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tv   Conversation With Richard Brookhiser  CSPAN  April 4, 2018 2:21pm-3:19pm EDT

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other opioids like the synthetic trafficking and overdose prevention or the s.t.o.p. act. and as the crisis evolves and so must our response to it. i agree with senator murray that this crisis is not just a health crisis. this is tearing apart families and communitiesrom one end of the try to the other, and from maryland to oregon and evy pcen between and ultimately this is really about saving lives, and it is going to take a collaborate wholistic and bipartisan approach to do that a look at what the local, state and federal governments are doing to combat the opioid cry is sis. you can watch it in its entirely thursday at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span. more now from the recent conversation with national review senator editor edward
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brookheiser who appeared at the society of the four arts in palm beach, florida, and he discussed his career and favorite founding fathers and the inspiration for the book "founders son" a life of abraham lincoln, and this is about 50 minutes. >> wonderful. remarkable. remas remarkable. >> and we would have a 45-minute kwoigs anda and afterwards there are copieses of mr. brookh brookheiser's books available in the lobby, and you first talked to the journalist and you have one of the best dinner conversations in history and that is ronald reagan laughed at your joke, and margaret thatcher retold the joke. do tell.
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>> this happened when national review opened its first national office in regan's first inauguration, and bill buckley had been a friend of reagan's for many year, and so we supported the first run for president in 1976 and again in 19 1980, so he was kind enough to come to the opening of the washington office, and he gave a few remarks and billave a remarks, but before ta that, each of the senator edito got a moment tospeak, and, you know, we are in new york magazine and we have been in new york since 1955, and, you know, in new york, some people have said it is a snobbish city, and i don't know why, and certainly with respect to washington. >> we from palm beach and we have heard the same thing.
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>> and so maybe you have heard something of the kind, and we can certainly feel that of washington, d.c. and so i was saying, no, no, washington is really nott that way. it has come up in the world, and a lot of the vietnamese restaurant restaurants, and lots of afghan restaurants. lose a country and gain a restaurant. i know that reagan laughed at it. he and bill buckley were behind me, but there was a photographer jan lucash who snapped a shot of reagan and bill cracking up as i made this little joke, and then years later, margaret thatcher was in washington for some, and maybe it was the heritage foundation, and some big meeting, and i had never met her, and i was sitting in the audience and she said, things were so bad in the '70s that
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there was a cynical joke and lose a country and gain a restaurant. i said, wait, i said that. and the route of transmission there was john o'sullivan who later succeeded bill as editor of "national review." of the washington office in the crowd, andad he heard that, and he had it to mrs. thatcher, because he was close to her, and he had written speeches for her and so on, and so it had stuck in her mind, and she kind of altered it a little bit, but she got the punch line. >> i told you, it was the coolest icebreaker at dinner. and you mentioned bill buckley, and you had a interesting relationship with one of the most important intellectual voices in the modern conservative movement, and i think that the relationship with him, you describe as tumultuous and wrote a book about it. would you care to expand on that for us? >> well, more important than
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tumultuous, and i will get into the tumult, but bill, bill was a lovely man. he was great man. >> okay. >> he had a great talent, himself, but i think that the most remarkable thing the about him was how generous he was to the talents of other people. >> okay. >> he was always looking for talents. he looked for it from men who were older than he was when he started national review, and only 29. so he got older writers like james brenman and whittaker chambers and he always esteemed that. he looked for it in younger people. he hired john leonard who has since died, but he became the daily book reviewer for "the new york times", but bill was his first boss, and he hired john leonard when he was a 19-year-old dropout from harvard. you know, but he sent the
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article on beat kninibeatnicks d he said come on down, and we will hire you. and same with gary wells who dropped out of the seminary, and sent some articles over the t n transem and he said, come to new york, and be with me. and he did it with me and other people, and he was like the blue jay or the magpie r or the crow to steal shiny obs and collecting thecollect i -- shiny objects, but unlike those birds he didn't high them, he displayed them to the world of looking at what a cool collection i have, and he took pleasure in that and not all talent
