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tv   American Empire and the Nations Founding  CSPAN  September 11, 2016 9:00am-10:01am EDT

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time. here on american history tv. >> up next>>, kenneth bowling speaks to the u.s. capital historical society about the concept of an american empire. mr. bowling argues we were not simply founded on ideological principles of republicanism, but a rooted commitment to imperialism that began in europe. he serves as the founder of the federal congress project in george washington university. this runs about one hour. >> i'd like to get things started. a little after high noon. i am the chief historian at the u.s. capital historical society. welcome to everyone making it today. i feel a bit of a fraud introducing our guest speaker because i can't imagine anyone in this room who is a member of the society that does not know ken bowling already.
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for untold years he has been a editor at the multi-model congress relating to the history of the first congress to meet under the constitution. in addition to welcoming all of you, i would like to acknowledge peter, who is your next wednesday to tell us about how artists interpret history for the canvas. hopefully we will see many of you, if not all of you next wednesday. kenneth will talk to us about the vision of the west as a motivator in the american revolution. the expanded concept of revolution through the hamiltonian revolution into the early congresses.
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it is an invitation to think of the west not just as a place where people could invest certificates after the war make quick money. but as a way of giving scope to the aspirations of the american revolution. not a turning away from, but turning towards something. in this case it's turning towards a vision of the u.s. that reaches transcontinentally. i am glad you are here for this. i am happy to welcome ken bowling. [applause] kenneth: thank you chuck. i am going to use the word "vast" many times today. first time to describe this painting. it's vast indeed.
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i know you probably know washington crossing the delaware. it's in the metropolitan in new york city. this one is even larger. it's in the house wing of the capital on the staircase. i would say it's at least 30 feet long and 15 feet tall. and its westward the course of empire takes its way. you can see at the bottom when the lights are off, you can see it much closer. that is the golden gate before the bridge was built. i will invite you to come up afterwards and take a look at this. it's very much 19th-century. it's very much manifest destiny.
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the idea coined by john o'sullivan, editor of annexing. -- of a magazine. and americans as myself were taught about manifest destiny in 19th century. but like so many things we really talk about in the 19th century, like slavery, these issues date back to the revolution itself. and so i will read my paper, because i have lots and lots of quotations. i don't want to mess them up or mislead you. the paper is entitled "the idea of empire as a cause of the american revolution." revolutions are spurred by ideology. the american revolution no less than those that followed in its wake.
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republicanism is a well studied one. equally, if not more important was the idea of empire and its westward course. the two separate ideologies combined to produce the utopian vision of a republican empire that would be a refuge for the downtrodden of the world, with a mission to spread liberty and the american form of government to the rest of the world as the united states fulfill its manifest destiny to spread westward across the north american continent. it would be in empire based on liberty rather than an empire based on domination. and it would be an empire that carried with it the enlightenment. as repeated references to reason, progress, secularity,
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and particularly the arts and sciences, including technology, demonstrates. two related concepts spurred the idea of the american empire. the first was millennialism. historian ruth bloch concludes that the american mission, the idea of america multiplying in population and reaching to the pacific ocean and america as an asylum for the injured and oppressed from all parts of the globe, permeated evangelical patriotic statements from the 1760's through the 1780's and became a common feature of american nationalism. millennialists envisioned the american empire as characterized by its intellectual prowess.
