tv Alexander Hamiltons Views on National Debt CSPAN August 20, 2017 11:29am-12:46pm EDT
to the nation that we became. here's a man who wrote "all men are created equal" and yet was a slaveholder. here is a man who truly believed that government should be representative of the people, even though he was very much a virginia aristocrat. but jefferson, at the end of the day, had a very optimistic view of our nation and a very optimistic view that we could govern ourselves. i hope people who leave understand that while monticello was jefferson's life's work, and he was always trying to perfect it, he also viewed the united states as something that would never be perfected and that would continue to be a work in progress. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2017] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] >> you can watch this and other
programs on the history of the communities across the country on c-span.org/citiestour. economy professor discusses alexander hamilton's views on the national debt and imagines how he would have addressed the current debt. the debt is now over $19 trillion. the alexander hamilton awareness society and the museum of american finance cohosted this event. it is a little over an hour. welcome, everyone. i am president of the museum of american finance. our partner is the alexander hamilton awareness society and you turn to them for all things hamiltonian.
we turn it to friends of the museum. have wrought some amazing documents you should check out afterwards. we thank the c-span audience. 20 years ago, our board chair wrote me a note that started with the words a stroke of luck. a buffalontroduced to phd candidate. he was interested in early american financial history. this was before the show. very few people were interested in hamilton. we were doing a deeper dive into his mission.
thesis, 1300 pages. that is staggering. was 1000300 and his more. he can't hold his think. -- ink. has 20ard 20 years, he more books he has authored or co-authored. quip, heto another writes books faster than we can read them. at volumes,at five the five scholarly articles, many have received awards. his 47ly at page 10 of page cv. it's an incredible document you should check out at his webpage.
i see pictures of him with fishing gear. in case you did not realize, we then very good friends. he loves satire. he listed that on his web age as his favorite type of humor. i know his family. he is named one of his sons alexander. we have collaborated on many projects together. whether it be books or chap are's, he is on the magazine editorial board. when i am stumped on something has to do with early american financial history, i turn to bob. he answers often in a new york minute. from never one to shy away the hamiltonian way.
is,ikes to tell it like it especially to jeffersonians. i have been able to have a front from the sidelines watching them. historiansproject is against slavery, where he is a ward member. his latest book is called the poverty of slavery. when you look at his output, it reminds you of someone else who could not hold his ink, alexander hamilton. today, bob will address a war letter word that hamilton created: debt. differentink it's a four letter word. about a manrom bob who created. it is my pleasure to introduce professor robert wright.
[applause] reich: thank you so much for coming today. -- absolutely nothing to with the heat outside in the air-conditioning in here. can you hear me in back? i'm getting the thumbs up. the co-authored ones, i did do the will of the writing. area in my career that was kind of a downer was when i wrote about with david. david's name was supposed to be first on the cover. it came out in my name was
first. that was a shame. it.d nothing to do with it was a little legal thing. just because your name is second on the contract doesn't mean it's second on the cover. universityo duke political scientist and his new people hold one of three views on government debt arid -- debt. the optimistic view believes ,hat is an unadulterated good the closest thing to a free lunch possible. activities, governments need only sell back in their own
currency. pricey force is too two dicey, governments need only print money. inflation will incur, but on its acted inflation is a good thing. it redistributes well from creditors who are just evil rich people to debtors, the poor salt of the earth. holders of the pessimistic view think any government buying -- borrowing is an abomination. borrowing imposes the tax burgeoned on generations. is a government borrowed dollar away from entrepreneurs and businesses. governments that borrow in another currency will find the burden great and that will harden the fall, like russia and
in the 1990's. governments that are able to aro in their own currency will rent money to cover payments and default by causing uninspected inflation. it will hurt creditors and help debtors. you areof the third realists. to them, context is everything. borrowing is a tool that can be used responsibly to improve the nation's economic situation or irresponsibly to destroy it. situations, government that is good policy and in others it is unwarranted. neither is always wrong. it depends on the situation. sabers and debtors represent economic decisions that do
change over a lifecycle or business cycle. neither group is morally good or bad. alexander hamilton's view of the national debt can be summed up in a single quote asian -- quotation from his letter to a elidel via merchant. -- philadelphia merchant. will be to us a national blessing. the rendition was designed by hamilton's enemies to paint him as a debt optimist in a country pessimisticidly about sovereign debt. the part left out of the hamilton showed that
was a debt realist and not. if it is not excessive." he believed the national debt would be a blessing if it was cap within reasonable bounds. it is important to understand the context of the debt as hamilton understood it. he was not advocating the government should borrow money to stimulate the economy or two transfer wealth to the poor. hamilton was arguing for the eventual prepayment of debt already incurred by the state and federal government to win the american revolution. some of the burden would fall on the unborn.
