Skip to main content

tv   Lectures in History George Washingtons Character  CSPAN  November 10, 2019 12:00pm-1:01pm EST

12:00 pm
was no mail, low morale. that service people want is to be able to connect with their families. course, want to see how their loved ones are doing. it was a very important mission for us to be able to have that connection. >> you can watch the entire talk with members of the 6888 postal battalion monday. this is american history tv, only on c-span3. announcer: next, on lectures in history, texas university professor gene allen smith teaches a class about george washington's character. he examines how washington
12:01 pm
interacted with his contemporaries, how he viewed himself, and how we remember him today. professor smith: today, what we are planning to do is spend a little time talking about george washington and the character he developed over a lifetime. if you think about what we have done for the duration of this course, we brought him into the story intermittently throughout, whether it is talking about individual bibles or how he organized men or how he recruited men to get them to stay in the service. one of the things i try to get across whenever i talk about washington is that washington is a bit of an enigma to the modern audience. why?
12:02 pm
because we don't really know who he was, how he looked. when i show you these images here, these images are of three of our noteworthy presidents. every 10 years or so, about 700 political scientists and historians around the country rank our president. who knows how current president is going to rank. nonetheless. whenever those rankings come out, these three guys here rank at the top. sometimes it will be lincoln, sometimes it will be washington, sometimes it will be fdr, but the interesting thing about this is that we do not know what george really looked like. we have images of lincoln, photographed images and you can
12:03 pm
follow those photographs over time and see how he changed, how he aged, and of course we have images of fdr. we even have some images of him in his wheelchair. generally, the press did not take images of him in his wheelchair, but with george washington, he was there before photography, so we don't have photographs of him, and what we have instead is artist representations. and those artist representations are not always very accurate. i mean, you look at some representational abstract art, and does it really look like a cube? i don't know, maybe not. well, george washington, we have spent the better part of 14 weeks already kind of addressing him, talking about him. we know that he is a famous man.
12:04 pm
we know he was commander of the continental army. we know that he had served in the continental congress for a short period of time before he accepted command. we know he is subsequently going to become first president of the united states, so obviously he is a famous man in our history, but he's also a man who had faults, a man who had insecurities, a man who had vices. he was a human being, like all of us. because he was a human being, he was also a complex man, a many sided man. and the problem with paintings is they don't show that kind of complex character. what i want to do is spend a little time talking about the myths of george washington, and then we will talk about how he
12:05 pm
made choices that ultimately brought him to the point where he became the most revered man in america. well, you probably know that george is considered the father of our country, but george, when he married martha, he was not able to sire children. he was not able to give martha children, and could he really be the father of our country if he couldn't sire children himself? think about when the country decided to make a monument to him. what did they choose to make? the monument is this giant, phallic shaped symbol, which is kind of ironic for the man who
12:06 pm
couldn't sire children himself, but even though he couldn't, here is george washington with martha's children. when he married martha, he did accept her children and became a paternalistic loving father to her children, so in that respect, it shows the character of a person who accepted her children. it showed paternalism, acceptance. now most of the stories we have of washington came from the first real biography of washington, written by mason weems. it was published shortly after washington's death, and the washington that weems talks about is a man that is like
12:07 pm
thor, a man who was larger than life. weems talks about washington throwing a silver dollar across the potomac river. a couple of problems with that story. first is -- anybody? there were no silver dollars. so how could he throw a silver dollar that didn't exist? the second, the potomac river where mount vernon is is about a mile wide. i don't care if you are nolan ryan or roger clemens, you are probably not going to throw a silver dollar across a mile wide river. one of washington's grandsons did say that as a young man, george washington had thrown a piece of slate across the river
12:08 pm
at his childhood home, which is on the rappahannock. you know what happens when you throw slate, it bounces across the water. it might have been possible. but what weems is trying to do is give you an image of a man who is larger-than-life, who had this great physical ability, great athletic prowess. we know that george is a large man. he stood about 6'3", about my height. he had a long straight nose, high cheekbones. at his heaviest, he was significantly less than i am, somewhere in the neighborhood of 220 or so, and at his lightest, he was probably about 175, 180.
