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tv   Carpenters Hall  CSPAN  March 18, 2017 8:30am-9:01am EDT

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you know, we cannot dump all of our problems and forget about them. it seems to me that if we want to keep the wheels turning, we have to see that everybody everywhere can receive a fair chance to stay in business. this foreign trade, it is like a round-trip. it works best when there is a full load coming and going. doesn't that make sense? blowing] ♪ >> american history tv will be live today with a symposium exploring abraham lincoln's life and legacy.
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that begins at 9:00 a.m. eastern today on c-span3. >> each week, american history tv's american artifacts of the visits museums and historic places. up next, we visit philadelphia to learn the history of carpenters hall, where the first continental congress met in 1774. mr. moss: i'm standing in the midst of independence national historical park, surrounded by buildings that are famous throughout the world. on one siden one side of me is the first bank of the united states. across the street is the museum of the american revolution. a few yards on this side is independence hall, which everyone knows. between these historic outings buildings is carpenters hall,
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which is less well-known but also a structure of significance to all americans because it was here that the continental congress met the first time and made a decision that led to the open revolution and the declaration of independence. we're on the first floor of carpenters' hall. you'll remember from your perhaps gradeschool history lessons that in 1773, a group of supposedly indian, at least they that way, threw a lot of chests of tea into boston harbor, in the protest of taxes levied by the crown parliament from imports to america. the british had a strange idea that maybe the colonistss ou ght ought to pay for some of the
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defenses they are providing against the french and other people who have interest in north america. at any rate, the crown was furious. as a result, they passed, the parliament passed, a number of coercive acts to force the americans to get iline and quit in line and quit protesting. as a result of that, the colonists decided that maybe they should have a congress and talk about what action they should take to these course of coercive acts. so, the 13 colonies appointed -- well, 12 of the 13 colonies, appointed representatives to meet in the largest and most sophisticated city in north america -- philadelphia. and they, the various colonies sent a few men to meet together, most of whom had never met each other.
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and, of course, in the 18th century, each colony was really a separate organization with its allegiance to the crown. so, there was not any sort of national unity to speak of. and, when the delegates came, everyone said, we'll meet at the pennsylvania state house, i.e. independence hall. however, it was associated with the proprietor, a supporter of the british crown. so, they thought, where can we meet? well, it happened that joseph fox, master of the company, was sitting in the pennsylvania legislature, and one of the delegates appointed by pennsylvania to the continental congress who was a member of the
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company, and they said, gentleman, we have a nice new building just a few yards away. and we'd be pleased if you would meet there. so, the group trouped over here and looked around and said this is a lovely place for us to meet, and we are in the very spot where they met in 1774. and out of that came the first cooperative movements of the 12 colonies that met, georgia did not send a representative. it was important that they were meeting each other, because firebrands would be leaders in the revolution, such as adamses from massachusetts, the virginians, like patrick henry and thomas jefferson, and the pennsylvania people like benjamin franklin.
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these people may have known each other from their writing, but most of them had never actually been in the same room with each other. and perhaps one of the most remarkable moments in that convention came from patrick henry. now, you all remember patrick henry for his "give me liberty or give me death," but even more significant was his remark made here in the earlier days, when he looked around the room and he said, "gentlemen, we are no longer for massachusetts, we are no longer from pennsylvania, we no longer are from virginia. we are all americans." and that has the ability to raise goosebumps on anybody, and
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it did have that impact among these men who were seeing each other and sharing their thoughts on what we should do and what they decided was we'll protest. not as a single colony, but as americans. when the congress that met, the continental congress met in this room, they use the furniture that the carpenters company had ordered the year before, windsor chairs, much like this one, which is a high chair. this is a reproduction of the originals.
