Skip to main content

tv   Book TV  CSPAN  November 14, 2010 1:00am-2:00am EST

1:00 am
impact. this was the major foreign policy challenge of the day and carter had had them released early on, it could have had an impact. after the soviet invasion of afghanistan carter's polls shoot up instantly when he takes a very aggressive response to the soviet union. i think it could have helped. ..
1:01 am
>> it's really frustrating to his presidency. >> once again, julian has given us a great talk and a great book. read about jimmy carter. thanks pauline maier discusses her book at the national archives iningtn washington d.c.. d the program is just over one
1:02 am
hour. [applause] >> very pleased to be here.ery l thank you very much for having me. it is appropriate at nh prc connection. i've also have an opportunity for a quick tour of the new quick display of our precious nationar document. precious natural documents. some of you may know that at the beginning of american scripture i described the previous display. and i have to say this is so much more appropriate, that these documents of the american people are now brought to a level where they are accessible to the american people. and i cheer you on. i am delighted to be here to speak about ratification the book. i've gone around quite a bit in the previous year's talking about ratification, a work in progress. and as finally in book four is a tremendous relief. and you understand that header
1:03 am
if i tell you that the contract i signed with simon & schuster, back in the late 1990's committed me to produce a manuscript in 2004. you may have noticed it is not 2004. in fact, over the years where i would give talks coming out of the work i was doing like in 2006, 2008, people would say this sounds very interesting. do you have a deadline on this project? and i would say yes, 2004. which got a little attention. it may be useful to start here by asking what took so long. and there is an obvious answer to this but the project is a huge one that involved all 13 states and which i do cover, not equaled that, but it is the story of ratification and all of the states that participated in
1:04 am
this debate and that it is written from the documentary base for the most part. that is this could not be described as a synthesis of previous work since there really wasn't an awful lot of previous work on the conventions. i could probably close this part of my talk with that, but i'll have to confess that really isn't the whole truth. i should also confess that when i signed that contract i had no idea how long this book was going to take because i had thought about it very much. that's a big confession. the idea for the book wasn't, i say it was subsequent mind and came from editor at simon & schuster named robert bender in american history. he noticed books on early america were seldom looked around for a topic nobody had written on and came up with the ratification of the constitution.
1:05 am
there was no good narratives for the appropriate for general readers or it might have added for scholars or jurors either. a couple attempts that didn't quite work. but when i was asked to do it i said yes and 20 seconds roughly giver to and that wasn't time for deep reflection. for the next question is why did i say yes so quickly. and again i have a bit of a confession. the first region is probably a little bit silly. in 1997 i published american history, making the declaration of independence. and i noticed something very peculiar was happening starting with the young woman who was collecting books people were finished where i was working at whitener library. they would say to me things like yes the ropes on the
1:06 am
constitution. they would say your book on the constitution. and at first i was correct in. i'd say it's the declaration of independence and i soon learned that wasn't a great idea. they would basically roll their eyes and say it another academic making distinctions where none need to be made. so why was i put to say hey, that's a good idea? i think i had in the back of my mind an idea that i could become the lady who wrote the book on the constitution or the lady who wrote the book on the declaration of independence and i wouldn't have to watch people roll their eyes anymore when i corrected them. second, the idea of writing a narrative was very appealing. historians aren't really trained to write to your kids. make arguments. i was interested to see the,
1:07 am
david mccullough and barbara tuchman. david read american scripture and i think you like it. when i met him he said yes, of course i don't do anything like that. i tell stories. at that hey, i thought i told stories in american scripture. and here was an opportunity to dedicate my skills entirely to telling the story, a rather complicated one, but hey, a story. and then i remembered that i had heard barbara tuchman talked decades ago when i was still a graduate student. in one design of hers really stuck in my mind. she said it was possible to build tension and telling a story, and even if you are readers knew how it would come out. if you only looked carefully, never to mention the outcome or
1:08 am
even to elude to it until you came to it at the proper place in your narrative. i thought i wanted to test that. there isn't anyone that doesn't know the constitution was not ratified by the attention if i thought about arbor tuchman's role? when i describe to someone but i wanted to try to do, i recall, so coming you plan to write a thriller on the constitution? it seems so improbable. what people now seem to me say i hear you've written about. what's it about? i say the constitution. they immediately say well maybe i read the next donna leon buck. i have a better answer now. this is only after some of the reviews came out. and no, michael mcconnell in "the wall street journal" said
1:09 am
it was a gripping story. the kaiser of aetna maritime books review. now i said i have my response. i wrote to thrill on the constitution. last night you can make your own judgment on that but at least they don't roll their eyes. of course the subject was important. and as soon as any hole in the story of american history is identified, that's a standing invitation for the likes of people like me to jump right in and get to work. i had also heard a new i guess james madison statements in congress in 1796, that if you wanted to know the meaning of the constitution beyond its word, the place to go was not the records of the federal convention, which only proposed it, but the state ratifying conventions where the voice of the people reached life into
1:10 am