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talented people do that. some of them are real selfish sons of bitches and some of them are average people and they will be polite. bill really wanted to spread it around. that is also related to how he ran the television show "firing line" and how he enjoyed the engagement with people, and most of them he disagrees with, and that is why they are on the show. and and some of them angered him and in some of the "firing line" episodes, he is is really going after them, and others if he is being contentious, and it is a polite and he also thinks that there is something here that they have to say, and even if it is wrong, you know, we have to understand what it is and we have to address it. i think that is bill, and my relationship, i was one of the many discoveries. it is an article i sent as a
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fre freshman in high school, and it is a letter to my older brother who is six years older, and he is off to college, and there had been anti-war demonstrations in the high school. this is is the fall of 1969. and there were, they were supposed to be going on college campus, and some kids in the college campuses said, let's do the same thing, and cut classes, and there is lik demonstration or something, and ihought that this was, you know, just from our elders and something phony about it. i described the whole thing and wrote a letter to my brother in colleg college, and then he wrote back and he said, that is a really funny letter, and my father said, why don't you send that to national review. and so no one in my family knew anything about journalism. we had not written, didn't know
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any journalists or how it worked. so i sent it off and rewrote it a little bit and sent it off. months passed and i did not hear a thing, and i thought, well, that is what magazines do, and they like throw it away and they don't tell you. and then i got a letter from the assistant managing editor who said i have just cleaned my desk. that is something that seems like work. >> i have the the visual of all of the papers like my own. i have just cleaned my desk and i have found the article and i like it, and bill buckley who is the older managing editor priscilla who likes it, and mr. buckley wants to publish it. >> are this is the day of your 15th birthday? >> no, before, but imka out on the day of my 15th birthday and it was the cover story which they had not told me it was going to be and that is the
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second surprise, and the third surprise, i got a check. and it must cost money to print magazines, and maybe ty will ask for money, but i got a check for $180, and i so u i was seduce e was seduce lifetime, and so then for my se senior year, i went to work there, and then bill said very early on in this relationship, he took me to lunch and he said, well, rick, i have decided that when i step down, you are going to succeed me. and then you will own the whole magazine. and after coming home to tell my wife jeanne this, i was
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flabbergasted. and so then he had a plan and you will be a senior editor and then managing editor, and then you know, you will become the editor-in-chief. so i was the managing e editor ultimately, and priscilla retired. she was older than bill. i did that for two years, and then i came into my desk after lunch, and there was a envelope and it was a letter from bill, and he said, well, i have decided that you can't succeed me, and you don't have the abilities of an editor. you are a writer, and that is what you should be doing, but you don't have the executive ability. so again i told jeanne this, and this is the second surprise. and that is kind of rocky for a while there. i mean, how was i going to continue with this guy who just given me this demotion. but, you know, we worked it out.
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and if you want to know the details i wrote a book about it called "right time, right place." it is my tribute to bill, and it tells the story, and also tolls the story of why bill was so important and so important to me, and like abraham lincoln i was looking for a surrogate fathers. >> and so he was one of the intellectual father forces for you? >> oh, sure. has anyone seen "firing line." i mean, you see the clips of it on youtube and the most fun one you can google alan ginsberg on firing line and he is sitting there with some object on the l lap, and it is kind of hard to see what it is, and he asked to bill, may i sing a song to lord krishna and ginsberg, it is a
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harmo harmonium and it is very passionate, and he is not that good, but it is passionate. and at the end billays that is the most unhurried krishna that i have ever heard, but the point is that he let him sing it. it is public television, and alan ginsberg did not get on public television a lot at that time, but later on he is famous, and so on, but i did meet a man once after some talk at the new school in new york, and an old man came up to me and he said, do you know if you are still in touch with mr. buckley, and bill is still alive, and he is said, thank him for me, because i am a man of the left, and this is the only place to the find voices from the left on television. bill was having them on to refute them. >> yeah. >> but he had them on.