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the arts and sciences would be improved and religion, learning, and liberty would be diffused over the continent. the united states would become a large and glorious empire, found to exceed all other empires of the world, while at the same time being the abode of the scholar, the philosopher, and all the sons of science and genius. america would spawn great works of art and science. the second was continentalists. that the residents of 13 thinly populated colonies on the eastern seaboard chose the word continental to describe both the revolutionary congress, and the army informed, is the best indicator of the influence of continental thinking during the
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revolution. both terms proceeded the declaration of independence. neither were official. both became commonplace because of the american people and press deemed it appropriate. speculation that the american colonies might one day become in dependent and concerns about how the keep them within the british empire date back to the 17th century. the great debate in england the french and indian war over what to do about canada in the aftermath of the removal of the french was only the culmination of a century of concern about the possibility of american independence. consequently, many patriot leaders and their followers had a continental vision for
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britain's american colonies will be for they advocated independence. foremost among these were benjamin franklin, john adams, and thomas jefferson. all of whom the pacific ocean was the national western boundary of the united states. at first of course, it was a british westward coursing empire. the resident of massachusetts predicted in 1759 that america could become a mighty empire, but i don't mean, an independent one. widely reprinted in the colonies, a 1769 newspaper article from london commented on the spreading belief that america would be the future seat of the british empire. and london merely a provincial
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town, or perhaps just a historic ruin. benjamin franklin's 1751 pamphlet advocating the agricultural extension of europeans across north american continent predicted that because of the rapid increase of the american population, a greater number of englishmen would be in north america than england within a century. after reading the pamphlet, a young john adams imagined the transfer of the seat of empire. once the french had been driven out of north america. in the early 19th century, he claimed there was nothing more ancient in his memory. the observation -- memory than the observation that the art, science is, in empire had leapt westward across the atlantic
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ocean. the mid 18th century british empire in north america vision easily became an american empire when independence changed the equation. it was this viewpoint and not republicanism that the historian and loyalist governor of massachusetts, thomas hutchinson saw as the spur of the american revolution. speculative men had figured in their minds, he said, and american empire prior to 1763. but at such a distant time when no one could have expected to live to see it. we discussed a gradual progress of the settlement through this vast continent from the atlantic to be specific.
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-- to the pacific. hutchinson felt a resulting sense of grandeur and self-importance among his fellow massachusetts colonists. by the time united states declared itself independent, references to the rising glory of the american empire had deeply penetrated popular culture. the naturalist peter, noticed in his diary in 1748 that a number of americans have expressed their opinion to him that the english north american colonies would be able to form a state by themselves entirely independent of england. another british traveler claimed that when touring the middle colonies in 1760's, he sensed that the people with whom he socialized eagerly and impatiently look forward to the time when "america is to give law to the rest of the world." the rising glory delivered at 2 american college commencement
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and 1771 were a sign of the times. reverend william smith claimed a year later at empire is already planted that promises to give law and happiness to every other part of america. a year later he told the american philosophical society, ever since i was capable of reflecting on the course of things, it has been one of my most delightful employments. to trace the progress of the arts like that in the sun from east to west. that has dawned upon us. anticipating the future, the politically important 1774 suffolk county massachusetts resolutions envisioned "a boundless continent swarming with millions." by 1775, american empire rhetoric was not to be silenced. a magazine observed in february that this vast continent would
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seems to be marked out by providence for the grandest empire on the globe, and whose greatness and wickedness and the folly of great britain is hastening forward. alexander hamilton blamed the rigorous and unconstitutional actions of parliament on its jealousy of our dawning splendor. henry lawrence of south carolina predicted that a mighty empire will arise on this continent,
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and england cannot hinder its progress. widespread acknowledgment of america's advantages, it size, climate, fertile soil, and other natural resources, as well as its rapid population growth, acted to rectify thomas payne --- thomas paine's powerful image in "common sense" of a sheer absurdity of an island ruling a continent. this was especially clear after a decade during which parliament had repeatedly restricted the growth of the north american colonies. most famously by forbidding americans to settle west of the appellations -- of the appalachians. also by numerous acts regulating colonial land policy, immigration, naturalization, and manufacturing. by july 4, 1776, enough americans wanted a separate
