tv QA CSPAN April 11, 2016 5:51am-6:51am EDT
madison was the only framer that we know of that took complete notes that summer. the book argues that the book was not written in its entirety y wrote it.the road madison's account was the most complete. >> how did you get this idea? >> as i began to investigate the notes and read them, i realize there were a lot of mysteries. things were not quite how i expected them to be. as they spent a lot of time with the notes, and really wonderful access at the library congress, it became evident that this most important document was not what we thought it was.
>> where are the notes at the library of congress? how hard was it for you to see them? >> they are in a big vault at the library of congress. you need special permission. most people don't need to go that far. you can see them on the library congress website, and the library has a wonderful website with many documents, including madison's notes. in this book, it was important to look more carefully on the notes. after working on it for about two years, the lightweight decided i could go down and see it. i get my hands behind my back the entire time, and only they touched them. >> why did that take two years? >> i don't think they want everyone who is just a regular person to wander in and see it. madison's notes are considered a national treasure, and the library's very cautious about it . after a while, i think they realize the questions i raised about the news were worth investigating, but it took them a while to be persuaded. >> what is the vaults look like jekyll where is it in the
library? way did you actually look at the notes? part of thethe best project. some of the letters, they hold in the reading room. if someone is careful to explain why they don't need the microfilm, they will let you in the meeting room. elevator, behind to locked doors, and passed the vault where they hold everything, and inside a conservation lab. one of the things i was interested in was seeing whether the pages matched, whether the watermarks with the same. something we did was put all the pages on the table with flight that allows you to see what the watermarks on the pages were. >> had you not been able to see so to speak,lesh, what difference would it have made to what you are able to write?
book is based on old-fashioned textual evidence. i was confident, without looking at the actual paper, but the paper really helped. it confirmed a lot of what i suspected. particularly important is madison took the notes on sheets of paper, and he full that the inep -- folder the sheets half. at some point, he sowed all of these pieces of paper together into a manuscript. one of the things we noticed is the last quarter of the manuscript, the holes he had ewn did not match with the earlier one. that confirmed by suspicion that the end of the manuscript was written later. >> how long did you spend looking at the notes? >> the live to stop like you to
be there long. we looked fast. i think i was there for maybe , and again two hours another time. the library was wonderful. they took some extra images for me. they took a number of watermark images. they keep all of that for anyone to look at now, but it was really wonderful. >> how long couples notes than at the library of congress je? in ther madison died 1830's, he left his papers to dolly madison, his wife. them todison's sold congress. he thought they would be worth money, congress did not think were worthorth -- money. friends of his in congress agreed to by the papers. they sent them to washington. for a long time, they were in the state department library.
then, the state department moves them over to the library congress itself. eventually, they were in the big in epic volume. >> when were they first made public so the public could read them? >> not until 1840, after madison's death. they were share the way that madison prepared them. theanted them published in middle of the collection, including his letters to famous people. when the government first published them, they publish them in three volumes. to to bringentials to the whole project? was that part of the reason why the library eventually said, come in? >> i am a lawyer by profession and also have a phd in american history.
i think one of the things that the library new is i had written about madison before, i had written about madison as a law student, and has worked with materials, library arguing that something classified by jefferson was a lost document by madison. >> where did you get a law degree? harvard law school in my phd is from harvard also. >> why did you get both a phd and law degree? >> my last year of law school, i had planned to go and be a greater lawyer. agood friend of mine told me person with teaching a history of the constitution course at the law school. everybody was going to take it. i thought, if everybody's going .o take it, i will take it too
i was captivated. i had spent all my life in moscow, learned about the constitution, and in my last semester, finally someone was explaining to me why it was how it was. for athat, i worked wonderful judge, and he suggested i go back and do more work in history. i have not looked back. >> i want you to tell folks who he is. >> bernard balin is probably one of the most eminent early american historians. he won the pulitzer prize, and ofined ann enormous number historians now. he was important in making clear how interesting the struggle regarding the founding of the country was. >> what to do now? besides the book ?
college lawt boston school. >> i want you to set up, in a moment, the whole constitutional convention, and what happened. back in 2005, we went to the hall of statues in the constitution center in you are sending even though he is only a giant, you think he has gotten his due in american history? >> a think he has. -- i think he has. we are standing next to two people who did become president. at from tend be looked the standpoint of the presidential administration.