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so that was interesting. >> what would bill buckley have to say about our politics today? >> well, look. there is no time when it has ever been peaceful. >> sure. >> if you want crazy politics, the leadup to the civil war, but also the founding fathers were unbalanced. you know, alexander hamilton thought that thomas jefferson was a jacko bishbinanjackobinan guillotines, but that is what jefferson thought, and so, all of the followers at one time thought the same, and for them,
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it is also the fact that it is all so w, and political par parties are mentioned nowhere in the constitution. and so they all said that the parties are a bad thing, and oh, i don't belong to a party and i would never belong to a party, but they almost immediately began to set up a two-party system, and they were not comfortab comfortable, and made them ainge shoushgs and the stress of the contention, and the anxiety over there is the fact that they are doing this, and there is a world war going on. and you know, the bastille falls four months after washington's first inauguration, and three months. july 1789 and that is beginning a 25-year real world war that ends at waterloo.
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and so the first years under the constitution was this little country when the super power es of the world are duking it out and also an ideological war, and not just two kings going at it, and the old order and versus the revolutionary power, and that is infekting our powers and the thing about the guillotines borrowed from the french revolution, and jefferson supporters would use the guillotines and the rallies, and little models of them, and no one was guillotined here, and it is like a symbol of what was borrowed here and it is very infect and very inflame and in terms of the poll the ticks now, he had seen it himself. of course he had. and so, you know, you have to be be wise enough to know that, that is what politics can be like, and deal with it. >> and sometimes forget that the
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founders were airing the grievances in the press just like us today. and her mouthing off, and jefferson and hamilton having the newspapers and report mes i the pockets. so it is just as bipartisan and bitter then. >> as it is today. >> right. >> and hamilton's newspaper is still around, and it is the "new york post." >> the "new york post". >> we will forgive him for that one. i read it everyday. >> so you have published in not only t"the national review," bu new york observer, and vanity fair and cosmo, and almost every major magazine, and is there a story that you look back on as one of your favorite, one of the best works? >> you mean one of my best stories, or -- >> yeah. >> and one story that never got published is graden carter who
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is canadian and he knew that there was some interesting stuff in canadian politics, and he had been at the new york observer which is how i met him and he says, rick, go to canada and write this story up, and so i went everywhere to, quebec and montreal and where did you go? >> i went into the -- >> what is the town north of alberta north of calgary? edmonton. i went to edmonton and british columbia, and i got shis in canada. i was misdiagnosed by a doctor in montreal and i talked to all of the people, and i wrote what i thought was a good job, but the reason that he didn't run it is the same reason that he asked me to write it is because he is canadian and if i run this thing, then he will say, wow, he is only doing it because he is canadian, and so, that is nothing, nothing happened there, but it is fun. i did get to, you know, the most
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fun was going to cuba in 1984 with jesse jackson. >> you met castro? >> yes, i took his hand. i shook his hand. and jackson and his first run for president, and the primaries were over, but he wanted to show that he had, you know, foreign policy bone fidas and so he went to el salvador and cuba and nicaragua and when i saw that jesse jackson was going to cuba, i had to be there and the last national review writer who went to cuba was john leonard who i mentioned, and he was sent there as a 19-year-old kid when kcasto had just take then over as and there was a journalist who was anti-bautista and anti-castro aed he had been thrown in jail, and he was sent down to find is guy, and when he got there
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the british embassy said leave there today. get out today. so he did. he was the preceding national review reporter in cuba. so i went on the trip, and you know, castro came down the aisle of the airplane once and he shook everyone's hand, and the chilling moment that i saw, there are the was going to be a welcome of jackson when the airplane landed, so we, the reporters, we went off of the back of the plane to be on the tarmac of the airfield and then jackson would come down the stairs and castro would greet them and they would go to the terminal and a crowd of people there to welcome the visitor from the united states. and they were absolutely silent. absolutely silent. and then with when jackson appeared, you saw that little
