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tv   Tonight From Washington  CSPAN  January 16, 2012 8:30pm-11:00pm EST

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privacy settings on facebook and i couldn't figure it out. i am a technology reporter who is obsessively on mind and i literally could not figure out how to change my facebook privacy settings. a lot of people are unaware of the things that are happening when they are on these web sites, and the companies google, facebook and these come for these benefit from that because they get to deliver advertising and they get to store all this data and they get to make money from that. so there is a lot of pushback from them but i think it's pretty apparent that there needs to be some sort of oversight to say hey the people need to have access to their content information and to be able it because you anything from the web. there needs to be some sort of oversight to say these companies should have specific reductions in place to protect people's privacy as they are storing this information on line. >> host: nick bilton, you were
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recently offered a different job, weren't you? >> guest: i was offered a different job, yes. >> host: what was that other job and why didn't you take it? >> guest: i was offered a television related job, another organization and i very seriously consider taking it but in the end i love working at "the new york times." it's a place i am incredibly proud of going into work everyday and proud of the reporting that everyone i work with does and the reporting i do and my editors, and i don't think you can really get that at many other places. when i look at the effects, when you talk about not mainstream media versus people on twitter and someone i think that they definitely live in the same world now but it's also very important for these media companies to keep an eye on the things that are happening for example facebook tribus tribe is he coming to really report on these things and "the
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new york times" is one of the best places to do that. >> host: nick bilton at people want to read you what is the best way to find you? >> guest: well, all my stories they share on line, on twitter and facebook and you can find me at nick bilton pretty much anything on the internet, and i'm also adds and white -- and that is pretty much it. host when you have your own web site, nick and if you go to nick and pick up a copy of his book, "i live in the future and here's how it works," there is qr codes at every chapter for more content and there is a copy, there is a picture of the book on your screen right now. nick bilton has been our guest on "the communicators." mr. bilton, thank you for your time. >> guest: thanks for having me.
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>> i believe it's important to emphasize that while it's great to have this memorial to his memory, and it's great to have a national holiday, and it's great to have streets and schools and hospitals named in his honor all over our nation and world, it is also important to not place too much emphasis on martin luther king the idol, but not enough emphasis on the ideals of martin luther king, jr..
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's been out conversation on the book, jacqueline kennedy, historic conversations of life of john f. kennedy. we'll hear from caroline kennedy and michael beschloss. the event was held at the john f. kennedy library in boston. >> good evening. you have read the news stories, but your copies of the book, watch the abc primetime special, morning television and even "the daily show" with jon stewart and now tonight, live from the kennedy library with its oral history carefully house for the past half-century, we will hear directly from jacqueline kennedy about her life with their 35th president and from their daughter, who has brought this fresh new history to light.
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i am tom putnam director of a kennedy presidential library and museum in him to have a loved executive director of the kennedy library foundation, members of our foundation board, many of whom are here with us tonight, and all of my library foundation colleagues, i thank you for coming and all those watching on c-span and acknowledge the generous underwriters of the kennedy library for him, sponsor bank of america, boston capital, the boston foundation and their media partners, the "boston globe" in wbur. the opening text of our new exhibit, in her voice, jacqueline kennedy, the white house years, which pairs this new oral history with never before seen documents and artifacts from our collections reads, jacqueline kennedy had a rare combination of gifts, intelligence, courage, discipline, artistic creativity and a style all her on. she had an adventurous spirit and was an accomplished woman who lived life at full gallop.
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door of history provides us with many of mrs. kennedy's personal recollections and insights and i hope you'll allow me to comment on just one. when asked by -- is some andrews with us about where the president's relaxed mrs. kennedy replied, it was while failing. he loved loves the son and the water. she remembers jfk as blissfully happy with the wind blowing his hair and as it was for him, getting out on a horse was for me. for her thoughts and forward to the book and some of her mother's recollections, we also learn about caroline kennedy, whose steady leadership puts his his library in the forefront of the presidential library system and providing worldwide access to archival collections. we learned the adventure stories her father told caroline is a young girl, stories about to ponies, white star and black star. as they wove these tales the
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president would let her pick which horse she horseshoe was to write and asked which of her cousin should race on the other. in the interview in parade magazine caroline describes often choosing dee dee smith is her adversary whose fathers is named for and when asked by the interviewer if she was always the heroin in the jfk story she quipped, of course. would you want to go to bed thinking that stevie smith triumphed over you? [laughter] we will open tonight with a brief introduction from the triumphant horsewoman in our -- after caroline's comments are panel will feature aye beschloss describe a "newsweek" as the nation's leading presidential historian who wrote the introduction to this new book as well as extensive annotations and richard k. donohue a member of the kennedy administration, the vice chair of the kennedy library foundation board of directors who knew and worked with jacqueline kennedy in the white house here in massachusetts during the 1960 campaign. we are delighted to have ted widmer a speechwriter for president clinton and director
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of the john carter library as this evening's moderator. drawers in the program we will take written questions from the audience. their index cards available on the desk and we will collect them from you. let me note a few special guests who are here with us tonight including vicki kennedy, kathleen kennedy townsend, sidney lawford mckelvey, and two former kennedy administration officials who both happen to be my predecessors as director of this library, charles daly and dan smith. also joining us this evening is jim gardner who among other duties oversee the presidential library system for the national archives. and nation reveals itself by the men and women it produces jfk once stated and in jacqueline kennedy this nation produced a most remarkable woman. among the many -- on this new book is that it is truly revelatory of her extraordinary life, keen wit and historical combatants. as maureen maureen dowd noted at
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column -- persuaded the french to loan the mona lisa to the u.s. the only time it is lev rants and encourage white house chef to serve french cuisine at state dinners rather than hire a cook. in its editorial the "boston globe" praised caroline for publishing the oral history and demonstrating her trust in the general public and posterity to judge these reporting for themselves. she is for many of us are on gallant knight, white star galloping through these troubled times on behalf of the causes her parents believed and not the least of which is an appreciation of history. much is revealed caroline writes in the forward to the new book why her mother statements, her tone and even her pauses and the same can be said of the decision to publish this oral history by the daughter of jacqueline kennedy raised so well. ladies and gentlemen, caroline kennedy. [applause]
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[applause] >> thank you all for coming. i want to thank the staff of the library and the foundation for their stewardship and their tremendous care and dedication that they show every day here at the library and board members who are here and people that i have worked with over the years. and especially the members of my family who are here. they mean so much to me and i think it's a wonderful tribute to our parents that we are all here together, so thank you all. most importantly, it means a great deal that 50 years after my father's presidency, so many people still share his vision or america and are interested in learning about his administration. but time is becoming part of
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history in living memory. in president kennedy's words, his spirit and his example remain as vital as ever. now when young people often feel disconnected from politics it is up to us as the boats to reach across the generations and recommit ourselves and our country to the ideals he lived by. for my family and the kennedy library, the goals of these anniversary years are to stimulate interest in public service and use the power of history to help us solve the problems of our own time. we have undertaken a number of important projects. we have created the largest presidential digital archive in which my father's papers are now available on line worldwide, so that people can study and see history in the making. we have launched the jfk 50th web site which includes downloadable exhibits and curriculum for students and for kids can upload testimonials
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about their own public service in the spirit of jfk. we sponsored conferences on the presidency, bill of rights, scientific inundation and the quest for nuclear disarmament. all issues that continue to shape our national destiny. and as you all know we have published the seven interviews my mother gave in 1964 as part of an oral history project in which more than 1000 people were interviewed about my father's life and career. when these interviews were completed, she sealed the audiotapes here at in the kennedy library and posted -- not put the transcripts in a safe deposit vault in new york so she often spoke of them to me and john. few other people knew of their existence and she never gave another interview on the subject. the underlying goal of the oral history project, which was the largest of its kind at the time, was to capture recollections
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while they were fresh, before the stories have been told a million times or become overly mythologized. no one interview was expected to be complete or comprehensive but together with the underlying documentary record and historical archive have here at the kennedy library, it was hoped that they might form a composite picture that would be valuable in later years. to me their most important value is that they make history, life. they give us a glimpse of the human side of the people at the white house and remind us that they are just as imperfect as the rest of us. people have been surprised that my mother, who was so famously private, or just debated in this project and gave it her full commitment. but to me, it makes perfect sense. my parents shared a love of history. as a child my father was sick a great deal. while his brothers and sisters were out playing football, he
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spent hours reading in bed. i had his books on british parliamentary history, the federalist papers, and the the american civil war and the great orators of ancient times. my mother preferred novels, poetry and memoirs. as tom says, she read war and peace during the wisconsin primary, tube leak winter landscapes. [laughter] she had some nice things to say about wisconsin also. and she always told us the best preparation for life in the white house was reading the memoirs -- who describes the court of louix xiv. my mother brought the same intellectual curiosity to current affairs. when she was engaged in first married to my father come she translated countless french books for him about the struggle for independence in the french colonies of algeria, tunisia,
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vietnam and cambodia all of which gave her the deep understanding of the parts of the world that most americans were barely aware of at the time. and they are still shaping her history today. she brought to the oral history interviews a respect for accuracy and historical scholarship. that is why she chose the interview by arthur schlesinger. the pulitzer prize-winning historian who had served as a special assistant to my father. it took a good deal of courage to be as honest as she was, but her own reading of the chronicles of chronicles of the past convinced her that future generations would benefit from her commitment to tell the truth as she saw it. it wasn't easy, but she felt that she was doing it for my father's sake and for history. since this book has come out, some people have been surprised by your statements and opinions. in today's world of cautious political memoir, it is hard to imagine a contemporary public figure writing such a forthright
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book. that she did not -- did knock dick cheney out of the number one spot on the bestsellers list. [applause] [laughter] so i think she deserves a lot of credit for her honesty. one of the difficult decisions i faced was whether to edit the interviews. there are repetitions, issues that haven't stood the test of time, comments that can be taken out of context and views that she would later change. it didn't seem fair to leave them and but on the other hand, these were formal interviews, not accidentally reported -- recorded conversations and both participants understood that they were creating a primary source document. so although there are good arguments on both sides of the issue, i felt that i didn't really have the right to alter the historical record. i also wanted people to see what and how my mother thought at a particular moment in time.