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american empire to publish it in a bill of impeachment against george the third. one only has to read the declaration of independence to understand how much americans resented england's attempt to stifle they are rising glory. -- their rising glory. thomas paine claimed in "common sense" that he never met a man in england or america that a separation was inevitable. it was simply only a matter of when. as william henley expressed it to a south carolina grand jury later in 1776, "the almighty has
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made choice of the present generation to erect the american empire. and thus has suddenly arisen in the world a new empire styled, the united states of america. an empire that as soon as started into existence, attracts the attention of the rest of the universe and bids fair but the blessing of god to be the most glorious empire after record." the historian to be david ramsey dramatically insistently expressed it in his 1778 oration in charleston, south carolina. "we have laid the foundation of a new empire which promises to enlarge its self to vast dimensions, and to give happiness to the great continent. it is now our turn to
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figure on the face of the earth and in the annals of the world." a year later, the new united states magazine editorialized that if you could have an adequate of the idea of an empire in embryo, your view would have to be from the hudson bay to the goal of california. -- gulf of california. the newly formed medical society observed the same here that no period in the role of time ever opened so bright and promising the prospect for the spread of liberty and science as that which now dawns in america, and about the all accomplishing hand of time and never erected. by 1782, an american diplomat believe "the public mind in america has been too intoxicated with the idea of independent
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sovereignty and empire over the country as large as europe and its entirety. to make or to attend to any proposition for a reunion with paper -- with great britain." comments public and private about the empire tapered off during the darkest days of the revolutionary war. but as news of the victory at yorktown and later the international recognition of american independence, americans again took up the course more ecstatically and you for going -- more ecstatically and euphorically than before. they were called to finish the illustrious task of rearing and empire, which from its situation and circumstances must surpass all that have existed. in magnitude, felicity, and duration. in 1783, the society of cincinnati was founded in part to promote the future dignity of the american empire. september, hamilton referred to the papers of congress as the
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"archives of the empire." and philadelphia as "the capital of america." a term rarely used to describe what people considered merely a place where congress resided. letters in the 1780's provided the perfect form for empire congress. the ones in charleston, s.c. in 17 83-1785 proclaimed the introduction of freedom, happiness, independence throughout the greatest continent in the world, and predicted that succeeding ages shall bow to the rising glory of america. and rome, once mistress of the world, shall fade. one man told his hartford connecticut audience in 1787 that "every free citizen of the american empire ought to consider himself as the legislature for half of mankind." the french have always had a gift for analyzing the american character. in 1785, after six years in the united states, a french diplomat captured the pride and chauvinism of the revolutionary generation in his description of americans as "inpatient to act and play a role in the world.
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egotistical to access, imagining that all nations on to sacrifice their interests to america's prosperity, and that their revolution has changed all government, measuring the importance of their country by the immensity of their territory, and anticipating future greatness." these sentiments were echoed by another french diplomat in 1789. the french have always had a gift for analyzing the american character. in 1785, after six years in the united states, a french diplomat captured the pride and chauvinism of the revolutionary generation in his description of americans as "inpatient to act and play a role in the world.
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egotistical to excess, imagining that all nations on to sacrifice their interests to america's prosperity, and that their revolution has changed all government, measuring the importance of their country by the immensity of their territory, and anticipating future greatness." these sentiments were echoed by another french diplomat in 1789. who was rather amazed by the american assumption of greatness. in this, they are like a child named to a great inheritance. they are reveling in anticipation, and they had "a mania to play a great role in numbering themselves among the premier nations of the globe." which they flatter themselves to surpass already in many ways. in which they imagine one day they shall succeed in every way.
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1784, a cartographer estimated a habitable area of the continent at 3.5 million square miles, which "if we want it, i expect it will certainly ours." the maiden issue of columbia magazine in september 1786 missed the mark by one when it predicted in 1850 the 30th state would be admitted to the union. actually it was california on the pacific ocean that became the 31st that year. in november, the magazine devoted considerable space to an explanation of charles thompson's great seal of the united states. focusing on the eagle, long a familiar symbol for empire, but this eagle was special because the ball eagle flew only on the north american continent.
