. we don't know exactly when and may never know exactly when it was painted. it was sort of an artistic rendering of the seal of the united states. that was another thing created by the continental congress and independence hall in 1782. something they worked on throughout the revolutionary war. they kept changing a little bit here and there. floore a carpet on the that is a reproduction of the original carpet. it more than likely went to washington when they moved. it is long gone. we don't know what happened to the original senate carpet. it was made specifically for the room. there was enough written description of what exactly it was that enabled us to re-create the carpet. it would have also featured the
seal of the united states, but it would been encircled by the original state seals. it was a pretty common motif of the time. chaining the states together to create this bigger thing with the united states. a lot of those interesting symbols, weather for the states themselves or the united states, they have their roots in philadelphia. of one original desk we still have is the secretary's desk and the vice president would sit in the back of the room. that's another interesting part. starting withdent john adams in an succeeded by thomas jefferson, they would be here a good bit of the time. probably more so than the vice president would be there today. today he can sit in the senate and he didn't want. early on they made it clear that john adams, they didn't want him talking. that lets them very disappointed. he was one of the first but not the last vice president's to complain about the limitations
of that job. he is allowed to vote to break ties. again, that carries through the years. the vice president is always the tiebreaker. any big day or big boat the vice president will be there. other than that the vice president john adams and find himself stuck in philadelphia running a bunch of meetings with guys who would not let him talk and it was very dissatisfied. when thomas jefferson was vice president his opponent is the president. he doesn't necessarily agree with a lot of the policies he has to be part of the executive over. it was a difficult situation, which leads to creating the system where we are going to elect president and vice president a little bit more carefully. rather than the electoral college voting for two men, together against the most those president,ing would make a system where there is candidates for president and vice president.
the real impetus is not the adams election, of the jefferson election in 1800. that is when they are packing up and moving to washington dc. there was no one election day in those days. they will start meeting and the new capital in december of 1800. they leave philadelphia that summer. in the midst of this we elect adams versus jefferson. two say we will both run guys but you can specify which is which. when jefferson wins the election technically he ties his own vice president of candidate, aaron burr. burr and jefferson being tied means by the constitution because of the house of representatives. the first thing we do in our new capital is the house of representatives has to elect a new president and vote more than 30 times before the tie can be broken. we have learned a lesson with these two elections, let's fix
it so the 12th amendment comes along to straighten out the way of electing president. they are managing to find out what does work, which isn't much, and find out much of the constitution does. today we look at a room that was much smaller than the senate today, of the senators who sat here pretty much do the same things as the senators in washington today. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] >> each week until the 2016 election, rewind features archival coverage of presidential races. next the 1996 news conference by republican pat mccann and in columbia, south carolina.