tv American Revolution and the Arab Spring CSPAN November 13, 2016 10:45pm-12:01am EST
leading historians, biographies of 45 first ladies, and archival photos from each of their lives. "first ladies" is available wherever you buy books and now available in paperback. >> in 2013, pulitzer prize-winning gordon wood gave a talk to 30 egyptian leaders about the american revolution and the 1787 constitutional convention at a time when the egyptian experience was still unfolding, he described the serious challenges facing the leaders of the american revolution and how they devised a constitutional structure that eventually led to stable government. next, gordon wood delivers the substance of his arab spring lecture to the wisconsin historical society as part of their james madison lecture series.
this talk with questions from the audience is just over one hour. [applause] >> it has been 40 years since professor wood has been here. every 40 years, we are going to have him back. gordon wood is recognized as the premier historian of the early american revolutionary era. when i say that, i do not mean only active historians, i mean of all historians of all time. he is recognized as at the top of his profession. it is truly an honor to have him here in madison. it is an honor to be associated with him. ood went to tufts
and harvard and studied under bernard bailey. it is pretty difficult to top that. just marvelous. professor wood is noted for his productivity and the quality of his work. i had lunch with him today and i asked him how many books he had published. he was not quite sure. i told him, i counted 26. he said, that is far too many. he has so many books, he doesn't know how many that he has. [laughter] he has at least 26 books. three of them stand out. "the creation of the american republic," a seminal book that tied everything together in a discussion of the american revolution. he believes that is his most important book.
he won the bancroft prize for that. "thehe came along with radicalism of the american revolution." and then recently, "empire of liberty." that is the third volume of the oxford history of the united states, a fabulous volume. but many other volumes in between. the last five are documentary editions. three volumes on john adams and two volumes of pamphlets from the revolutionary era. professor wood is working on a book on john adams and thomas jefferson. it will not be long before that is published as well. what professor wood has done is he has taken all kinds of different interpretations about the revolution and he has synthesized but also delved into the primary sources and has come
up with an interpretation of what the american revolution was and almost as important, what that revolution -- how the revolution transformed the american people and made us a different and unique people that others might look to. and so, that is what he is going to be talking about today and i think you will enjoy it. let's welcome professor gordon wood. [applause] prof. wood: with an introduction like that, i have to reciprocate and tell you a little bit about what john is doing to historical research. what john and other editors do is long-lasting.
we historians who write books, those books are very ephemeral. they do not last very long. history is a quasi-science. new books supplant the older books. older books are not used and red. what john and the other colleagues are doing who collect documents and publish them are doing will last as long as the republic. given what is happening in the election that may not be very , long. [laughter] i want to emphasize how important it is. what john and his team have done collecting these debates needs to be emphasized for anyone interested in political theory or politics because john has already collected 25 volumes of these ratification debates. these debates that took place over whether the country should ratify the constitution contain every major issue of politics,
power, liberty, representation, sovereignty anything you can , think about in politics is included in these debates. they are the richest debates ever recorded in history of the world as far as i am concerned. maybe fifth century athens had richer debates but we will never know because we do not have the documents. maybe 17th-century england had richer debates but we only have fragments of their discussion. here we have in three dozen volumes an unbelievable collection by elites ordinary , people. it is incredible to know that it is all ours, it is american. and yet, i believe it is the greatest collection of discussions about politics that the world has ever had. there may have been greater ones
but they did not get collected by people like john, so i want to pay tribute to all of the editors of documents because they will keep these alive for future generations which will need them. but i want to talk about is entitled, "advice to the egyptians from the founding fathers." three years ago in 2013, csis, a washington think tank, invited about 30 egyptians two years after the arab spring -- they invited about 30 egyptians from all walks of life. there were journalists, politicians, academics, women, two members of the freedom and justice party, the muslim brotherhood present among these.