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as economic and political problems arose in the 1780's, americans, reflecting the impatience that french observers considered a key component of their emerging national character, began to question whether the dream of empire would actually materialize. a yale divinity professor warned in 1785 that americans should not "flatter ourselves too much with the idea of future prosperity and glory of these united states. although the foundation is laid, the superstructure is not yet finished. nor ever will it be unless we use the proper means. and whether we shall use such means remains a matter of great uncertainty."
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by 1787, the year the federal convention that, such questioning was widespread among political observers. a newspaper writer discoursed that "when peace was established, most of us mistakingly thought that we had nothing left but to reach out to either hand and take hold of happiness." but an arduous task remained. we had an empire to build. the december issue of the columbia magazine commented on the empire of the united states, noting that "the first dawning's of the american empire seem to presage its future presage ---- its future greatness. but we have precluded ourselves from the means of calling for the strength and resources of the empire by a failure to strengthen the federal government." before leaving congress to attend the federal convention james madison expressed concern
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that its failure would result in the partisan -- would result in the partition of the empire into several rival and hostile confederacies. a newspaper writer described the convention as the united wisdom of america, now forming a government adequate to the wants of our rising empire. there, franklin called for a daily prayer as a means of breaking a political deadlock. "if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aide?" hamilton worried to convention president george washington "i fear we shall let slip the
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golden opportunity of rescuing the american empire from this union anarchy and misery." madison was pleased to inform jefferson after the convention published the constitution it drafted, that's not one member had advocated a partition of the empire into separate confederacies. the debate over ratification of the constitution from the fall of 1787 through the summer of 1788 provided a widespread form for expressing empire consciousness. comments on its age, size, feet, greatness, and rising glory abound. repeatedly expressed conviction that under the constitution, america will become "a great and boundless empire, flourishing in the arts and sciences, commerce, and agriculture."
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paraphrasing thomas paine, a greater in the boston gazette claimed the debate in the constitution was not a concern of the city, a county, or a state, but of this immense continent. the federalist essays were opened with one of the consequences was "the fate of an empire. in many respects, the most interesting in the world." the ratification debate divided a form for opponents for the idea of american empire to speak out for the first time. the agrippa essays postulated that no extensive empire can be governed by republican principles. one opponent saw the constitution as a document "which in its vortex, swallows
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up every other government upon this continent." "it can be said to be nothing less than a hasty stride toward universal empire in his western world." very flattering the young ambitious minds, but fatal to the liberties of the people. a newspaper article condemned the constitution because it annihilated "13 free sovereign and independent states, and established on their ruin a monstrous unwieldy empire more extensive than that of rome at its height." the completion later this year of the 22-volume documentary "history of the first federal congress," provides us with the ability to see how deeply the idea vampire impacted the institution that implement the constitution between 1789 and 1791. its members, serving in what a
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newspaper termed as "the great court of our empire," was clearly conscious of laying the foundation of a rising empire. in their correspondents, the official documents, and the newspaper commentary abounds with reference to its vastness, newness, youthfulness, rising nature, and such other characteristics as its dignity, prosperity, and mission. as well, of course, as its relationship to the enlightenment. newspaper articles mention the american empire directly when discussing several issues before congress, including amendments to the constitution, ones that
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became known in the 20 of century as the bill of rights, the excise system, regulation of these slave trade, the organization, coordination, and tail of the public lands, the location of the federal seat of government, and the organization of the militia. in this piece, complaining about male commands are militia exemptions, likely written by benjamin franklin bashan -- concerned that females should have to serve in the militia and "we shall set up a female in buyer that will laugh at all the male governments in the world." as the congress open in 1790, they congratulated for commencing a new the road to empire, and, in honor and for setting in motion the great
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sheen of government for this extensive empire. the year after congress completed its three sessions, gilbert inlay published his description of the western territory of north america. in it, he observed that because the united states is the center of the earth, governing by the laws of reason and humanity, we see it calculated to become the emporium and protectors of the world. imlay was the first person to advocate that the federal government be seated on the mississippi river. that it never happened is the influence of george washington and his obsession with the potomac river. rising glory -- not republicans turned washington into a revolutionary. the widespread printing of george berkeley's famous poem about america with its memorable conclusion that westward the course of empire takes its way and its implications that
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america would be the final empire could hardly have escaped a serious reader like washington. between the critical speech and his inauguration as residents of the united states, he referred to it at least 30 times, modifying empire with such familiar adjectives as new, great, rising, and extensive. it culminated with the new empire rising in the west.