what was on the debt proposal previously. i later came to -- i don't say much about the significance of that in the book. i came to understand i am an historian not a lawyer. i leave it to others to tease out whatever legal implications. but i knew it would be important and it would have audiences beyond the handful of historians and that was certainly an enticement. finally i knew what robert bender did not, that there was this massive project coming out of the university of wisconsin and the state historical society of wisconsin. the documentary history of the ratification of the constitution. there are two date 21 volumes in print. most of them focus on pulling together the documents of ratification in different states
1:11 am
states -- in individual states i should say. for some states there aren't very many records. at present they are very rich. and certainly i would say the project still has five states to go but it hasn't published. but they have covered the major states. there is one volume on pennsylvania, three on virginia, former massachusetts and the full size on new york come in the last of which came out only last year. i literally could not have told the story of ratification in new york without the work of the documentary history of the ratification on the convention. so you know, i couldn't have been 2004. i have no idea. but this is literally the earliest time i think i could have completed the book in the form that i've written it. now if you want to understand the importance of the
1:12 am
documentary history of the ratification of the constitution, i think it's useful to ask another question. that is why other shelves of books on the federal convention? and almost nothing, literally only a few even tried their hand at telling the story of the ratification of the constitution and to start with their very different events. the federal convention was one event at one place, of course philadelphia was once a delegates and that happened over a four-month period between may and september 1787. the ratifying process is dramatically different. it occurred in 13 states and some states had more than one convention. there were maybe 1000 different delegates and it happened -- well, the core of it that i talk
1:13 am
about with most intensity was roughly a year as well say a little later. but if you wait till the last of the original 13 joining the union, that is rhode island, it's two and a half years. one other consideration here, which i think is anything but insignificant that the records of the federal convention were published in a professional form in 1911, edited by max brand. the first two delegates, volumes and therefore altogether, actually five published in 1987 by the first two volumes are on the debates in the federal contention. in the koran davis pulled together the official journal, which actually is not very good. william jackson did so carelessly and i come to think of them as rather scoundrel.
1:14 am
max's nose, which are magnificent. and i correlated them with notes taken much more partial notes by other members of the opposition often for their own records. they didn't have the same mission as madison, of preserving these debates for posterity, but put them together, correlated them so for any one day you could compare the various accounts here going on. now, editing is not just copying manuscripts and printing them. take what fran had to do with madison's notes. madison apparently changed his manuscript notes circa 1921 after the official journal had been published. he assumed the general was authoritative. it was not. so in some ways he thought he was wrong, he'd fix it and often what he went was firm accuracy
1:15 am
to error. what to do with this? while he had to look at the manuscript and figure out where madison made changes in 1921 roughly, fortunately as he tells us, it wasn't so hard to do because they think he is succeeded in a different way than the inky had used in the 1780's. so you could pull this out. and you look back at the version he has different devices a scholar or very interested educated reader could click and save which version of the document was written. look, this is a treasure trove for historians and forgeries. it's an easy, regular authoritative documents. what about the state ratifying convention? well, in 1997, james hudson,
1:16 am
who's the chief of the manuscript edition of the library of commerce published an article on this. and he pointed out that many states did not even have published editions of their debate and to those that existed were flawed, hopelessly flawed as he would've told us because they were very biased towards the federalists. the federalists often paid for their publication and saw no reason why they showed, as he put it, give publicity to the opposition. to a considerable amount, i think hudson is rough. pennsylvania was by far the worst. thomas lloyd published only the speeches of two fabulous, james wilson and thomas 15. you'd think they were debating with ghosts except for one place a guy from western pennsylvania, job smiling actually interrupted
1:17 am
wilson to fill in and on some points he had a leader to sell you know at least he was there. otherwise, you know, they purged all the speeches of those are not federalists. in fact they went further. there was an editor in pennsylvania out in dallas that went on to fame in other ways to publish the pennsylvania herald yet he took it in his head that he would publish running debate that were basically transcripts about what was said in the convention. now, these newspapers are very small. they weren't like "the new york times." sometimes it were pages to tell one day at the convention would take more than he had. so it took a lot of time and he skipped around a little bit. he was still publishing these after the convention honda turned. and unfortunately, some of the speeches by what the federalists
1:18 am
called anti-federalist seem to be a little too persuasive. so the federalists canceled their subscriptions. dallas was fired and that was it. what this means is that i had to piece together what critics of the constitution sat in the late part of the pennsylvania convention from the notes of those who took notes so they could refuse them. it's not ideal at all. they were trying to rewrite history. i think i would laugh at their consideration that they were trying to win a very hard fight. and we have to remember that. what they did was done in the course of combat. now other states weren't that that, but i do recall one point in the notes on the massachusetts convention where the notetakers said essentially the following.