if you remember in the spring of 2013, president mohammed morsi, the brotherhood party had just been elected president in probably the fairest election egypt had ever had and yet things were not working out in well in the streets. there was a good deal of fear. democracy was not working out very well for the egyptians. s invited these egyptians to come and talk about the problems facing egypt. could the arab spring survive? they thought it would be interesting to invite an american historian of the american revolution to talk and tell these egyptians, how did we do it as if somehow lessened
slightly learned them -- somehow lessens might be learned from the american revolution. that is why i was there. what i'm going to do is i am going to give you the lecture that i gave those egyptians. before the arab spring, there was an atlantic spring, a series of democratic revolutions that spread from the third quarter of the 18th century and went on for 75 years, climaxing with the revolutions of 1848. attempts in almost all of the european states to overthrow the monarchy. almost all of the revolutions failed and by the time needed to -- time you get to abraham lincoln, he realized, and this
is the context for his speeches where he says the last best hope -- it looked like democracy was failing everywhere and abraham lincoln is saying if we don't survive maybe the whole dream of , democracy will fail. the american revolution was the first of these revolutions. 1776. colonial mere rebellion like the algerians throwing off french rule in the 1960's. in american eyes, it was a world historical event. in europe, richard price, the unitarian minister, in 1785, said, the american revolution is the second most important event in the history of the world. the first according to him was the birth of jesus christ. but the american revolution in his estimation -- that was the excitement among a lot of radicals, including french
radicals. there was a lot of radical chic in france, excitement over the american revolution. the french revolution erupted 13 years later and because it was such a momentous upheaval, it tended to dominate western consciousness. keep in mind it followed the american revolution, and that is the french have never forgiven us for. may french leaders believe the american revolution was the stimulus for their revolution. lafayette took the key from the bastille and sent it to washington as a mark of your contribution. the americans contribution to their revolution. of course, it hangs today in mount vernon.
our revolution was not just a colonial revolution but the overthrowing of monarchy. that is authoritarian government. it is a little confusing to use 18th-century terms because we have a lot of monarchs in europe that we happen to like. britain, holland, sweden, norway . these are all monarchies. you cannot think about monarchy in modern terms the same with the 18th-century did. republics, hosni mubarak in egypt, cuba, china, saddam hussein in iraq -- to use republic in opposition to monarchy is confusing. but if we think of monarchies in terms of authoritarian governments and republics as democracies, we have a clearer understanding of what it meant to be opposed to monarchy. the americans did not intend to
just get rid of british tyranny, they wanted to end tyranny for all time, they wanted to set an example for the rest of the world to follow. they had a responsibility to show the world how to become, to show the world a new, libertarian, democratic future. i think it is important to keep in mind that our experiment with democracy was not an immediate success. the united states was not a united country in 1776. there is over a decade between the declaration of independence and the constitution. something i think many americans forget. some people think the declaration of independence
items are in the constitution. they are separated by a decade and it was a very awesome decade. there was a real crisis in the 1780's. many thought that the country might fall apart. the whole republican experiment seemed in peril during that decade. it was not an immediate success. our experiment with republicanism. the united states constitution which brought stability and unity to the country was not something that anyone even imagined in 1776. there is not a single document i have been able to find where somebody said this is the , government we ought to have. even those not happy with the disunion of 1776 never conceived of such a constitution.
something awful had to happen in that decade to change people's in 1776, they established 13 independent democracies. not democracies by modern standards. women, blacks, black slaves did not vote. among the white population, three quarters of adult white males could vote, and extraordinary proportion, higher than anywhere in the world at the time. even britain, only one out of six adult males could vote. the new united states has the most democratic policies in the world.
probably the most the world had ever seen, at least the modern world. the declaration of independence was a declaration of 13 independent states with their constitution.tten they were writing the constitution before the declaration. there was no national government. there was very little sense of nationhood. jefferson's opening line, that is just a hope, not a reality. when jefferson referred to my country, he meant virginia. when john adams said my country, he meant massachusetts. the sense of being united nations is not yet clear. the united states was still a plural verb. that was true until the civil war -- "the united states are."