the unborn would receive something of value in return. political liberty. the failure to repay the debt to theigners, it would ruin nation's sacred honor and prevent the united states from borrowing abroad to finance future territorial expansions. it would be costly in the short run, but in the bigger picture it would allow america to aro abroad when needed. more debt pessimist were able to repudiate the domestic debt. such a move would simply be a one-time capital levy that would keep taxes down for a time. the debt pessimists argue most holders of the government debt instruments for speculators who
purchased them for pennies on the dollar. they were rich and good suffer the loss area the low price they were able to pay proved they expected a default. hamilton countered that the low prices were only the time value, the 1780's.ight in critical asxt is most of the ious were in default with the issuing governments pain neither interest nor principle as promised, or resorting to paying interest on ious with more ious. the financial historian showed hamilton was right and early returnsors did not earn , especially when the risk was considered.
thatton also argued repudiation would be immoral and make it difficult if not impossible for the federal government to borrow from americans and maybe even foreigners when necessary in the future. that would mean the next war would have to be financed by taxes and selling state assets. to ensure the government would not try to repudiate its debt by changing the value of money, hamilton passed an act that provided you coinage. ofdefined dollars in terms range of silver and gold. value of realthe money and increased the numbers of americans to give up reckoning value in the old colonial units of account like gold shillings.
hamilton when a step further and argue the federal government ought to assume or take responsibility for the war related debt of several states. pessimistthe debt holler. was trying to create a huge permanent national that that would cow the population into submission. hamilton argued from principles noting the state should not have been obliged to incur a wartime abt in the first place, only government had necessitated it. only the new federal government received tax trade to generate the revenue or pay the debt much more cheaply and easily than the state governments could. pessimist led by james
hadson and thomas jefferson discrimination, they propose the government pay the original holders of government ious which were mostly soldiers and sailors in combination with con -- holders of the debt, which were wealthy spectators. hamilton noted the administrative difficulty of tracking the chain of ownership of hundreds of thousands of ious. the original holders and not and defrauded, they valued the cash payments over holding the iou until the bankrupt government could issue repaying them. they knew when they sold that they were relinquishing all rights to the principal and were fine with it. to give them some of the cut would be a windfall and ruin the
nation's reputation home and abroad. bargaining, of some hamilton managed to implement most of his plan for the revolutionary war debt, including assumption of state debt. here is where most history books stop, though it is far from the whole story. details of hamilton's funding program were brilliant. what ultimately established american public credit was the ability to aro in the future -- borrow in the future. it doubled the size of the mexicans angryed over the annexation of texas, one a war between the states that ended slavery. slavery,ort of ended
that's another story. with the possible exception of texas, all of those sound like lessing's to me. just kidding. markets were government ious existed to route the 1780's. most were rather thin and inefficient, costly, and time-consuming. scores of different kinds of brokers knew the details of each, not even brokers. holders of the ious traded them in for three types of government ons. -- bonds. the government tracked each owner of the bond by name and location, a fact that will help me make another point later.
them 3%rnment paid on interest annually. they were redeemable at the pleasure of the government, which meant after the other bonds were paid off, who in their right mind is going to pay af 3% of debt when they have 6% that outstanding? annually,ment paid 6% 1.5% quarterly and retain the 2% of theredeem up to principal annually. this is a brilliant feature that allowed the government to slowly repay the principal due on the bond when it had adequate resources. it was an option, not an obligation.
thirds allowed the government to avoid interest until 1800, when they converted into sixes. the marketplace slowly rose to sixes as maturity came closer. when a holder of revolutionary war debt redeemed ious, most of which promised 6% interest, they received a combination of sixes, deferred's, and threes that listed 4%. a few of the holders thought that was a bad deal. 4% overferred the one-day receiving 6%. hamilton's bonds were fully funded and backed by taxes.