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like leaders stepping forward in each chunk of the crowd, and so this then they started clapping and everything, and castro shook the hand, and they went in and then absolutely silent. and there is just something, you know, the creepiness of that reflected the whole regime. >> right. >> and which is still going on. i mean, it is still the same family since 1959. >> when did you know that you wanted to be a writer? at 15 wn the article came out? before then? >> i think before that, because i was writing little storieses and things, and it is, you know, it took this form. it took the form of journalism. i think that when i was a kid i thought that maybe i will be a novelist, because i was reading lots of novels, but it never happened. i never pursued that. so, it became journalism, and history which is really like
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journalism. >> sure. >> because it is about events and largely public events in the world -- >> storytelling. >> yes, but also figuring out what is going on and i think that being a journalist was a good preparation for being a historian in this way, that you are used to politics. jour se you have seen it yourself. you have seen a stab in the back. you have seen a deal. you have seen nit in real life, so 200 years ago when jefferson does it to washington or when these great men and they are great men, but they are also politicians. >> right. >> so the same stuff has gone on and you are not, well, you are not shocked, but you recognize it. you know, okay, this is the way it is. and here they are, and here they are doing it even then. >> if you weren't a writer and
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historian, would you be a novelist? what would you be doing? >> i don't know. i don't know. >> hard to imagine anything else? >> no. i don't know, maybe working for a radio station somewhere or maybe -- i don't know -- >> but not the law stuff? >> no, i don't think. so i just finished a book on john marshall, and i know really not the law. >> other than buckley, what other intellectual forces shaped your view of journalism and histor history? >> well -- >> your understanding of washingt washington? >> well, one journalist whose writing i edadmired was murray kempton and he was a friend of bill's, and of bill's generation, and his style got more and more ornate as the years passed, but at the very
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best, it was very good and capable of making subtle points amusingly. he covered bill's announcement or bill's first press conference when he ran for mayor of new york in 1865. and bill and kempton were friends a at that point, and kempton said that the bill treated the journalists like a resident commissioner reading the 39 articles of the angry can establishment to the band of conscript zulus. >> oh, my. [ laughter ] >> you know, can't be better than that. it just doesn't get better than that. >> and well, the, you know, it was just last weekend, that i was in new haven, connecticut, i went to yale as an undergrad, and one of the reasons that i wrote about washington was something that i saw at yale,
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and it is something that i went to see again, and they own john tr trumball's painting of the revolutionary war. his father was the governor of connecticut and one of his brothers also became the g governor of connecticut and very political family. he did not go to yale, but he went to har shard vard instead, wanted to be a painter. his father did not like this idea, and trumball said to his father, i want to record the greatness of america as athenian artists recorded the greatness of athens, and his father said, you are forgetting that connecticut is not athens. >> and so he went to study with benjamin west, but he is also a colonel in the revolution, and served in the war, but he might
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have dope some spying while he is in london and he went to london after the war service, and the war was going on, but they were more relaxed about letting foreign nationals going back and forth. and so, he did these paintings after the revolution, and the war, and if you see them, it is inescapable with the message to get to the central figure and the story is washington. and there are four of them and he is in the center of every canvas he is in. and the action of the scene is always focus on him. thlargespainting is a full-sized portrait of washington between the battlef trenton and the battle of princeton on the eve of the march to princeton and he is in trenton and the british think that they have cornered him but he is going to go around the lines at night and march the to princeton to fight the battle
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there. it is a terrific painting, but he painted it from life, and it is washington who he got the pose, and i asked him to think about the battle of trenton and get back into the thoughts then. and you know, you can really see that in the painting, and so i was going to be a freshman at yale, and i saw these thing, and you know, i had taken an a.p. american history class, but this showed me something, because a lot of teaching is based on reading, and so we read eloquent guys like jefferson and the federalist papers and lincoln of course, and franklin even, but washington is not eloquent. >> no. >> but he is a man of action and a presence. >> right, right. >> and we don't have any photographs. >> right. >> but we have these paintings. >> i have always thought that washington and the founders were always well traveled and not