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it's sometimes difficult for me to reconcile that people feel they know her because they have a sense of her image or her style, but they have never been able to appreciate her intellectual curiosity, her sense of mischief, her deep in gauge meant with people and events around her and her fierce loyalty to my father. for a modern listener, one of the striking things about these interviews is how they evoke a moment in time. in your statements, my mother takes care to come across as an obedient wife of the 1950's, who thinks only of creating a home for her husband and children. in keeping with the purpose of the interviews, but also in keeping with the times, arthur schlesinger asked fewer questions about her own activities or conception of her public role than an interviewer would ask a first lady today. and now that she has become sort of an international icon, it's hard to remember that she was only 31 when my father became
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president and totally overwhelmed by the prospect. it is interesting to track her evolution into the modern woman and ironic that despite the hopelessly old-fashioned views she expresses, that transformation began in the white house. though she played largely traditional role of the first lady, like so many women she found her identity through work. when she moved into the white house, she had a 3-year-old. [laughter] and a newborn baby. her pregnancies have been difficult and she would lose another child in 1963, so caring for us and protecting us was their top by ernie. that it had been a long time since there have been children in the white house and the obligation to the first lady included a busy official schedule. she fought to carve out some time that she spent with us each day, and early version of the work family balancing act that
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women are so familiar with. but she was dismayed by the uninspiring, or shall we be honest, hideously unattractive look of the white house and its surroundings. she shared my fathers believed that american civilization had, the age and was determined to project the very best of our history, art and culture to the world. she wanted the legacy of washington, jefferson and lincoln to be visible to american students and families who visited our nation's capital and foreign heads of state who were entertained there. so she set about to transform the white house into one of the nation's premier museums of american art, decorative arts and history. this was more complex than simply redecorating, a word she didn't like. the project involved congressional oversight and inter-agency debate. she was determined that it be self financing and self-sustaining and proud that is elevated academic research and scholarship in the field of
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american art. for television tour stimulated new interest and pride in our cultural heritage. she set up the fine arts committee, founded the white house historical association and reorganized some white house libraries to showcase works of american literature. she created and mostly wrote the first guide look and got arthur schlesinger to help with the book, the presidential biographies, which are both still sold today. course before eager to help her. but this was an ambitious undertaking and although it's hard to believe today it was controversial and carried political risk. during my father's senate campaign in 1958, and the 1960 primaries, my mother felt that she was a political liability to my father because of her fancy french accent and clothing. his advisers did too. they lined up against the white house restoration which they thought was elitist and they were concerned about the
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propriety of creating a guidebook or guy recently came across a few memos on the subject and i thought you might like to hear some excerpts. the first is from a memorandum to the president, where proposed sale of mementos in the white house from jack mcnally. a loyal irishmen from worcester massachusetts who was put in charge of the white house administration. he attach supporting memos from the white house police and the department of interior who joined him in opposing the idea of the guidebook. in behavior that could not be called a profile in courage, my father just gave the memo to secretary to forward to my mother. [laughter] it reads in part, the large flow of people to the white white house was accomplished by the fact that there were no obstructions to the flow of traffic. the secret service and white white house police contend that a moving crowd is a safe crowd. we must take into consideration the possibility of severe
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criticism from the public. frequent -- commercialism does not and has never existed in any form in the president's home. consideration must also be given to the impressions formed by visiting dignitaries who would be exposed to such a commercial venture in the president's home. also possible criticism from the press and members of congress. as examples of the criticism that might result, we would like to cite in favorable plug the city that given the truman balcony and the efforts of the eisenhower did stretch and to keep squirrels off the president's putting green. [laughter] this last reference was too much for my mother who wrote in the margin, absurd, how stupid. this is not a concession stand. there's absolutely there is absolutely no connection. [laughter] like other people who came up against my brother's -- mother mcnally did not stand a chance. not long afterwards my mother wrote to the white house chief,
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mr. west the president tells me that jack mcnally who was against selling guidebooks in the beginning now says lots more can be sold on the way out. [laughter] this is your province and does not want to mention it wishes rather sweet of him. i agree we can use the money, every penny is needed. not long after her commitment to history led her pressured by father to support unesco effort to save egyptian temples, which were going to be flooded by the construction of the athlon. she wrote a long memo to jfk which you can see downstairs laying out the importance of the temples and suggested that this would he a nice gesture to nasser as he promised aramco to not interview it -- might interfere the berkshire demonstrates an understanding of cold war diplomacy writing. the psychological and clinical argument carries more weight than the economic one. the russians are building the dam and strictly economic enterprise. i saving the temple the u.s.
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could show they care about the spiritual side and realize the importance of saving the cultural patrimony of each of. i think my father rolled over on this one too. the temples were saved in the temple is now the metropolitan museum of new york was a gift from the government of egypt to the people of the united states to united states to thank them for their support. her commitment to history also letter to encourage my father to save lafayette square and start restoring pennsylvania avenue. these efforts helped launch the historic preservation movement at a time when neighborhoods across the country were being demolished from modern office buildings to urban renewal projects. and she didn't give up. in 1970 she was still twisting my uncle teddy's arm. a letter to him read, dearest teddy -- [laughter] you can tell where this is going. i send you that moynihan's letter to me. the week before let the white house that went to see president
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johnson to ask him if he was a president kennedy's committee for pennsylvania avenue. before we left washington jacobin working on the president -- pennsylvania avenue project. when he, and sometimes we would walk halfway there at night, the tawdriness of the encroachment to the presidents have depressed him. he was to do something that would ensure inability of architecture along that avenue, which is the main artery of the government of the united states. this was not something that came as my time to restore the white house. it was his own vision and that is why i felt such an urgency about asking president johnson. i knew he would have so many things piling on him. he would not give priority to the committee for pennsylvania avenue. that is why begged him to receive them. he did. you can ask them how surprised they were to be among the first meetings of lyndon johnson. here comes the hard part. i gather from moynihan's letter that he is recent to feel uncomfortable with you.