the wartime ious were not. a liquid market in the bonds formed immediately. holders could sell their bonds to other investors at fair market prices quickly and it extent. iud's -- ious might not be able to find a buyer at all. the three by contrast could see the going rate published in the local newspaper. ory could sell them in a day two at half percent commission or less. older could sell it immediately to it dealer for one dollar or less than the price listed in the paper. pessimist complains that the
debt would be perpetual because threes were payable at pleasure and sixes had no repayment schedule. they were simply wrong about that as the national debt was repaid during andrew jackson's presidency. there was no way hamilton it could know that in 1790. what hamilton wanted was , he wanted the government to repay its obligation when it was best able to do so, not according to a rigid schedule that might or ande with a war opportunity to buy additional territory. the cost of the national that was low because the bond did not lay idle. not stay in faults and chest like coins. they made large payments. millions of dollars changed
hands each year at a time when $1 million was $1 million. thousands of separate transactions, is bonds were new money instruments that did not crowd out private investment and served the role of the poor olio of banks and other -- portfolio of other banks. the interest could be turned into cash when needed. as federal bonds had been extinguished in the 1830's, state bonds will build the same roles. line in his letter on the national that explained the debt would be powerful cement of our union. by that, hamilton meant one of
the debts blessings would be political rather than economic. a made the government creditor of people throughout the nation. it would create political sentiment in favor of the union as bondholders protected their interest. pessimists including many historians with anti-hamiltonian views assumed and claimed that hamilton's bonds were owned by a small number of rich urban elite. bondwed otherwise by using registers to show tens of thousands of americans rep owned federal bonds some point. i devoted a chapter to on holders in virginia, the home state of pessimist like thomas jefferson. slaves, plantations and
others were doctors and lawyers, others were artisans and retailers. some were women. abigail adams wasn't the only female trading government securities. in nova.holders lived some lived in the valley. some along the james in richmond and beyond. we will never know with certainty what influence those on holders had on public opinion in virginia. they were spread across the ande geographically occupationally, and suggest they could have cemented the union. ae federal bondholder was bona fide revolutionary war hero
who raises only to the defiance of the kings tyranny. he owned a huge musket. considered what we would s.day call a bad ask charged, he would not have if the government threatened secession in his lifetime. in addition to keeping the union intact, hamilton's funding system cut taxes to reasonable levels. taxes aimed mostly in the warm of tariffs. they were cheaply collected.
all taxes rate some distortions. offset capshiskey on imported liquors, which were about 15% or so. hamilton had to offset it. if this sounds odd to you that alexander hamilton counteracted a protective tariff, you have the wrong idea about hamilton's view on protection. the biography will set you straight on that notion. revenues inose order to service the national that. -- national that.
-- national debt. he did not want to raise the tariff structure. i would like to spend the rest of my time with you reviewing some of the secondary effect of his blessed debt. was the among those bank of the united states, chartered in 1791. it was a commercial bank owned in part by private investors and in part by the federal government. the institution established branches in eight seaport cities and made short-term loans to businesses and manufacturers. it was also the federal governments tank. it paid interest on the national that.