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visually a master of the drama and the theatrics and the imposing size and the way he carried himself, and it is almost difficult to not see the washington and the visual and the charisma of the theatrics, and which he has to bring out the front row history. >> and you have to remember that all of the soldiers in the revolution have seen him, and you know, on horseback probably. and maybe in the middle distances but they have all seen him, because he led from the front, and he was an active presence to all of the soldiers and so they go back and they tell the friends and the families what they saw in the war. >> it is a great horse to stay in the saddle. >> it is the finest of the age, and that is what jefferson said, and he was a fine horseman and then as president, he made sure to go to every state. he felt that it was important
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that he go to every state. so they talk about six drees of separationt y can connect any person america by this person knows one which knows another and knows another and this might have been like three because he was just so present and the war had drawn people from georgia to new hampshire. so, like, trumbel who unmasks through washington and attempts to on canvas, mixing the journalist, writer and if you would have picked a time machine, you and i were talking about this off stage and take a time machine and leave george washington, would you discover anything about him? >> well, i would want to see him, obviously. i want to have that experience myself and not through a painting, but washington plays his cards close to the vest and the more important he comes and
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certainly as president, and the first president is the most famous man in the country, anything he says could be a policy and for people listening and because he had no small talk, no small talk, what he would do instead was this. just sit, and he would sit and -- >> look like a leader. >> and there are accounts of the dinner parties that he threw at president while it was important to have regular dinners and he would make sure to invite everyone in congress to get them all there and the diplomats and what not cycling through these things and people who went to these, you know, were just bored to death and there was a senator from pennsylvania who kept a diary and he said washington sat
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there playing with a fork at the edge of the table. >> william mcclay. >> john j. told a joke at one point and then everybody is quiet again, well, it's because washington didn't want to say anything, and if the alternative was silence that was fine with him. it was fine with him. lincoln would be telling all these stories and lincoln would be almost as difficult to find something out about him -- >> could you find anything out about lincoln or would it be a funny story? >> they would be funny stories. >> and get you out of the room, right? >>. >> one of his first biographers was his law partner, a man named william hearndon who was nine years longer and hearndon knew early on that lingeron was an
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unusual man and herndon was be onner is vaobservant and he's n only the leader of the republican party in illinois and he becomes president and then he's murdered and then herndon says i have to write what i know and let me just tie up some loose ends about his early life and then he realizes that he knows nothing about lincoln. >> despite being with him. >> despite being with him every day and lincoln st tt off and herndon embarked on what we now call oral history and he digs up people in kentucky and indiana and he gets them to write letters and he goes there himself, and the most moving one, and it just brings me to tears. he interviewed his stepfather, and she was still alive, sarah bush, johnson and lincoln.
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she's an old lady and herndon, you know, he records the energy and when he first matters and it's too late and she just lost it. well, he sits down next to her at dinner and he must have been a good interviewer. he starts talking about the old days and this gets her lack and she begins to remember and to talk, and it is a fascinating interview, and that's where she describes how young abraham lincoln read, and she goes through this, and she tries to defend her husband. she says his father would make him do a chore if he was reading and maybe she was protecting him a little bit maybe, although i don't think his father was certainly not wrultbrutal and no intrusive, but he had to work
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and get the crop done and everything, but then she says at one point that his mind, abraham's mind and mine, such as it was, were alike, and i just think, you know, lady, you really did a good job. we really owe you a lot. don't say such as your mind was. you really helped this countr and t step is encouging him she recognized the ne immediately and something special other than with her own children and -- that's right and that level of literature. and the correspondence between him and abraham lincoln because he's living with thomas lincoln and they keep asking abraham for