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it's so impressed washington in 1787 that he purchased 20 copies for distribution and the geographically obsessed virginian must have treasured his copy of jedediah morris's and american biography first -- american geography published first in 1789. he asserted that it is well-known empire has been traveling from east to west and we cannot but anticipate the time as not far distant when the american empire will comprehend millions of souls west of the mississippi. i should point out that these people think of empire as the rising fertile crescent in the east, going to rome and then into western europe. washington's empire was not so
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extensive as jedediah morris's. that is because he was blinded by potomac fever and it only extended to the mississippi river. he believed that centering the political and commercial emporium on the potomac would see the north and the south to the west and that was the thing on which its historical reputation depended. the washington family -- by edward savage -- it was composed between 1789 and 1796, and it captures washington's vision of the rising glory of america and
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its relationship to the nation. they surround a small table in mount vernon on which is displayed the washington, d.c. plan. washington rests his arm on george washington parke custis's shoulder. the boy, symbolic of the next generation, as his hand on the globe, a familiar symbol of empire in paintings and that is turned to north america. out the window, the potomac points westward. i don't know if you can see the slave in the shadows -- there are many.'s about who it is. maybe it's just an artistic trope. i cannot help but wonder if savage was saying something about, this is all very good, but you have something in the
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shadows you better deal with. washington knew only one person capable of designing a seat of empire that reflected his vision for the united states. his 1784 proposal for a permanent army corps of engineers gave him the information for constructing the capitol. when the first congress debated the location of the state of government in 1789, he asked president washington for the responsibility of laying "the foundation of the city which is to become the capital of this vast empire." most spokesman for an american empire and its magnificent capital to reflect its glory wanted something like this -- they wanted a new by san tm for wanted to lay the foundation of the city which is
9:38 am the most spokesman for an american empire and its magnificent capital to reflect its glory wanted something like this -- byzantium. a new or even a new rome -- the patroness of science and art, the dispenser of freedom, justice, and peace to unborn millions. john witherspoon argued that its buildings should not just be elegant, but magnificent, so they might not denigrate the dignity of the empire. in short, a seat of empire that would be in david humphrey's words "the delight of the
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earth." as advocates of empire who envisioned a magnificent european-style capitol had not reckoned on a tall challenge facing them. it was named thomas jefferson. this is not to suggest that jefferson had abandoned his commitment to american empire. quite the contrary. no one had given as much thought to its exploration as he and jefferson shared with other proponents of the american empire the belief that the united states had a role in history as an inspiration to other people's to burst their chains. unlike the other instruments in the symphony of empire, however,
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jefferson played his own tune. he had a theory. for jefferson, one of the lessons of the 1760's had been the domination of the american colonies by london, a distant and corrupt metropolis. he considered these unnatural concentrations of wealth, power, and aristocracy that would regenerate a monarchical empire in north america and threaten the nature of the american republic. jefferson's in lightened empire for liberty must avoid the metropolis vision. jefferson's empire of self-governing states would be sustained not by force, but by the virtue, vigilance, and patriotism of a united people held together by ties of affection and interest.
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only such an empire, he believed, could sustain a union over the vast american continent. some saw the huge city as part of the federalist -- reaching back as far as the drafting of the constitution and they made the expansion into a political issue. jefferson and the democratic republicans assumed command of the republican experiment and finally brought the american to conclusion. nothing better symbolized their triumph than the removal of the government from urban philadelphia to washington, d.c., very rural indeed. part of it was to toss out the
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plan and with it washington's vision of a grand european-style government. a mere federal town, a sort of wigwam of empire as a friend of john adams once termed it. would line in pennsylvania avenue woodland and trees. nonetheless, jefferson's 1809 farewell address expressed his opinion that the city would grow with sure and steady steps and become a seat of wealth in the world.