it transferred money when the government earned it, which was mostly in the major port cities. the government spent it mostly along the frontier and military forts. as i explained couple of minutes ago, the bondholders lived throughout the country. lentimportantly, the bank money to the government if that's outstretched its current revenue. statesk of the united was a lender of last resort during the financial panic that hit the financial system in 1791 and in 1792. rule, amented a
description of the money market. it's a geological term that means originally called. hamilton did not spell the rule out in his. he implemented her quickly in 1792 when he persuaded bankers to lend freely. the market steady and the american economy continued to grow robustly after hamilton announced a spending program. the bubbles the first included government wants and stocks in
the bank and the other commercial banks, including the bank of new york, which hamilton health found after the british pulled out of manhattan after the american revolution. hamilton also founded to other corporations in new york. had problems maintaining charters first hamilton health them establish workarounds that have the effect of interest into the corporate sector with state governments. loopholes,amilton's there was a perpetual succession and liability rather than statutes. they had to ease their charter requirements or face the formation of numerous
unchartered and unregulated companies. due to the ease of entry forced by hamilton's genius, 23,000 corporations received special act of incorporation in the united states before the civil war and 10,000 were chartered under act of incorporation. there were far more corporations per capita than any other nation on earth, including britain. earliest corporations were engaged in transportation, including bridges, canals, roads, railroads did finance is
pretty common. manufacturing, including everything from cotton and textiles, utilities including and services light like cemeteries in hotels. shares traded in the same market to exchange hamilton's bonds. many businesses in state bondsments began selling to finance their operations as well. hamilton's spending plan amounted to nothing short of a financial revolution. in five years, america went from being backwards in bankrupt without public credit or a unit of accounts to a nation with taxes sufficient to play the and ast of a large debt
small but growing commercial banking and insurance system. hamilton's financial revolution in turn made possible the agricultural revolution described by rothenberg and others whereby pharmacy efficiency increased as crop yields jumped and local revolutions made it less expensive to bring goods to market. they freed laborers from farm work, making them to work on regional transportation connections like railroads and steamship lines and improve transportation on a much lower cost. this rendered feasible the growth of cities and factories. hamilton, the north
and parts of the south industrialized before the civil war. if you did not know that already, that's because other businesses stories did not have good archival skills. antebellumd the economy away. citizens enjoy the government the productive life, fromty, and businesses predators. affirmationnstant of the government's willingness and ability to fill its promises. the new government created by the constitution was key while places like western new york six ernst agricultural and industrial revolutions. adjacent areas in canada with identical cultures and climate remained backward.
it was subject to the whims of the distant monarch and his or her placement in the new world. they were bent on rent seeking. to marco rubio, by the way. canadians declared their independence from the , 150 yearsthe 1830's ago. only after they got rid of the crown in canada start to catch up to america economically. by the time i begin making beer , western newio
york and canada were virtually indistinguishable, except for the drinking age and the metric system. couldl economic parity have arrived several decades earlier. half, that stretch that goes from eastern part of lake erie down both sides of the ther to niagara falls on , the canadianio half looks much better than western new york. that's where i went to school. the reason for the present disparity may be the u.s. national that has become excessive. it is now larger than the
nations annual gdp. the nominal national that stayed about the same during hamilton's tenure as treasury secretary. growth meant death -- that dropped dramatically. constitutions rules about borrowing and taxation, thanks don't borrow without having a path to repay the debt, the national that increased as a percent of gdp afteruring war and territorial acquisitions like the louisiana purchase. after those darling binges, economic growth and budget surpluses reversed the trend.
as recently as the end of the world war, the u.s. debt to gdp so much so that at the end of bill clinton's term, there was concern that government bonds would the complete lyrics and for the second time in u.s. history. one of those bond traders going to do? what is the fed going to do? when you that was not to be. powerptimists swept into and there were punitive wars on debt and terror. they borrowed and spent in order to win votes, taxing and spending is to risky because people immediately feel that area -- that. , most peopleending pay little attention to
borrowing. the debt optimists are there now, telling them they don't , you don't need to worry about the national debt. everything is going to be just fine. which is true if you are one of those 12 people who own more than they owe. everything will be fine. i am talking about the part of the national that, the entitlement programs added many trillions to the burden. interest on the national that in or6 amounted to $241 billion 1.3% of gdp. spending on social security and medicare was $2 trillion. we spent even more in 2017. the spending is formulaic and
has largely capped. interest on the national that has skyrocketed. it must be refinanced every five years or so. interest rates are low now. they are heading higher. mentioned, they reached into the upper teens in the late 1970's and could go there again if inflation expectations rise. spendingwe could be 20% on debt service alone. that would put tremendous pressure on other expenditures. that would put tremendous upward pressure on tax rates and fourth
.laces 20% is a nightmare scenario. please forgive my hamiltonian realism. is it we can do to get out of this mess? yes, thanks for asking. [laughter] hamilton advised the creation of an efficient government that did one thing well for as little money as possible. that one thing was to protect americans lives, liberty, and property from tyrants foreign and domestic. i think hamilton would/the creatingbudget without a debility to ward off foreign
entities. might be stopped at the borders and not the mountains of asia. the government subsidizes one group at the expense of another. back, itdo we scale should be slowly so people can adjust and the markets can grow again. phasing out the department of education would not end education in the united states. it would force parents to run their children's education, which most of them could do if their taxes weren't so high. thosement would raise out programs and render the poor better off. a study by bureau of economic
research shows that social security redistributes wealth from poor black men and hispanics to white middle-class widows. they live a long time. phasing out some security would not relegate the nations elderly to eating pet food. it would give people incentives as theyor retirement did before so scary was implemented in the 1930's. a temporary problem. there is a euphemism for the great depression. hamilton would stop war on drugs, which is really just a war on brown people, against whom he had no prejudice. towould improve the services
immigrants and african-americans. that mostly means doing expensive things to people and allow them to live like other americans, without their of the atf, so on so forth. me, youon't believe should've come to my talk on monday night when i explained that hamilton thought lacks equal to whites in every way. look into the history of hamilton college in new york. the most important thing hamilton would do today is restore america's fiscal constitution. a set of rules established by realists.