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money and lincoln sent it to them, but he's, you know, he writes them occasionally and why are you just scratching around. i think that's what he has, and it's rough praise and why are you just scratching around farm to farm and what kind of a life is this? of course, this is the life that lincoln had rejected and he didn't want to do this and he wanted to make something of himself and now he's a corporate lawyer and into politics and he's thinking, oh, geez, my stepbrother here and what kind of life are they leading? it was a painful correspondence to read. >> herndon was not very kind to mrs. lincoln. >> yeah. you know what? i think for him that was envy, and he also hated children. you know? he said they were brats. they came into the office and threw the papers around and they
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made water on the floor and they made noise and they were terrible and i'm sure they did and lincoln apparenyas a father because he didn't, he wanted to do the oppite of what -- head's up. so they were kind of wild. the oldest one, robert had a very successful life and a lawyer in the government also, and the others, you know, they all died young, some of them very young. >> do you have a favorite founder? is it washington? >> of course, it's washington, but -- >> spoon-feeding these questions. >> but i will say this, if you are in the four following situations and you could make one call to a founding father, i
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know the one you will call and the situations are you're broke and need $10,000, and you've just been taken to the emergency room, you've just been arrested or someone has just canceled for dinner and you need a replacement. tonight. in all of those situations you would call governor morris. >> okay. >> who is governor morris? >> he's from new york, and the draftsman of the constitution. he's a delegate to the constitution and on the committee of style and most fine men gave him the job of taking the resolutions that the committee in detail had collected and polishing them and putting them into their final four and he did a brilliant job anhe also wrote the preamble
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out oft's entirely his. the second act of his life is in february 1789 and he goes to pair ois business, and he stays there for the next four years, and he becomes minister to france to follow jefferson who goes back at the end of 1789. so he sees the beginning of the french revolution and he sees the dissent into the land of terror and he keeps a diary while he's there. >> front row seat. front row seat, two revolutions and it's a fascinating record, but anyway, why would you call this guy? he was a very good friend he was medically knowledgeable and sympathetic because when he was a boy he burned most of the flesh off one of his arms and an accident with a boiling pot of water. as a young man he had one of his legs cut off and he cut his foot
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on a spinning carriage wheel and his own doctor was out of town so he consulted these other doctors and they said we've got to take it off at the knee, and he said fine, and when his doctor came back he said i don't think you had to do that, really. by the way, get a second opinion. okay, so that never slowed him down, and he was active all his life. he danced. he flirted. he was a ladies' man, and that's why he would be good at dinner, just don't seat him next to yr wife. speaking of dancing and speaking flirting and speaking if you don't have the call, and whether i wanted a brilliant dinner party, a funny dinner party or the kind like vegas that you don't talk about, i think ben franklin is my phone call and we were talking about them earlier.
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do you have any ben franklin insights for us? >> well, ben franklin, i thought of doing a book on him, and one of the reasonis didns i didn't e are so many excellent books 15 years ago which is brilliant. gordon did one called the americanization of benjamin franklin that is about an angle of his life which is very smart and then the next big fat book that i've read about the founding father is van doren from the 1930s and it is a terrific book and you know, i read all of those and what am i going to add? really, i'm not. the other thing about franklin force mcdonald who is a great historian and passed away a few
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years ago, and i was lucky enough to know him, and the trouble with franklin is he lies all of the time. >> okay. that's a little harsh, but i know what he means because franklin, forget lincoln and his stories, you know. franklin is always keeping people off. >> yeah. >> keeping them away. he does it with funny stories and he does it with his interest in science and he does it with, you know, stories of his path in politics. he would scope you out and figure you out, you know, and which franklin would you be interested in and he was, like, fray deck of cards and one of the smartest things i ever met about franklin and it was a book by a man named francis jennings and not such a great book, but
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the first paragraph was brill yavent and benjamin franklin was a genius any that's a very rare and lonely thing, and what he spent his life doing was entertaining the people around him, and he would give exhibitions of swimming and he would devise magic squares and arithmetic. >> and everything works out, the same number, and just all of this stuff to keep you all amused and off his back and out of his hand and out of his hair because he's interested in what he's interested in, and you know, i think this made it very hard to be his son. that was a disaster and strained, at best, relationship. >> franklin, washington, lincoln who is a very difficult man to understand.