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i would not be able to be doing this. the real chair was used by the leaders of the group who were elected at the continental congress. and, indeed, the originals are still here, but people occasionally want to try to sint t in one of them, and that makes everyone nervous, so they had reproductions made. the continental congress met in this space in september and october of 1774, and pretty much the movement, for separation grew from that meeting. and, of course, after the y declared that we were at war, and that we were going to declare independence, the second continental congress moved to what we now know as independence hall, the pennsylvania state house, because the proprietary government which supported the crown was out. i've mentioned the carpenters
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company, which carpenters' hall is representative of. carpenters company is a group of now builders, architects, contractors, structural engineers. there are no carpenters in the carpenters company. but, the history of the company goes back to the 15th century. it began when the english crown licensed a group of house carpenters to have their own guild. and that was called the worshipful company of carpenters. they control the entire building
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history from the 15th century up through to today, they still exist. but, in the 17th century, when some of the things carpenters came to philadelphia, they eventually decided to organize and to become a company of carpenters here. now, the whole purpose of that, or kind of an organization, was that they could make the whole structure of their craft better organized, how you would get apprentices, how long the apprentices had to serve you, and keeping the standards high in terms of building so there would be consistency in the building. also, less well-known and then very important, they also controlled the prices that could be charged for carpentry work. and because they were relatively wealthy people in the total scheme of the 17th and 18th century philadelphia, they were related both by marriage and association with the leading
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families of philadelphia. as a consequence, some of their members were appointed to various, very lucrative city contracts. and one of those contracts was the regulator of party walls. and that person was the one who enforced philadelphia laws on what materials could be used for construction in philadelphia. of course, if you were a person about to build a new building, who would you go to to do the wo rk? you would go to one of the master carpenters of the carpenters company because he, or one of his associates, was probably going to say whether or not your building was sound or whether it had been built with the proper materials. so, gradually, they built of up this tradition of having a lot of control. in addition, they issued a book
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of prices. now, this was the way you calculated what a house was going to cost. if you think about that, the only people who had those books to determine the price of construction were members of the carpenters company. and, as a consequence, they were able to set the prices that everyone had to pay in order to build, because the way you determined the price for construction in the 18th center was by measuring the building, literally how many feet of this kind of board, and how much plaster and how much bricks. they really did control construction in the 18th century in philadelphia. by the 19th century, they still were very important contractors, but they became more businessmen contractors rather than actual hand and tool builders.
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and that continued on for -- to today, because the company today, the members of the company are architects, contractors, engineers, and nowt t a one of them served in a n apprenticeship as a carpenter. that organization today is something that has evolved, and there have only been about 900 members in the nearly 300 year history of the company. so, they appear in virtually every major event in the history of philadelphia, right from the earliest founding through to the revolution, where almost to a man, served in the american army building defenses. they were very good at artillery, and many of them became officers and the artillery regiments.
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-- in the artillery regiments. so, the whole history of the company is very rich. and not generally well known. carpenters' hall is important architecturally, as well as politically and socially. it was built, designed in 1770 by robert smith. now, robert smith was perhaps the first proto architect in america. he was raised in scotland, may have apprenticed under the adams brothers. he came to philadelphia in the 1760's and immediately was "the" man for a major building. he designed this building, of course, which he was a member of the company, and he was their choice to design the building. but he also designed the great
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philadelphia prison, and numerous buildings. steeple of christchurch, st. peter's church, almost all the large-scale structures seen, probably consulted on pennsylvania hospital and so on. smith was an interesting character. as i say, he was a hammer and saw type carpenter but he also was a designer. and this building, which is unusual -- there is not another one just like it in philadelphia, with the four equal facades, is built of what's called flemish bond, the combination of a stretcher part of the brick and the narrow part of the brick -- they were left in the klin until they became a ceramic like service.
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surface.c-like it provides a pattern of the bricks. the wide part on the narrow part of the brick alternating but with the additional color. using non-technical terminology. but you can see when you look close of the building. -- closely at the building. it also has a typical roofline for a georgian building. as i said, he designed it in 1770. it was under construction by the company, they were doing it for themselves. for four years. by 1774, the building was beginning to be occupied. they built it as a place they said for meeting with customers, clients, if you will, and also as a space which could be rented to other organizations. and over the course of the history of the company, that use of the building as a rental income property became very
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important. the first bank of the united states was there for a while. dozens of other organizations, the library company founded by franklin was in the building at one time. and, as a consequence, the company was not using it for its own purposes, because they liked the income. so, they built another building next door, which they could have their meetings in. and keep their library, and eventually, where they -- they added another floor onto the building and began the first school of architecture in the united states. we've come inside to look at the model of carpenters' hall being constructed. here, we can see the brick pattern, the regular equal facadces.