12:09 pm
that day and age, they did not have the obesity problems that we experience today, but virtually every school kid learned that george washington had what kind of teeth? wooden, false teeth, and that is just absolutely wrong. here you can see a pair of his dentures. what is interesting about it, you notice here. that is a spring. it is a lead base that is spring-loaded so when you put this in, your jaw keeps it shut and when your mouth opens, the spring pops it open. the teeth themselves are animal teeth, human teeth, pieces of ivory, and i'm convinced that if you had to wear that thing in
12:10 pm
your mouth, it would probably be far more uncomfortable than wooden teeth. it is those teeth here that always play a central in washington's life. you will see right here, there is no tooth there, because even at his time in presidency, george had one of his own teeth. the dentures slipped down right over the tooth. he is able to highlight his tooth as well. that mouth and those teeth become a big part of the story about who george washington is. this portrait right here, this portrait -- one of the famous of washington -- is done by the artist gilbert stuart.
12:11 pm
stuart was a young painter. this was one of his earliest commissions, and stuart was absolutely terrified to meet the great general. so, during the sitting, stuart tried to make washington more at ease. he said something to the effect of, general washington, you must let yourself forget that you are general washington and i am stuart the painter. well, washington gave a well-intentioned reply. he said something to the effect that, there's no need for me to forget that i'm general washington and you are stuart the painter. it kind of insulted stuart. he felt that washington was giving him a backhanded slap. because of that, gilbert stuart got to portray washington, one
12:12 pm
of those images we have of him, and this is one of the most famous. when you look at that, what is the central feature of that painting? what is it? the mouth. look at it. it is kind of clenched. it looks like he is in some kind of discomfort, some kind of pain. from that image, the view that we have of washington is that he is glum, that he is awkward, he is unapproachable, he is grumpy, perhaps, and that is not so. he wasn't a square jawed stiff
12:13 pm
shirt, as this image of washington by stuart portrayed him. the george washington that we know, that historians have documented, was a george washington who loved to have a good time. but you remember what i told you about washington. he believed there was the personal man and then there was the public man. those people who had the personal relationship would not display that personal relationship in public. the private man had a public persona, and you stayed outside of arm's reach. this is a george washington who enjoyed playing cards, he enjoyed cockfights, horse races, this is the george washington dance. and it was reported that
12:14 pm
who loved to dance. it was reported that george was the best answer in all of virginia. this is the george washington who loved to hunt and fish, loved going to the theater. in fact, his favorite play was a tragedy of cato. it is a story of a young, selfless patriot who sacrifices himself to the greater patriot cause. maybe because washington felt he was that guy. he also liked hamlet, julius caesar. those were a couple of his favorites. this was the george washington who had an eye for the attractive women. in the 18th century, she was considered an attractive woman. not only was she an attractive woman, she was the widow of a
12:15 pm
gentleman, and she was very wealthy. so george is going to end up marrying up. he is not this square jawed stuffed shirt, he is not unapproachable, but he is the man that is going to keep himself in proper decorum. i have referenced this to you several times about how he could not control his anger. he always had trouble controlling his anger. this particular episode happens during the constitutional convention. we will reference it again on thursday, how gouverneur morris, a new yorker, a man of
12:16 pm
questionable virtue, was drinking buddies with alexander hamilton. morris was boasting that he could treat washington just like any other of his best friends. and morris and hamilton made a wager. hamilton said if morris could treat washington like any other friend in public, then hamilton would buy dinner and wine for morris and 12 of his friends. on the night in question, a public event, george washington as we know will become president of the constitutional convention and he was hosting an event that evening, and morris comes in. it was a public event, a big crowd.
