tv The Contenders CSPAN August 5, 2016 12:23pm-2:29pm EDT
but you can explain the actions by good decent men like robert e. lee and stonewall jackson. they fight because virginia needs them, not because they supported the confederate cause. neither one did. >> sunday night at 8:00 eastern on c-span's q&a. the c-span radio app makes it easy to continue to follow the 2016 election wherever you are. it's free to download from the apple app store or google play. get audio coverage and up to the minute schedule information for c-span radio and c-span television, plus podcast times for our popular public affairs, book and history programs. stay up to date on all the election coverage. c-span's radio app means you always have c-span on the go. now the contenders. our series on key political figures who ran for president and lost but who nevertheless changed political history. tonight we feature former secretary of state and supreme court chief justice charles hughes who ran for president in
1916 against woodrow wilson. this two-hour program was recorded at the u.s. supreme court here in washington, d.c. this is american history tv, only on c-span3. >> hughes is what we claim we want in both the presidential candidate and a president. >> the man who did get it, a man called charles evans hughes, governor of new york and a supreme court justice, all but won the election in 1916. in fact, when president woodrow wilson went to bed the night, election night, he thought he was beaten. >> if he'd have been elected, how american history goes in several different directions, on suffrage for women, civil rights, what does he do on foreign policy, germany sort of baited us into war. would hughes have avoided that. he is the one you could write novels about. he had charles evans hughes who was on the supreme court, and
then left the supreme court when he ran for president and then went back on the supreme court. one of the finest minds on the court. >> a fellow justice called charles evans hughes the greatest in our great line of chief justices. >> why hughes? robert jackson provided part of the answer when he was attorney general. jackson said that hughes "looks like god and talks like god." >> 1916 footage of charles evans hughes shot as that year hughes was the republican presidential nominee campaigned soon after the republican national convention. tonight "the contenders" looks at the life and legacy of charles evans hughes who in addition to being a republican presidential nominee was a two-time new york governor, a secretary of state and twice a supreme court justice. of all this he is perhaps known in his best role as the chief justice in the years after fdr's new deal. the contenders is live this
evening from the united states supreme court just across from the capitol in washington, d.c. then chief justice hughes inaugurated this building when it first opened to the court in 1935. let me introduce you to our two guests. first two guests of the evening who are joining us to talk about the life and legacy of charles evans hughes. david petrusia is a historian. his most relevant book to this period is called "1920, the year of six presidents." thanks to both of you for being here. we'll jump right into the election. set the stage for us. 1916. woodrow wilson wants to be re-elected. europe is at frame what was going on in the country and the presidential campaign. >> woodrow wilson when he was running said it would be a tragedy if his foreign policy was framed by that. turned out to be just that. america which starts his term
focusing on the progressive era, the income tax, lowering tariffs, the federal reserve system, changes after 1914 with the beginnings of the war in europe. america is fighting to stay out. but there is a question of preparedness for the war. are we prepared in case anything happens. are we being tough. are we being too weak. secretary of state bryan actually resigns from wilson's cabinet because he thinks we're being too tough. and so it's really a question of war and peace in europe, war and peace in mexico. aside from all the domestic issues. but war overshadows everything. >> and charles evans hughes is serving on the supreme court as an associate justice. how does he get from there into the nominating process? >> well, he gets there somewhat reluctantly because he enjoyed his position as associate justice on the court, and was quite satisfied with his role
there. but then he felt called by duty after several candidates didn't pan out for the republicans. he felt called to actually accept the nomination for president. but in a sense, he wasn't a particularly gung-ho presidential candidate. >> what was the republican party like at that stage? >> it's fractured. in 1912 there had been the great teddy roosevelt/howard taft split. tr runs as the progressive party candidate, the bull moose candidate. the real question that year is are they going to be able to put the republican party back together again. and do you take roosevelt? roosevelt is still radioactive with the old guard. if you take someone who's too conservative, then the progressives will not come back, even though their party's sort of been dying on the vine for the previous four years. you've got to pick someone who
is respected by both sides, someone who's not some wild man from the prairies or from the west like a bora or a johnson. somebody who's not a conservative like root. and the man to do it, and also the man who's been out of politics since 1910 because he's out on the supreme court. he has not been a part of the 1912 battles is mr. hughes. he is respected by just about everyone in the party. >> what were his politics at the time? >> his politics at the time were mildly progressive. as i say, he's not like a wild man from the west like a lafollette or norris. when he first comes to new york and establishes his law practice, they say would you like to run for judge? no. would you like an appointment to a federal judgeship?
no. but, he is asked to investigate the gas monopoly in new york city which is really gouging the customers. it's six companies. it's been going on since 1880. they come to him and they say you want to take over this investigation? he said, no, i really don't. i really don't. but he does. he says how much time do i have to prepare for the testimony for the hearings? a week. a week. and with the great brilliance this man has, he's able to pull everything together, not do it in a bombastic way but simply go through all the papers, grill the executives on the stand. ultimately it leads to a commission in new york state and you have gas rates and electricity rates in the city by one-third and then he moves on to fixing the insurance agency in new york state and really becomes a national figure. this is 1906 through 19 -- just
before 1906 and he is a progressive type candidate who is opposed to the machine of the democrats in the city because they are protecting these monopolies. but also the massive new york state political machine. boss platt who even ruled when teddy roosevelt was on. tr would defer to some of the bosses. hughes wins, puts forward a whole bunch of reforms and then moves on to the court for the first time. >> today it would be almost unimaginable for someone to resign from this position in the building behind us to run for national elective office. what was the reaction at the time? was it a surprise? how was it viewed? >> i think some were surprised. but also i think that the office of supreme court justice wasn't quite what it has become now. i think part of the reason people would be so shocked today
if a justice resigned is that the appointment's process is so much more difficult to actually get through and it's much more difficult to confirm any justice. so justices are appointed young and are expected to stay for the rest of their working career. now hughes' first appointment as justice was actually quite uncontentious. his second one was almost the beginning of the contentions within the appointments process. it occurred fairly soon after there were new rules about senate debate on nominees and it garnered a lot of criticism from progressives actually, surprisingly, given his career as governor of new york. >> we are out on the plaza of the supreme court. beautiful early october night here. we're going to be here for two hours tonight in the "contenders series which is 14 men who ran for the presidency and lost but changed political history. charles evans hughes made his mark through his many positions
but particularly in his role as chief justice. in the second half of our program we'll focus on that whole contentious era with the court packing and the new deal. he was really at the helm of the court during that period and lots of interesting things to talk with you about. later on we'll open up the phone lines as we've done for each of the programs and invite you to offer your questions and observations in part of the discussion. where was the convention that year? >> i think it was in philadelphchicago. maybe in philadelphia. i'm not sure. the interesting thing is there's two things going on blocks apart from each other. the republicans go through a series of ballots. i think hughes is third on the first ballot. he moves up until he's nominated on the third ballot. meanwhile, meanwhile, progressives are meeting just a short ways away and what they are doing is debating who they can accept, who they can accept. tr is basically saying, i'm not
going to do it. and he throws out a couple of names, leonard wood who is a big advocate -- a general, army general, advocate of preparedness. he's gotten into some trouble with the wilson administration. or henry cabbott lodge. neither one of these guys is acceptable to the progressives. so he's sort of throwing out that poison pill. what happens is at the end, the only personal that they can agree on, the progressives, is to any extent, is hughes. but they still are in a great tiff and they kind of dissolve the party. the party just evan ratevaporat. but they go away. they don't run a third party. this is one of the things of the legacy of hughes' race in 1916. we take the republican party for granted as a continuing thing since lincoln and all this. it didn't have to be in 1916. if he's not the guy willing to put it together, maybe the
progressives go back in again and we tonight know really what happens with the republican party, does if go the way of the wiigs? do the progressives replace it? who can say at that point? but the thing is that hughes takes the position, didn't want to do it, really is uncertain what to do, but walks away from the supreme court judgeship. he had said when he had taken it and when they were talking in 1912, would you be the compromise candidate to avoid the taft/roosevelt split? no, no, no, i won't do it. then finally he does it. the democrats cannot fully criticize nominating a judge for the presidency and there is a reason for that. because in 1904 they take alton b. parker off the supreme court of the state of new york and run him for the presidency. >> did he get the nomination on the first ballot? >>, parker?
no. oh, hughes? no, he gets it on the third ballot. >> how difficult was it -- i mean they come to the court and sit down with them and say here's our offer? >> i think they just called him on the phone. someone called him on the phone. of course, back then, candidates, even non-reluctant candidates, would not go to the conventions. there was a formal nominating process. weeks later they would have a big speech and sort of like -- surprise! you're our nominee. the fellow doing it that year was warren harding who had been chair of the convention. but he's really undecided. really, even his family members and his closest associates are not sure what he's going to do. now, there had been people in the early days of the republic who had resigned from the court to take other positions. there had been a david davis on the court in the'70s and '80s of the 19th century who took a senatorial nomination out in illinois. but not since then. certainly not since hughes.