think about it. most people do not think about the meaning of that. united, but not really united. these states eventually came together in a loose union called the articles of confederation. they are not an early version of the constitution. they are a different thing altogether. they are a treaty like the e.u. that is a parallel in modern times to what they are doing. it's better than thinking of them as an early version of the constitution. they were not ratified for various reasons. there were not ratified until 1781, six months before the
battle of yorktown. the battle of yorktown ended the british will to continue the revolution and was the ending of the war. the new state constitutions ever drafted in 1776 were terribly important, more important than the federal constitution that followed. the federal constitution was derived from the experiments worked out in the state constitutions. they were written documents and from that moment on, when people created new constitutions, everybody who wants a constitution wrote it down. that was not true earlier.
if you are going to have a new constitution like in iraq, they wrote it down. that was a grand innovation. more important was the notion of separation of power. it does not mean just legislation, it is the prohibition on members simultaneously holding office in the legislature. by prohibiting that, you prohibit a rise of cabinet government, which has been more adopted by the world then our system so that when hillary clinton became secretary of
state, she had to resign her senate seat. if she were in england, she would have to remain in the house of lords to get into the cabinet. that is the difference between our systems. the american revolution created that separation of power. they thought that that was corruption, that the executive would corrupt the legislative. that barrier created our separation of power. in these constitutions, a great deal of power was given to popular state legislatures. most of them maintained governors. most of them had governors. the powers of these governors, the prerogatives were greatly reduced.
they had no power of appointment to anybody in office. they had no power of veto. they were emasculated. jefferson's proposal said, he is no longer a governor. even the pardoning power which seems essentially magisterial was taken away in many states. that is how severe the stripping of power was. almost immediately, the states began abusing their power. the state legislatures were acting -- minorities were being tyrannized by popular majority. that was not something the -- in acting all kinds of crazy legislation.
that was not something the patriots expected. there was a debate between daniel leonard and john adams, who was defending the week party -- whig party. leonard charged that the congresses would become tyrannical, abusing their power. john adams dismissed this. he said, it is impossible. the people cannot tyrannize themselves. he said that democratic despotism is a contradiction. 10 years later, he changed his
tune. that was exactly what was happening. the legislatures were becoming despotic and it was a learning situation. james madison summed it up in an unpublished essay. this is the most important document between the declaration and the federal constitution, the most important document written in that interval. it was written in early 1787. it is a working paper. it was madison's working paper. he was always a clear thinker and he wanted to get, what is wrong with america? he wrote these ideas -- you can call it up on your ipads. he outlines what is wrong with america and popular politics.
these state legislatures were being annually elected, which was an innovation in most states. the turnover in some states were 60%. 60% new people. the multiplicity -- he outlined three evils, mutability, multiplicity, and injustice. that is his main objection. multiplicity comes from the numerous legislatures, the
turnover. more laws enacted in the decades since the declaration then the entire colonial period. more laws then in 100 years. and the laws were constantly changing. in this flood of legislation with new people every year, all narrowminded -- most important was the injustice. he is concerned about minorities being oppressed by majorities. the principal is the same, how do you protect minorities in a democratic polity? what the legislatures were doing
were passing all kinds of legislation and the printing of paper money which creates inflation so that people were getting paid back -- they might lend 100 pounds and they were getting back pieces of paper issued by the state which said $100 but they were not worth $100. many of the american elites, the aristocracy, and this includes slaveholders, they are learning a lot of their money not from what they sold, although, the southern planters were making money from rice and put tobacco wasn't quite what it used to be but many of them were acting as
bankers, lending money. as you know, the english aristocracy lived off of rent and that was true until the 1920's if you watch downton abbey. the lord is still charging rent to succeed. that was not possible in america because there was very little 10 -- tenantry. so the gentry are living off this interest paid from loans but that interest is been inflated so they have a vested interest in preventing this kind of paper money.