america's constitution healthy government should are a only when absolutely necessary during declared wars or to finance a territorial acquisition, and only when the taxes are sufficient to offset the borrowing. the ability of the government to repay the debt was demonstrated and the future cost of borrowing are laid bare. bush and obama replaced this with more nonsense about the debt. thefirst step is to run debt optimists out of power and replace them with that realists so we can restore our physical constitution. we to shrink the burden in the process.
that does not mean austerity or running surpluses, it means keeping government deficits small. warmerica can state out of for a decade or so, the national debt will become acceptable once again and buffalo will prosper once more. if america treated citizens equally and phase out part of the government not needed in the first place, the national belt will become a blessing and paces -- places like buffalo. thank you. [applause] questions what -- questions? remember to microphone.
>> thank you. thank you for your talk. regarding question the idea of hamiltonian versus the citizens united ruling and the plutocracy going on right now. how do you think he would've approached that situation? bob wright: i want to make sure i am answering the right question. what and so far as the first duty of society. ruling from five years ago? it said in short that corporations are people.
hamilton made very clear corporations are corporations. they are not people. if they were people we would not need to form corporations. entity hastion is a certain qualities, the most important of which is succession. he helped to establish operations that did not live forever. jeffersonians are wrong about that as they were about so many other things. it simply means the ownership structure can change without having to dissolve the business firm and we started.
it's the common-law rule for general partnership a corporation can have stockholders change every day. it doesn't matter, the corporation continues economically. they are distinct. they don't need to have liability. have situations chair, a case where there is different class. in the charter for the bank of the united states felt a opposite way and said you only get one vote per share.
this was to help balance the rights of minority shareholders. in no way is a corporation person. book about this called corporation nation that nobody read it. you can probably pick up a two dollar copy of it. >> i will forward to finding that two dollar book. you mentioned your talk point about hamilton's colleague james madison. you should he was a debt pessimist. that had me thinking as i'm doing my own reading on the constitution. a debtossible for
pessimist -- part of the federalist pitch was have a structured society and rescue the states and create a strong national government. that would imply that realism. wright: could he a been a debt pessimist and also a federalist? it's been a while since i studied this. i do seem to recall that he was in a federalist all that long. not pushed on the issue of repayments of the debt.