i think james madison plus greatest contribution to american history is the work he did in the constitutional convention and then the work he did in the first congress. he served in the first five houses of representatives and the first congress that met in thatthat he is the one pushed through the passage of the bill of rights. comfortable there. tell us what you can about james madison. when you walk around there you realize everyone was a lot shorter than you think they are. except for george washington. there is a couple of people who by modernut it is not standards. he was the eldest son of a prominent person and held a lot of slaves. he had left virginia to go to
college at what is now princeton. he had served in the virginia legislature and then what we call the confederation of congress. he was born in 1751. he was not really old enough to be a big player in the revolution. thetime will come with generation that helped form the country, not with the generation that fights for independence. quiet, fairly studious. brian: what did he study? learned mary:t he ? he studied very quickly. everyone talks about how he tried to get through pretty quickly. he studied political thought, a lot of political thought, the college was very much run by people who were at that moment interested in scottish enlightenment and european political philosophy and madison
really seems to have loved that a lot, although a lot although a -- like a lot of people he doesn't have enormous amount of notes of what he read. only one book of commonplace books where he wrote things down. a lot of them learned many languages. he isn't thomas jefferson. madison is much more pragmatic and he tends to read pretty quickly and never held a great library like jefferson. he is a different person. brian: this is a group of people who were at the constitutional convention. you can talk about any of them when you see it up on the screen. it's -- we have charles pinkney who was 29. alexander hamilton, 30, edmund randall mary: you are missing -- randolph, 34.
and george mason, 62. mary: you are missing franklin who was in his early 80's. so madison. george mason and benjamin franklin had been the movers and shakers at the time of the revolution. and george mason had the well-known out of virginia for having drafted the virginia bill of rights and very important. madison was ok. ben franklin drives him crazy and he is in his 80's. madison's competitors a little bit at the convention, the people he has captivated is that younger group. charles drove him crazy. as i read the notes there's a , lot of competitive desire for credit, a little jealousy with
charles pinkney. writes this letter and puts you he writes -- he writes this wonderful letter. it put you back in that moment. he had enormous handwriting and writes madison and croge how he -- and crowing how he is married and joint -- enjoying married life and big dig toward medicine. but of course you are not married yet. and he and madison were quite competitive. brian: you mentioned in your book, kitty somebody, he was pursuing at the convention who was 16 years old. mary: james madison was interested in kitty floyd long before he went to the convention. she was very young and he scored out the letters where he talks about her with jefferson. a lot of the people have focused on her.
i tend to think he was interested in a woman from a boarding house, who married and -- of person who had been in prison in new orleans and then died. and madison writes a lot of letters to her and my own guess is he was quite close to her. brian: you tell us he was 40 when he got married to dolly who was 25. that was in 1794. i want to show the actual physical room at the independence hall where the convention was held. tell us when were the dates of that and when were they inside this room? mary: that is independence hall. and the delegates met there from may of 1787 to the end of the convention, which was september 17. and the delegates we believe sat by state because they voted
by state, each state had a vote and the president, who was of the convention, was george washington, would have sat in sort of governing the entire situation. brian: where would have james madison sat in that room? mary: he said different things at different times. presumably he sat up close. one would assume he sat close with the virginians and they voted together. he was close to randolph. brian: you imply that madison was for openness and transparency and that room was nailed down. mary: one of the things we forget, what we take for granted, general assemblies wasn't true back then. in fact, when congress opened, it was closed when public outcry.
people thought you should have the right to know what congress did and to have the final product, but they didn't necessarily have the belief completely to watch the deliberations. people would have liked to have known what was going on but historians have misinterpreted it as if the convention was a wrong secret proceeding. it was normal. only after the convention when the ratification debates began did america switch towards the notion that the public has the right to observe the delegates or representatives. brian: how many delegates and how were they chosen? mary: madison wrote the legislation in virginia that said people should be elected and then he was elected.
the states sent different numbers of people to philadelphia. i think the number is like in the 70's are elected. in that summer, there are less than 50 people who are in that room, and by the end in the low 40's as in terms of who are there. brian: i want to put on the screen and it starts with somebody who is 26. we don't have their names but you can see those between 25-29, there were four. mary: franklin holding up the tail end there. brian: is it a young group? mary: i don't think it's a young group. we know they are writing the constitution.