1:19 am
just like every other day come to anti-federalist their points. i just can't take all of this down. within notetaker like that, you have to wonder how much you can rely on it. but some people were fairly good. david robertson took notes on the virginia convention. he produced a 600 page book on the debates in the virginia convention in the summer of 1788. and i think robertson did pretty well. a leader john marshall, the future chief justice who is a delicate at that convention looks back and he said robertson did a pretty good job with those delegates who gave well organized presentations and spoke very articulately. he had a big problem. the convention wouldn't give him any preferred seating. and the federal convention,
1:20 am
madison just went and took a note in the front row so his delegates in washington. he could hear everything and some people gave them copies of their speeches. poor robertson was up in the gallery with people shuffling in and out. it was very hot in the summer of 1788 in virginia and he couldn't hear everything. he did especially -- marshall said he a lot of trouble with people like a last james madison who had a very weak speaking voice. he added -- marshall added that nobody could have captured it from patrick henry. i would have to say he did rather well. if you read his account, you can anything since both power of henry and it's in cohesion. and that's a good trick, a
1:21 am
wonderful track. so my hat is off to david robertson. if it wasn't for his heroic effort, the story, the marvelous story, the moving story of the heroic meeting of minds of which ended in the summer of 1798 would be totally lost to us. we know also how well we did that one day he didn't go there. you should see the gibberish that his newspaper published that day. couldn't make sense of it. only by what robertson recorded later could you somehow read back because people alluded to what was said on that actually rather important day when he was absent. but they are good enough i can reconstruct some things that were set on the day he wasn't there. god bless the man. okay, but now factor in the documentary history of the ratification of the constitution. hudson said that these books -- his point was quite simple, that if you wanted to recover the
1:22 am
original meeting of the duchenne and the debate of the state ratifying conventions, forget it. it was hopeless. the documents would not sustain it. now we've got the editors of the history of the ratification, the constitution which sent teams of editors into state. they went to one archive after another. they vacuumed all kinds of a sickly pulled out copies of anything that referred to the ratification of the constitution and they publish with regard to the conventions, not just the journals, which are often interesting. they're probably better kept than jackson on the federal convention in many cases. they only tell you motions when they need who came in the bare-bones business of the convention. thank god you can get them online. and i did that. but they used them and sometimes
1:23 am
they wanted to see the whole thing and i get it. all right, the journals, the published debate -- now that's kind of like to rant. but then they collated those with newspaper accounts of the debate and letters that were sent out by delegates. now you don't have those high in march, certainly not in the same volume for the federal convention because it was secret. the ratifying conventions were not secret. they were reporters there covering them. and individual delegates were sending letters to their friends back home or to their colleagues in other states, telling them what was going on in the convention. and better yet, off the floor. now let it be said the politics of the federal convention is very different than the ratifying conventions. the glory hallelujah, was a wonderful ticket some account of what these caucuses were doing, why they were doing what they
1:24 am
were doing on the floor of the convention and involved a much fuller account of what was going on. and indeed it's impossible to understand what happened at the end of the new york convention without this document. the editors focus was not just the conventions. they wanted to document and did in fact documents a broad-based public debate. .. a rather energetic debate over the constitution in which women were full participants and one of them provoked the whole argument. women weren't supposed to be interested in politics. yeah, we know better. how could they not? this was the issue of the year.