all of these problems, said madison, and this is true for any minority -- brought into question the fundamental principle of republican government that the majority that rose are the safest guardians of the public good and minority rights. that was a major problem. i cannot think of a more major problem. how do you curb majorities without doing violence to majority rule? that is still problem -- a problem. the theory going back to aristotle would be, if you have too much democracy -- you have to bring some monarchy into play. some authoritarian ruler. give the authoritarian ruler more power.
in 18th-century terms, you would have to say that these governments needed monetary. there is a lot of suggestions buried in the unpublished letters of new englanders saying, we have got to go the way of the father of the [indiscernible] washington -- some thought that washington himself should become the king or a dictator. he dismissed those suggestions. as you know, we came close to a military coup d'etat headed off me by a brilliant speech by washington to the military officers who were plotting to
march of the continental congress. madison did not want to go in that direction. what he wanted -- i want a republican remedy for republican ales. how do you do that? the creation had become a solution. by the 1780's there was a consensus that the articles of confederation were not working out, confederation congress lacked the power to tax and regulate. the reason for that is because congress was a substitute for the crown. the crown could do a lot of things, wages war, appoint offices, and so on. what it cannot do, it cannot tax or regulate trade in that is why the congress which was supposed to be a substitute for the crown
was deprived of those powers. now people are thinking, this system is not working. by 1786, the entire political nation -- i don't think anybody objected to this -- was ready to add those two powers to the articles of confederation so there is a consensus building up. rhode island was very cantankerous, turning down things. they came around to accept the idea of giving a 5% duty tariff duty -- tax power. everyone is ready for those kinds of reforms. what happened is that madison and his followers, takes
advantage of this consensus and hijacks this reform movement to create something entirely different. his virginia plan is much more than a couple of articles added to the articles of confederation. he scraps the articles and asserts a powerful government that is a treaty -- a government that reaches directly to the people. that -- so he is going to solve two problems at once. he is going to take advantage of that consensus to create this new kind of government. he says this was caused by so many -- and these are the terms
he uses -- code words for narrowminded people who are creating this kind of excessive democracy -- the parochial, illiberal, liberal arts --they are narrow and uneducated. these are the kinds of people who are doing all this bad stuff. william mckinley, from pennsylvania, he is exactly the kind of person that madison dislikes. he had taken advantage of the revolution, now a politician in pennsylvania. he comes from the western part of the state and he is a fan of the farmers who want paper money
and he is much hated by the elites. he is asked by the legislature -- there is a meeting that is going to take place to presumably reform the article. that is the way it is phrased. the legislature acts -- asks -- [indiscernible] he says, that these other guys do it. the pennsylvania delegation was made up of seven people who lived in philadelphia. nobody from the rest of the
state. one of the representatives wasn't even a resident, was not a citizen. robert morris says, why don't you come along? because he is the man actually wrote the constitution. why don't you come to this meeting? governor morris spoke for the pennsylvania delegation through the old convention. finley had no idea that that was going to happen. they did not tell him in advance. it was a loaded convention. made up of what you might call nationalists. they are the nationalists. they embrace our group of people. it is a loaded convention.
the only supporters were lancing and yates. as soon as they grasped the implication -- they see the virginia plan introduced. they begin to think about, what does this mean? and they walk out, leaving the new york delegation alone with alexander hamilton. but the time they leave, new york never votes on anything. when you read the final letter that washington writes, he names all of the states that have supported this report and he says, new hampshire, massachusetts, connecticut --
rhode island is not come to the convention. he has to name and as the single person. so, it is a loaded convention in -- and so madison and his colleagues are out to do more then just reform the articles. the virginia and proposes a to house legislature with both houses have proportional representation. he wants both houses to be like the house of representatives. not simply because he comes from the biggest state in the union but more importantly, he was to keep the state out of the system altogether. he sees that the states have a representation in the government. they are so strong -- the loyalty is so strong that the federal government will never be able to stand up against them. that is why he was proportional representation. he also wants negative power given to the congress which is a bicameral legislature.