they didn't know they were writing the constitution. the year before, madison and others had gathered in annapolis to try and write the constitution and failed miserably. the constitution stopped and they had to say to congress, you need to have a better constitution. a lot of important people go, but it's not clear that it's the place to be. my own sense is that is the age we would expect. huge numbers of those people have political experience. many of them were serving in congress at the same time. many of them were governors. it is an impressive group of people. you want with people with day-to-day political experience. brian: how did james madison get into politics? mary: he begins in politics and he serves locally but he serves
in the virginia legislature and it's during those years that he becomes friends with thomas jefferson and also becomes very much antagonistic to people like patrick henry and the lees in virginia. he begins to dislike the virginia legislature. he felt that the virginia legislature was counter to national interest. madison is part of a group of people who want the government to move towards national stronger power and want to be respected by the european countries and pay the soldiers off and want commercial regulation and want all sorts of things and see the virginia legislature and other state legislature as working against those interests solely for the
sort of individual interests of each state. brian: i don't know whether you directly do this, but i get the impression that george washington and hamilton are one side and madison and jefferson are on the other side. i'm not sure that's right. what is the difference between hamilton and jefferson and what they think. mary: madison, washington and hamilton are on the same side and jefferson is in france and serving as the ambassador to france. and he won't show up until later in the united states. jefferson is off screen and madison and washington along with james wilson, governor
morris, alexander hamilton, they want a strong national government. they go to the convention looking for a strong national government. and the people opposed to them aren't jefferson and those people, the people who are worried, people from small states like new jersey or connecticut who thinks a strong national government and held by big states by virginia will be swallowed up. madison is exposed at the convention. brian: in that same room, and we have some video to put on the screen, there are three people that did not vote for that constitution and you write a lot about them on your book and you can see, you have jerry from massachusetts who went on to be vice president and then in the middle, you have randolph and on the right, george mason and randolph and mason are from virginia, why didn't they sign the constitution? mary: people disagree about why they didn't sign.
and he drove madison crazy. randolph was young and good-looking and madison is close to him. randolph is saying we should have a president who is three presidents. randolph is with madison and sometimes not with madison and goes back and forth and that is extremely frustrating. george mason said the government is too powerful and wants a bill of rights and no bill of rights and george mason refuses to sign -- and he was an i con particular class and what he believes about anything but true at the convention what he complains about, he worried about the power that was given to the southern states and
worried about national power, so the three of them refused to sign. randolph goes back to virginia and he decides he is for the constitution and argues in favor of ratifying. brian: who is your favorite character? mary: well, in terms of a character, ben franklin. he had more one-liners. i think for myself, governor morris came across as the most interesting. he was the only person at the convention who speaks passionately about slavery. speeches that madison recorded in which morris basically says we are going to have a divide between the north and the south over the slavery issue. he is a remarkable person. brian: he is 35 and then is a missing leg.
do we know how that happened? mary: he liked to tell different stories and certainly the other delegates told stories. he was one of the people who was sort of a little bit of a hero and he got his peg leg but i think it involved an accident. he thought we ought to divide the two houses into the wealthy and not wealthy and everybody would know what the welty people were doing and so he is own quite interesting thinker. brian: if james madison could
have gotten what he wanted in the house of representatives and senate, what would he have done? mary: he wanted strong power and senate to be based on proportional representatives and i think most shocking to many people, he wanted congress to be able to veto all the laws of the the states. it's the word that is called a negative and we don't have that word anymore. but it was very similar to what the british government had over the american colonies. madison wants a far more national system. and he loses that we have the system that we have today. brian: he loses in what way? mary: he is committed to get the senate to have not have equal state representation.
he loses that. and trying to build coalitions to win both houses being proportional representation. no state having been represented and madison loses that. he cares so much about this and tries to build a political coalition and thinks he can link the three large states, virginia, massachusetts and pennsylvania with the three smaller states. and south carolina, georgia and north carolina and suggests that the congress be bicameral, embeding slavery into the nation. and so he loses that also. but he left the convention quite disappointed. he was happy there was a constitution but saw a lot of things were not necessarily how he would have liked them. brian: you write about a man who was here 20 years ago.