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i don't know the reasons but i can guess them. [laughter] i just wanted to tell you with all my heart this is one thing that meant something to jack. love, jackie. said teddy results his differences with moynihan and as he always did, he found a way to make it happen. in so many ways of private and public she defined the role of first lady for the modern age. she straddled two eras, the one she describes an oral history when women stayed home and had few opinions that differed from their husbands, and the coming age when women broke free to become independent and self-supporting. she lived fully engulfed. as first lady she took the traditional woman's focus on the home and transformed it into a full-time job and a source of national pride. in doing so she created her own identity as an independent woman. she became an international sensation, new kind of american, speaking the languages of the
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country she visited with my father and traveling abroad to india and pakistan on her own. most of all my mother was a patriot. she believed that her time in the white house was the greatest privilege and worked hard to be worthy of the honor. she loved my father and her courage held this country together after his death. and when it was over, she resumed the life of a private citizen, a status she cherished. she found the strength to create a new life for herself and a great new world. although john and i would have preferred to stay near the penny candy store in hyannisport she remarried, took us to greece and expanded our horizons horizons a measure of a big. she devoured everything she could about about ancient civilization and we need her unsuccessful effort to teach us french. [laughter] them like so many women of her generation she went back to work when her children were grown. she took tremendous satisfaction from her job as an editor and
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from the fact that it was a job she could have gotten if she would have never married at all. she loved her colleagues in her office. she enjoyed the next big bestseller. she was excited when she landed michael jackson's autobiography and she was proud to bring quality literature to a wide audience and she was the first to publish the works of the egyptian nobel laureate, in english. her love of history continue to inspire her. she published an early book about sally hemmings and was always trying to get us to read the only known diary of an napoleonic footsoldier she discovered in an obscure library. and she continued to advocate for historic preservation, mixed-use -- and the quality of urban life. she led to save grand central station and secure that they drew picture with the landmark supreme court decision. though she rarely talks about herself and gave almost no interviews, her evolution as a public figure and her life as a
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private citizen inspired millions of women to live life on their own terms and continues to do so today. when i was growing up, she often used to say that she thought american history was boring because there weren't enough women in it. i am proud that she helped to change that and made possible the world that we are fortunate to live in today. now i would like to share a few of my favorite excerpts with you. first, you'll hear a description of my father's reading habits and then a section on the cuban missile crisis and finally a brief description of the white house restoration. i hope you enjoy them. [applause] ♪ ♪ >> during these times, you
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captive breeding. how did you manage to do that? .. eúeúeúeúeúeúeúeúeúeúeúeúeúeú
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>> thursday or some thing.eú what he was always looking for something. not just a diversion. he didn't want to waste a single second. >> the president commented on what other issues the blockadeeú or what. >> that was later and that was never told to me until much later. he did tell me about a creasy telegram that came through when might very war like we were that
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looks like khrushchev had where he might dismantle lit and i remember jack being really upset about that and then deciding that they would just answer first. i also remember him telling me very early county said what he really wanted to put on line and why if it happened you keep aeú straight face and how could you not say a duty to say you rat sitting there. he described that to me and we remember another thing. he wrote me a letter about how this he had one of the worst days of the ball and it goteú loose over alaska or something. >> violated its airspace.
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>> my god, you know, then the russians might have said we were spending it in.eúeúeúeúeúeú >> but it went on any way and all of these ships cruising for word and hearing that they were there and could you send in and he said no one. i remember then finally we waited for something and today finally when it was over saying to me and bundy saying to me and
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it was going on just maybe two more days. what >> the situation room will or something here coming to ask. just the wrote a letter toeú mcnamara afterwards but everyone had. ♪ >> how does the president feeleú about restoration of the white house? >> well he was interested in it. he would always get interested in everything that he cared
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about was nervous about. he wanted to be sure it was donú the right way so he sent clark clifford to see me. clark clifford was really nervous because he tried to persuade me not to do it, which jack never -- he said you just can't touch the white house. he said it so strange. everyone -- america feels so strangely about it. and if you try to make any changes it will just be like that. and i said it won't be like the truman balcony and they told him all about. dupont and so as it went along bit by bit and argues that this committee of and certain legal things and clark is very good about setting up the guide. jack was going along sort of good counsel. i mean, he was so excited about it. >> was there any criticism of the things you did in the white house? >> no, the most incredibleeú interest. and then the tourists would
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start drilling in. and then we would come home saying we had more people today after you found the monroe there in the eisenhower's. the guidebook was teasing mcnally about it. so proud. i was so happy that i could do something that made him proud of me because i tell you one wonderful thing about him i was never any different once i was in the white house than i was before. but suddenly everything had been a liability before. your hair, that you spoke french, that you didn't just adore the campaign and you can bake bread with flower up to your arms. we got in the white house and all the things i had always done suddenly became wonderful. i was so heavy for jack that he could be proud of me then.
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it made me so happy ♪ [applause] >> [inaudible conversations]
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>> good evening. can you hear us all right? in her foreword to this caroline said it was the gathering of the most fascinating people and you could ever hope to meet and thanks to these remarkable interviews which we can hear as well as read we are privileged to attend a gathering of the fascinating people of the past will, people ranging from edmund burke 12 onion burke. [laughter] at the center of the gathering is the family living in a home that has famously not been welcoming to its inhabitants, has been likened to a prison. michael, i want to start with you. you have studied many presidencies, the franklin roosevelt presidency, the lyndon johnson. were you struck by how many times the word "happy" came up
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in these conversations? >> i was. and one thing that she says more than once is that when her husband is elected in 1960 she had a novel reaction very unlike most first incoming lease. she was terrified and she was depressed, partly because she just couldn't deal with it partly because she thought it would wreck her family life, that there would be fishable and so many pressures and she was amazed by what she says it actually had the opposite effect. during their marriage since 1953, john kennedy had run for vice president, run for the election of the senate, run for president. and so, was gone she said almost every weekend very much a part the first time. now they were there in that house. he worked in the oval office. they were together in physical proximity a lot more. so, i think that there was an exploration finding that contrary to what she expected they really were their happiest
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years. >> we heard about her interesting self campaigning in wisconsin. >> she just loved wisconsin. [laughter] >> it's a good thing that nobody is running there this year. >> i don't know if these proceedings are being televised in wisconsin. >> i don't remember -- >> she is extremely fond of wisconsin. [laughter] just don't read that part. speed there is a word in your transcript i always wondered how to spell in describing wisconsin in the winter she said "eww." >> i think she says she didn't like a single person that she met in wisconsin accept the people that worked for jack, and that in west virginia she like almost everyone she met. >> that's right. but, dick, she also brought a great charisma to the art of campaigning and was an asset from will before the election.
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in the hard work of the daily politics, how did the staff feels about her? >> i'm sorry but she's not as happy about wisconsin as i saw her. we were in a mean streak broken down house and the west headquarters and i remember her being there with writing and things and of leased entertaining the people who came the town of who she was and wanted to visit with her and did so why do not remember that part of that. there was a pastor salesman of the newspaper and eventually she
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was riding with a president because kenny o'donnell told me this and she said, you know, i bought an ad, and she -- i wrote that's my money. so it was not what they hoped it would be. but thereafter in west virginia she was great, and she was marvelous. the best part about her was if you have got an assignment for it was done completely festively and as beautifully as it possibly could be. so if you own the committee, you had better make sure that we did everything. but she was very good in that. >> one of the fascinating things is that there was a film crew doing a documentary of the wisconsin primary, which i'm sure many of you have seen.