>> can you speak, hughes had been a politician before he came to the court. how was he as a campaigner? >> that's probably the thing he does in his life. his life, really. not just his public career. because he excels at everything. but that campaign he's getting off the mark slowly. he's doing a dance. it's the dance that jack kennedy and richard nixon do in 1960. it's like we've got the black vote in the north, we've got the southern white votes. what do we do? kennedy carries both. the same thing occurs with the peace votes and the pro-war people in 1916. wilson runs the campaign. he kept us out of the war. and hughes really is doing this dance. and he ends up losing both sides
really. he ends up losing the pro-war people, and he ends up losing the people want to stay neutral. he's branded as being pro-german. you see these editorial cartoons. he's lumped with william randolph hurst. and in the end the german vote goes to wilson. he doesn't elucidate the campaign themes very well. he's fighting things like the tariff which is not a popular issue for the republicans that year. there are labor issues. there are labor issues which are very important that year. there's two big things which cross him up. they do not work well for him. even though as governor of new york, he has an admirable record. he establishes worker's comp boards, cases. that whole system, first in the country. there's all sorts of labor regulations put in place for the first time. so he's really a champion of
labor. but there, there's two things that happen. on the infamous california trip which we'll get into later, there's two things that happen. one thing which is never talked about is he blunders into san francisco where the chamber of commerce is trying to break the unions. and they are particularly trying to do it in the restaurants. they want them to be open shops. in other words, you don't have to join the union to be there. and they force the restaurants to put up "open shop" signs. where do they schedule his appearance? in a restaurant with the "open shop" sign right on the door. this sets off working men not only in california but around the country. union members around the country. and also, in september, there is a threatened national rail strike. and the administration and the congress passes the adamson act which establishes an eight-hour day. first thing -- first time nationwide. and that constitutionality is threatened later.
but hughes opposes it. and again, this cuts into his labor vote. so is he's got problems, and he really doesn't -- really doesn't -- isn't able to really come out and say what he would do better than wilson. >> here are the phone numbers. we'll get to calls in six, seven minutes. 202-737-0001 for those of you in the central or eastern time zones. 202-737-0002 if you live in the mountain or pacific time zones. in addition to labor issues, there were also women's suffrage issues. at that time women still did not have the right to vote on a national level. can you tell us about that aspect of the campaign? >> definitely. well, wilson had already changed his position to some extent on women's suffrage. initially he was quite opposed to the notion that women would have the vote and both of his wives actually were also of his view on this matter. at some point one of his daughters though became quite active in the suffrage movement and his views were gradually
shifting. however, at the time of the election campaign in 1916, he still believed that women's suffrage should be decided on a state by state level rather than by a national amendment. hughes went far beyond that to -- and far beyond a lot of the republicans to claim that there should actually be a women's suffrage amendment. this is kind of puzzling because in fact the states in which women could vote largely went for wilson rather than hughes which is somewhat paradoxical given hughes' support. there may be various reasons for that, one of them being this issue of the war and the women's peace movement which was opposed to the war. >> 12 states at that time had given women the right to vote. for his support of women's suffrage, a group of supporters of charles evans hughes form a fan club, i guess, who campaigned for him. they went by the name of the
hughesettes, which seems pretty modern, when you think about it. we've got some interesting things to show you. one of the nieces of someone who was a hughesette has put together a campaign of -- hughesettes website which tells of her aunt's story in the campaign. we are showing you some of the history of her aunt as a house easy campaigning for charles evans hughes in the campaigning for charles evans hughes in the 191 campaigning for charles evans hughes in the 1916 electioeti . election.charles evans hughes' law firm still exists in new york city. we went and talked to one of the senior partners who talked a bit about charles evans hughes and his support for women's voting. >> we're also very proud of an original edition of the "independent weekly" magazine which came out the week after justice hughes received the
republican nomination for the presidency. that's mrs. hughes on the cover who was obviously a very important person in justice hughes' life. and in particular with respect to this issue of the magazine, she's on here because of his support of women's suffrage which she supported as well. something we learned in the magazine that we weren't aware of beforehand, and which isn't often talked about with respect to justice hughes, is that the republican party platform in 1916 was simply that each state would have the right to determine whether or not women would have the right to vote. justice hughes gave a speech which is reprinted in this magazine after that in which he said that he was going to go beyond the republican party platform and support the susan b. anthony amendment to the constitution which would provide women the right to vote throughout the united states and wouldn't give each state simply the right to determine whether or not women could vote. >> and from that we will move to election night because we know some of you will have questions about this, the outcome.
i read that woodrow wilson went to bed on election night thinking that he'd lost. >> he thought he had lost. and it was -- i wouldn't say he was resigned to it, certainly not -- he was almost about ready to either give up the presidency very nobly or in a huff. it is your call as to how you want to describe it. but he has a plan where, okay, i've lost, i'm getting out. back then, presidents did not take office in january. they had to wait until march. you had a big interim and you had a situation where the country was drifting towards war. so what do you do? his plan was he would appoint hughes as secretary of state, getting the jump on warren hardi harding, because the secretary of state was second in line to the presidency. once hughes was shuffled aside -- or secretary of state lansing was shuffled aside for hughes, then thomas marshall, the vice president, would
resign. and then wilson. so sort of a three-point plan. and hughes would become the president until he formally took his term. >> well, what happened is that it was an incredibly close election. >> oh, yes. back to that. >> but wilson won. 23 electoral votes. >> it is about a quarter million, i think, of popular votes. it is not that close in the popular total. but what it is, it is so close in california. that's the key. it is decided by about 13 electoral votes. that is what the situation was in california. on the second incident which occurs in california. and really the particular nature of the incident is kind of overplayed because, again, back to that progressive party convention which kind of dissolves and leaves the field open to hughes. they're in a bad mood. they're really not resolved as to this they're going to be
endorsing. one of the people with a really bad temper is governor hiram johnson of california. johnson is running for the senate in california, united states senate. he's got a primary and he is a very ornery guy. hughes, because of the limitations of the travel in those days, has to get out to the coast early, and then back to the east coast where all the votes are later towards the end where it is crucial. so he swings through california. he does this before the primary. johnson is the governor. he's not the candidate -- the california republican party is so split and they cannot make any decisions on who will escort who, who will chair the meeting. it is -- it is worse than palestinians and israelis. it is -- the feelings are so bad. and finally what happens is, there's an incident in long beach, california where hughes
who has still not met johnson, goes in to rest at the hotel there, doesn't know that johnson is there. johnson knows that hughes is there. they leave the hotel, they never meet. and it is blamed that a hughes has alienated johnson in this. but really, johnson could have made the move. he knew. he could have gone over, and in fact right after that, hughes through an intermediary, invites johnson to chair a meeting, introduce him in sacramento. johnson refuses. and hughes loses the state by about 3,000 votes. they don't know untilhe next friday, friday after the tuesday of election, that he has lost the state. they don't know he's lost the election until that friday. but meanwhile, hiram johnson wins the primary and he wins the state of california by something like 300,000 votes. he wins it by immense amount. so a lot of people blame hiram johnson. they blame that specific
incident. but in fact the first meeting of the progressives when johnson goes back to california, they endorse him, but then they split up. they split up and they hold separate meetings, we'll be for hughes, we'll be for wilson. he couldn't have swung all the progressives if he wanted to, but he might have swung more than 1,600. >> in the end in the women's vote, we mentioned there were 12 states. wilson won 9 of the 12. that says about charles evans hughes that he wasn't so of a political tactician as he was running a convention? >> i think he was much more of a principled person and a principled lawyer than a politician in certain respects. so i think part of -- as i mentioned before, part of the reason that the -- some of the women didn't vote for him was because of the perception that he would bring america to war whereas wilson had promised -- or they felt that wilson had pledged to remain at peace. but really also i think one of the things that the hiram
johnson incident really outlines and shows about hughes' character is that he wasn't really very interested in currying favor with other politicians or within people within the party machine. so i think that this is shown very demonstrably in his gubernatorial career where he tries to oust some people who have issues within the administration and that's met very disfavorably because people think that the people deserved loyalty from the republican party. and so he really just wasn't interested in playing a lot of political games. i think that that hurt him in the election. >> for our two guests, let's begin taking some of our viewers' calls. our first call of the evening from rootstown, ohio, this is duncan. hello, duncan. what's your question? >> caller: hi. i was curious about any bad things charles evans hughes might have said about woodrow wilson, any bad things he might
have done in the first term of his presidency. >> any bad things he said about woodrow wilson? >> he certainly criticized the lack of preparedness for a navy up to speed in case war came. he was also very critical of the wilson policy in mexico where you have the revolutions overthrowing the diaz administration, and i think 1912 or regime, and then the country devolves into chaos. if you see the movies "viva via." and you just see one revolution replacing another right on wilson is concerned that, say, general huerta not impose another dictatorship on mexico and sends marines into veracruz to block german arm shipments.
there's incidents, crazy incidents over why they come in. it's like a flag flew here or not there. but the troops come, they go. mexico gets worse and worse and then in 1916, you get the columbus new mexico incident pancho villa kills american nationals and sends the force into mexico under black jack pershing. but that's another disaster. a lot of things to criticize about mexico, preparedness in the wilson administration. these are the two things which hughes plays on. >> syracuse is up next. curtis. welcome to the conversation, curtis. >> caller: good evening. thank you for "the contenders." i just wanted to talk about a very important decision that charles evans hughes wrote and
i'll get through this quickly. the national industrial recovery act was ruled unconstitutional in 1935 and later that year the national labor relations act was passed. and then they thought that was going to be ruled unconstitutional but it came to the high court in jones and lofton steel in 1937. i think the high court was under pressure to change their positions from ruling new deal laws unconstitutional and hughes wrote that decision that ruled national labor relations able constitutional. i think the moral of that story is that even the high court can be put under political pressure that changed their position. thank you very much. >> thanks very much. knowing we'll spend a lot more time on it a brief answer thank you. >> you raise a crucial point and a crucial contention among historians the question of whether the switch in time that saved the nine, which is what defeated the scheme that franklin roosevelt proposed, was
actually politically motivated or consistent with the evolution of the justices including roberts and chief justice hughes and we'll get into that later. >> louisville, kentucky, shawn. good evening to you. >> caller: thank you. i was calling -- i'm a student at law school -- i'm wondering what chief justice hughes' court have on fdr's view? thanks for "the contenders". >> thanks very much. basic outlook of the new deal programs overall was? >> so, at the beginning of the new deal, as the prior caller mentioned, they were striking down a lot of new deal legislation, and the thing is that there was kind of a split between certain of the justices, some on the right called the four horsemen, and then others of the justices like justice brandeis who were quite far to the left.