you don't agree with him on some things. let's listen to him. >> and modern confederists and wish he could find out more of those. a chance to create a new government came along and thought this would be interesting. and better records than he had himself. not only to get on himself to play a vigorous role in the proceedings of the constitutional convention, but while doing that, he took shorthand notes of the proceedings and when he went
back to his rooming house at night, he spent a good time writing those shorthand notes into longhand. brian: you say he didn't know shorthand. mary: lance is a great historian and that's what dolly madison said. that is not true. madison didn't know shorthand. he wrote his notes during the day in abbreviation and twice a week, he tried to copy them over vaguely remembering what had happened. my book argues that the great speeches have been given on saturdays, because on sundays, madison didn't have to go to the convention and had a good memory. but many people may have said wonderful things happened at the
convention, but if it happened on a thursday, much less likely we know about it. brian: how many people took notes? mary: we have notes by various people at the convention and there are other people who said they took notes but we never found them charles said he had notes and would get a lot of money. but madison's notes look the most complete because they covered every single day. everybody else has notes that are erratic or incomplete and that is because -- i argue that madison was taking notes for a political diary and jefferson who was in paris. i suggest he did not finish them that summer, he got very sick and busy. and when jefferson is coming back from paris, madison sort of scurries and tries to complete them.
brian: where are the 10 others? mary: scattered all over the united states over various libraries. we have notes by rufus king that are in new york. the alexander hamilton notes are down in the library of congress. there are all sorts of various notes. one of the great things about digital libraries is a group of people are working hard to get more of those up on the web. brian: did you see the acres dar hamilton notes? >> they said look at the micro delim film. >> i had access. brian: how many of the other notes did you read? >> i read all of them and all collected in volume done in 1911, but i didn't look at all of them. one of the things i hope the book produces is people looking at these notes to see what degree those notes were written later or revised.
brian: when we covered an vent of yours, i think you talked about the portrait when he was 32 years old and put it on screen so you can see it. why is this of interest to you? mary: i love this portrait. there is some debate over whether it's done when the library of congress dates it to the early 80's. or whether it represents him as a younger man. on this one, i'm going with the library until it's proven differently. i think it shows them the way he looks. one of the things it looks, he is small and shy and quite young. this is the part of him i'm most sympathetic to.
i live young and look young, too. and living your life as a small young-looking person, gives us insight into his personality. people think i am a lot younger they are not i am. i had an enormous advantage, a lot of people who work on the early framers are men. and because these people are so interesting, it is seductive to slip into thinking, what if i had been there? but of course, women were excluded from the entire proceedings. for me that was really helpful. i had a little distance that i think was quite helpful as an historian. brian: so give us some -- the environment you're in and here's a finished book and have no idea you went through and what did you do all your research? mary: i started working on it about eight years ago, which seems a long time ago. i have two little daughters and i thought i wouldn't have to take any research trips which turned out to be completely wrong.
at that time, i work a lot in my office at my work but a lot of it was done at my kitchen table. i have a tiny house and my daughters took music lessons. brian: how old are your daughters? mary: 10 and 13. they think i should write a book about the constitution that has penguins in it. brian: what was the hardest part? mary: the book tells a story of the fact that the manuscript, this national treasure isn't what we thought but trying to think what was madison thinking at the time and keeping those two straight was --
tricky for a while. i wanted a book that was not that long. i know people like long books but i like books in print and it can be heavy if you carry them around. i wanted the actual text to be under 250 pages and i worked hard to get it that way. brian: you made some people mad with this book. i didn't see that. i don't know if you know this person, gordon lloyd. from pepperdine university. i will read one paragraph and ask your reaction. this is a book that claims it has no these is but presenting a read of reading primary text.
they were not magicians and they struggled to try to figure out what the right answer for the country was. readhing i loved when i madison's notes and brought it all back to life. all of the hard decisions, the compromises, the things that people were uncertain about, you could get back to suddenly. it wasn't all etched in stone. brian: jack endorses your book, but it might be some disagreements.