12:17 pm
morris immediately reaches out his hand to shake washington's hand. morris took the second hand and began patting george on the shoulder, saying, general washington, my good friend, it is good to see you looking so well. what had happened, that familiarity. washington pulled his hand back, took three steps back, and he just glared at morris with this evil, angry stare, and the people who were there froze. they simply stood and watched and morris slinked off into the crowd. morris later told hamilton, i had won the bet, i will collect my wine and dinner, but that is something i will never do again,
12:18 pm
because morris and washington would never be close enough that morris could pat him on the shoulder and treat him with the familiarity with which you would treat a close personal acquaintance. that is because washington maintained that dignity, that personal space. did that mean washington had an uncontrollable anger he could not control? no, it just means that he believed in proper decorum. probably the greatest or most famous image of george, which was not done during his lifetime -- this image here. does it look familiar? where is the original? down the street at the carter museum.
12:19 pm
absolutely. go down and take a look at it. this came from the story of mason weems. mason weems says the young george, for his sixth birthday, his father gave him a new hatchet. the boy was so excited about this gift that he went around barking at literally every tree he could find. and he barked one of his father's favorite cherry trees. when his father approached him, according to weems, young george threw his hands up and said, i did it, father. you know i cannot tell a lie. when his father approached him, well, that is the image that school kids for the last 200 plus years have been told.
12:20 pm
this 1939 painting by grant wood, which as i said is down at the carter museum about a mile or so from here shows mason weems pulling back the curtain, and it shows the young george being truthful to his father. the thing i find particularly interesting about this image is -- look. the same head as you have on the dollar bill. that is the young head. this is the old head. they essentially look the same.
12:21 pm
the interesting thing about this story, never happened. there is no evidence this happened. weems simply made the story up to portray washington as a man of great honesty, that even when the trouble might bring problem for young george, he had to be honest to his father. weems tells us another story about the young george washington the surveyor, who is out on the frontier, and bad weather is setting in. he finds a local tavern where he can spend the night. he goes in, and he orders a dram of whiskey. the barkeep gives him a dram of whiskey, and george offers a skin. he offers a coonskin in payment. the barkeep takes the coonskin and in turn gives washington 158 rabbit skins.
12:22 pm
that is a lot of rabbit skins to carry around. according to weems, george began buying drinks for everyone in the establishment, and during the evening, he turned 158 rabbit skins back over to the barkeep. what weems is trying to tell us in that story is that this is a george washington who was generous. this is the george washington who is kind. this is the george washington that we want to remember. you think of these images that weems has been telling us -- he's honest, he has this great physical skill, he is generous and kind. he has a temper, but he can control it. well, this is the man that has
12:23 pm
come down to us as more or less the savior of american mankind. remember how we talked about providential inspiration? this is george as providential inspiration. and even some years later, chief justice joseph story made the comment from his commentaries on the constitution that george was the boast of all america, the first in war, the first in peace, and the first in the hearts of his countrymen. so what makes him first in the heart of his countrymen? well, george as a young man, before the scope of this course -- george is born on february
12:24 pm
11, 1731. is that the day we celebrated his birthday? no. that was the julian calendar. in the early 1750's, they changed to the gregorian calendar, so it moved his birthday 11 days ahead, february 22, 1731. and as a young man, he was obsessed with becoming a gentleman. and what did a gentleman entail? it meant having wealth, owning property, potentially owning slaves, having a spouse, being successful. well, the young george, when he was 11, his father died.
12:25 pm
young george ended up having to live with his older half-brother lawrence. lawrence was a gentleman. he had a grand home that he had named after admiral edward vernon, who he had served under during king george's war. from that, young george saw what it meant to be a gentleman. he saw that status equated to wealth, so he wanted to become wealthy. remember time and again i've said george is not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but he learns from others. while he was saying with his half-brother, he learned that he too could become successful if he made the right choices.
