Skip to main content

tv   The Civil War  CSPAN  August 6, 2016 6:00pm-7:11pm EDT

6:00 pm
from the debate. he also books that some of the reconstruction's key political figures, such as massachusetts republican senator charles sumner. this hour-long event was part of the summer symposium hosted by the gettysburg college civil war institute. computing. i am the director of the civil rights institute at gettysburg college. a professor of history here at gettysburg. it is my pleasure to introduce mark summers. mark summers is the thomas d of history atr the university of kentucky, where he teaches courses in political history. he is the author of numerous books including "rum, romanticism, and rebellion," as -- as
6:01 pm
k examined.ve emotions in reconstruction politics. most recently, dr. summers published this book, "the ordeal of reunion," and it is already sold out in our bookstore behind you. there will be more copies coming. a volume that alongside eric boehner's classic reconstruction. it is that important of a book. mark summers has the task to frame the reconstruction era for us. he is going to raise the big questions of this period, and it is my pleasure to introduce professor summers. [applause]
6:02 pm
thank you very much, peter, and thank you very much, allison, for the great work that you and the others have done to put this together. all of you need to synchronize your watches. the last applause was at 20 minutes until 7:00, so at exactly 20 minutes until 8:00, somebody raise my hand if i am still talking, and we will start applauding. i am uneasy, i have to say, on here on this podium for several reasons. it has been a long time since i have been here. i usually like to thread my way for -- my way through the crowd, waking them up by tapping on their shoulder, or laughing in their ear if they have fallen asleep. i can't do that. the other thing is that people -- is that these stands make me nervous because the last time i
6:03 pm
did, teaching, i brought my daughter and she ran up to me and shouted "daddy, stop talking!" don't any of you do that, ok? her interest in history has remained approximately the same. the last time we discussed it is when she asked me that question that i hope is harder to answer whichny which is, dad, came first, the rain of maria theresa or not? let's see if we can get underway and try to say what we can. those of you who lose track of what i am saying, i hope the pictures will be fun. i want to throw out a few additional warnings and comments of sorts. the splendid paper we had about honor in the civil war. i had a few things i might add to suggest to think about that had to do with it, very appropriate, perhaps. wanted it is if you ask a fair number of white southerners who voted or the republican party
6:04 pm
after the war, including confederate soldiers, people like general outpouring, who became governor of mississippi under the republicans, -- alcor n, who became governor of mississippi under the republicans, said we were to accept the terms of victory if we surrender. it can also be argued this is the main method used by just about any white southerner who supports the republican party. the first thing you do to destroy them is insist they are crooks, thieves among people without honor. that means they might as well have target signs on them. they can be killed. their lives do not count. that is where honor comes in. when rutherford hayes ultimately decides to wash his hands over the last vestiges of a
6:05 pm
reconstruction government in louisiana and south carolina, one reason he does it is he believes the promises made to him why the redeemers coming into power that they will .rotect essential black rights and why does he trust their promises? because the governor's of ofisiana -- the governors louisiana and south carolina were confederate officers, and a soldier's word is good. in a plays a part there heck of a lot of ways. that's where we will start out. we will start out with something else as well that might be pertinent, might not be. that is these pictures here, as you can see. i like pictures a lot. i'm afraid this one comes off of a cigar box, but it is not bad for the 1890's. a suggestion that once the war is over, nothing really has
6:06 pm
changed. full reconciliation. that's part of what today's story is. but i want to start the story before the war and then after the war, with a kind of story of my own. personn right here, this you see is senator charles sumner of massachusetts, a andrkably ideological fierce republican, a voice for a quality and civil rights throughout his lifetime. of fierce and dominating rhetoric, a magnificent writer attention. toritician. it was once asked, have you ever ?eard sumner converse grant responded, no, but i have heard him lecture. that fit some nerve pretty well. he was a person difficult to get along with, and his commitment to equality was strong, vital.
6:07 pm
before the war, it made him one of the great wedding boys of the -- whipping boys of the white conservative south. that ferocity on his part of rhetoric of the rest led in 1856 to him being caned down on the floor of the senate by a congressman of south carolina by the name of preston rooks. -- preston brooks. it almost came to the point that it killed him, and it would be three years before he returned to the senate to battle for equal rights. i bring him up crucially, because even during the war, sumner is used as an example of everything evil and wrong about the northern response to the issue of slavery and the quality. -- and a quality. -- equality. on the altar of negro worship, spirit wrappings, free love,
6:08 pm
socialism, atheism. and you can see they're one of the candleholders is charles sumner. it is perhaps not surprising int people were shocked 1872 that sumner would support the democratic candidate for president, horace greeley, a man who declared at one point that while it was true that not every democrat was a horse thief, every horse thief was a democrat. how could you support a party so hostile to equal rights? you had stood your entire right to freedom. even more strange, after the defeat of greeley and his staff, charles sumner -- his death, charles sumner, accused of being the worst of the egalitarians, he rose in the senate to offer one of the most controversial moves of his life.