go back to 2014. madison historian. jack: now, i have to point this out. you see a big gap between the top seven or eight lines and the bottom. i have a young colleague at boston college, mary bilder is finishing a book about how madison compiled but she has a interesting theory that i find provocative that says madison wrote the second part beginning midway in the page when he is at the convention. this is important to us because it is in this part that he built the argument of federalist 10. the whole argument about action. this is his first draft here. so the question did madison write this out before the convention or during the question, if you are a working historian this is an interesting question. brian: what do you say? mary: we talk about this last week and i believe very much that the notes that you just showed were partially written in the summer but they were working
notes. one of the things madison did is revise. and he went back during the convention and after it and added some sort of a new thing this famous idea that becomes part of federalist 10 that the country will become so big that we don't have to over it. -- worry about affection taking over. he was working that through in the summer. other people, alexander hamilton were interested in that same idea and madison repeatedly at the convention wanted a structural solution, that is he thought there would be factions but wanted the government to do something about it to make sure that the factions wouldn't take over and kept up with different
political mechanisms. he thought if the states were out of control, congress need to check them. he had these different ideas and none of them are adopted. when hamilton asked him, madison writes federalist 10 and says, whatever, they are unlikely to be a problem. but i don't think madison believes that. federalist 10 is a little bit like, well, it didn't work out, but hopefully will not go wrong. brian: will you put this in the context, when was the first time that people lived on this land wanted to change the way we were governed?
mary: at the time of the revolution, the same congress that wrote the declaration of independence also wrote the articles of confederation. brian: what year? mary: 1776, 1777 and took the committee a little bit of time. and that constitution, every state, only one branch of government and every state had one vote and there was no judicial branch and no executive branch. and there was a president but the president was just the chair of the committee of congress that sat to run things in case of emergencies when congress wasn't in session. brian: was madison in that group? mary: there are some men in philadelphia in 1787 that did, john dickinson from delaware. but madison got the articles of confederation and wrote notes explaining all the problems with it and what he thought were the problems the states weren't sufficiently controlled. and like lance said, he started reading around to find out bhained of governments worked and jefferson had sent him these two great books and madison read them passing things out and came up with a lot of examples where historically confederations had
collapsed and he writes that the only thing that keeps them together is jealousy and it is not a great cement. brian: the annapolis convention and madison was very much a part of that, how did he even wind himself in being part of that or proposed such a thing? mary: people debate whether he was a mover and shaker completely behind it. he was a person who thought there should be stronger country. washington was very involved. washington gets the maryland delegates together to try and think about it. brian: what year? mary: 1785 and then he has a mount vernon conference in 1785 i thinking and in 1786 ago to annapolis, not washington but madison goes and hamilton comes down and nobody else shows up and tells congress let's have another convention and they pick philadelphia because the vaians
-- virginians are going to show up in the delegation has to show up. and pretty sure like massachusetts will show up and congress says to everyone we are going to have this big convention and this time you guys try and write a document that fixes some of the problems. the problems of the articles of confederation. brian: are we still british citizens? mary: this is all during the time when the united states is trying to figure out what kind of government does it have. it's not going to have a roil -- royal government or a monarchy. but no one knows that the kind of government we have today is going to work. we often forget we are the first country in the world to have this kind of government. brian: a lot of people are watching, eyes glaze over. what in the world are they talking about? when were the federalist papers were written and how many were there and what did they do? mary: so, the federalist papers,
incredibly important today. hamilton left the convention. he went back to new york. he knew there was going to be a terrible fight over whether or not to approve or ratify the constitution in new york and decided to write newspaper editorials working through all the reasons that people should ratify that convention. he asked john jay and governor morris and governor morris turned him down and madison was like the third choice and madison agrees with hamilton to write these papers. and he and hamilton madly wrote these papers. hamilton had the whole plan laid out and he writes about congress and they wrote incredibly quickly. they were very influential in work new york and less
influential there. so one thing historians debate at the time how influential were these editorials outside of new york. what is clear, since then, people have decided that they nicely sum up many of the ways that people in general at the time of the framing the constitution was a good idea. brian: over what time were they written? there are 85 of them. mary: fall of 1787 and done by the following year. i'm not sure exactly. brian: i want to run some video, the curator, i think her name is mary picard, at the buffalo central library and this is talking about the federalist papers but keep in mind that thomas jefferson was in paris during all this. let's watch this. >> this was one of thomas
jefferson's three copies. so it has unique insubscription and the first one, to the honorable mr. jefferson from his obedient servant john jay. and then next, stewart. a present for mr. jefferson. so, thomas jefferson gave his copy to the scotch philosopher and mr. stewart writes, i was told by mr. jefferson that the greater part of the papers in this collection were written by mr. madison. mary: that is a wonderful book that they have there.