what is in the constitution, the federal government has the right to borrow. pessimist and let that slide. you can certainly let that go and be pushed on it. >> thank you for your edifying talk. you indicated that some valid reasons for federal deficits, given hamilton's views like declared wars or purchases of territory. one thing that occurs to me is financialen the
system came crashing down and is partlytes, that due to significant deficits at the time. we had to bail out a lot of institutions. how would hamilton deal with that? bob right: that's an excellent question. how would you handled 2008? would it be right to borrow jpmorganrecapitalize or wells fargo or some of these other big banks? i wrote about this that no one read. it's even smaller than the other one. argument is hamilton would have applied his rule and would have let to all firms that
could prove solvency. at a penalty rate, not a lower rate. today, the fed drops interest weights -- rates when things go down. enoughbring me security in the amount of cash you want to are a, the lender of last resort will lend it to you. it's not market rate, it's above that so we know you're not just borrowing willy-nilly. you are not borrowing just to borrow. i think he would've used his rule. the fed should have used his rule. we would have been much better off. we would not be in a long-term
economic funk afterwards. we haven't been in a recession since then, but the road economy has not been growing robustly. created a massive hazard problem. wantan make any law you saying there will be no more will out. there will be another bailout. why not take a little more risk? janet yellen was just on tv this afternoon. she said that is going to shrink its balance sheet and they and talking about that for five years. how they're going to do it is still unclear. there is quite a bit of risk there. it's not at all clear that what optimal and08 was
it doesn't seem to be hamiltonian. >> i have a question about the bank of the united states. what percent of it was private and what percent was public? it was gold backed? it led to today's central banks. bob wright: did the bank of the united states lead to the fed? kind of sort of. thee is a short gap between first rank and the second bank here in we discovered it would be nice to have a central bank and there are many decades the past after the second bank shuts down in 1836. by the time of the federal reserve fired up before world
fedi, the founders of the knew about the first and second banks of the united states. differentomewhat thing that they came up with. hardly direct. the other question was about the backing? by thercentage was owned government? it has declined over time because the shares were not restricted shares. banksd today, the member owed shares. it will not see them on stock tickers. u.s. fors of the negotiable. they sold them in the market.
that changed over time. then there was another part of that. anyone with a bank note was supposed to be able to take it to the bank of issue and receive the equivalent in gold or silver it tethered u.s. to the gold standard. the length of the tether could be influenced by the bank of the united states.
and return them to the state a per gold and silver. the first bank was on a rampage returning these things promptly. there were multiple deposit creations. there was some flex in it. it was not the flex the federal government had during the revolution when it rented obscene amounts of currency and the confederacy did during the civil war and so forth. >> i wanted to thank you for your scholarship and push back a little bit. the question has to do with social security and congress passed the first tension in 1790 24 military veterans. maybe this is a future book. ,f hamill's of ported it
potentially that is support for him on an interpretation of debt >> maybe hamilton would have been: social security because he may have supported social pensions. vastly, but the most part, they were young people and did not know that they were going to be disabled to the revolution, so they had no chance of creating any sort of savings program. unlike retirees, who know they're going to retire at some point, and who are not disabled, and have the ability to earn
income and invest and save. so, i think he would make that decision -- that distinction right off the bat. i appreciate the first half. just because i'm wearing a suit does it mean i know everything. >> ok. to plant debt realism, thank you so much for reminding us that considering debt is a percentage of gdp. i realize this has to be subjective, and situational, but my observation of nations that
if hit the wall and have gone down, whether it be greece, , andnd, portugal, or spain i know there is no false precision to this, but i would like to hear your comments. many people we have gone over the cliff, and we have not yet. i don't know if you want to make comments on where the end of the road would be to the country? this is debatable. >> so the question is how big can the u.s. national debt get? yeah. nobody knows. and debt optimists will point to places like great britain, which gdp over 200 times.
no. the british had something akin to our fiscal constitution. they help the line on deficits -- they held the line on deficits and the debt to gdp ratio came down considerably during that 100 years. that is how they were able to run it up again during world war i and world war ii. it is not just the size of it. are there breaks in place that can keep us from sliding more and more? writes, and iite rely on him because he is a politician and he studied the current environment in details. ,he fiscal constitution is dead and there is no sign of it being revived. bushwas things like
funding the iraq war with a series of appropriations. so, rather than percentage, i am more concerned, can we stop it? we do so? and i don't see a stop insight. -- i don't see a stop in sight. both parties are parties of spending and borrowing. what isfficult to see .oing to break thank you. [applause] >> thank you.
we have a facebook question from pieter, saying other any historic resources on the people who died in detroit? >> the free press did a piece -- >> you can be featured during our next live program. go to facebook or twitter. c-span, monday at 8:00 p.m. eastern, nasa's coverage of the first total solar eclipse visible across the 100 -- across the 10 states in 100 years. >> these bodies come into alignment and a cosmic moment that we are all being a part of. --tuesday at 10:00 tpm tuesday, at 10:00 p.m., live coverage of president trump's
conference. i got lucky. i don't care what anybody else says. thursday at 8:00 p.m., with the budget for something for congress to handle, will look at pending proposals for the federal budget. and friday, and interview with agriculture secretary sonny perdue. my political history was, i tell people when i was born in 1946 in georgia, they stamp democratic members are typically democrat a decision -- on your birth certificate. conversationy a just moss. >> there were no jobs in security for any of us except for in the military or banks. this was really a hobby.