a veto power of state bills. think about that. in states would have to send bills to washington. they have to decide, should we veto? it is totally impractical. it is june before they say, we cannot do that -- that would be an endless problem, having to send every piece of legislation passed by the legislature to the capital. it would just be impractical. what you have instead is article one section 10 of the constitution which, if you look at your constitution says, the states cannot assert things. -- cannot do certain things. they cannot pass tariffs. they cannot pass ex post facto laws.
they cannot violate contract or print money. can you imagine? illinois would be -- illinois would love to print money. it is a good thing that the state cannot print money. by chartering banks, which printed the paper money, because, by the hundreds of thousands of dollars, the paper money was the generating force behind the extension of the american economy, particularly in the north. it made it possible for the economy to grow. they got around that prohibition.
the paper money was so much needed that counterfeiting became a major sport and people accepted counterfeit money. as long as anybody -- because paper money is so much needed -- as somebody will accept it. so, he -- he has these two things that he wants. absolute necessary is the veto power. in the proportional representation. now, he loses both of these. he loses the veto by article one, section 10. proportional representation, he fights for. the climax comes in the middle
of july where you have what everyone knows, the connecticut compromise, which gives two senators, regardless of their size, and now we have, from our democratic point of view, the absurdity have wyoming with 600,000 people with two senators in california with 37 million people. there is no changing that. that is the one thing that cannot be amended. that was not a compromise for madison. that was a defeat. he met with his virginia colleagues to caucus. virginia is the most dominant state in the union by far. no state has ever dominated our country in these years -- by far the biggest state in population, wealth, territory. as virginia went, so did the nation. it is not surprising that four
out of the first five presidents were from virginia. virginia was the dominant state. if the virginia delegation walked out, that would have been the end of the convention. some pay comcast -- so they caucused. madison never got over that. the loss of the veto and proportional representation, both defeats. the question -- many were stunned when they saw the constitution published. this is not what we wanted. hundreds of thousands of people are shocked who would never have thought that this was going to come out of the convention. they thought it was going to be an enhanced articles of confederation.
this is immediately -- this is where the anti-federalist -- that is what is given to them. that is not what they wanted at all. the question that was raised by madison himself. he could not say anything to jefferson because they took a bow of secrecy. jefferson is, of course, in paris. madison was to let jefferson know what has happened. he is a little bit anxious because he knows that jefferson isn't as sympathetic to the antidemocratic constitution as
he is. so he says to jefferson, he actually raises this question that any political scientist would, what is different about the federal constitution that will keep it from doing the same kinds of evil things, vicious things, that the state legislature did? you could say, they are in for two years. senators are in for six. that is the question that he
raises. madison was to think through everything. he wants to explain -- he has a long letter -- you can look it up -- which explains the thinking that went into the constitution. he is kind of a knee-jerk liberal. all he can see is a president who looks at a polish king. polish kings served for life. when they came died, the aristocracy would elect a new on -- that is how jefferson seasoned the president. other stuff that washington would serve until he died. at any rate, he says, how is this going to work? he said one thing, a small matter, but it is still important at the end of the advice essay, he said the desirable thing, the added thing, now we have representation. it will mean a better class of person is elected member of congress.
the first congress has 65 members. that is very small for the population of 4 million. some of the state legislatures in massachusetts was 350 something, north carolina was 232. north carolina was given five congressmen in the congress. it got 232 members in the state legislature, but there are only five college graduates in the
state of north carolina. madison assumes those five college graduates have been liberally educated. unc had not been created, so they have to go north, but they would be liberal minded, and they would be the kind of people in the congress. you use the term, the purest and noblest characters into the congress because of this narrowing of representation. that was his hope. but more important, i think, people believe that the expanded sphere of the united states new government would work to prevent any one faction or interest from congealing with others to create a bad legislation. one of the problems the state had, there were these interest groups. it took a small amount, they would come together and promote their vicious legislation. now they have so many interest groups because the expanded sphere, they will neutralize one another. they will be able to congeal. now later political theorists, david truman for example in the early 20th century, call the interest group theory, that is not what madison has in mind. he is not saying the proper liberal emerged out of these interests. he is saying these interest groups will neutralize one another and allow and enlighten them to promote the public good. he gets his insight from experience. in fact he feels that nothing comes from reading books.