1:25 am
americans, regardless of gender, understood their future was going to depend on whatever decision was drawn. they are going into the towns. g they collected the records. for example towns in massachusetts and connecticutn and what they did about theconni constitution. these were not pro forma the constitution, fees were not pro-forma. there is one town in western massachusetts that had four informational meetings before they were together to see what they thought. they said it was no good. they also went into the streets. they tell us about wonderful for access. in albany, new york, it started when a group of anti federalists
1:26 am
celebrated the fourth of july in 1788 by burning a copy of the constitution ceremonially. after all, it threatened everything they fought for against the british. it was appropriate to burn it can't for good major they threw in a notice of virginia's ratification that provoked some federalists and they counterattacked and trashed their favorite drinking place. this was a rough place. what these documents do in other words is tell us much more about conventions. they tell us about the broad public debate and a picture of america in 1787 and 1788. my job -- what was my job? my job is to pull a story out of these documents and find a way of organizing it. that was a challenge. how can you tell a clear
1:27 am
negative event about what happens in 13 different places sometimes simultaneously. my solution was to emphasize four major states and fold the other is at the appropriate place in the chronology. this was a challenging and there were certainly times when i had the sense that all of those things i had accumulated over several decades as a historian would be mobilized but i will also tell you i had more fun writing this book than any other book i have ever written. belabor of collecting the information going in to the archives, pulling out the documents, seeing how many -- can you hold these for tomorrow?
1:28 am
it had been done for me. all i had to do was read these to figure out what was going on. and the editors give me some help and to write it up. this is where my strong card came in. i have one weird skill. and reading historical documents. i can see more documents than other people. it is weird. there was a photographic memory that was useful in the civil war. how useful is it? it goes -- imagine i managed to make my living doing this and i love it and i could do what i love. in that way i think i had fun writing this book which was such
1:29 am
a wonderful story to tell. i had five other states that were not covered. i actually found that not to be such a problem. a lot of documents were in the library where i work. where i really got into trouble, another great benefit, you get to know who to ask questions. i will give you my favorite example. when i got to new hampshire, it is awfully important and so important. i didn't have volumes on it so i started and came across a reference to a folder and i wondered what it was. was it just bare bones delicate credentials? the town of what effort, did
1:30 am
these include the instructions of towns? something about their proceedings as they debated the constitution and i called the optimist who was a nice man. he seemed rather puzzled and i said thank you very much. and i remembered a man who was just ahead of me at the harvard graduate school. a historian who spent his career in darkness, new hampshire. sherry would have read that folder. i e-mail him and said is this worth a try to concord? jerry, he did remember me and said i am going to oregon but i will be back in a few days. i will send you some material after your questions. these were copies of articles he
1:31 am
had written. he not only read the folder but come to all of these. he knew who lived next to home and how affected the way the town voted. he had the most intimate knowledge of the politics on ratification that was imaginable. some of these articles i hadn't thought to look for. they were new hampshire history and gotten around but i was just so grateful to him and he answered my questions and corrected what i wrote to. why would he do this? he was anxious to have his specialized work granted to the general narrative. and it caused me, richard loeffler, retired editor from the constitution volunteered to read the whole manuscript. i have friends who read parts of
1:32 am
it. somebody i knew wrote from massachusetts would you read the massachusetts chapters, way historians read other people's work is different from the way editors read other people's work. good argument, you got a typo on page 10 or got the name of the town wrong on 15 india might rethink what you say on 23, end of consultation. it took me awhile to realize he had gone through the notes and he would give me didn't teach he knew the documentary so well. you quote john j. you are right, but got the quotation that does say what you say. your note isn't wrong but that is not what they said. go to the day paper is on line