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just to give you a sense of how far she came in such a short period of time she is standing there in a grocery store with a microphone and getting people to come over and say hello and they are shopping for that kind of thing. so that we have had some influence on her quite deservedly. >> when the book was published on the 15th of september there was a huge amount of media attention and the usual media got some things right and a few things not so right and a lot of attention was paid to her remarks about the obligation of a wife to subscribe to the political opinions of her husband fairly and controversial statement. i'm glad someone laughed, thank you. [laughter] and get on dhaka meter that was coming up into existence in the 60's and as you mentioned devotee friedan the physique is published in 53 obviously she has very independent thoughts.
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she is a sharp judge of human nature and all the people populating the white house and the actions happening all around her. she later did work. so where do you see her as a feminist and evolution? >> i associate it with an unwilling feminist in the early 1960's. she explicitly says in the oral history i'm not a feminist as the social secretary. but when you read -- when you listen to harass someone asked her line said very well she came to the white house. yes she decided to do it in her way. she found for herself an enormous project which was restoring the white house, which was probably three careers of the same time. at the same time as she had young children. she did the job of the first lady in a way that was very much her own choice but she made other choices about her life, too.
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so i think by the definition of the feminism that we now suggest i think she was an early feminist but her political the instincts that have caused her to say i'm absolutely not a feminist. >> does that track with u.s. law? >> there's no question that she was a feminist. she just basically took over and did her job that under all of this somebody might have assigned to a man because when she undertook the remodeling of the refurbishment of the correction of the mistakes that had been made in the white house, she did it with strength and intelligence that captures everybody. so it is all -- i would not dismiss her on any account, but certainly not for her lack of the way she washiness. but that wasn't her style.
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>> one of the observations that jumped out at me was the extraordinary degree of physical pain he was in for much of his adult life including much of his presidency, and if i can continue with you as someone working in campaigning and in the congressional liaison was that constant pain something and you picked up on in the white house? >> no, he never complained of pain. he complained about lack of having sufficient hard water or something to relieve the back pain but he did not complain about what was happening to him. and indeed, i was really struck by the book who was sort of offering herself as the character of all illnesses
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including with sam rayburn, and obviously was not giving what he should have. the latest thing was adopted in this training the week restraining and stretching that gave relief that he wasn't a complain about anything. >> mrs. kennedy tells two things that she talks about after back operations in 1954 and 1955 and one of the most poignant things she describes of a torture it was and how he went through this and then she says they later found out it was absolutely unnecessary. she says the following summer he went back to the senate and she says he looked so wonderful in his suit going around the senate floor as if there were nothing wrong than he would go back to bed at night in a hospital bed. and the other thing is when he
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was president, i think that he would confirm this, the number of times we now know he was an agonizing pain you never saw it. one image of that is in the spring of 1961 the first foreign visit which was to canada and he planted a tree and had been told to bend his knees not to aggravate his back and just forgot to do it so they went over and essentially almost wrecked his back and put himself in under rubble pain which he suffered for a number of months but if you see the video if it he was so accustomed to not making people uncomfortable but even the people close to him didn't know quite what happened. >> do you think that any other president was in such constant physical discomfort including from plan roosevelt -- franklin roosevelt? >> one for instance robert kennedy says in the edition of
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the profiles of courage that at least half of his days on earth were spent in physical pain and if that is the truth i think that more than franklin roosevelt absolutely. >> right. you must have been thinking about the question as you were researching this book who was a friend of all of ours. for their questions he didn't ask that you wish he had? >> everything is always 20/20 in hindsight. ayaan in those days most historians would not have thought to ask her a lot about her own experience. a first lady in those days by knowing the story as arthur schlesinger who stayed on the side of that. it's all for the purpose of the history was basically to talk about president kennedy. but we discussed this, too. there are things that since we know what happened later on you
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wish that he had asked. for instance, what president kennedy might have done in vietnam and other issues that were not so important in 1964 that was in the retrospect is now very important. >> it seems like by asking there was nothing else to ask with better skills and training of the historian the decision was made to take a certain path through the story which was the path of the harvard eletes who had come down to the white house. were their stories that were not told in this? >> yes and clearly anything but arthur told because as there was the greatest author of stories about salles -- [laughter] i know specifically because they told me when they came to visit to the president he had a particular message. would you please get arthur
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schlesinger off the list of people who get cables. why? because he was about the most perilous party going person in the white house. he said listen anything you can get by cable is around town by nightfall. then he said you better not. they're going to come out poorly in his book as it is. [laughter] >> one thing she says in here is how in many ways compartmentalized his life was and explicitly mentions the staff. >> yes, and you know, one of the things i found that word remarkable was real nobody in this stuff really did business in the memos we communicated by
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phone and conversation and that's it. >> one reason of the program. >> that's right. >> and it made it very refreshing when you could know that something you had seen or had done wasn't because the car recorded but you could also see what -- >> was their anything in particular -- [laughter] >> nope. >> it's not too late. >> i had saved up for my book. [laughter] >> no, the thing that i remember best about all of that was when they became was about getting stuff done at the white house,
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and everybody would get excited about why is so and so writing a memo or why relating that? we don't need a memo. we just get things done. i think that david remarked that we should have no historian. we should have three people of the report on what went on because that was -- that was the personal look at the president's attempt to deal with people on the staff of the people on the staff felt very, very generously with one another. generously were not so generously, but critically you bet. but not in an offensive way or not we offensive to one another also like to have been.
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[laughter] but, the most important memory that i have is that the formation of the campaign that began with a fight for the control of the democratic state committee in massachusetts. spec onions work not edmund burke. >> yes and it was from the western part of the state and got to be known with onions i think because they have an onion batch. sprigg there was an onion farm as well as a bartender and some other -- >> that wasn't on typical of the leadership of the part. [laughter] >> but it hasn't changed. it started because that is when we determined that this guy that had just been elected to the
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senate and should take a shot at getting control of the mechanics of the party. that is where you get recognition nationally. nobody cares who is the chairman of the democratic party in new hampshire or anyplace else. but who were the officers? if you are getting ready for a convention for people who care about who are the party leaders want to know who is in charge even though they find that being in charge doesn't put you in charge of much. so that's when we started the campaign for the control of the democratic state committee. and it was a tumultuous event that went on and on and on although i remember only clearly that it was on mother's day in the year in which the election was held when we were in the
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hotel park plaza guinn and the president was interviewing the people of the state committee and asking if they supported them or not and if they did we thought they were wonderful people, and if they seemed a little hesitant we ought to find out. >> you'd remember four years later and if you wanted to get a ticket to go to the white house you better be on the right side. >> 1956 pittard speed yes. but that's when it began and it was a crucial campaign. we didn't have onionsburg -- >> who was juicy and another
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gentleman referred to as a china doll. tell about that one. >> well, you know, this goes back to the hotel bill view which apparently no longer exists but was at that time a block from the presidents apartment was and right across from the state house. it was the buzzword in the they were in and out and we didn't have -- >> the had headquarters there did in the? >> perhaps, but because you just met. we have a fellow with home we
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call eddy smith. why did you call whispering eddy? >> because he whispered. [laughter] >> thank you. >> they would spread rumors as quickly as you could spread a disease and they frequently did with the spread was a disease. [laughter] but as we were getting ready for the fight for the control of the state committee, we had mayor lynch of somerville who was our champion and the champion of the mccormicks, but it was his father also on the state committee, and he was about as different of a speaker as you could make. he was coarse and rough and
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tough, and i remember when his son was withdrawing from the campaign for the attorney generalship or something of that nature and the father stood in the middle of the all in the mechanics hall yelling at his son sit down that is a stupid thing to do. [laughter] so he wasn't what you'd call a wise counselor who was in the back of a lot of these things. [laughter] but we got through the fight and everybody was convinced that they were a big pile of money because the kennedys were granted by this thing. how much you are getting. i went home and sleep there something waiting for me. dimare was waiting for me. [laughter] but that was the leader of the day to determine who was good and who was bad.
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but that continued on, and everybody is correct people will recall where were they in the fight for the lynch, and o'neill and burke and they never did because people were still mad much later and they never would stop that. >> they were still mad about 1980 or so. [laughter] >> high hopes of talking about the entry road but it is fun to talk about. >> there are some fascinating what ifs' in the story. there's the hint of the opening to china which was anticipated in the mid-60s and the quote hang out mao and a trip to russia. did that strike you as a surprise?