that is probably true, when you read it when you pick out what you are reading something that jogs with your experience. there was a point in testing the conventional wisdom, and the public had to be smaller and homogenous. and then he comes along, he is a terribly eccentric -- taking on conventional wisdom all the time, bright guy. he said no, we can expand the society, they will not congeal. he made the point that madison sees, but he had experienced it firsthand with his shepherding the jefferson's bill for religious freedom through the legislature. both of these insights that he has are expressed in his two famous federalist papers, if you want to look them up, federalist 10 and federalist 51.
this comes from the 1785, 1786 experience in getting this bill to disestablish the applicable -- episcopal church, the church of england, that was dominating religious life in virginia. madison came to realize the separation of church and state that jefferson wanted in his bill, and is a really radical bill, and true religious liberty, jefferson and madison both said, we are not going to go half way with this. this is not toleration. we are going to go beyond locke. there may be no place still where religious is kept out of the state. that was uniquely 18th century. even holland is very liberal, did not have this kind of religious liberty.
toleration is one thing. toleration is the kind of establishment you tolerate other groups. that is a far cry from what jefferson had in mind. jefferson is the intellectual, he thinks this will combine rational argument. we will convince people this is the rational thing to do. madison said, that is crazy. what is going to work, what really enables us to get this bill through is the multiplicity of sects and the jealousy of each other. you have the baptists and the quakers all frustrated with the legislature to adapt the bill. now the presbyterians could have been assured that they would be the established church in place of the episcopal church, they would have taken that. the thing one of the wants to be except for the baptists is to be
in charge, but they come to the realization that since none of them can make it, it is better to neutralize the state completely in religious matters. that is the basic insight of madison, only because of the jealousy of each. jefferson never sees that. he sees people have become more reasonable like me. i say this as a parenthetical remark, i was on a conference with, sponsored by monticello to discuss the separation of church and state with scholars from all over the world, including two muslims, one from indonesia, one from iran, and europeans and americans. we were all discussing jefferson's argument, separation from church and state.
the europeans understood that they agree with the argument, but the muslims found it in -- incomprehensible. they set up religion is important, the state must be involved with it. so that is the whole problem with the middle east. anyway, madison sees this as an example of a new species, federalist groups neutralizing one another. this is how people like himself enlightened the puritans to operate and promote the public good. so the lesson that came out of this american spirit that i told the egyptians, democracy is more than majority rule. it is a prerequisite.
it also needs attention for minority rights and individual liberties. if it is to be a real democracy. moreover, separation of church and state does not have to mean the loss of state. what was extraordinary over the next generation was the flourishing of religious life in america despite the first amendment. all of the states, the first amendment did not apply to the states, massachusetts and connecticut kept their established churches, which were dissenting churches, not the church of england, until 1819 for massachusetts, but they went
the way of virginia. it was an extraordinary moment in christendom, and people marveled at it having separation of church and state, and yet the second great awakening, religious revivalism was flourishing without state control or state interference. that was a lesson that might have been taken by the egyptians and other arabs. of course, what i said as you know, within four months, the egyptians had moved in a monarchical direction and a military coup. general cc took over and was elected president under an election that was not at all fair as the other president had been elected by. president morsi was elected and thrown in jail where he sits today. many of the muslim brotherhood were outlawed, the freedom justice party was outlawed, many arrested. that is the solution the egyptians reached, and it has been embarrassing because we were excited about the arab spring. we were endorsing the overthrow
without hesitation even though we had been allies for a long time, now we are stuck with another new power who may be more oppressive than mubarak was. it is not a very happy solution. despite recent shenanigans, the electoral process, we live in the western world and have been blessed for the last 200 years, and we can only watch with dismay as other people, especially in the middle east, struggle to establish some kind of populist based democracy. thank you. [applause] gordon wood: thank you very much. [applause] gordon wood: be happy to take questions.