12:26 pm
so as a young man, he became a surveyor, and at the time, being a surveyor was on par with a doctor, a lawyer. because surveyors were always going out on the frontier to survey land. if you are good at it, you have a trained eye, you see the land that is advantageous, the land that is not, and often times you could take your payment in land. land is something that could bring wealth for the future. so the young man began acquiring land. now the problem is, in 1752, lawrence died. the question was who would inherit mount vernon?
12:27 pm
ultimately, one of lawrence's daughters inherited it. she died shortly thereafter, and it passed down to young george, so by 1753, here was a guy who had this grand plantation home and this is a view that most of us have of mount vernon. that view is the view from the porch looking out onto the potomac river. is that the front of the house? or is that the front of the house? that is the other side. it's interesting. when lawrence was alive, he considered the front of the house this, because it was there
12:28 pm
on the potomac river. the potomac was the highway to the sea, the sea took you to england, and he saw himself as an englishman. as george takes over the home, george will consider this to be the front of the house, because this faces to the frontier. that faced to the land that he would eventually own. i think that's a huge difference for lawrence and for george and it helps define who george is. george saw himself not so much as an englishman but more as an american. george also had the good fortune
12:29 pm
in 1758 to marry martha dandrich custis, who reportedly was the wealthiest women in virginia. by marrying her, he married the widow of a gentleman, and by marrying her george became a gentleman. with her wealth and with his drive and determination to secure wealth, the washingtons would become one of the wealthiest couples in america. he was a plantation owner, a farmer, initially growing tobacco but coming to the realization that was a leeching
12:30 pm
crop that was declining in value. so by the time of the revolution what was he starting to cultivate? wheat. remember you read tobacco culture and how tobacco culture was playing out. this is the george washington who, by the time of his death, will own 11,000 acres. he had this ambition that made him acquisitive, sometimes contentious, and even after he established himself he would insist upon exact payment of every debt owed to him. in his youth, young george wanted to be a british military officer. and at the beginning of this course, remember we had made reference to how young george was the guy who started the seven years war.
12:31 pm
when hafking had killed the young french diplomat and george rescued the remaining french prisoners, but then he himself would be captured at fort necessity in july. and with that, he was forced to sign a document written in what language? french, which george doesn't read. in that document he accepted responsibility for the death of ensign hoomanvil. well, because of that, he felt he had to redeem himself. during the seven years war, he negotiated to try to secure the british officer's commission,
12:32 pm
and in fact general braddock promised an officer's commission. he was on that expedition and of course what happened? the disaster failed miserably. the french and indians attacked, decimated the british force. braddock would be killed, washington would lead survivors back to safety and braddock's successor jeffrey amherst would not honor the commitment to give washington an officer's commission. because of that, young george felt that he and other colonials would always remain in a subservient position. as long as they were british subjects. he would finally get the
12:33 pm
commission he sought, but it would not be until 1775, and it would not be a british army commission. it would be commander of continental forces in this revolutionary protest. as he takes command of the continental army, young george told the politicians he would not accept pay for his service, however he did expect that his expenses would be reimbursed. and in fact, through the course of the war, year after year, george will be reappointed as the commander. even though people like horatio gates and charles lee were angling to have him replaced, washington stays in command.
12:34 pm
he doesn't take the pay, but he does accept expenses for his travel. and in fact every winter, martha would come stay with him. at one point washington even asked for her expenses because she keeps him entertained, keeps him happy, and also works to make the plight of the troops better. over the last eight weeks we've talked about how washington was as a military commander. we pointed out that if you were a football coach here in texas, he would be fired. a record of three, nine, and one.