6:09 pm
a man denounced during the campaign for trying to make free blacks shake hands across the bloody chasm of dead black citizens with the ku klux klan in the worst of southern racism, would rise in the senate, and in fact offer a shocking resolution that did not ask. -- did not pass. i want you to look at this cartoon so you can see how charles sumner fell so low. this is during the 1872 campaign, and there is sumner abdicating himself, on his knees, strewing roses on the grave of his a silent. -- assailant. this cartoon's adjusted sumner had deserted his principles, but sumner, who had no sense of humor, did not understand it at all. he said, what did preston brooks have to do with the attack on me?
6:10 pm
man, it wasortal slavery itself who struck the blow. that kind of sense of the -- in december when the congress opened, sumner offered a resolution to propose that all of the markings of american victories against the confederacy, he stripped from the flags the regiments of the united states. when you think of chancellors field, vicksburg, gettysburg, you discovered that these would be put on the banner of those regimens that had been there, and now sumner was calling for these to be removed. as he argued, keeping alive the memory of a civil war amongst the people is something barbarous. it should be said that sumner was on very good ground.
6:11 pm
you look at the battle flags of great britain, and you find no the battleignias of of germantown, for example, or the battle of bunker hill, or any of those kinds of battles, because, in fact, the united states was seen as part of the british empire. you don't put on their insignias re insignias of the people. but you won't find where you are fighting against other french citizens in the revolution. you just don't do that. first sumner's action, there was tremendous outrage. with the monuments at gettysburg be taken to the ground? with baby for bid in -- would they be forbidden for soldiers? would the battle
6:12 pm
standard be put away and concealed? the state of massachusetts that had stood by sumner for so long passed a resolution against this man. what is going on? why would he do something like this? has some nerve deserted the cause? he has not. but it goes right to the heart seeow we ought to reconstruction, and that is what i am going to try to explain today. a duty here is to give you basic overview of reconstruction and how people see it, and i am going to try to do exactly that as best as i can. , thect, reconstruction further after the war it went, it became more permeated with this vision of reconciliation, where all people who served on either side were in some sense equally upright, equally brave,
6:13 pm
equally moral, equally good. by 1913, you can have cartoons like this, which called itself reenlistment, showing the dead rising to meet with their congress -- with their comrades again. assumed that the south was new, that it had become something different from what it had been before. it had factories and water mills . a land of diversified agriculture, and a relatively patronizing but harmless relationship between white and blacks. this vision permeates everything. and in fact, this willingness to forget what the war and its aftermath were about is also helped on my un-american racism that knew no borders -- by an american racism that knew no borders. all you had to do is look at a
6:14 pm
comic magazine and look at the black stereotypes, as well as the jewish stereotypes and the like, or the comical blacks at the bottom. in every issue, something like that is there. it should not surprise us, then, that what happens by the the-of-the-century is that view of reconstruction made by historians is very dark and hostile. a personal statement about this. somebody once said that there were two novels that could change a bookish 14-year-olds life forever. one was "atlas shrugged," and the other was "the lord of the rings." >> as they went on childish fennel seed that engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable and the other involves orcs.
6:15 pm
withft out another book unbelievable heroes and villains that engendered a lifelong concession in this 14-year-old. it was one of those blissful days where i was convincingly pretending to be sick to get out of school, a technique that i will be glad to share with anybody needing excuses for missing meetings or the like, that i picked up and found i could not put down, the greatest and most widely read history every construction, open vote that -- history about tragicruction, "the era." turning away from the common sense of lincoln led by hypocrites and fanatics put the south in torture. puts theas congress south at the mercy of lack ignorant -- black ignorant
6:16 pm
voters and white thieves. we steal everything not nailed down and opened the streetcars to the slaves of yesteryear. to their bankroll this until common sense and an or g of corruption led by the ku klux klan brought america home again. whose hearts would not eat for president andrew johnson being mobbed a self-proclaimed patriots? who would not prize that the ruthless oliver p morton, the delusional kid glove narcissism of charles sumner and the like? andve the perfect antidote thomas nast's remarkable cartoons. in those days, i dreamed of being a political cartoonist where at least you don't have to
6:17 pm
compile an index for your work. it increased my devotion to that era. found some day to do in the postwar era what had been done for the dozen years leading up to the war and in my own four volumes. and draw all the pictures for it as well. this did not happen, but it gives you the idea of ambition. for those of us who have read tragic reaction, it seems like midsummer madness. read hisd today to b overheated prose with any kind of sympathy. history is not supposed to read by j.k. rowling, but the style does what all those monographs
6:18 pm
simply could not, create this demon theory of reconstruction. and until eric garner -- eric magnet -- his4r r read his magnificent book about it, it was the most extraordinary of the period. did not just ignore any source that did not fit its way, he twisted them, reshaped them, and distorted them. it is not fair to fall to middle school minds like mine. the remarkable thing about hours' awesomely authentic account was how universal the appraisal was all stop men of good hope and values -- appraisal was.