hughes and roberts were in a sense swing votes so that they basically would decide whether to uphold or strike down various new deal regulations. then in 1937 there was this fairly radical switch or at least a switch that was perceived as radical where the new deal programs were upheld. >> we'll talk about charles evans hughes, the man. we heard from the outset that he looked and sounded like god. would you add a little more color around how tall was he? >> he was 5'11". interesting enough, he was very slight as a young man. very thin. as an adult, as a young man he weighed 127 pounds, and the guy who cleaned up the insurance agency, they would not write insurance policy for him. they gave him the physicals and say, we can't find anything wrong with him, but he's just too thin. we won't give him a life insurance policy. he lived to be about 85 and was
very vigorous, very active. ultimately he reached an adult weight of about 173 pounds, which he would measure very carefully. he would do this in an interesting way. at breakfast he would have a pile of toast in front of him, and he was putting on too much weight, he would remove a slice of toast. and if he didn't weigh enough, he would put another slice on. but this fellow who was supposedly so slight and not vigorous was a great mountain climber. when he is solicited by the state legislature in new york to -- after he's done the gas inquiry, he goes and he's -- i'm burned out and need a vacation. he's climbing the alps, and if he wasn't in public service so much taking up all his time and costing him a great amount of money, this is a point which is very important. this guy keeps coming back to public service again and again
and again. after he was knocked out of the presidency, he might have said, to hell with you people! i've done my time. i've fixed this and that and done that and done that, and it's cost me money again and again and again. when he was governor he bore his own expenses on so many of the trips. in the supreme court, that didn't pale out. even before he became the great crusader, he was not taking on the big cases. he should have been speaking about his earning powers. one of his great rival that is worked for hearst in the 1906 campaign against hughes said at the time he became chief justice that his public service had cost him $6 million. okay? he gave up so much in terms of time and money to serve the public. in job after job, which he did
so well. now, his intellect. his brains. somebody once said, huey long, that was first class brains, robert penn warren said that. it was the same with hughes. 6 years old he goes off to school and then he comes home, and he says i'm not learning that much there, dad. i could learn more here. yeah, son. and here's how i'm going to do it. he has the charles e. hughes plan the study, which he lays out hour by hour how he's going to do it and he does it home schooled. a couple years later moves around again. maybe he's going back to school. same thing. stays out of the school, and he's basically home schooled before home schooling was cool. he completes his high school studies on his own when he's about 12 or so. he's too young to get into college. he has to roam around new york city for a year before he can go
in. there are stories where i think when he's secretary of state or governor, whatever, it doesn't matter, he's handed a three-page memo before he goes into the meeting. he reads it walking into the meeting, and a stenographer transcribes what he says, it's off by one word. you see stories like that over and over again. >> graduated from college at 19 and went on it to cornell law school. i'm wondering if there's a sense of him at cornell these days. >> there is. he taught at cornell law school for two years, and he gave up a lucrative practice in new york under the -- which was supervised by his father-in-law in order to take a health break at cornell and also to become an academic. he ultimately wound up leaving cornell law school partly because his father-in-law thought that his grandchildren shouldn't be raised in such a
remote location. he later in life said among his happiest times were his times at cornell law school and teaching. >> he was a graduate columbia. wrong and important for all your columbia law school graduates out there. we have a clip of him we want to show so you can get a sense of his style very much of the period, but he was considered quite a great orator so let's listen to what he sounded like. >> bigotry, racial animosities and intolerance are the deadly enemies of true democracy. there can be no friendly cooperation if they exist. they are enemies more dangerous than any external force, for they undermine the very foundation of our democratic effort.
>> and we're going back to telephone calls. let's listen to a call from boston. this is frederick. you're on the air, frederick. >> hi. i'd like to ask a question about where charles evans hughes was born, and also did he come from a family of money, and if he did, where was the family -- where did the family get their money? >> born in 1862, glenns falls, new york. what do you think about his family? >> his father was a baptist, and this was very important. his father was not particularly affluent, and he grew up in fairly humble circumstances. he was quite influenced by the baptist background that he enjoyed from growing up in this family, and, in fact, his father had really hoped that he would become a religious man himself. ultimately, he was disappointed that he decided to go into law instead of religion. but his background actually did influence his jurisprudence
later on, at least some argue that, because he was quite favorable to religious liberty claims and wrote several opinions that upheld a very strong view of the free exercise of religion under the first amendment. >> wilmington, indiana next. daniel, you're on. >> caller: thank you. i'm glad you could take the time out and let us get in on the conversation. i have a question about if mr. hughes would have been elected president, if the federal reserve would have been created under his administration, and if it hadn't had been, where we might be today? >> would the federal reserve have been create under charles evans hughes? >> it would not, because it already existed. >> there you go. so on to our next question from south bend, indiana. frank. >> caller: yes. wilson ran on a platform of he kept us out of war. in july of 1916 there was a tremendous explosion in new york harbor called black tom's island, and after the war the
world court ruled that the german agents had, in fact, closed the explosion in 1970s, the german government paid the united states an indemnity. can you comment on the role of the wilson administration in covering up that explosion and its effect on the election? i'll hang up and listen on the tv. >> that was a massive explosion of this ship, which it actually damaged part of the statue of liberty, shattered windows as far north as 42nd street. the wilson administration d down-play this because it was trying to keep us out of war at in the point. now, it was very difficult for hughes that year, because he's
fighting two things. the country is very prosperous. there was a slight downturn after the adoption of the underwood tariff, but with the war, neutral parties tend to do very well in wartime. there's a great prosperity. so he's fighting that, and he's also fighting the fact that we really are at peace. the troubles dh occurred after the sinking of the lusitania are the german government comes to its senses momentarily and ends its policy of unrestricted submarine warfare. not until after election it resumes that. there is tremendous sabotage going on in the country. they're funding the pro-german groups. one of the problems wilson has during the war, during the election is they bring up a meeting they had with four pro-german people, one of whom was a fellow named jeremiah o'leary, an irish nationalist. this is one of the big issues too regarding the 1916 campaign. why is there anti-english
sentiment would be among the irish population, and the irish, it wasn't just 400 years of ill feelings, it was that they were still under the british flag at that part. they wanted their independence. hughes is facing all of these problems, and the question is what is he going to do about them? the troubles arise after that election, particularly in regard to the zimmer man note, which is unveiled where germany is plotting or trying to entice mexico to attack us and take the lost provinces back. >> before we leave this section, i'd like to talk about his spouse, antoinette carter. can you tell us a little bit more how they met? do you know about this? >> i do not. >> i'll tell you a little bit. actually was the daughter of a senior partner at the law firm, and let's listen tie current partner at that law firm talking about antoinette carter and we'll talk about their marriage. >> another thing we wanted to
highlight was the importance of mrs. hughes in justice hughes' life. we've selected for that reason a wedding invitation, their wedding invitation and a photograph of the two of them in their prime. mrs. hughes was the daughter of walter carter, who was the senior partner in the hughes law firm. as lore would have hit. justice hughes mrs. hughes as a office holiday party where she was there with her father. she was a very educated woman and influential in his life. he also had three daughters who together with mrs. hughes, i think, or we believe had a great affect on his views, including his support of women's suffrage among other things. >> and last week we learned in our program that the partners were not partners in politics. mrs. deb stayed home while jean
deb was campaigning all the time. what about these two as a political couple? >> getting back to their marriage, their courtship is very slow. they meet a few times. it's like every few months or something, and because she is the boss's daughter, he won't go near her. when people say he married the boss's daughter, that's really a distortion of what happened. it's only until he is partners, full partners with carter that the courtship really begins. she is -- there's -- particularly if you read in there about their retirement together, how close a couple they are. they're very, very deeply in love, and she is really the first spouse which in a full-fledged campaign mode gs around the can you understand on the train with him in 1960 almost like an eleanor roosevelt going into mines and stuff like that, stuff that really wasn't done yet. >> another call. this is from fort worth. this is jack. you're on the air, jack. >> caller: hi.
my question pertains to charles evans hughes's perspective on racism that was prevalent within the united states at that time. >> his perspective on racism. >> he was pretty progressive on race. in his first term as associate justice, he actually wrote an opinion that suggested that it wasn't valid for railroads to fail to create first class accommodations for african-american passengers, even if they didn't have enough passengers to fill those accommodations. so he was actually more egalatarian on race than a lot of contemporaries. later on as chief justice he would be author and supporter of various opinions that undermined the separate but equal doctrine and paved the way for brown versus the board of education. >> the next phone call is from lacrosse, wisconsin. this is mike. >> caller: i had a question
maybe a little bit off the beaten path. it pertains to the two parties, evans' party and wilson's party about the evolution of the personal income tax there and the tax debt. which party was against it, and which was for it, if i may ask? >> the income tax comes about as part of the revenue act of, i think, 1913. and that's important because that is part of the underwood tariff. the democrats lower the tariff, and when they do that, they have to make up the revenue somewhere and pass the 16th amendment. that all folds into the income tax, so i would say on the whole because the republicans are the tariff party that the democrats are in favor of the income tax more than the republicans. in terms of hughes specifically,
hughes is opposed to the income tax. why? because he says -- he reads it, and he's a lawyer. he's always a lawyer, and he's always reading every word no matter where those words go. he says, shall tax all revenue. all revenue. and he says, that means they're going to be able to tax the tax-free bonds of the municipalities and the states and destroy the balance of federalism. he opposes the 16th amendment, but on those very narrow grounds and i believe that new york state as a whole rejects the amendment in the ratification process. >> baltimore, this is joseph. you're on the air, joseph. >> caller: hi, good evening. >> good evening. >> caller: in light of the
public television programs this past week on prohibition, how was he -- did he have any attitude or input on that ugly affair? >> what was his own position on that? >> neither he nor wilson would be regarded as dries. he started -- he started to take a sip during the insurance investigation to steady his nerves at night. people said he was the human eye icicle. he was bloodless and humorless but he was high-strung. he was never a big drinker. there's a story told at the havana conference of the latin-american nations around 1924 or so as he's the secretary of state as to whether he'll serve booze or not. he sets it out there and walks over and takes the first one. he's not a prohibitionist. none of the great national leaders we can think of really are with any enthusiasm at all. >> it's time for us to dive now into more of his supreme court years. at this point we'll see good-bye for now to david. we'll see him later on tonight
and do a deep dive into the supreme court years. to begin our discussion, we'll show you some film of president franklin roosevelt in 1937. his take on what is commonly known as the court-packing plan. after that you see our current chief justice john roberts talking about his perspectives on hughes' role during this episode. as we begin, a newsreel from that time introducing to each of the members of the supreme court in 1937. >> associate justice george sullivan born in england 75 years ago. immigrant on the u.s., he became senator from utah. here's butler of minnesota, 71. only supreme court catholic. the democratic appointee of president harding. willis vander van from wyoming, 78. senior justice. 26 years on the bench. james clark mcreynolds of tennessee, 75.