at the time they were published anonymously, but lots of people in the know suspected it, but madison sends some of them down to washington and sends like, hint, hint, you'll know who writes this. and after they became famous, washington used to say they were important. madison and hamilton disagreed over which ones they wrote and after hamilton's death it was discovered that hamilton said he written some of them and madison said i wrote some of them. for many years, historians disagree. nowadays they agree on the essence. but some of the ones in the agreeing were written together. ryan: check these numbers out. i looked it up and i do not remember what the source was, but hamilton 51, madison 26.
mary: hamilton wrote most of those in the beginning before he -- madison -- joined on. and madison wrote five before he writes his great essay number 37, which is about the album spacing me constitution. and then madison writes a whole lot about congress, the house of representatives and senate. and finishes and hamilton writes almost the rest. and it was hamilton's idea. so, most of them are hamilton. madison wrote the part he was interested in. jay writes a few and gets sick. brian: 18, 19 and 20 are supposedly collaborations between madison and hamilton. mary: right. and even federalist 10, which people think is so famous is a pair up with federalist nine which introduces a problem of how you govern a large territory hamilton clearly wrote federalist nine and madison copied over. first attempt and probably he
was racing for time. brian: in federalist 10, which we talk about so much, i don't think they use the word special, but it is interest. what do you think madison would think today or hamilton if they look at this is happening to this country? mary: i do not think a lot of it would surprise them. they would be sad that things had not worked out better, but they would not be surprised. they were fascinated with politics and one of the things they constantly worried about was the sense that all of politics involves the struggle between ambition and greed and greater motive and you are always trying to balance those things off. you were always trying to make a government that would somehow work even though you would know
that human beings were deeply flawed and people who wanted political power were often motivated by not always the right reasons and ex deer and -- madison and hamilton particularly would not be surprised in some ways because a lived through the 1790's after jefferson comes back after the country is almost divided between jefferson and madison and hamilton and adams and washington on the other and the country almost divides in the 1790's with people accusing each other of all sorts of things. brian: did madison change his views about the states versus the national central government? mary: jefferson comes back in the fall of 1789. at first, jefferson is even friendly with him.
and jefferson later wrote that it took him a while to get his feet on the ground and shouldn't be blamed for things. the things he did early on. but as jefferson stays longer in the country, he begins to think that while he was gone, everyone had become very interested in a monarchical government. and so he hears everybody who wants national power and strong executive as wanting to create a monarchy again and people like john adams who sounded things like it was wrong. john adams once the president to be his supreme excellency and everybody to have titles. and in that moment, jefferson and then madison again tollway, arguing that the country is turning into something that is like a monarchy. washington is saying, no one wants a monarchy, but madison joins jefferson and out of them comes the early republican party. brian: that's not the current republican party? mary: the same word but it's not politically science, if you work it out, it is not the same group of people. they use the word republican.
jefferson was not incredibly important in terms of bhained of -- what kind of political government you had. they did not believe in democracy, the a thought a republic where people at the bottom had votes filtered through wise counselors. brian: how did you protect yourself when you wrote this book from having a whole of people saying you don't have an idea what you are talking about? in other words, the historian world that you live in. mary: people have been quite interested in the book. i talked a lot about the book when i was writing it, a number of important historians were generous with their time in working it through and one of the things that became clear as
i wrote the book is that the story of the book was plausible, that is in the end, the book argued why would have madison taken notes all summer instead of working on writing a government, creating a government? the world i write about is a world where everybody takes notes, to keep track of things for himself and explain to jefferson and he gets so busy and stops taking notes and tries to create a better record later on. i think in many ways, that's a more plausible story for people than the notion that he sat
there somehow participating at the same time or taking quite elaborate notes. brian: to get a time sequence here. in september of 1787, the convention is over. mary: right. brian: he lives to be 85 years old until 1836. during the time from 1787 to 1836, 10 years after adams and jefferson die, how much does he spend on these notes and when? mary: i argue that he finishes the manuscript in 1789 and borrows the official journal from washington because washington wasn'