12:35 pm
we detailed what engagements he won. but if you are three, nine, and one, how do you keep men willing to fight for you? how do you keep them willing to sacrifice for the larger cause? that's what george was good at. he was good at motivating men, convincing them that the cause they were fighting for was larger than them themselves. those three victories that he won, remember the new york campaign where he had been beaten, battered and bruised in brooklyn, driven as far north as white plains, then rushing self south just when lord cornwallis's cavalry nipped at his heels. they crossed the delaware river in 1776. what washington learned from that, during the new york campaign washington had divided
12:36 pm
his army, and the british had used concentrated force to crush those smaller pieces. washington. the one thing you can say, he's not a military genius, but he learns from his mistakes and surrounds himself with capable people and listens to their suggestions. what he learned from that new york campaign, when you divide your army, you make yourself susceptible to the enemy. as his army crossed over to the the delaware, he would begin striking at the divided british army. remember as i showed you that image that george was probably hunched down in the barge hanging on for dear life. one of those hit the boat and probably would not be a
12:37 pm
refreshing experience. nonetheless, the army crossed over, attacked the british, the hessians at trenton. they scored an easy victory. six americans wounded. a week later he engaged the british forces at princeton, i'm sorry. he engaged british forces at princeton. i'm having a hard time saying that, and wins victory there. he has won two of his three victories. you remember what that tie was. that was monmouth courthouse in the summer of 1778 as the
12:38 pm
british evacuated philadelphia and marched back to new york. remember washington wanted to attack the rearguard of the british and when he refused to engage the rearguard, washington took command himself and during the day they fought the british to a standstill in that stifling summer heat. that was his tie. the americans held the battlefield, but the british had a tactical victory because they were able to evacuate their army to new york. than that third victory, like winning the play-- winning the game on the last play of the game throwing that long pass.
12:39 pm
if he had been the coach at tcu and he beat texas on that last play, even at three, nine, and one, he would probably be and he beat texas on that last maintained but nevertheless, winning the victory at yorktown 4 years after the great victory at saratoga, that was a mistake-- that brought the end to the struggle. the british still occupied, he kept them committed to the cause and while showing he wasn't a military genius, he was a competent tactician, he was persistent. he was a natural leader of men. he was a guy able to convince soldiers time and time again to renew their enlistment. joseph plumb martin time and again, what did he do?
12:40 pm
he reenlisted because the cause was bigger than him. here's a guy who had built his entire life acquiring things and becoming richer, holding more land and becoming a gentleman. grabbing hold of things. he had been pretty good at it. for george makes a name for himself. where he cements his place in history is not where he grabs things but instead where he lets things go. in fact, remember last thursday we were talking about the trials and tribulations of the articles period. the economy was sour. there was political incompetency. there was no sense of political control, and yet soldiers were still in the field because the
12:41 pm
british had not evacuated new york yet, and there north of the city near west point was the encamped american army. there, soldiers were grumbling especially the officers. they were led to believe they were not going to be paid for their time or their service. they were going to simply be dismissed and wiped away. washington understood that. he understood their frustration, their anger. on march 15, 1783, washington would go to the potomac there
12:42 pm
and meet with officers. there was a circular letter that had been floated and what they suggested that the officers rise up and march on the civilian government and seize control. a year before, a continental colonel had written george a letter in which he suggested george use the army and make himself a king, more or less and dictator. washington read the letter and was mad as hell. he wrote a scathing reply and when nicola got washington's reply he sent three letters back to him over time persistently apologizing for such a suggestion. he was loyal to his commander and his government. on march 15, george spent the entire day crafting a speech, agonizing over every word he was
12:43 pm
going to say to those officers, and that evening he went to the officers meeting. these are battle trained soldiers, men who had served with george throughout much of the conflict and as he went in, the cold, icy stairs almost froze george himself. he was friends with a lot of these men but you would never know by the look on their faces. as george began to speak he tried to explain these officers the larger cause they were fighting for and how they should remain loyal to that cause. he looked out and there was still this icy stare. he remembered he had a letter in his jacket from the continental
12:44 pm
congress, another letter where they were promising that officers would be paid and given their land as promised, so he pulled that letter out, opened it up because he was going to read it to them, and all of a sudden he paused. he quietly made the comment, i've already grown gray in the service of my country. now it seems i'm going blind. and all of a sudden those icy stares melted. what george had just done, he admitted his frailty. he admitted his weakness. he admitted his vulnerability.