6:19 pm
the assumption of powers that -- by republicans found it so like their notion of the 1920's when this came out that it can't be true. you can argue that the way a character in an old comic strip that history is like a mixed drink. if you don't like it the way it is, you can keep adding things until you like it the way you want. most americans treated that way. in diagnosing what needs to be done, it is only natural. but the times in which they live shaping what they find most important. to those for whom racial equality seems an outlandish notion, those who tried to donkeysit looked like tilting at scientific realities or splenetic vindictive's, committing cruelty on the people , by which they
6:20 pm
meant exclusively white people of the south, and really only the former confederate gentleman of property and standing. raciale for whom equality seemed very much beside the point in an age of doubt -- of drought and depression, the mass unemployment and social reconstruction turned into an irrelevance after bowers' time. you can look, for example, that you can have a movie called "the plainsman." have you seen it? 1937. a lot of fun. really bad history, but a lot of fun. we have the beginning with abraham lincoln with the war over, informing his candidate of the great unfinished past before them, and that was civilizing the west. that alsont of fact, meant what we can describe as wiping out those indians that were crowding up that land.
6:21 pm
have seen the movie also know how the scene ends, with mrs. lincoln interrupting her husband to remind her that they have theater tickets that evening, and on the president's cabinet members saying with dramatic irony, i have never seen him looking so well. that is the second world war approach. reconstruction began to be more debatable ground, largely due to the challenge from lack historians like w.e.b. dubois. and it becomes harder to fight an enemy that defines nationhood by race to feel quite the same way about bowers' villains. their faces clearly turned scion and their faces seemed to entitle them of an endless stream -- endless dream. by the 1940's, reconstruction is beginning to end. by the 1960's, a new orthodox was taking its place.
6:22 pm
reconstruction is now seem quite differently is the first civil white revolution -- civil rights revolution, as a lost opportunity. by the 1970's, scholarship had been put used to force is not just those collected or produced , but to that earlier generation of historians treated as largely voiceless, the entitled -- untitled and on un-propertied americans. the real tragedy came from how far we fell in reconstruction, from the uncompleted promise of the day. it was, as eric stoner would describe, an unfinished revolution. keep in mind that term "unfinished.
6:23 pm
notan aborted revolution, even a half-won revolution. unfinished, as if this is in some sense a continuous process in lightning the present day. fobner and others pre-state not just the republic's future, but our own. it comes down to it, it is progress that this has changed, even in terms of culture. it is progress that, for example, we no longer have movies glorifying the ku klux klan, such as "birth of a nation" would do, with a ride to the rescue of white southern womanhood with crosses in their hands and did those guilty of
6:24 pm
rape. i think it is -- and execute those guilty of rape. they at last have a voice, and their story is important. not great people, not elected people, but the people whose lives socially were dramatically so completely changed. it, in fact, in all of its tremendous power. inneed to see the notices the paper of former slave men and women, advertising the white , the child, the husband, the parents that had been stolen away from them. who in the eyes they saw as joint to them forever. some of them would find them, and someone not. the story ofe
6:25 pm
reconstruction as the making of lack institution -- of black institution. be a tremendous progress that in movies, the whole stereotype of reconstruction is changed. how many of you have seen the movie "lincoln?" very good. my rule is that i never trust a movie younger than myself, but with the "lincoln" movie i make an exception. i think it is proper that the fellow uc the movie is not being movie -- you see in the is not being played by a frustrated old man in a wheelchair, as he was in the , a kind of postwar mr. potter. i will confess that i wish he would have been able to induce andrew johnson to jump off a bridge, or that a guardian angel in the form of frederick douglass would have appeared to
6:26 pm
teach johnson his ways. even his style closely resembles that of douglas macarthur in another movie released the same year. even if he takes a much more central role in making the 13th amendment, then the real stevens would have claimed for himself. but radical chic or radical republican sheet has the same drawback as its predecessors. what we have become, not what americans saw in the context of what they had experienced. it seems to me that there are problems with that. the problems are not that i oppose what reconstruction was. i cite the thousands and thousands of former slaves able to bed -- able to vote, judges, to be state senators. the vision of one of them sitting in the senate seat that legendarily had belonged to jefferson davis. it did not, but that is what the
6:27 pm
cartoonist seemed to say. this was a monumental and powerful story. the existence of two black senators of the united states. between frederick douglass, let us honor this, let's praise this fact, and let's not kid ourselves. this reconstruction was not undone by its corruption. it was not undone by its incompetence. it was undone by terrorism. beind of terrorism you would familiar with today. if you have any sympathy for the postwar plan, you must love isis. the fact of the matter is they will attack anyone, and the more harmless, the better. you don't go after somebody on the public street. you call them out of their house, out in the woods, at midnight. you lash them, beat them, kill them, or castrate them. that is how the south was deemed.