confirmed bachelor. a democrat appointed by wilson, has voted against every new deal measure. only three justices are pleasing to new deal liberals. benjamin nathan cardozo, descendant of the jewish rabbi and appointed by president hoover. harlan fisk stone of new york, 64. former dean of columbia university's law school. schoolmate of calvin coolidge. the oldest justice, justice brandeis of kentucky, 80, the distinguished jewish ancestry. wilson didn't appoint his attorney general but appointed him to the court. holding the balance of power are
two justices, owen roberts at 61, the youngest justice, long a conservative. since this fight began liberal in seven decisions. and charles evans hughes, 75. the chief justice since 1930. sometimes conservative, sometimes liberal. >> president roosevelt goes on the air in an appeal for popular support for his plan to reorganize the federal judiciary. newsreel cameras record his fireside chat, his second such appeal in six days. he tells the people that the plan would protect them from using power by the supreme court. >> those opposing the plan have sought to arouse prejudice and fear by saying i'm seeking to pack the supreme court and that a baneful precedent will be established.
what do they mean by the words "packing the supreme court"? let me answer this question with a bluntness. if by that phrase "packing the court" it is charged tha wish to place on the bench spineless puppets that disregard the law and decide specific cases as i wishg them to be decided, i make this answer. that no president, fit for his office, would appoint and no senate of honorable men fit for their office would confirm that kind of appointees to the supreme court of the united states. we want a supreme court which will build justice on the constitution and not over it. in our courts we want a government of laws and not of men. >> the court packing plan was a very serious threat.
it was proposed by an immensely popular president with huge majorities in both houses of congress and targeted a very unpopular court. as fdr put it, quote, the people are with me, end quote. hughes proceeded cautiously but with determination. his letter to the senate judiciary committee demolished the argument such as the convention that the court was not keeping up with its work. and echoing john marshall's views about how a court should function, hughes explained adding more justices would make the court far more less efficient. as he put it in his letter, quote, there would be more judges to hear, more judges to confer, more judges to discuss, more judges to be convinced and to decide. hughes chose not to directly criticize fdr's effort to change
the court's jurisprudence but instead to expose that effort for what it was by refuting the efficiency window dressing, and it worked. >> that was perspectives from the time and also contemporary perspectives on the fdr era and the court packing whole part of history that we have all learned so much about as we grew up in this country. we're going to learn more about that in the guise of the biography of charles evans hughes, 1916 republican nominee for president. he failed in that bid, but very narrowly against woodrow wilson. we are learning more about his contributions to society. we're joined by a new guest at our set outside at this beautiful october night in front of the supreme court building, paul clement, who served as u.s. solicitor-general from 2005 to 2008, now at georgetown university law school. thanks for being with us. >> it's great to be with us. >> bernadette meyler is with us. glad to have you.
we said that he had two terms on the court. 1910 appointed as an associate justice, at the time the youngest, and in 1930 president hoover reappointed him this time as chief. what was the difference in him as a justice on the court during that 20-year period? did he come back as a different person? >> i think he did. he obviously had incredible experiences in the interim. everything from obviously the failed presidential run but also served at secretary of state, served on the so-called world court in the hague. he comes back to the job as chief justice as somebody who certainly had many more different experiences, considerable executive branch experience, all of which i'm sure influences him as a justice. >> can you tell us about the court in 1930? >> yes. the court actually in 1930 was sort of much less conservative, actually, than it became in 1935
and 1936. so around 1930 when hughes joined and for the years that were directly following that, the court didn't really strike down that much economic legislation. it upheld various kinds of state economic legislation in particular, and then towards the middle of that decade it sort of shifted a bit in its decision-making to the right. >> and as a leader, as a chief in those early days, what was he like? >> well, i think he was somebody who took to the administrative parts of the chief justice's job right away, and that makes sense. sometimes you have people certainly in the modern era becoming chief justice who have mostly served in judicial capacities, but here's somebody that ran the state of new york. he's a great administrator, so i think he took to those aspects of the job immediately. i also think he took to the other aspects of the job kind of hitting the ground running, because after all, he'd been an
associate justice. this is only the second time in the nation's history up to this point where somebody who was an associate justice goes on to serve as chief justice. i think in many respects he's the ideal chief justice and hits the ground running. >> at that point was he a broker of opinions and a reliable vote on one side or the other? >> i think from the beginning he was somebody who was harder to typecast than some of the other justices on the court. he was coming into a court at that that as you point out was not as bitterly divided as it became. it was still a divided court, and from his first days on the court he was near the center of the court. >> i want to take a couple calls. >> this brings up another point, which is that he was loathed to dissent. so he wanted to encourage harmony in the court, and he tended to write the most important opinions himself. he authored very few dissents, as an associate justice and chief justice because he wanted to encourage harmony on the court like chief justice marshall had towards the beginning of the republic.
>> we'll take a couple of calls. mountain home, idaho. nick, welcome to the discussion. >> caller: thanks for taking my call. appreciate it. great program. >> caller: wasn't he considered god-like, too, because of decisions he made that were not entirely on the conservative end or liberal end? he tried to find a medium ground? when he went for the new deal programs, was he pushed by hughes, or was hughes kind of following along? thank you for the program. >> thanks for watching. >> i think that hughes actually was much more of a swing vote than roberts was, so roberts tended to vote more with the conservative bloc of the court or four horsemen. hughes was more on both sides, or at least he assigned himself the more liberal opinions more often.
some thing that was a disingenuous move designed to portray himself as more liberal in orientation than he was. i want to return about being a god-like presence. he was called a jovial presence on the court, and that was partly about his capacity as paul has been discussing. he held judicial conference in a authoritarian manner. he would announce his views at first and have the other justices go around and discuss the case. but he held pretty tight reins over the discussion in conference and over the court in general. >> can we contrast that of what we know of the current chief justice's style? >> i think there certainly are a lot of similarities and not necessarily in the point of the way the conference is conducted on a day-to-day basis. i think justice hughes -- actually, in between the time he was justice and chief justice
wrote a book on the supreme court, which is itself kind of a unique thing to get a window into the supreme court from somebody who has already served as an associate justice, and at the time that he's writing this book or giving these lectures doesn't know he's going to be the chief justice. he talks about the role of the chief justice in that book and talks about the limits on what a chief justice can do because at the end of the day, you are the chief justice of the united states. you're only given one vote, and you do have to lead in a way that i think is more subtle than the kind of leadership you would have as a governor a secretary of state. i think he did manage to do a remarkable job of leaving the court, especially in kind of some of the administrative areas or moving into this building leading by example in that way. >> since you referenced it, let's take a minute and talk about this building. up until this period of time the court actually met across the united states in the united states capitol building. tell the story of how they came to have their own building. >> they decided they wanted to
have their own building, and that in and of itself is something symbolically interesting. if you think about the court until they move into this building, they're in constant contact with the legislatures, and they're passing each other in the halls of congress. there's something very important symbolically to having a separate judicial building that's physically separate from congress across the street and has a separate presence. there were, of course, criticisms as there always are anytime there's a public building. as you can see, this is an ornate and building beautiful. i think my recollection is, though, it ultimately came in under budget, which is quite remarkable. nonetheless, there was some criticism of why do they need to build this marble temple. >> william howard taft, who was president and became chief justice argued the court needed its own building. he didn't live to see it, and charles evans hughes, first chief justice to move in here.
do you know anything about whether -- i read it was very controversial at the time, and not all the justices wanted to come and work here? >> i think that's partially you're talking about judges some of who are traditionalists and it's the depression. it's an expensive -- the optics of moving into this beautiful temple have its own kind of political dimension. i think part of it is just it was break with tradition. i think from the modern perspective it seems like a terrific break and a break that was maybe long overdue. >> the pediment we're looking at, actually the architect included a depiction of charles evans hughes in the pediment. over the next call we might get a shot of that so you can see how the architects of this building depicted him. we'll listen to mount joy, pennsylvania. this is harry. >> caller: i used to study the
supreme court, and in the 1935 decisions in some of the new deal cases, i think three major laws were struck down by unanimous supreme court decisions. they were unanimous. that included the liberals. from what i understand, when roosevelt made his court packing speech, louis brandeis was deeply offended by it because he was one of the more elderly members of the court, over 80 years old. i did work on roberts, and from what i understood the votes on the case in 1937 were taken before in the court's secret chambers. in 1936 the votes were taken for the cases decided in 1937. that's from memorandum from felix frankfurt from what i understand. thank you for letting me be on the show. thanks very much. >> that caller provided a nice segue to get into the court packing era. set the stage for us, please. >> what happened in the -- i want to get back to this caller's question, because the crux of the court-packing scheme.