1:33 am
on the library section. and he wanted to be as accurate as possible. you get my point. i put the better part of the decade into the book. and about 20 years ago valuable work full time. but that is a fraction of what this book took a. how much time did those editors put in? it would be modest. many spend their whole life doing it. they are retiring now. century seems modest enough. then factor in all of the time jerry daniel put in. my name is on the title page. ten years is a fraction of what this book took a. it is probably understood a
1:34 am
cooperative enterprise. it is built firmly on the labor of others. what is new? a couple of fingers. i read the find the terms in which the story is told. it has always been told as a conflict of federalist and and i federalist and i started riding that way. sometimes i am a bit of a slow learner. by the time i got to the sixth state, massachusetts, i said the only people using the term anti federalist are federalists. what is going on here? eventually, i decided that i would not use the term anti federalist unless it appeared in a quotation and they were almost always with me, people who supported ratification of the
1:35 am
constitution as written. or if the people so designated accepted the term and that confined me to a group in the upper hudson valley in new york. so-called quote back and tie federalism and critics of the constitution and the lower constitution prefer to call themselves republicans. i honors that. we got away from federalists and anti federalists of lot farther than that. to use those terms suggests there are parties involved. that brings the lot of baggage. if there were parties maybe it does a lot of work. it spurs and inspires other dichotomy. for the constitution, one must be against it. that turns out to be wrong. once i got away from the terms i
1:36 am
was able to make clearer that there were far more positions on the constitution, that probably a majority of americans accepted the constitution as better than the confederation and worthy of the basis of the new government but they scheduled people to say as written, it isn't going to work. like the guys in massachusetts. maybe it was phrased and missing something that it has to have. it needs to be amended before it goes into effect. the other side said let's see if the problems really happen and we can amend it using the procedure in article 5. the fight was over amendments to the damage that we can start to understand why eventually it was despite substantial criticism ratified.
1:37 am
however, the heart of my story is in the convention themselves. it is and political analysis. just wonderful stories. i take such delight in them i hope i can share it with you. you have to understand these worthy exciting events of the time. you didn't have -- what did you do for amusement? you went to a church, listened to -- excitement here with orders or rock stars of the day and the conventions brought together all of the great political and some clerical orders of the day. people crowded in. they wanted to hear the debate. one of the big challenges was how could they find holes big enough not only for the convention but all the people who wanted to listen to the debate. the federal convention closed the door.
1:38 am
could you do that? for convention that were making this decision? an important decision and enabled we the people not. you couldn't say sorry, we are locking the door. people should be able to and they wanted to accommodate them. the excitement and intensity, i hope it comes through in the book. it requires our imaginations sometimes. documents and give us a tremendous amount of information about -- as i looked at the conventions as a whole i thought there was a line of development. that is to say looking at this, the federalist what ever else you think about them learned from their mistakes and they really did make mistakes. in pennsylvania the first convention, a two thirds
1:39 am
majority, they understood this because divisions in pennsylvania collated with divisions in state politics not perfectly but pretty closely. they knew they had the majority and they rode roughshod over the opposition. in fact they treated them so poorly that in the end the minorities refuse to accept the decisions of the convention. they did not speak for the majority of the people of pennsylvania and did not accept legislation and tried to overturn it. there was a lot of chaos in pennsylvania consequence of the and rioting in carlisle. this was not good. a lot of people got very suspicious and, what are you trying to put over on us? you wouldn't act like this if the result was a constitution you could really considerable leap. they don't seem to trust open debate in pennsylvania.