6:28 pm
we had better see and recognize that. the 55,000out casualties in the three days of gettysburg. is easyell you that it to imagine many more than 55,000 casualties in this second american revolution. these will not be honored, nor will the north increased devotion for them. they will instead be dishonored, having being beaten, threatened, killed. the conservative press would live all their careers and lives with every dirty lie they could find to show that these were dishonorable people unfit to live on any terms, political or otherwise. that is the story of the klan. that is the story of the redemption of the south. that is nothing to cheer. in much of the south, it is close to revolution, and we had better see that. it is not just against voters,
6:29 pm
it is against their wives, their daughters, their mothers, their children, their schools, their churches. that is a fact. we had better see that. we had better recognize it. look at this cartoon. this is based on an actual headline. black voter killed in richmond, the headline, "one vote less." nice, isn't it? let us not think that redemption is worse than slavery. these people are not returned to slaves. their lives cannot be sold from them. but the fact of the matter is, this is one of great and bitter tragedy. a democratic president candidate shows what reform means with six to seven blacks reformed by white leagues and white militia.
6:30 pm
this reconstruction out there is a reconstruction, not the tail of its own accord, but one that finds itself beleaguered and beaten, and a national government with all of its power has not the force to break it. what can i tell you that is new? i think he's the best history of reconstruction around. i say that right now. i am not his equal, nor do i intend to be his equal. the fact of the matter is, it is very good indeed, and everybody should read his reconstruction. i am pushing my book, as well, but you should read his reconstruction. what if you look at reconstruction not from the perspective of the present but the perspective of the past? the term reconstruction talks about the remaking of the country. it began to appear in the newspapers before the first shots of the civil war were
6:31 pm
fired. all during that secession winter, there is talk about how you reconstruct the union, how you bring it together, and the raw kinds of plans for this. if you allow the border states not to go out of the union, that ultimately the deep south states will choose to treat and come back in eventually. if you create several confederacy, an ohio valley confederacy, probably run by kentucky, these confederacies can eventually merge forces someday. vision of reconstruction is a constantly changing one, and that is really where i would suggest we could look at reconstruction differently. we can look at it as not the reconstruction of the south in terms of race but the reconstruction of the union, the reconstruction of the nation, the concentration on issues of
6:32 pm
equality and civil rights as long overdue and good. it is not the only thing that defines reconstruction. look at this cartoon. this is close to the end of the war. how could people -- people feel more bitter than after the murders and slaughter at cold harbor, at vicksburg, in front of fort wagner? in this cartoon, here's link and inviting jefferson davis and robert ely and the confederate states back to the table of the union. there, andit right it's clear this vision of a reunited country has deep resonance. division of the prodigal son returning to the fold, the vision of all people being able to toast the cause again, as we can see it. the terms are clear.
6:33 pm
they are a and unconditional surrender, not a give-and-take, not a negotiated settlement out there. the terms are those of welcome. those terms are critical to understand. disturbed, be hanged as a war criminal, traitor. it should've been that man lodged in fortress monroe, confederate president jefferson davis. waging war on the united states is what the treason clause is all about. two years after the end of the war, jefferson davis walks free, never to find himself in prison again. by bill money was raised editors of "the new york tribune ," a voice of equal rights. there's an impulse to bring us together, and that impulse is crucial. it's an impulse that allows jefferson davis to be free to
6:34 pm
give speeches, an impulse that allows alexander stevens to become a congressman and later government of the state of georgia, free of all penalties or inconvenience, a reconciliation out there that amendment, that denies the vote to know buddy -- nobody. most of them will have those disabilities removed within a decade. we had better see that. we had better understand this world. we had better understand this society. it's why a man like wade hampton could end up being a governor and then a senator for the state of south carolina. it's why a confederate general could end up on the united states supreme court.