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equal facades. the cupola being installed over the roof and various crafts working. and one of the things people often wonder about is if the master builder became a sort of proto-architect, a carpenter, transferring through using the title "master builder," why didn't it happen that the brick layers were the master builders? the problem with that was that going back into even medieval england, the master carpenter, the master builder, was the person who works with the client to come up with the design. in effect, doing what a modern architect would do, but in a somewhat more primitive way. what the master builder would do is provide a design for the owner and then the owner would say to the master builder, i
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approve this design. go to it. and i own the land, and this is where i one that building. -- want that building. what the master builder would do is bring in the other crafts, as they were needed. for instance, the laborers would dig the foundations and then they would raise the building if it was a brick building and bring in the brick layers. and then the various other carpentry jobs would be done and bring in the plasterers. each craft was supervised, if you will, but the master -- by the master carpenter who was the master builder. it used to be that when they talked about who built colonial buildings in america, they talk about people like thomas jefferson who, indeed, loved being an architect, but those
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people were rare. in fact, we know from the lists of who was buying books of architectural design that they overwhelmingly were not gentleman country house owners but they were the builders themselves. and they even called them master builders in the c8th century. 18th century. the first book of architecture , an english book by abraham swan, the list of the purchasers, the people who encourage the project by paying for it in advanced were were overwhelmingly probably 90% master builder carpenters. i mentioned outside that the carpenters company had only had about 900 members in its 300
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year history. the importance of that is it was a fairly exclusive group, a fairly wealthy group but the company turned out in large numbers to serve in the continental army. they were firmly convinced, as pro-separation, pro-independence, from very early on. in fact, the man who designed carpenters' hall, robert smith, was designing defenses for philadelphia against the british army and the british fleet. in fact, he died of pneumonia in 1777 from having stood in chest deep ice water in the delaware
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river building obstructions to keep the british fleet from attacking philadelphia. and that's a familiar story in the history of the company that several of the members did give their lives for independence. and, even during the seige of philadelphia, this very spot was used as a hospital for the wounded americans. under the articles of confederation, which was the first government that was established after the revolution, the delegates throughout the colonies realized that it wasn't working. it was not a functional government because it did not have the powers to enforce its laws or to require theat various states to pay parts of their debt and so on. so, the delegates all returned
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to philadelphia from the now states to independence hall, where they drafted the federal constitution. well, drafting a constitution is one thing. getting adopted is another. and once again, the carpenters company members became advocates, strong advocate, for the new constitution. they felt that it had to be passed. they lobbied throughout philadelphia. the merchants, with whom they were related, and the apprentices and others who would be voters and when the constitution was finally adopted, philadelphia decided to have a grand federal procession to celebrate. and they built a float in the form of domed building.
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it was designed by a member of the carpenters company. the dome was supported by nine columns and three that were not quite holding up their end. and, when the organizers of the grand federal procession decided who would lead the procession, it was the float of the grand federal edifice, each of the co columns named for the states, including the three that had not yet ratified it. and all of the carpenters, the master builders, marched first in the parade, and that is the banner they carried here, under glass, in carpenters' hall. it is another one of those things which the modern members of the company are so proud of, because they not only fought
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hard for the revolution, but they became major supporters of the federal constitution. so, again, the company had a national role. it's little-known until you come to carpenters' hall and see it for yourself. carpenters' hall deserves to be better known, particularly for its role in the revolution. i could go on for a half hour listing the various organizations that have met here, and virtually the first being the continental congress. stories of benjamin franklin meeting with french spies on the second floor, to encourage the french government to come to the aid of the struggling colonies who were trying to separate themselves with the british
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from the british crown. there are so many stories like that that are deeply, deeply embedded in the history, of this country, but of course, just as the pennsylvania state house -- built by the way by one of the early members of the carpenters company -- became independence hall because that is where the declaration of independence was signed. by the same token, carpenters' hall deserves to be visited and to have our visitors, especially our countrymen, know that that first continental congress set the stage for the second continental congress and the declaration. it is part of the story, and when you come to philadelphia , you have, of course, to go to and dependent colleges he the hall -- go to independence
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and the liberty bell, but you should also, if you're going to be in chronological order, you should go to carpenters' hall first. independence hall second, and the new museum of the american revolution third. then, you have the constitution center. and so, once that step-by-step, visitors to philadelphia can get the history of their earliest founding. this is the only building within the park, independence national historic park, which is not federally owned. carpenters' hall belongs to the carpenters company, has always belonged to the carpenters company. the federal government has tried to buy it or take it off our hands. several times. and the company has, from the very earliest days, said absolutely not. it's our home. it's our contribution, if you will, to telling the story of
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america. and they restore the building. i put quotes around the restoration, in the 1850's, and opened it to the public free. second only to mount vernon in terms of a privately owned structure, rather than a government owned structure, being opened to the public as, if you will, a shrine. their idea of restoration in the 1850's was a little different than ours today. and subsequently, in the 1950's and 1960's, working with the park service, as the park began to emerge, the company, at its own expense, renovated the he roofs, put in structural seal so the building could safely be used by groups of people coming through. so, that relationship is one of mutual respect. we take advantage of their steam
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loop to keep the building heated and cooled. we are part of their security net, but the building is the property of the carpenters company exclusively. silvia looksht, ofthe history of the study body fat. a point -- is a changing as you get older? >> it is a force of nature that we seem to accumulate more fat you lose fat busting hormones as you age. wrote levels -- to
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tossed around -- testosterone levels drop as you age. fat,not just the level of the distribution of it is affected as well. afterwords.ght on you are watching american history tv, which airs every weekend on c-span3. live from ford's theatre in washington, d.c. with an all-day symposium on abraham lincoln's life, career and legacy. we will hear about his views on emancipation and immigrants and his relationships governors loyal -- with governors loyal to the union cause how contemporary americans view the 16th president.

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