1:40 am
really made ratification much less likely to happen. but they learned. washington, you can see, benjamin lincoln in massachusetts, what they learned is it wasn't enough to win. you have to have a victory worth having. that is a victory in which the minority didn't go away mad. you can see them doing that, in massachusetts they had no idea how the convention was going to divide but they treated the opposition with currency even when they despised them, partners of shea's rebellion. on the floor of a convention they listen to them and answer them seriously. as the result you will get one of the best and most probing and
1:41 am
in some ways most innovative debate on the constitution in massachusetts. when that didn't work they came up with another strategy. they were not sure. federalists said massachusetts would have a conversation the digital not a debate. they didn't want of votes. until they knew they would win. all these debates didn't seem to be converting people so they came up with another strategy. they would suggest that the convention adopted the constitution without any conditions but recommend a series of amendments for consideration what was -- once it was put into effect. it wasn't going to work unless they got the right people on line and john hancock, a popular governor of massachusetts, was a boston delegate and indeed the convention elected him its
1:42 am
president but he was not a president, in his magnificent house suffering an attack of gout. lucas canes said he would get better soon enough when he understands how the convention will divide. he thought was a political disease. what we can see from the wonderful collection brought together, the deal they put together, the emissaries they sent, the way they played to its pride and political smarts, how he responded, and the wonderful scene of when he arrived. he couldn't walk. they carried him in wrapped in flannel. to add to the excitement, people wouldn't leave their seats. during the noon hour they had a long new an hour for calling
1:43 am
lunch and a bigger meal at midday. they were afraid they would lose their seats. i think i like massachusetts too because there is an account of a delegate from maine. nothing gives you a better sense of change over time than to give step-by-step an account of what it took to come to boston in 1787. there were bridges and snowstorms. pecan do this in a couple of hours now. it took him six days. i love doing that. in the federal street church. we are told people had galleries or balcony's that would
1:44 am
accommodate 800 people. there were 364 delegates that appeared on the floor of the church and there seemed to be people stuck into every nook and cranny. the seller was not the seller. the basement. it was an upper floor. even a loft was stuffed with people but when the vote came, the place was silent except for -- let me read my count. it was put at 4:00. would the convention approved ratification of the constitution and nine recommended amendments. the names of the delegates were called out one by one according to the counties and towns they represented and answered with yea or nay. some six of votes a minute if it was finished by 5, we can only
1:45 am
imagine christopher gore and other practices scorekeepers against the list of those they expected for or against. and the crowded hall fell into a deep quiet except for the litany of names. you might have heard a coffer fall on the floor. there was such a profound silence. when the vote was complete, 187 delegates voted for ratification. that is 168 against. nine delegates were absent. massachusetts ratified the constitution with a majority of only 19 after a 355 votes. bells all over boston began to rain and the city's people
1:46 am
poured into the streets shouting and celebrating a glorious victory. virginia and massachusetts, all the people practiced indicated famous orators for the constitution. the other side were farmers and mail orders. it was a little off site of virginia that was very close. they did know how it was going to go. it is signed -- to turn on 14 votes from kentucky. projected -- kentucky didn't seem happy with the constitution. if you take oratorical strength, the opposition has the edge. patrick henry was a magnificent
1:47 am
orator. jefferson who really hated him called him the greatest orator of all time. to get a complement from somebody who hated him as much as jefferson did gave special credence. once in the 1780s jefferson and madison were in a fight with henry on the other side and jefferson said we just have to give up. the only thing we can do is pray for his early death. a one track of laughter] >> henry hijacked the convention. it was going through the constitution line by line. he raised the issues and there was this thunderstorm speech. james madison tells you of important blessings which he imagines will result to us and mankind from the adoption of the system henry told the delegates at the beginning of what might have been the high point of his
1:48 am
rhetorical performance at the convention. he saw instead the dangers of which is pregnant. i see it. i feel it. he could even seem beams of a higher order in anxious concerning our decision. when he looked beyond the horizon it defies human eyes at the final consummation, those intelligent beings, the s serial mansion. this is what they do in heaven, reviewing, the decision that revolutions which in the progress of time will happen in america and the consequent happiness or misery, he understood how much would depend on what we now decide. at that point a violent storm
1:49 am
shook the hall and forced henry to stop. beings of a higher order screamed out to support henry. i couldn't make this up. i am not imaginative enough. that is why the convention is at the heart of my book. the book goes roughly -- the heart of the book goes from september 17, 1787, to september 13th, 1788, when the confederation congress declares the constitution ratified and made arrangements with the first federal election. there were still two states out of the union but for all practical purposes that is the ratification controversy. there is a prologue which looks at the back of the convention and tries to describe why all of this tried to happen for
1:50 am
washington's eyes. there is an epilogue which talks about what happened to the amendments in the first federal congress and manages to get north carolina and rhode island back into the union. but i couldn't stop. that is what i signed up to do. i sat in the hall with these guys and came to like some of them. we know what happened to washington in 1804. hamilton we know. that is what i was curious about. i was curious about the unknowns, who performed so brilliantly. some of them were really heroic. for many this was the high point of their political career. so this tells you what happened to some of these. to close i will close here as i close the book with the story of
1:51 am
one delegate from western pennsylvania who was badgered by the federalists and the convention, who was impressive. actually, he beat, proved wrong, the chief of the supreme court and james wilson, leading lawyer, with the history of jury trials. his name is william and it turns out he went to congress, had a long and distinguished career after ratification of the constitution in which no one there as the venerable finley, and 1796, talk a little bit about referring to the pennsylvania ratifying convention with considerable understatement as one where the circumstance of irritation were
1:52 am
unfriendly to discussion. on reflection, he decided the massachusetts solution of ratifying and recommending amendments made a lot of sense. we need to improve the federal government quickly and to call another federal convention probably -- better to avoid it. he even talks through his position and decided not all of the objections to the constitution were well-founded. after the congress recommended and states ratified some of the amendments, we became confident that additional amendments could be enacted when they became necessary. in the end, like so many onetime critics of the constitution, he embraced the government as my own and my children's inheritance. he knew the constitution had the effect that he had plenty of
1:53 am
friends. perfection was not to be expected, to work of mortal men. in his mature judgment the constitution was not just good or may be good enough. came to believe it was capable of being well administered and on the hole the best government in the world. i want to close saying this was a cooperative enterprise. not only with living people but i am so grateful to william finley for keeping me awake so well. thank you. [applause] >> i feel i talked too long but do we have questions? >> two questions.