6:35 pm
it is the-- why republicans didn't block his nomination i leave to her imagination. the fact of the matter is, that is the reality, and already, this process is going on within a few months of the war. pardons by the thousands are issued by the president in washington to just about anyone who asks for them. that pardoning process may have alarmed much of the north, but there was no attempt to try to alter it. party1868 the republican could take on the democratic candidate for president, who is the most remarkable candidate in the world. when he said he didn't want the job, he really meant it. poor ratio see more of new york. see more may be seen as a devil out there tempting the confederates, and there is columbia saying, lead us not into temptation, but look
6:36 pm
closely at this picture and look at columbia. the former confederate isn't seen as a villain. he is seen as a person who can be transformed either way back towards civil war and violence or towards peace and prosperity with everyone else. .et us remember that vision that vision out there is critical to understanding not only why reconstruction turned out the way it did but why in the end the north finally decided it could go no further to enforce black rights against the will of so many people in the white south. ultimately, you want to have one country again. you can talk about northern racism, and it's there. democrats would never reconcile the equal rights. the simple fact of the matter is, americans want to get back
6:37 pm
to a united nation under the constitution amended that they had known. by 1876.n alternative the alternative is you can assume and hope over time black rights will be restored and regained, and you have gained enough as it is. let white southerners choose their own timetable and hope for decide that you can for all time to come, you are going to do the same thing. every time the republicans who have a majority of the votes in yousouth get in trouble, will send the united states army down there to enforce it and see that the republicans win. how long are you going to have a constitution and a free government with southern states always slightly unequal, always
6:38 pm
eligible to be sacrifice? it's a crucial issue. i do not say republicans made the right decision. i do not say that what happened in the end was not a bloody and terrible and wrong result in many ways. i do not deny this fact. it is a simple fact. if you can have a situation where the democratic party will have a newspaper issue a statement, it's the moral duty of democrats to cheat republicans and populists out of their vote any way we can -- rob them? you bet. what are we here for? that is not a situation we want. the fact is, what is the alternative. the truth is the issue that union matters. us not assume that reconstruction failed in every sense. it did save and make permanent the union.
6:39 pm
the black schools may have been truncated, but they did not vanish. the right to testify in court, the right to own property, the right to legal marriage, these were not removed, and something has changed dramatically if democrats, the great party of white supremacy, in state after state in the north, when charles sumner's bill ending segregation in public facilities is overturned by the supreme court, state after state in the democratic northern states, the governor will go to the legislature and say, these rights have to be protected for our black citizens. the right to be buried in any kind of cemetery. the right to go to school with white people, the right to hold property, the right to go to hotels or restaurants -- we need a state law to do it.
6:40 pm
state laws passed. reconstruction is not as much of been, he as it might have but it's a dramatic victory nonetheless. you can see its markers in the school's out there. you can see its markers out there in the creation of black newspapers in new orleans and elsewhere, some of which would end up lasting. you can see it in so many different ways. theretely, the issue out is an issue that needs to be understood. see reconstruction not simply from our perspex but from -- perspective but from the perspective of those who have gone through the great and terrible war and did not want a big army. big armies turn you into prussia. they are the tools of would-be tyrants and napoleon and bismarck. the price out there is great, but i think all the kings horses and all the kings men could not have saved those governments of
6:41 pm
the south. i do not think it could've happened. when reconstruction comes to an , maybe the striking thing is that in the disputed election, there's no civil war, and confederates would be the first to declare that even though their candidate was beaten, it would not be like 1860. it would not be like the election of lincoln. the virus of secession was gone and for good, although we come back not just to that image of reconciliation and its value. not just of the vision of the handshake between blue and gray 50 years after gettysburg. in point of fact, we have to ask what happened to the ideal of liberty, and that brings us back to not just the handshake and
6:42 pm
promise of liberty but to charles sumner. day charles sumner offered his resolution to expunge the names of battles from union battlegrounds, charles sumner also rose with the civil rights bill to end discrimination on streetcars and in railroad mines and schools and cemeteries, hotels and restaurants, opera houses and play houses, throughout american life. two years later, the legislature of massachusetts, understanding sumner's idealism and realizing what a cherished value he was, and knowing he was an ailing man, rescinded their vote of censure. a resolution was read in the senate on march 9, 1874. afternoon, he complained of a tooth ache in his heart.