as the internet grew, and there were jobs, and there was money at risk, all of a sudden, hackers started getting jobs doing security. >> watch on c-span and seized on.org, and listen using the c-span the radio lab. each week, american history tv, american artifacts visits historical places. up next, learning about the exhibit architecture of an assignment -- of an asylum. known as a government hospital on the insane, it was billed a farm with a view of washington d.c.. same elizabeth had almost 8000 patients and covered 300 acres. it is still open today. the curator shows is what architecture can reveal about
how the mentally ill were cared for overtime. >> but decided to do this exhibition for many reasons. it is a really important moment to talk about the role of the federal government and providing public health and health care for the mentally ill and what that really has been overtime. this was an interesting time to talk about that. right now at saint elizabeth in d.c., it is a time when they're looking to develop the land. it is split into two halves. the federal government on top of it and it will become the department of homeland security, which is happening right now. also, the development is starting on the east campus owned by the city of washington d.c. it is an interesting time to start talking about that since they are moving forward and starting at development process. you going to start our story in the 1850's by looking at what was happening in mental health care at the time. come on in.
this is her exhibition. we will look at architecture fragments from the original building, call the center building that was built in 1855. more aboutrn a lot this building. 80 hospitals were built for mental health patients in the latter half of the 19th century. we look at some of those architectural fragments and patient art. was done byare that patients as part of their po or recreationally. , thepiece was on the wall plastered wall of the building, the center building. about howlittle bit our definition of mental health has changed over time and a mental illness. we look at diagnoses of patients. how we are looking at
people think how the mentally ill should be cared for? how should be be cared for at home? forf they should be cared at a hospital? certainly, but for the mid-19th century, there were different places you would find the mentally ill. many were in jail. dorothy visited some of these places around the country and traveled the world and saw the really terrible conditions of people for not being treated well. she was a sunday school teacher. she was a christian teacher. and she really believe that empathy -- and she really believed empathy instead of hardship was the way to treat people, and firmly believed it was the rolling of the
government and not private organizations, to help treat people. and really devoted her life to changing the situation for the mentally ill. she wantedthe places to make a difference in terms of how the mentally ill were treated was an washington d.c. she worked with the secretary of the interior and talked to the president of the united states, and also worked with thomas kirkbride. he was a physician that worked with the mentally ill who had very specific ideas about asylum architecture and how it could care patients. she worked with him and identify the land. over here, you can see, this is the land she found. the photo is the original format this site. and convinced the farm owner and to thee to sell the land
federal government, which they did in 1852. they cited there hospital. it was originally called the government hospital for the insane. it is important for people to understand those two threads of we have-- one is how and should care for the mentally ill, and really think about the role of the government should be in building an infrastructure for the mentally ill. what does that look like on thecturally, landscape, and how are we going to care for this people --or for these people? and what comes next? it is important we think about that, and having that understanding.
residents, it is learnsting to come in and about land use and who makes those decisions. that has been walled off from the rest of the city for a century and a half. who makes the decisions about what happens there next? i'm interested in having community for dissertation wherever you live -- committee participation wherever you live. next submission like this cannot people think about doing something in their own community.
>> tonight, on q&a, real clear politics washington bureau u.s.d carl cannon recounts history in his book "on the state." >> it comes out of san francisco and it has a secret mission. what is the secret mission? uranium.y heavy, it is the components of the atom bomb that will be dropped in japan in world war ii. obviously top-secret. so top-secret that the navy does not do the normal things they do. and the ship, after the delivers to cargo, it heads out rendezvous in what may be the battle for japan.
but it doesn't get an escort. there is no destroyer escort. not enough people are aware it is missing. it is sunk with the submarine. 900 guys go into the water. and the story is, nobody is looking for them. theyhat happens is, drowned, die from dehydration, sharks, it is a horrible story. >> tonight at 8:00 eastern on c-span's q&a. on american history tv, the u.s. commission on civil rights commemorates the 27th anniversary of the americans with disabilities act with a report on the ada's history and the work that remains. this hour and 15 minute hearing took place at the commission 's washington d.c. office. >> welcome back. we will turn no