>> you talk about madison as being a front runner to the constitution but being disappointed with the connecticut compromise. he was diminished in his role related to the federalist neighbors and all he had authored, perhaps 15 whereas hamilton authored as many as 50 gordon wood: gordon wood:? he did not desire to promote it. he is a politician first.
he is not a john locke or a philosophe who sits in a closet. he is a working politician but a very intelligent thinking one. he quickly adjusts, i will do the best i can to get this thing through. so he works. it is just that hamilton is such an extraordinary engine of energy that he organized the federalist papers. j got hill, and he only got five. madison wrote as fast as he could, but who could keep up with hamilton? hamilton was an unbelievable guy. by any measure, he was the smartest of the founders. he could read a paragraph quickly, figure out the meaning and write a paragraph quickly. it is not surprising that he wrote many more than madison did, but madison was very much in favor of the constitution. it wasn't exactly what he wanted. when he writes his letters, it is not despair, this will not work, it will not fail, but he had a vested interest of emotion in those two measures. so he came around, but he
certainly is in favor of it. there is a new book out by mary dillinger called madison at hand, and it seems that madison worried, she suggests, worried about jefferson's reading of his performances in the convention, doctored his notes to make them seem a little less anti-popular, a little less antidemocratic. there is evidence he did change it. it is not clear, but she wrote it, and she won the prize last spring. there is a lot more to be found out about this whole business if she is right. but he is really much more antidemocratic than jefferson. what is interesting, in response to his letter, he talks about the evils of majority rule and how they are oppressing minorities, jefferson comes back as if he had not read that and says, the one thing i believe in
his majority rule. they are not really meeting, yet they are very close friends. madison has to adjust. he does it quite radically in the 1790's because he is totally surprised. >> can you explain how madison from being one of the architects of the constitution, the chief legislative lieutenant in the first congress to working with jefferson on the kentucky and virginia resolutions? gordon wood: it is a great problem. i call it the madison problem. in the 1780's, based on the problem, he comes with this solution.
and since the federal government is the problem in the 1790's, he comes up with a state solution. it is a major problem to explain what happened. it is reactions to hamilton's quote is, it is not what he had in mind. read the 10th federalist carefully. the national government is judicial. his image is adjudicatory. the federal government will be an umpire by all of the vested interest. he does not have in mind the fiscal military state, european type state that hamilton wants to build. hamilton's image or his model is england. england had come out of the 17th
century, and in the course of the 18th century, had emerged as the most powerful nation in the world. this little island where a third of the population of france had by financial structure, creating the bank of england, stock market, a host of financial reforms, had enabled its state to tax its people without impoverishing them. the french could not do this. hamilton wants to copy that. he said, yes, that is how we are going to build. the british are following the dutch only on a bigger scale and expanding on what they had done. now hamilton wants the same thing. his model is what has been labeled a fiscal military state. he follows that the united states, within four decades, four or five decades, could take on the europeans in their own terms. we have democracy, standing army, navy, we would be
powerful. it wasn't off i much. the united states was a major power, but it was capable of taking on european states if it had to. it did later, showed itself is a world power. but that is what hamilton wanted. it is not at all what madison had in mind. he sees the implications of hamilton's program, he is stunned. we wrote these papers together. he was surprised by madison's opposition. he understood madison did not have the same vision, and i think that vision is a different kind of national government. it is a umpire. the federalist paper is through with judicial imagery, and that explains the problem, but that is the solution to this madison problem. just one here. while, we got two questions. >> my question would be, what
gordon wood: my suggestion, what do they think of my suggestion? >> what was your suggestion? gordon wood: my suggestions were what i just told you. >> i am sorry, but i forgot what you said about your suggestions. i would like to reaffirm your point. gordon wood: their reaction was, you were lucky. you americans. it is true, we were blessed, we had all that experience. as englishmen. we had been electing legislation, legislators for hundreds of years in some colonies. we had trial by jury. we had essentially the bill of rights, magna carta, no taxation without representation within each of our states, but we had the experience, trials and elections, and no european country except england itself had elections, -- so we had enormous experience, advantage. when the french began their revolution, they had not had a meeting of these since 1614, so nobody alive had any experience. it is no reason that the french revolution went crazy. so in that sense, we were blessed.