6:43 pm
that night, he was struck down on the floor of his library by a massive heart attack. he was a dying man, and everyone knew it. people came to visit and paid their last respects. his funeral would be the biggest since lincoln. sumner had the same plea. my civil rights bill, don't let it fail. rightsliation and civil were not incompatible. they were reconcilable with each other. you could not have a true reconciliation without those civil rights. that was sumner's warning. for those who wonder about keeping alive the memory of the civil war, one last epilogue sumner's back -- resolution was not the first time he did it. in 1865, when the question came of painting the united states capital, sumner offered a resolution that no painting in the capital would commemorate
6:44 pm
this war. this is the man even then fighting and battling for the end of slavery, fighting and battling for the right of black people everywhere to vote. what he proposed instead was that there should be a civil war painting that commemorated america's advanced towards equality. four years after his death, that painting, the painting by carpenter of the emancipation proclamation being read to lincoln's cabinet, would be put in the capital and dedicated to and to thef freedom cause of both reunion and equal rights. what i say right here is in fact we have to remember that, not simply to look at the past for messages about the present, but to remember it in many ways, as
6:45 pm
they saw it, and to remember something else you will find over the next several days. that something else is pretty critical. the story of reconstruction did not end with sumner for me. it can be constantly reread and re-caloric -- recalibrated. you can look for examples for reconstruction in the north. you can look for examples of reconstruction as it affected out west. you can look how it took the blood and fire out of the manifest destiny that made us want to swallow the entire caribbean, as in fact was the case. my best lesson on this is that questions of reconstruction are never fully answered. new ones will constantly be offered. when it comes to that, no library of reconstruction survey can match the tremendous
6:46 pm
bibliography of books not yet written and deserving notice. as calvin and hobbes would've said, there's treasure everywhere. thanks very much. [applause] >> i guess, folks, if you want to ask questions, ask questions. you have to get to the mic in order to be able to do that properly. let's see what we can do. if anyone wants to come up and ask anything of one kind or another, preferably not about, which came first, the rain of maria theresa or not -- >> i am from evanston, illinois. the picture you layout of, could we have had in soldiers
6:47 pm
indefinitely, it's kind of like a static image that assumes the present situation would continue forever, but rather, what if we -- just used those soldiers i believe if we had done that for the first five or eight and hadter the war protected black elected officials and created a civil society -- we are talking about nationbuilding, but there was no infrastructure. had there been black sheriffs, black local officials, they couldn't have waged that terror as easily. it wouldn't have required union soldiers. >> the answer to that is, as a matter-of-fact, they did use troops over and overthrow the first 10 years of reconstruction , and there were lots of black officials. there were even black militia,
6:48 pm
southern state militia out there, but you can't cope with the guns of the hands -- in the hands of white folks. it ate no gettysburg, and you don't have no round topped out there. what you've got out there is sharecroppersple, on the edge of the plantation, and they are alone. they are going to be visited at midnight by about 30 or 40 masked people. you will find no jury, no sheriff that is going to convict him. it's not going to happen. law enforcement officials are powerless, and the united states government could've sent down troops, but in fact, it did. once the troops go away, the same kind of attrition happens. by 1875, the north doesn't want to see this go on any further. they really see in america where the army is going to play a real role in the nationbuilding. it frightens them.
6:49 pm
ins no closer to an end 1976. if anything, it has gone worse. some people think it could've saved itself. i am very grim about that. i've got a nice colleague and .riend named michael fitzgerald he thinks if the prosperity of the 1870's had gone on, reconstruction might have had an outside chance of surviving. the moment there is panic in the depression and everybody is mad and paying taxes, and a lot of people lost their jobs and they want a scapegoat, it's over. i think it's over by the end of 1868. the message is, there isn't an army big enough to protect every black everywhere, and the south knows it. that means you can keep on killing congressmen, state representatives, local leaders, and it happens again and again. i wish i could say that the army would've made a difference, but
6:50 pm
with only 25,000 soldiers, a lot of them out on the frontier, i just don't think it could happen. i am afraid i am much more grim about this than anybody else. thanks for the question. it's a valid one to ask. anybody else? >> john dubin, wilkesboro, pennsylvania. you talked about a number of blacks being killed. his anyone looked at the number of blacks killed in the. between 1865 and 1877? >> nobody has made an estimate on the number out there. inan tell you in georgia 1868 that the free men tried to make a list of blacks who had been killed the state of georgia in 11 months, and it came to over 100. the guesses are maybe 2500 killed in louisiana that year. in texas, it was worse.
6:51 pm
if you had a choice between living in texas and hell, the governor said he would rather live in hell. one historian did an article some years ago taking certain counties in upstate louisiana, and his calculation that a blackmail between 18 and 64, the number killed was about 26%. that will give you some kind of inkling. it's not a small number. >> melissa williams. i am an apush teacher in new york. i have a question, something i have never heard about sumner wanting to a race glorification of the war. what is your opinion? this is an opinion going -- issue going on today. that is a fine question and a tricky one. i know what the result of this is. i will irritate everyone.
6:52 pm
in my town, they are trying to remove the statue of john c breckenridge. is punishment enough that he is riding a horse of the wrong gender. the horse is female, but if you look at it clearly -- [no audio] i don't approve of doing that. to people thates new england yankees like me are ashamed of. i think the most obscene thing has to do with calvin college, one of the colleges near yale. there used to be a stained glass window of john c calhoun with a constitution on the table. people love this. in the 1990's, they removed the slave so he is there with the constitution. i wanted as a reminder of what john c calhoun's constitutional principles meant it i think that ought to be there. let me offer a caution.