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in conclusion, it followed the vision of republican empire. americans referred to washington, d.c. as the seat of government, not the capitol. in 1780, following the long political fight of moving the government, president ulysses s. grant and the republican party made the construction of washington, d.c. physically and symbolically part of their plan for the reconstruction of the union. only then could the united states at last begins to construct a military -- metropolitan seat of empire, which would have been easily recognized at its centennial of 1900. thank you.
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[applause] are there any questions? yes, sir. >> did anybody ever mention native americans? mr. bowling: who? >> native americans. mr. bowling: they certainly in the painting -- george washington believed in a multiracial society. he did not support returning african-americans to africa and he did not support the isolation and annihilation of native americans. he wanted to include them. but that's another subject. it did not really come up in empire consciousness.
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empire consciousness was the expansion of europe. yes? >> empires -- the roman empire, the greek empire, democracies had been the eye foundation of -- had been built on the foundation of slavery. like the united states. how important was slavery in the building of empire in the united states and the building of democracy? mr. bowling: it was certainly essential in building the city. much of the public buildings were built by rented slaves. certainly provided some very prominent revolutionaries like george washington and thomas jefferson the time and the wealth to make revolution. but franklin and john adams were not slaveholders -- at least at the time of the creation of the
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constitution. >> [indiscernible] mr. bowling: by the american revolution, americans were aware of the north american continent from panama. they had explored extensively to the mississippi river. beyond the mississippi, the knowledge that americans had obtained primarily through canadians, for traders who went traders who went out to
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trade on the missouri river -- jefferson had tried twice, before he became president, to launch an exclamation of the -- an exploration of the missouri river, all the way to the civic. -- to the pacific. when the founders of this country thought of mountains, they thought of appellation -- appalachian mountains. any other questions? yes? >> when did the concept of empire or the exploration or the settlement of the west, did it transition into that?
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mr. bowling: i don't know if i would use the word transition. from the beginning the idea was to settle the entire continent from the atlantic ocean westward to the pacific. in the 19th century, particularly the late 19th century it really became a dirty word. american historians have not discussed and talked about this, how much the idea of empire lay behind the american revolution. i have seen it so much that i have come to believe in recent years it was more than the idea of republicanism as a driving force behind the revolution. republicanism being the ideology that people are capable of self-government.
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they don't need a strong powerful executive like a king to make decisions for them. in my opinion, empire was equally important, if not more so, and i think historians need to pay attention to it. all of these things i quoted -- american missions, relationships to the rest of the world, taking in refugees in the world, all of these things americans think about are still involved in our consciousness, go way back to the beginning of the nation. anything else? yes? >> you mentioned very early on in your talk, kind of land speculation in the west. could you speak more about that? mr. bowling: no, because that was not me. that was the person who
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introduced me. if he is still here, he might be able to say something -- was -- what specifically did you want to know about them? >> i was just curious about that aspect? mr. bowling: what they were? >> we were talking about, we think of empire as a sort of economic thrust into another part of a geography. i was wondering a little bit about that economic -- mr. bowling: the relationship -- >> the ideology -- i'm talking about the economic aspect of empire and what was going on. mr. bowling: the revolutionary war was funded by patriots and
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gave money to congress to fight that war. they gave it out of patriotism. then as things did not get resolved i the military in a year or two doug, they had to get -- a year or two, they had to get money from france. we had to pay the soldiers and pieces of paper that said iou. they had to pay people, the farmers whose cattle and horses they confiscated. and the promises of land in the old northwest territory -- and of course, when there was no money to pay them, they deflated in value. one of the things about the
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constitution was all of this paper was going to be brought up to par. so, people were buying them from the soldiers and the farmers and using them to increase their private wealth. in and in some cases, by large tracts of land for speculation purposes in the old northwest territory. but largely, the old northwest territory will be sold -- solved in jefferson's way, by small farms. yes? >> i wanted to mention the word -- i wanted to discuss the word "empire." i only think of the british empire. i mean, when you think of empire, and i was thinking today -- how in america, i think it is such a kind of a negative word.