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great men are sometimes very complicated men, and on that note, we were talking earlier, you and i about your topic, how do you pick the great sweeping topics for your books? gabe mentioned what would the finders do and my wife told me to write that book. >> you listened to her. >> no, i was. i thought it was a great idea as soon as she said it. she said rick, why don't you do a book, and this was after the governor morris book which i loved, but it didn't sell well so my publisher was not interested in doing another biography, and so i was kind of wandering around and jeannie said why don't you do what would the founders do? she even envisioned the cover, and have them in a contemporary scene, with a tv and pool table and stuff and there they all
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are. >> right. >> and i thought that was brilliant because yes, of course, some things are different and it's not that far away and the little thing i go through in every talk about this is when i was in college i gave the speech the communist spy. when he was a young man he clerked for oliver holmes and when he was a captain in the army he told president lincoln get down you damn fool when lincoln looked at washington in 1865 and when lincoln served his one term in congress one of his fellow congressman was fellow john quincy adams who had heard the cannon from bunker hill, and so from me to the battle of
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bunker hill, that's less than six steps and it's only four. it's a lot further to sharl maimai charlemagne. and how many governments has france gone through? from kingdoms to governments and republics so we're both a rather young country with relatively old institutions and that's what makes it, you know, that's why i agreed to jeannie's idea so quickly and the other idea i thought of myself in the last two books and they were -- >> yeah. >> a young, well, he's not young anymore and neither am i, but he was a freshman when i was a senior and his name was
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achilleomar and he frfs yale law school and he told me the right founder's son and he gave me the title and i said that's brilliant, and i saw, like, because i always steered clear, and there were a million books. my god, why get in there, and then i thought, well, i can come at him from the founding. and all of the intelligent biographers have seen this and they're interested in this and they're looking back and the connection is unmistakable. let me go the other way, and then after that book came out, you should do john marshall, so the latest project will be out in october, john marshall, the man who made the supreme court. so i guess if he thinks of a third book i'll have to give him a percentage or something.
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[ laughter ] one of my books is on the history of presidential scandal and misbehavior, and i thought i was being clever by titling it "affairs of state," i should have listened to my wife who called it "fifty shades of history." i'll always listen to her from here on out. >> they would have thought it was in the searies. >> one of the themes last year and this year, and david day and molly who put this together is they have the history and education. what do you see is the state of history education and what can be done to invigorate the study of our past? >> you know, there's some hopeful things and there's the institute in new york city. ey are doing terrific work. i think the success of books
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like david mccullough's and rob chernow and these are best-selling books and that shows that there's an appetite for it. so, you know, i would work with those positive things and yes, there is a gap and in a way, i think it's heading into maybe a not so good period at the economic level because the founding era for a variety of accidents was being taught on a very good track for many years and that's because people like jeffrey morgan and douglas adair who died young, but they really took the founders seriously as they took themselves and they were very influential and they had a lot of students who became professors, morgan and baylan
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did and they set it on a course which i think has now ended on the economic level, but we still -- their books are still out there and we can read them. so you fight in what you have. i think we're almost in a resurgence and great historians and biographers, and i would put what we have in the series and itself between that and there seems to be that in the academic level and one of the great tools for teaching history and some wonderful museums and i was recently back again at the seum of the american revolution and it was appealing to a broad audience of children, and you had the great honor and the challenge of cureating and how did you approach this difficult path of trying to
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capture that in an exhibit for the new york historical association? >> well, it couldn't have happened without james basker. i was the historian curator, and he was curator. he runs the institute for many years, and great guy, great colleague, a great man to work with. we also got advice from a roth applebaum's firm and they do exhibits and museums and so on, and they help us realize the kind of story that an exhibition is. a book is a story of documentary and a story of movies and a story, but an exhibition is also the story any if you're stuck with cases with no rhyme or reason, people will get much less out of it, but if they're arranged in such a way that tells the story, then that
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helps, so, and the new york historical society had all of the stuff on its own and we were able to get wonderful loans from elsewhere, and i remember we got the bust of thomas jefferson and the first room i always thought was hamilton's head and it was filled with portraits and we stacked them one above the other of people in his life and there were some people he'd been intimate with, and some people he knew only at certain moments and some of these were great paintings and some of these were mediocre paintings and it was like our own life. it's just a jumble of different stuff, but we have this great bust by jefferson and i remember taking my wife and she looked at mr. jefferson and she said i don't trust this guy. you're right. you're right.