6:53 pm
sumner was not saying, get rid of all memories of the war. that tokens onng state banners should be removed. he wasn't saying that battle monuments should be removed. he was saying, in the united states regimen, but the first , but insetts infantry the united states regimen collected from all of the states -- there may have been seven of them -- should have these removed. the reason has to do with -- you guessed it -- honor. the argument was very simple. how can any southerner in the ,uture, any white southerner serve in a regiment under a banner that celebrates victories over him and his people? let confederate states have what they want. let union states have whatever they want. let there be monuments everywhere, but the united states itself should not be
6:54 pm
committed to this. i don't have to tell you that i think sumner was absolutely right, and one of the leading abolitionists of his time thought sumner was right. he was a believer in equal rights beyond anything one could ask for, but he said, this is something you simply don't do to commemorate. does that answer the question? fire away. you mentioned earlier nationbuilding. my question is more or less, to what degree would you put reconstruction on the same level nationbuilding as the current events in saudi arabia -- i'm --ry, afghanistan and iraq would it go on the same list of nationbuilding always failing? it's failing first lightly
6:55 pm
different reasons. i'm not sure it's quite the same. history doesn't repeat itself really. in many ways, it's like a corkscrew, twisting and coming in different ways all the time. a colonial historian i had in college said theodore roosevelt's policies differed from those of benjamin franklin, thomas jefferson. he said, anything after the 1900s is current events. i'm cautious about that. nationbuilding in the south is kind of different. you've got a long-standing tradition of, on the face of it, and youic institutions, are not trying to create new democratic institutions. you are widening the vote. the second thing is, you've got an awful lot of southerners, perhaps a majority of them, if you count a white and black, who are in favor of precisely this kind of nationbuilding. timesve read the new york
6:56 pm
did there is a new movie coming out about a confederate dissident. my wife's response was, wow. i didn't know any southerners supported reconstruction. let me tell you. there were 40,000 in the state of north carolina, probably more in tennessee, tens of thousands in arkansas. union people wanted to see a new and better and different south. as for black people, african-americans, male and female, they are unanimous in that regard. in south carolina, you may not know it, but you probably do -- south carolina won the civil war. it's true. than you different way think. your typical south carolina and in 1865 is black and a slave. three out of every five people in south carolina is black. in point of fact, equal rights is a victory for south carolina.
6:57 pm
in point of fact, in just about -- maybete out there, there is a black majority in north carolina and louisiana, as well. democracy is something that means letting the people rule. you've got a much larger group of actors and state builders than what we are facing over there. that is current events. what do i know about current events? it is something where i could say all kinds of crazy things, and you would think i was running for president. [laughter] what else? [applause] i accept your nomination. [laughter] if iran, i would run as the head of the futilitarian party. [laughter] >> hi, i'm with the thaddeus stevens society.
6:58 pm
i appreciate your enthusiasm in this lecture. i noticed early on you had a picture of a great commoner with -- can you expand upon that image and talk about what i see as a propaganda effort against him up through the 1960's and whether or not you think there is hope for resurrecting him as one of our great heroes? >> that is a very good question. the streetw that down there is named after thaddeus stevens. >> he also helped to found this college. >> the only great person to ever come out of lancaster pennsylvania in the 19th century -- i might add that as were james buchanan also lived. as i've said awesome -- often in my class, james buchanan declare that if he came back in another life, he would like to come back
6:59 pm
as a frog sitting by a quiet mill pond where nothing happened, which shows he doesn't understand migration. in this lifee good to come back as a higher form of being. sorry, i had to insult him somewhere. stevens, you'll notice i brought him him twice, the first time with darth vader, but the second time as the night fighting the dragon. i take the good guys view of him. thaddeus stevens, because of his belief in inequality, because of housekeeper-white who was reputed to be his mistress by democratic slanderers, was seen as the epitome of evil all the way up through the dunning school and beyond. fueled with hatred and resentment. let me tell you several basic facts. befores stevens, well
7:00 pm
slavery became an issue on which pennsylvanians cared at all, at least in terms of the slaves, was defending fugitive slaves and taking no fee. in the constitutional convention , when pennsylvania decided to take the right of voting away from blacks refused to sign that constitution, thaddeus stevens. the great voice for a quality, the great commoner, he is a man that deserves great credit and honor. and i don't have to tell you as well, that thaddeus stevens, when he died in 1868, would tell a report of the great city of his life where i have lived so long and so uselessly, because he believed that even then reconstruction would not be able to survive. the commitment was not there. and when this man died, he had
7:01 pm
himself buried in the black churchyard. gravestone,n his you can see some words pretty close to the following. "i reside here in this quiet spot not for a desire of seclusion, but finding that every other cemetery makes a bar on the basis of race, has determined in death to be as i was in life, to speak to my great believe in the equality of man for his creator." that is that he is stevens. stevens.s [applause] announcer: you are watching american history tv all weekend, every weekend on c-span3. to the conversation, like us on facebook at c-span history. long come on their
7:02 pm
history tv is joining our comcast cable partners to showcase the history of port huron, michigan. visitabout the city, c-span.org. we continue now with a history of port huron. >> the bluewaterridge is just a nice little river between the city and the city of port huron, separating two countries, just a beautiful location and area. i was very fortunate to get to watch this structure grow and mature, and become one of the most important infrastructures in north america. >> the traffic that uses the bridge initially, and still today, a large part of it is recreational travel. people use this as a gateway to parts east. it is 160 miles from toronto to york.180 two buffalo, new and if we had to go south around
7:03 pm
the great lakes, it would take twice as long. cutting travel time in half. >> as a kid, i would ride my bicycle across, by firecrackers and different stuff like that.later on as an adult dinner, and do i visit friends over there. the u.s. dollar was really strong back in the day, so easy go there and get gas. but now, things have changed quite a bit. but justi just an important part of my life. >> this is an important destination crossroads. in the early days we had for trappers through here. lumbering was a big part through here. at the beginning of the river and floating down, the market further south was year. as here. thatith the railroad, actually increased our agricultural trade because
7:04 pm
farmers could get produce to market. the development of the area, 1859, the railroad actually built a train depot on this side, wanting to connect to the markets west of you. chicago was big in that day. trains would come to this area, and they would have to stop here, uncouple all of the trains, with them on a car ferry. this area was known as the rapids, so imagine a very fast currents, and this was all freight, heavy carts, crossing the area one by one. it took a long time to get the trains below across. the market was that important, that they did that. the railroad traffic started increasing incredibly. to the point where they actually built a tunnel underneath the st. clair river. it connected both canada and america in 1891.