what happened is fdr became extremely frustrated with the fact that a lot of new deal measures were being struck down by this supreme court, and sometimes by a unanimous court. >> on what grounds? >> on the grounds, first of all, of exceeding congress' powers under the customer clause. the commerce clause is quite relevant today. it's the source for passage of obama's health care plan or the tax power, and it's also the source of a lot of legislation that is passed right now. so under the new deal the court basically was not as expansive in its interpretation of what the commerce power could do for the -- for congress and thought that often the states autonomy was being infringed upon by congressional enactments. another ground for validation was under substantive due
process or contract, which was read into the 14th amendment or fifth amendment. the new deal court or hughes court had been striking down a lot of new deal legislation, and fdr in frustration after his re-election basically proposed this plan whereby the court's membership would be increased if justices didn't retire in a timely fashion. so under his plan there would have been up to six new justices placed upon the court. now, this gets into the question that was asked by the caller about whether justice roberts, who was the chief person who supposedly changed his vote, had changed his vote before this court-packing scheme was promoted or not. one argument is that once roosevelt won the election, the court really felt that there would be a lot of pressure to uphold and sustain new deal legislation, and that it could no longer be striking down as
many laws. so one argument is just that the court-packing scheme itself was almost irrelevant or wasn't the real catalyst that roberts felt that he had to change his vote simply because of roosevelt's re-election and this great democratic consensus behind him. >> paul, give us a sense of how engaged the country was in this. was this hugely controversial, or was this a washington story? >> this was definitely not a washington story. it helps to understand the stage completely. think about fdr at this point. he's just been re-elected for the second term. he's dealing with the great depression. nobody is worried about whether it's the great recession. this is the great depression. he's trying to deal with it innovatively and passing the legislation getting struck down by the court. he's in his second term. by the time he's done with his fourth term, he will have appointed more supreme court justices than any other president than george washington.
but at this point he's like jimmy carter. he's been a full-term president and hasn't put anybody on the court. he's very frustrated with the court. he's very frustrated with the fact that they're striking down his legislation. he's of the view that they are really out of touch with the whole country, and that's part of the reason the country as a whole really focuses on this. i think a lot of that frustration both with what the court's doing, with the age of some of the justices, all that boils over into the court packing plan. i think it's very interesting to debate whether, as you say, the plan was really necessary, whether that was really what explains the court's change in approach in some of these important areas. it is, i think, fair to say it's a bit of a black eye to fdr's legacy he made this proposal. >> let's take a call from salem, oregon. this is kirk watching us out there. >> caller: good afternoon.
it's still afternoon here. i appreciate you taking my call. this is, i presume, primarily a question for professor meyler. i'm curious to know what she might know regarding the personal relationship tie-in between justice hughes and the william seward family from auburn, new york? seward was lincoln's secretary of state, and also part of the reason i'm calling is i've been puzzling for some time. back in that era, as the speech by justice hughes was indicating, the anti-racists of the communities were the republicans, and that seems to have switched around the time of woodrow wilson's presidency. when he embraced w.e.b., i was curious to know what you know about that. >> that's a great question.
i'm not as familiar with the relationship to seward, so i have to defer to others on that. there is an interesting story about hughes and race. he invited booker t. washington to an event, and it was a somewhat controversial invitation. he personally escorted him to a table. hughes pretty much retained a fairly uniform position on race throughout his career, where he was in favor of at least greater equality. i'm not sure to what extent full equality, but against the backdrop of this change you're pointing out where previously republicans had been much more in favor of racial equality, and then the democrats also sort of took on that mantle. >> returning to the court-packing plan, charles evans hughes was how involved in lobbying or setting the stage for it being defeated? >> i think it was integrally involved, and as chief justice
roberts pointed out, there was a favorite missive from the court to congress itself. that was something that justice brandeis was very much in favor of and suggested. the chief justice was very direct. in the same kind of skill set he brought to bear in investigating the gas companies back in the day. he was good with numbers, and he used the numbers and looked at the court's docket, caseload, and he really as chief justice roberts indicated really took apart a neutral case for what fdr was proposing and laid bare the obvious motivation for the court-packing plan. >> how common between the court and legislature would it be for a missive to be sent from the court on to congress? >> it does happen. the chief justice, and i don't know whether this was the practice back in the day. it has become the practice that basically every year there's a state of the judiciary letter that the chief justice sending
over to congress. sometimes it can be pointed. for a number of years rehnquist and roberts made a point of explaining that they were less than happy with the current state of judicial pay. so there continued to be these kind of issues between and among the branches, but i also think that probably the way the chief justice hughes handled the court packing scheme probably took court-packing off the table as a realistic option going forward, and i think that's one of his great contributions. >> so i completely agree with paul clement, but i wanted to add two things. some did criticize hughes at the time for essentially issuing an advisory opinion. he had consulted with brandeis about, so there was unanimity among the court about it. one part of the letter said
hearing cases in a panel system wouldn't be constitutional, and that seems like an advisory opinion. interestingly in the book that paul clement referred to before about the supreme court hughes condemned other justices for trying to issue advisory opinions. so there is some controversy about that letter, i think. >> next call is from st. joseph, missouri. daniel. >> caller: thank you for taking my call. this is kind of a follow-up to the cornell professor's comment that owen roberts prior to the court-packing plan allied himself more with the four horsemen who were the conservative wing of the court. after the court-packing plan, arguably, owen roberts was a part in the switch in time to save nine. from what i've read, owen roberts would never admit that. does either one of you know why he really did change his voting pattern?
>> do you know if he changed his voting pattern after that? >> well, the only person that knows for sure is justice roberts, and he's no longer with us. this is one of the reasons from an academic standpoint that court-packing is so interesting as a historical episode. there are a lot of competing theories. they are supported at a detailed level, but we don't really know for sure. it's fair if you look at justice roberts' voting patterns, there's a fork in the proceeded and there does seem to be a real change that corresponds with the court-packing scandal and really these three cases that emerge at a critical time that go in a different direction. >> any more to add? >> no. he definitely did protest he wasn't influenced by politics at all, but it's hard to believe that, based on the record. >> we talked about the fact this court opened in 1935, this beautiful building, and i'm wondering, you've spent a lot of time in that courtroom as solicitor-general.
is the courtroom that he operated in as chief justice essentially the same today? >> you know, there are a couple of minor differences. there have been changes in the size of the -- the shape of the bench from time to time over the time period, but it's remarkably similar to the courtroom over which he would have presided. >> we also have a historic photograph that's from the supreme court historic society. it was somewhat illicitly taken. it's a photograph of inside the courtroom while the court is in session with chief justice hughes presiding, and we're going to show that to you as well. look at that from the court in session. you don't see that very often. >> you sure don't. >> we didn't mention in his biography he was a private practice lawyer much sought after and argued 50 cases before the court. my question is, having had that
experience, what was oral argument like in his court? >> it's really, i think, a very good point, and it's something that i think is very similar to the situation we have now with chief justice roberts. we have somebody in chief justice roberts who argued nearly 40 cases when he was -- before he came onto the bench. chief justice hughes had him beat, had 50 arguments in his private practice. a very lucrative private practice, and that's part of, i think, the point made about the sacrifices that he made for public service. he comes to the court as somebody who not only has appreciation for the job of the court, because he's previously served as an associate justice, but he has some sympathy and some understanding of the role of counsel as well. i think he's somebody who would be certainly willing to ask questions of counsel but had a real appreciation that counsel had prepared for the argument and had points they wanted to make and was also ready and
willing to listen to counsel in argument as well. >> pittsburgh, this is tim. welcome to the conversation, tim. >> caller: thank you. i have a question for your guests about the circumstances of justice hughes' ascending to the court as chief justice in 1930. i don't know if this story is true, so i hope your guests can confirm it. that the conventional wisdom after taft had died was that charles evans ghes would not agree to serve as chief justice, because doing so would mean that his son would have to resign as solicitor-general and then to everyone's surprise charles evans hughes sr. decided to take the job. his son had to resign as solicitor-general. >> you probably know some of the history of your predecessors in the solicitor-general position.