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>> the interesting perspective to have more solid evidence from the crime of witness. john kennedy essentially was beginning to plan his second term and to of the things he planned to do was go in the soviet union it would have been the first time a president had been there believe it or not, and also an opening to china, which in which respect given what our world is like today was enormous depression but used to say in the private save those for a second term after i am the elected. >> and lyndon johnson who we have worked extensively with doesn't spare that will in the story of how he went out one night in georgetown and had a bit too much to drink and felt he wasn't up to the job. does that track your sense of where lbj was? >> i think that mrs. kennedy if she had read this later on probably would have felt she was a little hard on lbj. this was in the spring of 1954 lbj had just become president. she wasn't happy he was
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beginning to overturn a number of her husband's intentions and little personal glitches that have gone on in the previous months. and i think that if she were here the one cautionary note that perhaps she would have wanted in blazoned on the front of the book would be this is a snapshot in time, like she may have thought in the spring of 1964. it may not have tracked with her feelings leader on and a leader on she said in the history she came to resume her old fondness for lbj. she was very close to lady bird and so i think that one thing you always have to remember when you are reading this book is that some of the more fascinating opinions she didn't always keep them off later, right? >> one interesting insight into his political temperament, and this is almost the opposite of the story about where everybody remember which side you were on 1956 she said he had a remarkable magnanimity that he forgave everyone and it was a
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little bit self-serving because you never know who you would need in the next fight but also proceeded from a genuine inclination to forgiveness. is that your sense of how he did politics? >> no one could understand how he could ever forgive the senator from florida his good friend who stabbed him in the back every chance. >> it was about 2%. >> whenever you need if his vote you couldn't have it and then you would find the president inviting him down to the white house for dinner. and we frequently complained about which this is absolutely no good because he continued to entertain. and happily he was determined that his career was not going to be furthered in politics and he got out. but as a word, you couldn't really understand why he could
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be so charitable to them. but he was for giving and his modus operandi was if you need him tomorrow you better not stabbed him in the back today or things of that nature. he was very fair about that. >> in the times that just stood out so much to me because she says, you know, i used to tell him why are you beings who used to that guy for the last three weeks what he did to you and the president said no, he has done such and such last week which was actually very good. and the thing that he says to her is never close off the relationship so that there is no possibility of reconciliation. and i do hope that everyone is in washington right now will be at that. [applause] >> this term soft power has been invoked for about a decade and i
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believe caroline uses the phrase and her foreword. i don't know if there ever was the first lady before but since you had that kind of ability to change people's attitudes around the world towards the united states and even if she doesn't talk about her political thoughts as much as we might like in these interviews there is clearly this sense that is getting a great deal to support the administration even by choice of countries to visit all the cultural work she was doing. is their anything like that before? >> she could play around corners and see other things others couldn't see. one of the most latin america which later on got very short from american presidents. she thought it wasn't important a went to costa rica, they went to mexico, they traveled there. one of the most poignant things in the book as she talks about a
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newspaper headline that mrs. kennedy was nice enough to actually shake hands with little children who were from a latin-american country because the was so unusual the time. one thing i think they both felt is that one test of american power is a number of missiles and nuclear weapons and so on but oftentimes is just as important as how people think about america in their heart. that's the peace corps is about. >> there's some wonderfully of undiplomatic statements in this book. >> one or two. >> one or two, thank goodness. she named her poodle deval in the 1960's. estimate about was my footnote. >> did the surprise you? >> she says that she came to have the same opinion of french
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people as she did of people in wisconsin. [laughter] export of for the same reason because wisconsin didn't overwhelmingly vote for john kennedy and the french particularly charles de gaulle was giving her husband a great deal of trouble switching to can see these things to some extent. >> there's beautiful language in the account of the cuban missile crisis just a throwaway line no difference between sleeping and waking. >> i thought that was a false signal because one of the toughest things in the story always has to deutsch and i think that you would agree we talked about this a little bit is to find out what someone -- to things, one is the death of his or her religious beliefs particularly president and the true nature of marriage and she describes the cuban missile crisis that they went together probably more during that period than perhaps any other time during the presidency he would
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call on her and they would go for walks on a lawn and spend a lot of time together and that does tell you something because you're mentioning franklin roosevelt. she admired a lot more but in a moment of great anxiety i don't think he would have found her restful or supportive company probably would not have spent a lot of time with her in a crisis like this in the case of jfk whom does he turn to? >> were there any parts of this book that surprised? >> not really but i must say that i was marveled at her concern about the remodeling of the white house. the deal that she went to and that she had the research that she did, and that her ability to administer it is overwhelming.
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i can believe that a person could do this unless she had been planning it for much longer than we know. estimate of was that reaction when she can to the white house and had a lovely experience with mrs. eisenhower. you have to read in the book if you didn't read the yet but she was shown to the state room and said they look like lobiondo or a hotel and there's a reason for that which i'm not sure if she knew but which is when the white house was reconstructed during the truman administration because falling down the left the walls on the outside and a scoop of everything on the inside and build new floors and so on they ran out of money so harry truman quite characteristically made a deal with the department store of new york furnished the whole ground floor of the white house and it looked that way. [laughter] but he's a absolutely right because sometimes the
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restoration of the white house is written off as interior decoration or just a sort of superficial. she had to raise this money which isn't easy. she had to keep particularly to the advisers essentially colliding with one another, harry dupont and like that and sister parish also to some extent. and so if anyone doubts the fact she was able to do all this and get on time and under budget and for the white house to look the way it does today if it were not for her i think the white house would still look like a bad convention. >> they don't come off terribly well. president o eisenhower is walking around in his golf shoes putting little holes in the floor and mamie eisenhower isn't a very sympathetic figure. but i felt a little bit sorry for her because to have been succeeded by jacqueline kennedy must not have been --
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>> as mrs. kennedy says things would drift to her such as mrs. eisenhower saying of the restoration of a fear the red, blue and purple, things like that. at an interesting moment in the publications because i wasn't sure whether to listen or to read and which would be faster and really between the two you get so much more from hearing her speak although i had one alarming moment in my car i had them all bloated and i actually left richards, one cd from keith richardson. >> she would love that, wouldn't she? [laughter] >> do you think you're readers and her readers are they or should people even listen to this? >> i think that you can perhaps absorber what has been a little bit more, but when you listen i think that you are right this is probably true for most tapes of
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this kind i've heard caroline talk about this. you've heard her tone of voice about you just can't possibly get from reading the words. >> we are now at the part of this event where we are taking questions and i have a few to begin. this is for you. she talks about joseph p. kennedy and rose kennedy. you must of known those individuals. to her impressions that with your memory and her interactions with them in public? >> yes. [laughter] [applause] >> a very long career in political life. a very distinguished. [laughter] >> well. [laughter] >> no, mr. kennedy was the very much a dominant figure in almost everything that went on in the
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political life. his mother was even more dominant on the prayer life and get after them for all the reasons good mothers do. to make responsible children, and -- but they kept very close track of what each was doing so i would not disagree with anybody that thinks that they were enormously influential. the only thing i am conscious of however is that ambassador kennedy could not influence certain people in the democratic party. i mean, people that we were supporting he frequently did not.