7:05 pm
today,till in operation but there is a second tunnel. building an international bridge process started in 1927. this was after detroit had opened its ambassador bridge in 1924. construction of the bridge started in 1937 and was completed in 1938. as you see the bridge behind me, that first year that the bridge was open, 61,000 cars crossed over it.they actually established a regular busing system, so that people can continue to shop in each other's downtown. we were always friends and neighbors. we always crossed the way, so it is not like the bridge was the first door. it is just another doorway that opens. >> well, i came to the bridge in 1972 as a summer job as a toll collector. i was able to comment
7:06 pm
as a poll clerk, like i said it was a small operation, very quiet border crossing. basically, what happened was as traffic started to grow, and there was the completion of i-59, the last section of lansing and port huron, once that was completed, that pretty much provided us a straight shot from east to the west. you know, a great commercial route for the trucking companies, because they could come across the structure, come from new york, going to canada, come to canada, then come right to the bluewater bridge and continue on out west, with very little interference with major cities and stuff. >> the need became obvious as they tracked all of the traffic that came across year. 47% of the traffic was passenger. but each year, we could see the increase in truck traffic. about every 10 years, the truck
7:07 pm
traffic doubled. they knew they had to do something. so, they started to do research on building a second span, but they wanted to have it look very similar. so, they actually presented different design plans, so it was still a beautiful bridge to look at. >> we started building a new bridge in 1997, and once we t, we closed the original. 1999, we had two structures. busy commercial crossing in north america, said to have three lanes of traffic, each direction, allowed us to separate the traffic to give us a much smoother flow. the best thing about this crossing is that we have two structured. we have more lane capacity than any other cross linking canada and the u.s. say,e were able to, like i move traffic more efficiently.
7:08 pm
>> for obvious reasons, september the 11th did a lot of things to put a damper on traffic in this area. >> that day, everything came to a screeching halt. traffic did not move for hours.commercial traffic was backed up for days. they did not know what was going on, so they did not know what kind of threats there would be to the structure and whatnot. so everything came to a halt. and after that, our life on the bluewater bridge changed. >> wait times increased as security became tighter at the bridge. before in my days, you could get across the bridge with your birth certificate and a quarter. in 2009, it was required that you had a passport or an enhanced driver's license. not as easy to go across now buried>> traffic does not flow as quickly as it used to back in the day. and by the time the traffic was increasing, you tend to see some longer lines than before.
7:09 pm
before, you never thought about it. hey, i'm going to go to canada and have lunch. be back in an hour and a half. now, you have to think. i'm going to the united states, it is a process now. now, you have to allow yourself the time for customs to do their job to keep our country safe. >> as with any highway, any thoroughfare, there is always maintenance that needs to be done. right now, they're doing maintenance. it is an eyesore. but it is necessary. the current project has been going on less than a year, doing painting and resurfacing. the bridge has become a symbol of the city. founder, instantly recognized as the city of port huron. >> a lot of locals take it for granted, both sides, but it is so amazing to be able to, like i say, wake up in one city and end up in another country in a matter of minutes.
7:10 pm
there is nothing like this location. beautiful, friendly, very accessible. weekend, we are featuring the history of port huron, michigan. learn more about port huron and other stops on our tour at c-span.org. you are watching american history tv, all weekend, every weekend on c-span3. richard author brookhiser discusses alexander hamilton. he argues that the economic achievements, including his support for building domestic factories and debt reconciliation, were key components making the fledgling american democracy self-sufficient and prosperous. the alexander hamilton awareness society posted this event. is about 45 minutes.

25 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on