what can you tell us? >> i have heard the story, and i do not know whether it's true. i've heard different versions of this story, and you may have a perspective as to the truth of it. i will say this, though. which is to say i think if somebody, you know -- if the president really thought -- president hoover really thought charles evans hughes would not take the job and was not interested in being chief justice, that seems like a naive assumption. hughes had an interest in the chief justice job going way back. when he was first put on the court as an associate justice, he was appointed with some understanding. there's a letter to this effect. that he may be elevated very early when there was an opening at that point, and he wasn't. he was passed over for chief justice white. of course, president taft was the one that passed him over, and there's some suspicion that president taft might have had an
eye on the chief justice job that he ultimately got. so it was actually kind of for favorably disposed the older justice white to that position rather than the young robust then justice hughes. so i've definitely heard the story. it certainly had to be a difficult moment around the family dinner table, since there's no question that chief justice hughes accepting the job meant that his son had to give up the solicitor-general job, which is a very plum job. but it's naive to think he was really going to turn it down. >> i think some people did think so at the time, but they were probably mislead in various ways. just one addendum about the fact that he may have had had aspirations for the chief justice job earlier. there was some possibility he would be appointed as chief justice rather than as an associate justice when he was first appointed to the court. in fact, his being passed over for chief justice might have been one of the reasons he was
presidential nomination than not, because he ultimately aspired to the chief justiceship. >> next telephone call from columbus, ohio. this is mark. hello, mark. >> caller: one thing i wanted to talk about is did he have a problem with the supreme court judges to stay until their 80 or 90 years old, because i think they're way out of touch with the american people. there's a whole lot of things that goes on where they have been in different types of groups like the kkk and stuff like that, and they still had the same beliefs than what everybody else has in this country. they ought to be appointed by different presidents, we ought to be able to vote them in. i think it would be a little more fair than the way they are right now and it would be more a
part of this country than just thinking they're gods or something, you know. >> mark, thanks for your question. he talks about supreme court justices not knowing much about the rest of us in society, being out of touch. i'd like to hear from both of you about this. >> i think actually this is part of what motivated fdr's court-packing plan. part of what he was saying is some of the older justices had ant toe indicated notions about society and they were out of touch, and that's why all of the justices took offense at his plan. >> i think that's right. those are ideas that maybe we need a retirement age and term limits and maybe we need some way of either making the justices more responsive or either limiting the length in which they serve. it's interesting. these are topics that then attorney hughes addresses in his book about the supreme court, and he talks about the various pros and cons and he's certainly cognizant that there can be difficulties, sometimes justices
stay on longer than maybe they should. he concludes anyways at the end of the day the current system we have is the best system you could have when it comes to things like vindicating people's individual rights, that it's a virtue and not a vice that the justices are somewhat removed from everyday politics. >> inside this supreme court there are two very large coverage rooms, the east and west conference rooms used often for public events, and there are portraits of each of the chief justices who have served. we're going to show you the portrait of charles evans hughes here inside the court. as we look at that, i would like bernie to talk about the most significant opinions he authored. >> he did author some very significant opinions. one opinion that is underdiscussed is against alabama. this is an opinion he issued
early on when he was an associate justice and it involved striking down a peonage law. even though slavery was abolished, under the 13th amendment it wasn't clear whether there could be labor required for debt. he struck down this law that had allowed for peonage and said it wasn't relevant the party involved was african-american, but instead that anyone shouldn't be subjected to this requirement of labor for debt. that was one important decision. he had a lot of important decisions he authored during his time as chief justice. among them were decisions on both sides of the spectrum in terms of striking down economic legislation or upholding it. one case i think is especially crucial because it signaleded his willingness to understand
the flexibility that was required by economic legislation pretty early on in his term was the case of home building and loan association against blazedell. this was a case involving a minnesota mortgage moratorium act, where the time for repayment of mortgages was extended, and basically the claim was that this violated the state's responsibility not to impair the obligations of contract. what chief justice hughes said in this case was basically that contracts have to be understood within the context of the public interest. so one of the themes he can kept coming back to was the way in which individual rights had to be maintained, but that had to be within the context of a protection of the public interest more generally. >> do you have anything you'd
like to add? >> i think those are great opinions to highlight. i think the great thing is, he was the chief justice for a number of years. he certainly wrote more than his fair share of the opinions. so they're definitely opinions we could point to. most obviously the west coast hotel and the laughlin steel cases are the ones that are essentially the pivot points for the switch in time. so those are certainly very important opinions. but i also think that there are some, what i would describe more as civil liberties opinions that he wrote, near against minnesota, a very important case that is really one of the very first important first amendment cases as part of the courts. now it's hard to imagine the supreme court of the united states without the first amendment. it's an important part of their docket. but near against minnesota is one of the building blocks for the first amendment free speech jurisprudence. and the assembly, and problems with laws that try to target people for being members of
unpopular groups, and the court has kind of waxed and waned in many respects. i think the dejong decision he wrote is ahead of its times. >> we have another call. lon is on the air. >> caller: i would like to ask your panelists, with both charles evans hughes and fdr being a part of the new york aristocratic elite, both were progressive governors. one took the path of the highest elected office, the other went the judicial route. what kind of rapport was there between them, and i was just wondering, behind closed doors, if there's any evidence of any cordiality, or was fdr regarded by hughes as a traitor to his class? also, i was just thinking of this while i was listening to your discussion. was there a point at which
hughes realized that even though he was an elected governor, that he realized from his aristocratic background, he couldn't aspire to running for president? even though perhaps he wanted to be president. and i'm thinking of george nathaniel curzon, the last vice roy of india, who had the ability to be prime minister, but because he was from that aristocratic class, he didn't have hope of holding that office. those two questions and i'll take your answer off the air. >> thanks. the relationship between fdr and charles evans hughes. can you speak to it? >> hughes swore in fdr on several occasions. so there was an amity between them. but the various tensions over the relation between the court and president at that point in time, it didn't really lead to a very amicable friendship between the two men.
and also, hughes himself was somewhat reserved in terms of social life, within d.c. he and his wife only would entertain, or agree to attend dinner parties on saturday night because he felt that it would contravene his judicial practice if he went out any other time. so he wasn't as much as a figure in the washington social scene as one might imagine. >> the only thing i would add, too, he wasn't really from the same aristocratic roots as roosevelt. his upbringing was exceptional from an education standpoint. i think both his parents were really remarkable individuals, but i don't think it was a youth of great luxury, and great wealth. i think most of the wealth he accomplished over his career, was really through his own law practice and his own endeavors. i think there were differences in personalitywise and backgroundwise as well.
>> next call from stockton, california. carol, go ahead please. >> caller: hi, stockton. >> i thought so. go ahead. >> caller: supreme court justic supreme court hughes was there until -- was he on, still the chief justice in 1948, or did he retire before his death in 1948 which would have made him around 85 years old at the time. >> that's right. >> caller: thank you. >> thank you very much. you'll jumped into the last part of his life which we'll spend a little bit more time. when did he retire from the court? >> 1941. >> right. exactly. he stepped down when he still had a few years left, and i think that's something that was probably not unintentional. in his time on the court he had seen some justices get to the end of their time and have difficulticient about when they should leave. he was very close when he first came to the court with justice holmes. and then when he came back to the court as chief justice even though he'd been away for some 20 years, justice holmes was
still on the bench. one of the things he had to do was eventually deliver the news to justice holmes that his colleagues on the court had decided that it might be time for justice holmes to move on. i think that was one of the most difficult things that he probably had to do as chief justice, especially because of the closeness between the two men. and i'm sure it was one of the most difficult things that justice holmes had to deal with. >> what was his relationship like with brandeis? >> he had a quite amicable relationship personally. brandeis was willing to sign on to this letter or agree to support this letter that he wrote against the court packing deal. and i think that brandeis objected to basically a lot of hughes' judicial philosophy and was much more liberal than hughes, but respected him as an intellect. this goes back to a theme that we've come upon a lot which is
that his formidable intellect and ability to question various litigants and cases was admired by the other justices. >> any doubts? you've described his formidable intellect. if you could, if you could time travel, want to argue a case in front of his court? >> oh, i think it would be fascinating. i think some of the other justices on the court, some of the four horsemen in particular, were kind of difficult personalities from the bench. i'm not sure it would be all roses. but i do think it would be a remarkable experience. and obviously you're talking about not just the opportunity to argue in front of chief justice hughes but justice brandeis, just cardozo. this were formidable intellects across the court. >> a couple of mechanics questions about the court. today this are about 8,000 petitions to have cases heard. they hear about one out of 100, 70 to 80 cases per year. what was the workload of the
court like then? >> well, it wasn't that many more cases that they were hearing then, but the petitions for cert were much lower. when roosevelt proposed the scheme, there had been 890 petitions in the prior year and only 100 and something had been granted. that was one of his grounds for complaint against the court that they didn't have enough energy to hear the cases. now a greater disproportion between the number of cases that are -- petitions and the number granted. >> oral argument generally an hour today. were they at that time? >> i think they were still typically more constrained. the early days of the court, arguments would go on for days. by the time of chief justice hughes, the arguments were more limited. i also think that just to follow up on the very good point that was made, i think one of the stories of the supreme court as it's developed over history is more and more of its docket has become discretionary.
at the time that chief justice hughes was on the court, one of the things he did was he moved the court more in the direction of having greater discretion over which cases to take. and initially that was a source of at least potential controversy that they were exercising their discretion not to hear some cases. hours, by today's numbers it seems quaint. now the court literally only hearings one in 100 cases that somebody would like them to hear. >> we have a half hour left to go in our two-hour look at the contender. we're featuring this week charles evans hughes, the republican nominee for president in 1916. unsuccessful in his quest, although it was a close election against woodrow wilson who was vying for his second term. and then charles evans hughes went on to serve as chief justice his second term on the supreme court. and was very much at the center of things during fdr's court packing scheme. indianola, mississippi. anita, hello, you're on the air. >> caller: hi. to the professor, i hope you have a healthy and happy baby,
and i love that you all try to catch it every friday night. my question is, hughes, justice hughes sounded like a man who was for progression. and i hear you wax and wane about how he wanted the blacks stood up for. i was curious what you would think about women stepping forward and them being on the court now and what he would think about the wrongdoings going on in the court today. >> i think that's an interesting question about his attitude toward women. i mean, so we heard earlier that he was in favor of female suffrage much earlier than a lot of other people. i think his attitude about women was somewhat ambiguous. so as governor of new york actually, he was an advocate for more progressive legislation than he was later. some people have argued he sort of had to turn more toward the right later in his career. among the kinds of legislation he was interested in at that point was to protect women and
children laborers. but some opposed those kinds of measures because they thought that they were paternalistic. and even in his later time on the court and as chief justice in the west coast hotel case, he in a sense used a somewhat paternalistic logic about protecting women against unfair labor practices. so not just protecting any laborer but that women might need some protection. so -- so on the one hand, he was in favor of allowing women more autonomy. on the other hand, he had a somewhat paternalistic viewpoint. >> columbia, tennessee. this is bud as we discuss charles evans hughes. >> caller: hello, and thank you for a wonderful program. i would like to know the opinion of your panelists as to what you believe charles evans hughes might make politically and judicially of what's going on wall street right now. >> well, can you project? >> well, i mean, everybody's got
their own perspective on what's going on at wall street right now. i think that charles evans hughes was in some respects one of the great early reformers. and if you think about the trajectory of his career, he didn't seek out public service, you know, for sort of its own sake or as something he really wanted elective office. he came to public service through his law prak 'tis 'tis and an opportunity to investigate industries where there was a lot of corruption. i think this was something that was a hallmark of his career. i think even in his presidential run it's probably consistent with the idea that he wasn't necessarily the world's best back-slapper or knew how to build alliances with people. i think he was focused on getting rid of corruption and not caring that a few sacred cows got slaughtered in the process. >> you mentioned that his was one of the first controversial appointments as the chief justice.