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>> who are you picking on? [laughter] >> welcome just really thinking about one fight that we had. and he just was not responsive. bobby was a responsible one and what happened was he had invited to become a indited the brother of a congressman from new york, and the congressman who had been very responsive to us and them wanted desperately for the indictment to be withdrawn. he refused. there was then a talk to the ambassador who said no he will do what he's going to do anyway. so, it caused us some pain but not a great deal. it's the type of thing which they would defer and if they
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differed he deferred because one strong rascal. >> ambassador kennedy used to joke that he was a rubber had democrat. >> yeah. >> michael, what surprised you most? the her assessment of the key players differ from your views and other stories? >> sure, in all sorts of ways. but i think in a large sense the thing that really surprised me is if we were talking a year ago i would have said that she was a large influence during that period but i wouldn't have particularly said she was a large political figure in this administration. and i can give you read this but you have to say that because the number of times she talks manly about people but not always only about people, and you notice the people that she is very critical of what about not doing terribly well during the administration and vice versa. to some extent i think she was
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observing her husband's views but she talks about a few cases where for instance she was in pakistan which has been added to her trip to india to balance it off for political reasons. for john kenneth galbraith was the ambassador to india and had known since the 1930's when he was at harvard and didn't have that kind of relationship and so for diplomatic reasons it was thought it was a good idea to imply that walter mcconaghy in pakistan have not an equal with some relationship with the president said they are sort of in plotting so on. that's funny and limit them once when i left to take this job two weeks ago. so that didn't work terribly well. but not as a result of this but having been in pakistan and washington and in action she went right back, and wrote her husband a memo saying this is exactly the kind of the
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ambassador who shouldn't have a job like this and went to the state department and the ambassador served until 1966 so maybe a comment on dean rusk. >> she didn't seem to get as involved in the domestic politics would you agree? >> why don't know that she didn't get involved in domestic politics because, for instance, to talk about the monuments, the flooding. i remember going to see john, what with his then, the congressman from brooklyn who was in charge of the appropriations. >> what he had been very eager to help each? >> no, he was not. he was politically -- he was not at all anxious to help the president because he fancied
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himself by being in opposition to strengthen him domestically. >> john? >> yeah. [laughter] but, he was -- i went up to call him off the floor asking him to please both the thing the president wanted and he said yes, he would, but he never forgave me for it. >> we have another question for michael. as a presidential historian are you aware of any first lady breyer to jacqueline kennedy who provided a candid revelation of her experience in the white house? >> no, and one thing in the study of her life she always broke the mold. she was always innovating and perhaps may be pretty near the most important innovation that she ever made was this idea that she would be asked for eight and a half hours of very personal questions in great detail about her time as the first lady.
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that hadn't happened before. and since then and it almost always happens the first lady write books that in those days was very unusual. >> there's not a page of this book is and suffused with her way to and the sense that president kennedy were sharing. >> there is a wonderful story if i can interject for a second where they are calling for a state visit and his not very good reputation had preceded him they were trying to make the best of it so often times she says when the leader was coming to the white house the president would bring to a leader upstairs to visit with first lady as a sort of special thing to do and he was said to have published his article so mrs. kennedy and the kind of detail that she went to got a copy of the collection, the book and the state department about 20 minutes before.
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she wasn't able to read it before they got there, so mrs. kennedy was on one side, the president on the other, but it's a wonderful book that they opened and virtually every page was a topless woman. [laughter] they would pick fruit and there was my second, there was my third wife and she says jack and i had to make such enormous effort to keep them laughing we almost didn't make it. >> could you tell how funny she was? >> i will tell a funny story about her family. she was very close to her sister who was married to the prince of poland, and he came here during the campaign and was very big in the polish crowd but he was not an american citizen. he was a polish citizen and the
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drive was to get them out and see the people. and this fellow who worked in the state department was a very, very powerful political figure and the polish world. so he definitely wanted stash to come to his district on the campaign. i said we can't do that. we can't have a foreign dignitary campaigning in the domestic collection. well, he said let me see what i can do. so the next thing i remember is i get a call from should pinsky. >> last night was a smash. you hear me. stash was a smash.
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[laughter] thank you. >> pennsylvania went democratic that your by the larger margin than expected. [laughter] >> michael delude of earlier to the toxic political climate we live in now. how do you think president kennedy would have negotiated with that kind of a climate? how would he have helped our system recover? >> i really do not know the system as we have it today where people refused to tolerate the other person's view on how he could possibly have owned up to it. when i left washington was exactly a week before the president was assassinated i had been working on the civil rights act bill. now, we have put together with a lot of work a lot of real questions of republicans and
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democrats prepared to support eight real civil rights bill. it was -- i left washington with a certain short that was over. there was no need to do it. i used to be able to name the republican congressman that i could line up on almost any given merit because the hat respected president kennedy and respected the things that he's good for. you didn't have any of that today. no one respects anyone else. no one has shared with anything else. so, i don't want to know how we could fit in today's world. spec one thing that sort of does it for me in the space program when he went to congress and i sure was in front of us and said the moon landing in the 1970's was essential to the national security lot of republicans who didn't want to spend the money set about that the national
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security is at stake which they do. >> i think that we should all take from this book a measure of optimism about ways that our system can perform well at its very best and on that note -- >> so even though we are not -- no phone number for you to call to place your vote, but the bookstore does report directly to "the new york times" best-seller list so if you would like to keep jacqueline kennedy ahead of cheney on that list -- [laughter] we encourage buhle to buy a copy or two or three of the book at our bookstore i ask you to remain in your seats and the book signing will be right outside the store. those of you in the satellite there will be some coming in from the front. those of you in this room the line will form literally around the back of this wall. but most of all what i want to do this think kennedy for her
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comments and for this terrific panel and michael beschloss. [applause]
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we have brought to the forefront of years have talked about it, they get in office and they do nothing about it. but right now it is this liberty movement which is seen as a patriotic movement and individual liberty movement that the city into the country and to the world we've had enough of sending our kids and money around the world to be the police it is the time to bring them home.
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[inaudible conversations] they are coalescing around our campaign and that is going to be good not just in south carolina as we go forward. john and abigail adams have written correspondence throughout their relationship that it would commentary on the political landscape during the founding of the united states. the book my dearest friend tells the correspondence. during this discussion which took place in 2007 we will hear from massachusetts politicians and their wives and quoting the late senator ted kennedy and victoria kanaby, governor deval patrick and his wife diane,
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michael and kitty dukakis posted by the massachusetts historical society. >> good evening. i'm president of the massachusetts historical society. on behalf of the society and the harvard university press, i welcome you. founded in 1791, massachusetts historical society is considered one of the finest resources on the history and culture of the united states anywhere. some states and the library of congress among the 12 manuscript the addams family papers hold it in a very special place and over 300,000 manuscript pages that document the country's history from the 70 60s through 1889 the record left by the adams family is extraordinary. along these papers the letters of john and abigail are very
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special subset. that is the most important correspondence of in the american couple. it is intriguing as we sit here tonight to complete a society was in an early hall, two of the bulls i believe for part of that and it was ran in 1905 -- 1805 and samuel hall on this site. we moved there in 1793 into the attic at the time. there, we continued to collect of history at the same time john and abigail were making it through their correspondence. tonight we model lisa lubber the publication of the new selection of john and abigail's letters also marked the 50 year collaboration between the massachusetts historical society and the harvard university press. we thank the harvard university press, who are the partners of tonight for inspiring my dearest friend for its financial support of this event and for working closely with us to provide ever-increasing access to the wealth and material encompassed
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in the papers. .. [applause] >> thank you, dennis, and welcome, and hello to everyone. as i have been thinking about
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abigail and john adams today, i've been wondering how they would feel about having their private letters read aloud by people they never knew, and in a public setting. i'm certain they would have approved the venue. it was here, of course, that bostonnans gathered in the years before the revolution to condemn the british and to listen to speeches urging independence. but what about the people who will read their letters? i'm sure john would have been very pleased by the distinguished men who are taking his part this evening. i know he is scowling there. [laughter] >> but he doesn't mean it. and by the end of the evening, he will smile.