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i could sit here all day and regrettably, we're out of time, but as a last question, you have written and asked what would the founders do and that's what our mission and charge is here is trying to assess the legacy and what would george washington do? so if you could leave us with an insight in term was what is one of the great legacies and takeaways relative to us today? what would they do? >> they'd say you have to do what we did. i mean, we have our -- we had our principles which we stated. we devise said the best system of government we could think of, but it's not a perpetual motion machine. you have to maintain this, and we've done the best we can and we're not actually there anymore so you have to be the ones.
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you have to take care of this. you have to be as patriotic, as public spirited, and you have to be as smart as we were. so go do it. >> the constitution is a living document and it's a muse rather than an end, and we are in charge of continuing that. >> well, it is. the declaration of independence was not just something that lincoln read. he realized that there was a case for it had to be made in the 1850s and in the 1860s. next month we'll be back with judge douglas ginsburg and then the flowing month we have gordan wood and joe ellis, and i would like to thank richard brookhouser. >> thank you. [ applause ] >> there are books in the lobby and mr. brookhouser will be out in the lobby. thank you for our friends at c-span. thank you.
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join us tonight for american history tv in prime time. we'll look at the 50th anniversary of the assassination of martin luther king jr. with live coverage of an event marking the milestone from memphis, tennessee, including a panel discussion on his life and legacy from past and present civil rights leaders, including remarks by georgia congressman john lewis. american history tv in prime time beginning at 8:00 p.m. eastern here on c-span3 and book tv is also in prime time tonight with a look at covert operations. steve coal looks at the cia's secret wars in afghanistan and pakistan in his book "directorate s" and the cia agent in "breaking cover," joshua levine looks at how the pentagon's interest in surveillance led to the creation of the internet in his book, surveillance valley and finally it's ronan bergman on the
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israel's use of targeted assassinations in rise and kill first. book tv all this week in prime time on c-span2. and thursday night a look at what local, state and federal governments are doing to combat the opioid epidemic with portions of events c-span's covered this year including congressional herrings, the national governor's association meetings andhite house, vent ev. here is a preview. >> it cost me $25,000 to treat someone after they've become addicted and it costs you $25,000 as a taxpayer every time someone get addicted to these substances. it's a huge cost to taxpayers. if we've got an industry which we do, purdue and others, it's not just the manufacturers and the distributors, they're all in this. if we've gotten to making billions and billions off of this disease that's killing
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people, i think the white house is in a unique opportunity to replay the tobacco tape, get the folks in the room, close the door because these lawyers will run this thing like asbestos forever. this isn't about lawyers making money. this is about taxpayers getting paid for the bill they're paying now for a disease created by lies to the fda. >> i urge you and your colleagues to make increased funding for the opioid crisis a top priority. maryland and many other states are all working to provide naloxone to all of our local jurisdiction, but greater support would help make this life-saving medication available to more of the first responders and the police officers and emergency room personnel. i'd like to recommend that the federal government encourage advertising public service campaigns to educate the public
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about how lethal fentanyl and these other drugs are. we also need targeted and federal enforcement and interconnection efforts when it comes to fentanyl and opioids through the synthetic trafficking and overdose prevention or stop act, as this crisis evolves and in a response to it, and i agree with senator murray. this process is not just a health crisis. this is tearing apart families and communities from one end of the country to the other, from maryland to oregon and every place in between and ultimately this really is about saving lives, and it will take a collaborative, holistic and bipartisan approach to accomplish that. >> just a short portion of our look at what local, state and federal govern ams aments are do
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combat the epidemic. starting at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span. next on american history of it, rell edgeous historians discuss the influence the bible had on political figures such as thomas jefferson, james madison and martin luther king jr. the panel focuses on how these influences shape the thoughts of the three leaders regarding religious freedom in the united states. the museum of the bible and the baylor institute for studies of religion co-hosted this hour-long event. >> i'm tony weiss, and i'm the director of the museum and i hope you come to know it as your museum because it's the community's museum, in fact, it's the world's musz yum. we are going to be live on c-span tonight. thank you so much, fellas, for what you've done. were


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