i read that both sides were concerned that he was going to be too pro business. >> yes, this was a very something and paradoxical concern given his -- both his earlier term on the court and also his time as governor. as governor -- and i think he was very reform-minded. i think of him sometimes as combining troeddy roosevelt's reform-minded not. he seemed to have an early career as a reformer. people were concerned that his time as a private attorney and his time in private practice had led him into pro-business alliances that would make him disposed to regulate companies anymore. i think the main issue was the time he spent in private practice, although i think that that concern was not warranted given his earlier career. >> going to take a call from toledo, and then we have a clip about charles evans hughes and
race. toledo, tony, you're on the air. >> caller: hello. thanks for taking my call. this particular question may be most properly directed toward professor clement of the georgetown university law school. professor, sir, how do you feel mr. hughes would have responded to unelected officials on an international organizational scale such as the rockefeller-funded united nations being able to dictate international law as opposed to an elected official who would use the congress to pass particular laws? >> thank you. >> that's a great question. it's one where i think that the chief justice hughes would have i think very kind of nuanced views and not something where you'd say, oh, boy, he'd really be hostile to the international organizations because, of course, this is somebody who came to the chief justship after serving on the international
court in the hague. so he's been sort of an internationalist, if you will. and in his writings, he has been less critical of the idea that international law is our law. in fact, in his book he specifically says international law is our law. on the other hand, i think he would ultimately say, though, that our own elected officials have the ultimate say over what the scope of our laws are, and i think he would have had a few that congress had quite a wide scope to embrace international law principles. but if congress wanted to say that certainly principles of international law didn't apply in the united states, then that would be the last word. >> can i just -- >> sure. >> i think that's exactly right. he says that congress has the last word. that international law can fill in the gaps in certain respects. but i also think he was kind of ahead of his time in promoting u.s. involvement in the permanent court of international just. he was not only a judge on that
court but also advocated the u.s. assuming -- adopting jurisdiction or be under the jurisdiction of the permanent court. >> we've had a few callers who have asked about charles evans hughes and race. we'll return to the hughes, hubbard, and reed law enforcement, the law firm still -- law firm, the law firm still existing in new york city and hughes' -- bog rea. >> we've tried to select things which reflect important periods or stages in justice hughes' life. we've collected a number of different things including original books that just hughes authored. most notably, the autobiography which we find to be especially interesting. my favorite story in here is one that justice hughes tells of a visit that he scheduled when he was the president of the baptist society in new york city. he asked booker t. washington, the notable civil rights activist at that time and religious person himself, to
come and speak to the assembly. and when booker t. washington and his wife arrived, justice hughes escorted mr. washington and his wife to his own table and sat him this. which at that time, unfortunately, was a controversial things to do. and justice hughes took advantage of that to speak to the assembly about the important of diversity and tolerance. he was very disappointed that a group of religious people would themselves be intolerant to having booker t. washington at his table. >> we have about 22 minutes left to go in our two-hour look at the life and legacy of charles evans hughes, the contender, a man who changed history. we brought back one of our first guests, david petrusia, joining us on the plaza after the supreme court. one aspect we haven't spent time on and we should is his role as secretary of state in the pivotal post-world war i years. can you tell us about what contributions he made in that
role? >> yes, absolutely. he's regarded not only as one of the great chief justices, he's regarded as one of the great secretaries of state. when he leaves, he's regarded as one of the top three. john quincy adams, secretary seward as we mentioned before, and himself. what he does is he inherits a great mess where because of the failure of the league of nations and talking about him and international affairs and international law, he was for the league of nations, for the united states of america to enter the league. but he was not about to cede sovereignty to the league of nations. specifically he was opposed to article ten of the league of nations which committed the united states basically to go war if the league decided we were going to defend boundaries, say of the british empire in india, ireland, or in the mess of the map which had been created in europe after the treaty of versailles. he was opposed to that. he thought that the league could be fixed. he planned to submit a clean bill sort of treaty which could
get through the senate when it became secretary of state. unfortunately it was impossible. warren harding saw this quicker than they did. hughes recognized the truth of that, that it was really a fool's errand to go back there. the senate was not going to approve that. he moves on from that. he stays. he thought about resigning. he stays. he has really -- he pioneers an international disarmament and a groundbreaking navy treaty which caps the ratio of ten, ten, and six, for the united states, the united kingdom, and japan. scraps a lot of heavy tonnage battleships. and this is a good deal for the united states because with our congress we were not about to spend the money on the military. we would have lost ground to japan in that decade. also he moves on to other treaties in the far east. he gets japan to give the problems of shantung back to
china, a major accomplishment. it's a things people wouldn't believe. going into that decade, the united kingdom, britain, was united in treaty, that is if they were attacked or the other party was attacked, they would go to war. the other party was with japan. and there was a fear actually in the united states that if we got embroiled in a controversy with japan, we might have to go to war with britain on that. he broke that treaty very smoothly, a for-power pac. one thing he was not successful in was the immigration treaty with japan which was in 1924 and was the japanese exclusion act. he tried quite hard to get that ameliorated. he was not able to do that. the senate was a great problem to him in foreign affairs. it would be a toss-up between that and france. >> next telephone call with our
three guests. greensboro, north carolina, and charlie. you're on the air. >> caller: wonderful series, and thank goodness for c-span. who was the person in the 1916 election on a plan side that ran against hughes? i had heard that had the other person been the nominee they would have beaten wilson. >> am i supposed to take that one? >> yes. >> really the contenders were senator fairbanks, who had been a vice president under president theodore roosevelt. eleanor root was the outright conservative candidate. i would hesitate to say that any number, any one of those would have run a better race than hughes. i think that really the deck was kind of stacked -- it being so close, if you change any one thing, if maybe you don't have that railroad stripe which
impacted the voting in ohio as much as hiram johnson did in california, you just don't know. i don't know if you could say it was any one stronger candidate. if he had been the candidate -- if he had been so strong, he would have won the nomination. >> for all three of our guests, and we'll go one at a time and in between calls. it's time to wrap this conversation up and think about charles evans hughes' legacy. how the world might have been different if he hadn't been here, what our country might have been like if he hadn't served. i'm going to take a call, and i'm going to start with you. i'll give you a chance to think about that. puerto rico, this is gerald. >> caller: yes, good evening. i would like to ask the panelists to please explain why the hughes court decided to disregard the judicial precedence, specifically the ruling in schechter and carter in order to recognize for the
first time a fundamental right to organize unions in the case of national labor relations board versus jones and loughlin steel corporation. could you harmonize justice hughes' judicial reasoning? >> thank you very much. >> i'll give it a try. i think there is a way to reconcile those opinions. another caller pointed this out earlier, but it's easy to think about these decisions on both sides of the famous switch in time as being 5-4 one way and all of a sudden 5-4 the other. the story is much more complicated than that. and check e-- checkter-poultry, it leaves lawyers scratching their head. the birth of what's called the nondelegation doctrine. from time to time, lawyers still try fit cases into the
nondelegation option because schecter-poultry is still on the books. that was different from the wagner act, the nlra comes before the court. what i think is precedent setting and does break from the prior decisions in that decision is really the court in the previous decisions had distinguished commerce from production or otherformity of economic activity. and it's something that i think had always bedeviled the court. these were difficult distinctions to draw. if you look at that pre-1937 commerce clause juris prudence, did require thin, difficult distinctions. so i do think in that sense those decisions were not so satisfying that they were decisions that were not that easy. i mean, i think the court essentially ultimately became persuaded that that way of looking at the commerce clause
wouldn't work. >> first shotgun at the legacy question guess to bern indidea bernadette wyler. >> basically the hughes court wound up creating the modern commerce power or allowing for the commerce power to be construed broadly. and so much of the regulatory system that we're under right now or that we can enjoy really derives from congress' power under the commerce clause. so i think that that's one of the things that hughes shepherded the court through a very difficult time and allowed for this outcome to emerge where the commerce power could sort of be much more -- much more expansive than previously. >> back to calls. this time, philadelphia, charles. hello, charles. >> caller: hi. professor clement, i want to thank you for your record of
public service. the question i wanted to ask was about chief just hughes' attitude toward oral arguments. did he believe that oral argument should be like they are today, largely focused on questions, or did he have another attitude toward that? >> thank you very much. paul clement? >> thank you. he had a more balanced view in the sense that i think he understood the virtues of asking questions and also the virtues of having lawyers have an ample opportunity to explain their positions. i think in a sense we've moved to a different place historically where now supreme court argument is dominated by the questions. it's funny, at that time justices and in his book, it was almost like they felt a need to explain why it was appropriate for them to ask questions at all. i think some lawyers had the idea that oral argument of their time, and they got to give this nice prose and share it with the justices. i think he was of the view that it was important for the justices to have an opportunity
to ask questions, and it was good for the lawyer to have an understanding of what was bothering the justices about their side of the case. >> fred in washington, d.c. welcome to our discussion. fred, you there? >> caller: yes. >> your question? >> caller: i would like to know if any of the members of the panel can make a comment about secular exam at that time, about the justice view it secular exam serpgds of church and state, or at that time any of their colleagues there for you? >> thank you very much. >> caller: if any of the members of the panel can answer this. >> all right. you want to take that? >> sure. so this was a moment in time when the notion of wall of separation was actually coming into common parlance or becoming much more prevalent.