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>> each of these men has devoted his professional life to public service, as john adams did. he might have envied center kennedy's re-election record, but he definitely would have admired the senator's consistent willingness to speak out on difficult issues and to challenge the opposition. something john did in spades. [applause] >> that's something john did plentifully. >> adams would have been astonished by governor patrick's political campaign that brought him to the corner office of the state house just about this time last year. wasn't it? [applause]
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>> they didn't hold elections like that when he was running for office. on the other hand, i think john would be quite content to have deval govern new a constitution written by adams and deposit by the commonwealth in 1780. i know he would have admired governor dukakis for the administrative and political skills that helped massachusetts emerge from one of its worst ever economic and financial crises, and maybe more, his decision to retire from politics and enter academia, to teach young men and women the importance of politics. this is one of the cardinal endeavors that john adams held
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very dear. [applause] >> as for the ladies, vicky kennedy, diane patrick and kitty dukakis, would abigail like to have her letters read by them? of course she would. they are the per -- person fix indication -- each has had a splendid career, each has taken a powerful role speaking out for the cause she believed in, especially for prevention of handgun violence -- that's
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vicky -- [applause] >> the issues swirling around domestic violence -- diane. [applause] >> the multiple needs in the area of mental health. [applause] >> and i suspect for abigail, each is a strong advocate on behalf of her husband's career as abigail most definitely was, too. so, i think all is well. and i'm happy to turn over the mic to our moderator, mary richardson. now, john and abigail never tuned in to the evening news on channel 5. but had they done so, i'm sure
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they would have applauded such an intelligent and eloquent commentator, enlightening the public about the day's events. mary? [applause] >> john adams, a 24-year-old lawyer, saw abigail smith for the first time in the summer of 1759. he was unimpressed. not candid was the overall assess independent his diary. what changed between them and when we don't really know, but by the time of their first letter, something certainly had. >> braintree, october 4th, 1762. miss adorable.
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by the same token that the bearer sat up with you last night, i hereby order you to give him as many kisses and as many hours of your company after 9:00 as he shall please to demand and charge them to my account. i presume i have good right to draw upon you for the kisses as i have given two or three million at least. when one has been received. and of consequence the account between us is immensely in favor of yours. >> thus began the correspondence of a remarkable american couple that spans over 40 years and 1100 surviving letters, we can only guess how many were captured by the british, sunk in shipwrecks or lost by later generations. what remains tells the story of a revolution, a new nation, a new government, of the series of war and the burdens of
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leadership. it is also the story of marriage, of two people, soul mates, who endured years of separation and trial that never for sake their love and commitment to each other. they married in october 1764, and over the next eight years had five children together. john quincy, the future sixth president of the united states, suzanna, charles, and thomas. the suzanna died as an infant. now, having become a steady family man, john built a successful legal career and developed a reputation as a political leader. john's appointment to the first continental congress in 1774 moved him on to the national stage, position he relished, even as he found the work burdensome, abigail, too, took bridesmaid took pride in john's accomplish it but lamented the
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separations. >> braintree, august 19, 1774. the great distance between us makes the time appear very long to me. it seems already a month since you left me. the great anxiety i feel for my country, for you, and for our family, renders the day tedious, and the nights unpleasant. the rocks and quicksand appears on every side. what course you take is al wrapped in security. if ever any kingdom or state regained their liberty, and once it was invaded without bloodshed, i cannot think of it without horror. i want much to hear from you. i long impatiently to have you upon the stage of action.
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the first of september or the months of september perhaps, will be of as much importance to great britain as the ides of march were to caesar. i wish you every public as well as private blessing, and that wisdom which is profitable both for instruction and edification to conduct you in this difficult day. the little -- kindly wish to see him. >> philadelphia, october 9, /774.
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this assembly is like no other ever excessed. every man in it is a great man, a critic, a statesman, and therefore, every man upon every question, must show his orator, he criticism and his political abilities. the consequence of this is that business is drawn and spun out to an immeasurable length. i believe, if it was moved and seconded, that we should come to a resolution that three and two make five. we should be entertained with logic and rhetoric, law, history, politics politics polit mattics for two hole days and then we should pass the resolution unanimously in the affirmative. >> by june 1775, john was
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sitting with the second continent tall congress and the war had become an immediate presence in abigail's wife. she watched the battle of bunker hill with her son from the top of the hill in braintree. while the british were tech nick click technically victory you the adams' close friend was one of the americans who perished. >> philadelphia, june 17, 1775. i have found this congress like the last. when we first came together, i found a strong jealousy of us from new england and massachusetts in particular. suspicions were entertained and designs of independencey, an american republic, presbyterian principles and 20 other things.
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our sentiments were heard in congress with great caution and seemed to make but little impression. the longer we sat, the more careerly -- clearly they saw the necessity of pursuing vigorous measures. it appears now, every day we sit and the more we are convinced that nothing but fortitude, vigor, and perserverance can save us. it is long since i have heard from you i fear you have been kept in continual alarm. my duty and love to all. my dear any, charlie, tommy,. come here and kiss me. >> braintree, june 18, 1775. dear friend. the day, perhaps the decisive day, has come on which the fate
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of america depends. my bursting heart must find them at my pen. i have just heard that our dear friend, dr. warren, is no more but fell gloriously fighting for his country, saying, better to die honorably in the field than king anonymously hang upon the gallows. great is our loss. he has distinguished himself in every engagement by his courage and fortitude. by animating the soldiers and meeting them armed by his own example. a particular account of these dreadful, but i hope glorious days, will be transmitted to you, no doubt in the fastest manner. the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, but the god of israel is he that
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gives us strength and power unto his people. charlestown is laid in ashes. the battle began upon our entrenchments upon bunker hill, saturday morning, about 3:00, and has not yet ceased, and it is now 3:00 sabbath afternoon. they will come out over the next night in a dreadful battle must ensue. oh, mighty god, cover the heads of our countrymen and be a shield to our dear friends. how many have fallen we know not. the couldn't roar of the cannon is so distressing we cannot eat, drink or sleep, nearly be supportive and sustained in the dreadful conflict. i'm safe by the friends and then
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i have secured myself a retreat at your brother's, who kindly offered me part of his house. i cannot compose myself to write any further at present. i will add more as i get further. >> philadelphia, july 7, 1775. my dear. the account you give me of the numbers slain on the side of our enemies is effecting the human. >> although it is a glorious approve of the bravery of our worthy countrymen, considering all the disadvantages under which they fought, they really exhibited prodigies of valor. your description of the distresses of the worthy inhabitantses of boston and the other seaport towns is enough melt a heart of stone. our consolation must by this, my dear. that cities may be rebuilt, and the people reduced to poverty may acquire fresh property.
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but a constitution of government, once changed from freedom, can never be restored. liberty once lost is lost forever. when the people once surrender their share in the legislature and their right of defending the limitations upon the government, and of resisting every encroachment upon them, they can never regain it. it gives me more pleasure than i can express to learn you sustained the shocks and terrors of the time. youle really brave, my dear. you are a heroin and -- heirine. a sole as pure, as ben never lent, as virtuous and pious as yours, has nothing to fare. everything to hope and expect from the last of human evils. >> the war continued in new england throughout the fall of 1775 as john and abigail pressed
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for a full declaration of independence. but the march 1776 evacuation of the british army from boston and its movement southward raced the question how the rest of the american colonies would respond the military threat, and the prospect of a new national government sparked a debate between abigail and john on women's rights. >> march 31, 1776. i wish you would ever right me a letter half as long as i write you. [laughter] >> and tell me if you may, where your fleet are going. what sort of sense virginia can make against our common enemy. whether it is so situated as to make an able defense. are not the gentry lords and the common people vassals?
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i hope your men are not a specimen of the generality of the people. i have statements been ready to think the passion for liberty cannot be equally strong in the breaths of those who have been accustomed to deprive their fellow creatures of theirs. of this i am certain. that it is not founded upon the generous and christian principle of doing to others as we would that others should do unto us. i feel very differently at the approach of spring to what i did a month ago. we knew not then whether we should plan to work with safety, whether win we toiled we would reap the fruits of our own industry. whether we could rest in our own cottages or whether we should not be driven from the sea coast to seek shelter in the wilderness. now we feel as if we might sit under our own vine and eat the good of the land. though -- we sympathize with
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those who are trembling. i long to hear that you have declared an independency. and by the way, in the new court of laws, which i suppose it will be necessary for you to make, i desire you remember the ladies. [laughter] [applause] >> and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors. do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the husbands. remember, all men would be tyrants if they could. [laughter] >> if particular attention -- if particular care and attention is not paid the ladies, we are determined to foment a rebellion
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and will not be bound by any laws in which we have no voice or representation. that your sex is naturally tie ran tyrannical, and will not admit of no dispute, but such as you wish to be happy, willingly give up the harsh title of master for the more endearing one of friend. why, then, not put it out of the power of the vicious and the lawless to use with cruelty and indignity. many of all ages abhor these customs which treat us only as the vassals of your sex. regard us then as beings, placed by providence under your protection, and an imitation of the supreme being, make use of that power only for our happiness. >> philadelphia, april 14, 1776.