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i was wondering if other people would cringe at that and i wondered if you had any comments on that? mr. bowling: my comment would be when the founders of the country talked about empire, they were not talking about an empire of domination, although empire had spread throughout north america through conquest and domination. there is a certain naivety to the concept. yes, ma'am. >> spanish settlements in the southwest, california, how did they intend to incorporate them? mr. bowling: spain had florida, the lower mississippi river,
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maybe 100 miles in from the gulf. louisiana -- at the end of the french and indian war, when france realized it was going to lose, it gave all of louisiana to spain. the land, the watershed from the rockies to west of the mississippi, and of course, mexico and texas and utah and nevada, that was all spanish territory. the position that people who believed in empire took was very simple. spain is a rotten empire. it is going to crumble on its own. we don't need to waste to the resources to conquer it or in invade. the americans would move into
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spanish territory and take over. it was very clear to jefferson especially that spain was not a threat. anybody who had new orleans would be a threat. that is why he sought to buy it when the french got it back. any other questions? yes, sir? >> what about landownership or real estate issues driving this need for empire? were they forced to go further west to get what they wanted? mr. bowling: not necessarily. the 13 colonies were increasing so rapidly -- it was not for them that the west was settled.
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immigrants tended to stay on the east coast. the next generation would probably move west. most of the west was going to be settled by people who were born here. yes? >> this is not a terribly weighty question. i had not realized that st. louis was in the running for a capital city. is there any record of attribute of -- attributive comments by missourians who would save you keep the capital in the east, you will not spread west, etc.? mr. bowling: it is quite an exciting story. it was 869. -- it was 1869. there was something called st.
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louis, the future great city of the world and it was backed by powerful newspaper interests in new york city and they debated all sorts of things like we need now after the civil war to move from the potomac to the mississippi and the home of lincoln. we are a new, different nation. we are the middle of the continents. we should be the capitol. it was the last time -- the issue of leaving the potomac river was debated in congress. it was still sometimes talked about. thank you very much. [applause] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2016]
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[captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] > the smithsonian national museum of african american history and culture opens its doors for the first time on saturday, september 24. american history tv will be live from the national mall with sight and sound leading up to the 10:00 a.m. opening ceremonies. we will be live with the dedication which includes remarks by president obama and the museum director lonnie bunch. this is american history tv, only on c-span 3.
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q&a, author david kay johnston discusses his book "the making of donald trump." >> i met donald. i immediately recognize -- he's pt barnum. toious selling you tickets the mermaid -- he is selling you tickets to that mermaid. because he was the dominant force in atlantic city, i started asking about him. and his competitors, including steve wynn and people who work for him and some big gambler said to me, donald doesn't know anything about the casino business. >> tonight on c-span's q&a. week, leading to the 2016 elections, road to the right house fraser coverage of presidential races. next, the first debate from the 1992 campaign into in george w. bush, arkansas governor bill clinton, and texas businessman
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ross perot. the candidates to questions on taxes and the budget deficit as well as foreign policy and national security following the collapse of the soviet union. governor clinton defeated president bush and the general election, winning 43% of the popular vote to the president 37%. ross perot finished third with 19%. this debate at washington university in st. louis is just over an hour and a half. lehrer: good evening, and welcome to the first of three debates among the major candidates for president of the united states, sponsored by the commission on presidential debates. the candidates are: independent candidate ross perot, governor bill clinton, the democratic nominee, and president george bush, the republican nominee. i am jim lehrer of the macneil-lehrer news hour on pbs, and i will be the moderator for this 90-minute event, which is taking place before an audience in the athletic compon


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