12:45 pm
that he had sacrificed so much for the cause that even his health was declining. as he looked out over the crowd many of those battle hardened soldiers had tears in their eyes. george simply folded up the letter, put it back in his coat, never read it, and walked out of the meeting. the officers then voted unanimously to remain loyal to george and remain loyal to the government. in fact, one of his staff officers made the comment some years later that the united states are indebted for the republican form of government solely to the firm and determined republicanism of
12:46 pm
general washington at that time. that was a political performance, and george had played it to a t. he had the chance to become king. king george i of america, and he did not accept it. in fact, nine months later, george washington traveled to annapolis, maryland, and there he would finally, once and for all, surrender his sword to the civilian government. you can say perhaps this is his greatest achievement. as he arrived there that morning, he had already said farewell to his troops, his staff officers, and rode into annapolis that day alone. he entered into the maryland
12:47 pm
state house. you can go into this room today. when i taught at the naval academy, i took my students there to show this momentous setting. there the continental congress or the articles congress i should say had convened. the galleries were full, but what you see in the background. the white haired lady up there, who is that supposed to be? in the artist depiction, it's supposed to be martha. martha wasn't there. she was back at mount vernon waiting for her husband to get back for christmas time. there was not throngs of women in the galleries. the building was near full, but certainly martha was not there. when washington arrived, thomas
12:48 pm
mifflin the president of the articles congress that year welcomed the general, and he read a statement, a statement that had been drafted by thomas jefferson. before he read that statement, washington himself rose, having now finished the work assigned to me, i retire from the great theater of action. bidding an affectionate farewell to this august body under whose orders i have so long served, i offer my commission and take my leave of all of the employments of public life.
12:49 pm
mifflin rose and read his statement, in which he said you've conducted the great military contest with wisdom and fortitude invariably regarding the rights of the civil power through all disasters and changes. what washington had done had not been done in 1000 years. he had all the power. control of the military, and he had simply turned loose. in fact, he surrendered his sword, he left the state house, mounted his horse, and rode off to mount vernon. he was there by christmas time. the idea that the young man who had wanted everything and who had given up the ultimate prize, so to speak, that attests to the
12:50 pm
growth and development of that young man's character. the man who made the right decisions for the right reason. and of course, after this episode we know what will happen. as we will see on tuesday, a constitutional convention of course. george will become the first president of the united states. he will only serve two terms. twostablished an unofficial followedition that until franklin delano roosevelt. of course, that was the crisis of world war ii as well. one of the more interesting
12:51 pm
scenarios that happened after washington had retired from president, a young painter, a young american painter named benjamin west was actually in britain, and he was commissioned to paint the portrait of an aging king george iii. and george making small talk with benjamin west, he said this general you had, george washington, what is he doing now? and benjamin west said, well, he has retired to private life, and he has returned to his farm in virginia, and he is a private citizen. and george iii looked surprised and said something to the effect, if washington could do this, he is the greatest man in the world. he had done that. he simply walked away when he
12:52 pm
had everything in his hands, and i think when you combine all the stories about washington and you see the choices that he makes, you start to see the development of his character. the choices that he made for the betterment of his nation rather than for the betterment of him. that is the type of character that a photograph or even that a portrait cannot portray. so, we will open up the floor for questions now. any questions, guys? you make up questions, i will make up answers. no, no, no? ok. up here. >> how did they select george to be the commander?