the hughes court was important more liberally. both the free exercise clause and first establishment clause of the first amendment were incorporated against the state through the due process clause of the 14th amendment. they were held to apply to state action. so that allowed for a lot more suits based on violation of religious liberty than had previously occurred. >> david, how it you take your crack at the question of charles evans hughes' legacy. >> i think it's important of how he stopped the court packing scheme. how the regulatory nature of the decisions changed, how he helped put the republican party back together again. i think his legacy is one of service, a man who time after time leaves his normal state of life to serve his country and does it with remarkable
intelligence and integrity. in a time of so much fractiousness in our nation, i think it's good to look back on positive examples and to take hope from them. >> i read one biographer said he had felt the constant tug between the legal and political spheres. did you have that same sense of him? >> yes, but i think after he left the secretary of stateship someone said of him that he was our first citizen. i think that is a wonderful things to say and certainly a true things to say about him. again, he made amazing sacrifices. amazing sacrifices when he left the state department. he was able to earn a peak of $400,000 a year. some of the jobs he had prior to that were in the range of $12,000 a year. part of the fact of his leaving
was that he knew he had to take care of his family. in between all those times, even when he was off the court, if you look at all the organizations he was involved in including the foundation of the national conference of christians and jews to advocate tolerance in the mid 1920s, the time when it was in short supply, the man was a powerhouse, tireless whether he was in public service officially or not. he was always doing the public's work. >> we have ten minutes left and time for a couple more questions. let me ask the same question of you, the legacy. >> i would say there's really two aspects of it. obviously i'm approaching this more from the legal perspective. what's already been touched on is the commerce clause juris prudence. we're still dealing with this issue. chief justice hughes rejected what i would call the
categorical approach to the commerce clause, but even he was quick to add that the commerce clause was not unlimited and that it was a limited power, and the framers had enumerated the various powers in the constitution including the commerce clause, and none of them gave the federal government a plenary power. he laid out the basic framework that we're still wrestling with, and we still have the idea that the commerce clause is broad, but not unlimited. where the limits are is something we continue to struggle with. that's a real part of his legacy. the other things that i would emphasize is the legacy of judicial independence because i do think that the court packing idea was probably the single greatest challenge to judicial independence at least in the 20th century. and i think the way he sort of fought that off i think is something that's, like i said, i don't think we'll see another court packing effort. that's a great legacy. i'd add to that that in his book
about the supreme court, he addressed what he thought were the three worst supreme court decisions that the court had made up to that point, what he called self-inflicted wounds. one of them was a decision in the 1870s called the legal tender decision. what was something about it is it's a case where the court first struck down a statute. after a change in its membership ended up upholding the statute. and in commenting on that, he said it was really the court's fault for the way they handled it. he specifically pointed out that it wasn't presidegrant's fault. he uses the wort court packing. he said no one could accuse president grant of packing the court. this was something in the back of his mind even before he was a chief justice. he sees a real threat to the court and fends it off. i think that is a very worthy legacy. >> south yarmouth, massachusetts, this is greg. >> caller: hello? >> you're on. >> caller: just curious, when
does chief just hughes get done being on the court? >> '41. >> 1941. >> caller: i have a followup question. was he the chief justice when kamatsu vs. kamatsu was written? >> no. he was off the court at that point. >>. >> caller: i was curious. >> he was off the court at that point. >> david, patricia, explain about his final years. he resigns from the court, as we said, in 1941 and lives until the next five or six years, dies at the age of 86. what were his final years like? >> well, he's very old when he goes on the court, and he's very old when he gets off the court. two years before he gets off the court he gets a real scare. sounds almost like a stroke. in fact, it's a duodenal problem. when he leaves the court it's
fairly vigorous. he doesn't return to new york, his children are up there, but he remains in washington, d.c. he had been, you know, his marriage was really a close one, very wonderful. but at this point, he decided i'm going to make up for lost time, the time which i have been away from my wife all this time. but she takes ill very quickly. i think by the end of the war, she has passed away. it's a very tragic time for him. it's one of the few times which is ever recorded of him losing control of his emotions when she has passed. it is so painful for him. his health continues fairly strongly until 1948. he goes up to cape cod, and there he takes a sudden turn for the worse, passes away. he had a fear of i think it was to be like -- not to be like justice cardozo who had been helpless toward the end of his
life. and in this, his wish was granted. his time of infirmity was a matter of days if not hours. so he passed away with all the dignity with which he had lived. >> we have just about four minutes left. we have a clip -- we talked about the fact that he swore in fdr three times, even though they had an epic battle over court packing. we have a clip of him swearing in franklin delano roosevelt. >> you, franklin delano roosevelt, do solemnly swear you will faithfully execute the office of president of the united states to the best of your ability, preserve, protect, and defend the constitution of the united states, so help you god? >> i franklin delano roosevelt do solemnly swear that i will faithfully execute the office of president of the united states and will to the best of my
ability preserve, protect, and defend the constitution of the united states, so help me god. >> charles evans hughes swearing in franklin delano roosevelt. and his legacy as chief justice especially during the court packing era is something we've discussed during this edition of "the contenders." we have a couple of minutes left. i'd like to go back where i started, paul, and that's to talk about the 1916 election. if he had won that and woodrow wilson had not won a second term specifically there, how would the world have been different? >> that's a consequential question in that it's always hard to try to reconstruct -- >> history? >> what would have been so different if some critical factor had not taken place.
wilson obviously was a president who led us through the entry into world war i and moved us forward. so i think he's somebody this history regard very well. i have to say personally, though, understanding the character of person that charles evans hughes was, it's hard for me to think that we would be poorly served even during that critical time by somebody who's done exceptionally well in so many ways, and certainly as his latest service as secretary of state showed, he's somebody who would have been comfortable in leading us in our foreign affairs. >> david, what are your thought on that with regard to entry into world war i? >> i think it's exit from world war i that change would have been made. what we're talking about is the peace process. woodrow wilson botch that's spectacularly. we see how hughes handles the treaty-making process when he's secretary of state. he brings all parties in. he gets the treaties in, and he smits to the senate, passed almost overwhelmingly.
also what i neglected to mention in his post-chief justiceship years is he's called in to consult on the structure for the new united nations. at this advanced age, he strikes some things regarding the structure of the security council, puts things in, and makes it far more workable. he's a very practical guy. and he had been interested in world justice and court rule of law internationally from an early point. if he had proposed a league of nations, there's a good chance it would have been approved by the united states of america. >> other than your own book, what's one of the best books in america that you can recommend? >> sornl hughes, the "merl oh-pusey" two-volume biography is a terrific, terrific book. that's the book if you want to know an awful blot mr. hughes. >> and you brought a book of his letters, i understand.
>> yeah. it's this book he wrote. actually a collection of six different lectures that he gave at columbia university. and as i say, it's a unique insight because here's resume nations about the supreme court of the united states from somebody who had been an associate just and would soon be the chief justice of the united states. it's a candid look at what a lawyer thinks about the supreme court. >> still highly readable today? >> very highly readable and fascinating actually how contemporary a lot of the discussion is. >> the last question for you quickly is when first-year law students come in and you teach them about there era, what's the one thing you want them to know about it? >> i think them to know about the switch in time and the fact that it may have been political or may not have been, and also what the consequences were. >> i want to say thank you to our three guests who have been here tonight on our charles evans hughes program from outside the united states supreme court. we appreciate your time with us as we learn more about this period of american history. people who sought the presidency
>> hamilton's argument was that the war had been a common struggle. all the states were fighting together for the liberty of all, for the whole country. so he assumed the debts of the 13 states along with the federal debt. they would all be treated as one debt. they would be paid off at the same time. >> saturday evening, a little after 7:00 eastern, author and national review senior editor richard brookheiser on the economic achievements of alexander hamilton. then at 10:00 on "real america," the 1945 war department film "the last bomb" daumts the father-in-law months of the b-29 super fortress air campaign against japan including the august, 1945, atomic bombings of hiroshima and nagasaki. sunday at 10:00, the third and final 2000 presidential debate between democratic vice president al gore and republican texas governor george w. bush. >> law-abiding citizens ought to be able to protect themselves and their families. i believe that we ought to keep
guns out of the hands of people who shouldn't have them. that's why i'm for instant background checks at gun shows. >> i think that some common sense gun safety measures are certainly needed with the flood of cheap handguns that have sometimes been working their way into the hands of the wrong people. all of my proposals are focused on that problem, gun safety. >> also this weekend at 8:00 eastern, c-span's series "the contenders: key figures who ran for the presidency and love but changed political history." saturday night, the 1928 democratic nominee and former new york governor al smith. sunday, the 1940 republican presidential nominee wendell wilke. >> as i was driving up the street of hoboken, lights in practically every store window, and this vacant store window had pictures of my opponent and his associates on the new deal
ticket. [ cheers ] >> i don't know of any more appropriate place to put those pictures. [ cheers ] >> for a complete american history tv schedule, go to c-span.o c-span.org. this year marks the 130th annual meeting of the historical association. these meetings include panels of historians and scholars discussing a variety of topics. up next on american history tv, a panel of historians debate the 1916 re-election of president woodrow wilson and u.s. foreign policy in a session titled "turning point 1916: u.s. foreign relations before and after the kept us out of war election." their observations in this hour and 45-minute program include america's relations with europe, the caribbean, central america, and mexico. >> okay. thank you all for coming out.