egyptians had no experience, really. they had elected mubarak. the only election in egypt's modern history that they [indiscernible] that was the fairest election they had, and it turned out to bring you the guys that [indiscernible] he is a muslim brotherhood man. it was not a fair election, but that was the majority not treating the minority well. there were a lot of secular minded people that was frightened by that, and there was fighting in the streets and insecurity. that is what they left behind. it was an impossible situation. the arab spring was so hopeful in the west. we dumped mubarak -- it is actually kind of embarrassing. there was a lot of political figures embarrassed with the quickness in which obama
administration dumped mubarak, and now we have a second mubarak, and we are not worrying about it. but it was -- i don't know what i thought my part in the american resolution was going to do, but they thought it would be an interesting contrast. the people, the 30 egyptians that represented the country, they were fairly sophisticated that spoke english, and they were at each other's throats. the two people from the muslim brotherhood were very quiet and rarely spoke, which suggests something. they were uneasy. their president was the one being talked about. their man, and they did not come to his defense. they were the most quiet of the 30 odd people there.
i don't know how they felt about each other, but there was a point where the dean of the music school, a lunch partner was a very sophisticated man, very hopeful for the arab spring, but i don't know what he thinks now. one more here. >> so you have all these brilliant men get together, they write the constitution about how government works, and they miss the bill of rights. how did that happen? i would like your thoughts and how they went about fixing it as they did. seems like they should have had that in mind. gordon wood: madison has a very significant argument.
it was included by george mason in the last few days. after four months of meeting, a groan goes through all of them, do we have to have a bill of rights? and they vote on it, and every allegation doesn't. they said it was about limited government power. what is the use of the bill of rights when you have delegated power? it isn't necessary. that is the sophisticated argument madison used to jefferson. but jefferson, thinking again in his ideological ways, he says my french friends, i am embarrassed we don't have a bill of rights, because they expected.
we are applauding separation of rights. so in light of the world expecting us to have this, he is apologizing in embarrassment. so he -- madison wasn't going to raise the issue. but maryland publishes the letter. now there are antifederalists everywhere. mr. jefferson once a bill of rights and madison is caught. he says finally, he will get into the house of representatives. you have to go back to the state of virginia. it is amazing the ratification got through virginia, because without virginia, there is no constitution. it got through only by a few votes, but henry is still dominant. madison want to go in. henry said because the legislator elects the senate, you are out of the senate. somehow this is my government, you know.
so he runs for house seat. what henry does is redistrict his district in a way that cuts out some of the voters, orange county voters, and puts up this young war hero against him, james munro. madison for the first time in his life, he hates to have to do it, he has to give a speech. gives you an idea of the difference of politics. he does not want to have to electioneer. it is the first time he has ever done this, and he promises them that if i am elected, i will get a bill of rights in two, to amend the constitution. and he takes the lead and his federalist friends say forget it, mr. madison, don't sign the constitution before it is on its feet. he said, i promised my constituents. he called it a nauseous project that nonetheless, i promised my constituents.
he is the real father of the bill of rights. the rest of his colleagues are rolling their eyes saying, what is going on with this guy? so he deserves to be called it. he is called the father of the constitution even though he lost two of the major things he wanted, but he's really the father of the bill of rights. thank you, thank you. [applause] gordon wood: thank you. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2016] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] >> american artifacts, lectures of history and more. >> this is a film record of a
few moments in time. at veterans day ceremony arlington national cemetery in 1963. for those who were there, these moments were burned forever in their memory. in one of his last official acts on behalf of our war veterans, president john f. kennedy placed a wreath on the tomb of the unknown. day, the later to the mortal remains of president kennedy were bought -- brought to arlington national cemetery to rest among those he had honored. the tomb of the unknowns overlooks the city of washington. honor every day of the year.