12:53 pm
professor smith: he had attended the continental congress wearing a military uniform. he had served in the seven years war. he saw himself as a military man. he had read extensively about military treatises. most of those in the congress understood at the time that these colonies were on the path to war. washington was going to be prepared. as he wore his uniform, he was making a statement that he was prepared to be the commander of this military force. it is interesting that john adams would make the nomination, and as he was making the nomination, his cousin, samuel adams, was sitting over there looking like he had eaten the cat he had such a smile on his face because samuel was convinced that his cousin was going to nominate him to be the commander of the military. but he nominated george because
12:54 pm
that brought virginia into the struggle. the most populous, the biggest, the most important colony. and by doing so it broadened the conflict from new england to the mid-atlantic and the south. other questions? >> when did the official recruitment for soldiers begin, and was it george who initiated that? professor smith: no. the continental congress issued a plea for soldiers. throughout the war, the continental congress was constantly year after year making pleas for soldiers and offering different contracts. as we read about joseph plumb martin, he time and again would reenlist and would get some reward for doing so. some soldiers would reenlist and
12:55 pm
then they would skip, jump their contract and blend into the general public again and find in another neighborhood, another place to reenlist to get the benefits. some people are less scrupulous than others. >> i know after the failure of the articles of confederation, he decided to come back into power. what was the main decision? professor smith: in 1785 george agreed to host a meeting at mount vernon so they could talk about navigation of the chesapeake and delaware river. you had delegates from virginia and maryland and new jersey there. what they realized as they were talking about these navigation and trade issues, they realized that this was a much bigger question than the three colonies. so that is why you will get a convention the following year in annapolis where they try to bring all the colonies together and only about nine or so will show up in annapolis.
12:56 pm
what they agree there is they will have another meeting in the spring of 1787 and you get 12 of the colonies there. those rhode islanders chose not to play well with others. other questions? ok, guys. on thursday we will come in and we will talk about the constitutional convention and then we will wrap it up next tuesday. have a great day guys. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2019] listen to lectures in history on the go i streaming our podcast anywhere, anytime. you are watching american history tv, only on c-span3. this weekend on the presidency, former white house chiefs of staff johnson in and andrew card sununu and andrew card.
12:57 pm
sununu served under george h.w. bush and mr. card under george w. bush. >> the most interesting thing to me was the process that president undertook on all of his decisions. he was a president that listened. he was a president that i could discuss things with, sometimes not agreeing with him. certainly someone who solicited your opinions and try to find all of the views before he solidified his decisions. for me, it was an experience that i call one of the most fun i ever had in my whole life. it was a wonderful time to be chief of staff.
12:58 pm
the world was changing before our eyes on a daily basis. the soviet union was collapsing. driven primarily by the astute leadership of george h.w. bush. it was fascinating. it was fun. certainly for me, one of the highlights that i constantly look back on. >> i am going to open up by saying that first of all you don't apply to be the president's chief of staff. it is not like the president goes to monster.com to find a chief of staff. i was shcoocked when i was invid to be the chief of staff to george w. bush. when he was asking me to be his chief of staff, i thought he was asking me to run his transition into government. it happened to be the thursday morning before election day in
12:59 pm
2000, and he had asked me to do .ome things i said if you want me to be running your transition, i am glad to do that. he said i am not talking about that, i'm talking about the big one. that is the term he used. i knew what he meant. election night came and did not go away. [laughter] formallymorning, he asked me to be this chief of staff, and i was flattered. i think he asked me to be his chief of staff because i had served under every chief of staff that served ronald reagan and george h.w. bush. announcer: watch the entire talk cardjohn sununu and andrew sunday. >> next, on american history tv, museum of the american
1:00 pm
revolution associate curator matthew skic looks at the revolution through the life of irish soldier richard st. george, who fought alongside the british against the rebellious colonists. the museum, pritzker military museum and library, and richard c. von hess foundation cohosted this event as part of a three-day international conference. elizabeth: i can hear you all buzzing about the exhibition you have the opportunity to see this morning. before i introduce our next speaker, i would like to introduce myself, my name is dr. elizabeth grant, director of education at the museum of the american revolution. it is my pleasure to introduce our next speaker, matthew skic, curator of our newest exhibition. a recent review in the

9 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on