1:54 am
>> hello. just to clarify, ratification, yes or no? >> they had to vote yes or no. >> how was it before the bill of rights was basically kind of accepted that we accepted what we all want certain changes? >> starting with massachusetts the states would ratify and recommend amendments after massachusetts, every state but maryland did that. but don't assume what they recommended was the bill of rights. of the states that ratified or participated in the first congress only virginia formally ask a bill of rights be added to the constitution but most people wanted improvement on representation and some restrictions on federal tax
1:55 am
policies because they thought -- the major rights issue of the american revolution, no taxation without representation and they said the representation in congress was inadequate to the second passage. .. i think he believed in what he was doing but he was also playing a very interesting political game. the amendments that-- of course medicine wanted to change the body of the constitution. we all know that i trust. his proposals in the first federal congress. they changed into a list to be pasted at the end because rogerp sherman of connecticut said hesr couldn't change the body of the constitution. the people at ratified it.ied i. moreover, you had all those
1:56 am
mo signatures, yoreu know d if you t would look like what they agreed to with the change documents. it was going to be very confusing. so we got the list at the end like the afterthoughts they were and nobody called than a bill of rights that i can find between september 17th, 89 and february 1792 when jefferson announced that they have been ratified. the 12 proposed have been ratified. this is a whole another subject. i don't know if i answered your subject. i seem to be hard to stop here. >> you use the phrase original meanings during her lecture. were you suggesting there was a consensus finally in anyone or among the state conventions as to various terms? >> i think you will find points where there is an agreement or at least a public agreement.
1:57 am
i do not endorse the idea. i don't say anything about whether -- what the meaning of this for the temporary interpretation of the constitution is. they say i'm not a lawyer. i'll let the lawyers fight it over. but at least they have your guide to the debate, which reminds me. you must be good and reading public who are here. i have footnotes or endnotes, rather. there's little numbers in the text. this is a bit controversial thing, right? a lot of readers don't like them. i can never understand why. if you don't like them, just think of some poor lawyer trying to put together a brief who want to know where some quotation comes from and we can say for several hours of work by having a little number they are. i mean, if you don't like numbers and attacks, i urge you to overlook it like other non-life-threatening annoyances,
1:58 am
like music in elevators, you know. [laughter] >> hi, first of all, i'd like to congratulate, you know, taxation without representation has been a major factor like so many of the state ratification eared and i hope someday the district of ambience get some justice in that manner. but that wasn't my question. my question was, did any of the federalist -- excuse me, the fed themselves -- >> they call themselves that. >> i'm talking about congressional people. other, you know, outside agitators so you speak. otherwise, did madison go to new york or pennsylvania or did everybody realize that we best only have local people speaking? >> no outsiders broken these conventions, no. only elected delegate.
1:59 am
there was one controversy in massachusetts. alberich kerry who had been a delegate to the convention refused to sign attended and some people of like mind wanted him to speak. and just to give some information, big fight over this. i know it, he went home. no, no, only locals. this is a local decision. it was the people of the state were making this decision. but he was sometimes that people in the galleries watching what was going on. governor morris of pennsylvania went to the convention, a very clever man. not all of us had a sense of humor. governor morris did and he wrote this just delightful poetic jingo about what it happened in the virginia convention of course i quoted your beloved.


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on