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you justly complain -- >> you justly explain of my short letters but the state of things must plead my excuse. you ask where the fleet is? the enclosed papers will inform you. you ask what sort of defense virginia can make? i believe they will make an able defense. their militia and minutemen have been employed in training themselves and they have nine battalions of regulars, maintained under good officers at the continental expense. the gentry are very rich and the common people very poor. this inequality of property gives aristocratic version to,
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but the spirit of these barons is coming down and it must submit. as to declarations of independency, be patient. as to your extraordinary code of laws, i cannot but laugh. we have been told that our struggle has loosened the bands of government everywhere, that children and apprentices withdisobedient, that schools and colleges were grown turn leapt. that indians slighted their guardians and negroes proofed insolent to their mass but your letter with the first inclination that another tribe, more numerous and powerful to all the rest were growing incontent. you are so saucy, i won't blot it out. depend upon it. we know better than to repeal
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our masculine systems women dare not expert our full power in its full latitude. we are obliged to go fare and softly, and in practice, you know we are the subjects. we have only the name of masters, and, rather than give up this, which would completely subject us to the despotism of the pettycoat, i hope general washington and all our brave heroes would fight. [applause] >> abigail dropped the subject of women's rights for the time being. and both she and john celebrated what a declaration of independence was finally proclaimed in july. abigail received the news in boston where she had gone with all of her children to be
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inoculated for smallpox. >> philadelphia. july 3, 1776. yesterday the greatest question was decided, whichever was debated in america, and a greater perhaps never was or will be decided among men. a resolution was passed, without one dissenting colony. that these united colonies are of right ought to be free and independent states, and as such they have, and of right ought to have, full power to make war, conclude peace, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which other states may rightfully do. you will see in a few days a
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declaration setting forth the causes which have impaled us to this mighty revolution, and the reasons which will justify it in the sight of god and man. a plan of confederation will be taken up in a few days. when i look back to the year 1761, which i have hitherto considered as the commencement of the controversy, i am surprised that the suddenness, as well as greatness, of this revolution, britain has been filled with folly, and america with wisdom. at least this is my judgment. time must determine. it may be the will of heaven that america shall suffer cal lambties. if this is to be the case, it will have this good effect at
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least, it will inspire us with many virtues which we have not, and correct many errors, follies, and vices, which threaten to disturb, dishonor and destroy us, but i must submit all my hopes and fears to an overruling providence in which, unfashionable as the faith may be, i firmly believe. >> boston. july 13, 1776. by yesterday's post i received two letters dated the 3rd and 4th of july. and though your letters never fail to give me pleasure, be the subject what it will, yet it was greatly heightened by the prospect of the future happiness and glory of our country. nor am i a little gratified when i reflect that a person so
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nearly connected with me has had the honor of being a principle -- principal actor in laying down its future tu tour greatness. may the foundation of our country be truth, justice, and righteousness. may it be founded upon those rocks and then neither storms nor tempesses will overthrow it. boston, july 21, 1776. last thursday, after hearing a very good sermon, i went with the multitude into king street, to hear the proclamation for independence read and proclaimed. the troops appeared under arms and all the inhabitantses assembled there. when colonel craft read from the balcony of the state house the proclaimation, great attention was given to every word. as soon as he ended, the cry
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from the balcony was, god save our american states, and then three cheers which rended the air. the bells rang. the privateers fired the forts and batteries. the cannon were discharged. the platoons followed and every face appeared joyful. ...
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return to the continental congress. his absence in the spring and summer of 1777 was particularly difficult that every deal was pregnant again with her sixth child. >> philadelphia, march 16, 1777. the spurring advances very rapidly and all nature will soon be closed and her robes. the green grass which begins to show itself here and they're revives in my longing imagination and it's your inhabitants. what has not this war deprived me of? i want to wander in my meadows to ramble over my mountains and sit in solitude with her who has all my heart by the sight of the brooks. these beautiful scenes would contribute more to my have been less than the saliva once which
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surround me. >> braintree april 17th, 1777. you're obliging favors of march 14th, 16th and 22nd have been received and i most sincerely thank you for them. i know not how we should support an absence already and many times attended with melancholy reflection. if it was not so frequently hearing from you. that is a consolation to me though a cold comfort in a winter's night. as the summer advances i have many anxieties, some of which i should not feel or at least find them greatly alleviated if you could be with me. but as that is a satisfaction, i know i must not look for though i have a good mind to hold you to your promise in some particular circumstances were really on that condition.
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i must summon all the philosophy of life and love since what cannot be helped must be endured. i have enjoyed as much health since the smallpox the i have known in any year. color in a clumsy figure make their appearance in so much that master john said i never saw anybody to grow so fast as you do. [laughter] >> philadelphia, may 15th, 1777. general warren writes me that my farm never looked better than when he last saw it and that mrs. adams was like to outshine all the others. i wish i could see it. he knows the weakness of his friends heart and that nothing what is it more than the praises bestowed upon a certain lady. in the midst of infinite millions i need a lonely
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melancholy life morning back the loss of all the charms of life which are my family and all the amusement i ever had in life, which is my farm. however, i will either find or quote the moment and affairs or in a prosperous way and a little more out of doubt. that moment i become a private gentleman, respectful husband mrs. es of green tree and the affectionate father of her children. >> braintree, july 9, 1777. i sit down to write you this post and for my present feeling i shall be able to write for some time if i shall do well. i've been very on well this past week with some complaints that have been new to me the we hope not dangerous. i was last might take in which a
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shaking fit and very apprehensive that a life was lost. as i have no reason today to think otherwise. what may be the consequences to me heaven only knows i will not have you too much alarmed by keep up some spirit, he says the why would have you prepared for any event that may happen. >> philadelphia, july 10th 1777 my mind is again anxious, my heart in pain for my dearest friend that i could be near to say a few kind words or show a few kind looks or do a few kind actions that i could take from my dearest a share of her distress or relieve her of the whole. before this shelf reach you i hope he will be happy in the increases of a daughter and as
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fair and good and wise and virtuous as the mother. or if it is the son i hope it will still resemble the mother in the person, mind and heart. >> braintree, july 16th, 1777. join with me, my dearest friend, in gratitude to heaven that a life i know you value has been scared and carried through distress and stranger all of those are numbered with its ancestors. my apprehension with regard to it are well founded though my friends would have persuaded me that the vapors had taken a hold of me. i was as perfectly sensible of this disease as i ever before was. it appeared to be a very fine day and as it never opened its eyes in this world, it looked as
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though they were only closed for sleep. my heart was set upon a daughter. i have a strong persuasion that my desire would be granted to me. it was, but to show me the uncertainty of all enjoyment cut off air i could call it mine. john with the continental congress in november, 1777 thinking to return to massachusetts and resume his practice. the congress had other plans for him. diplomatic appointments first to negotiate a treaty with france than with the netherlands and finally to draw up peace with britain. all told he would spend ten years in your input on the few short months at home in 1779 tvd 11 year old john quincy adams accompanied his father gaining experience on an education that would serve him well in later
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years when he too was called to be an american diplomat in europe. if abigail had previously considered philadelphia far away, the distance of europe was almost unimaginable. the situation was made even more difficult by the and reliability of overseas mail, letters were frequently lost got thrown overboard by captains be fading captive by the british or shrunken. the distance and duration of the separation not surprisingly put a strain of the adams saw' marriage. >> covered of come 1778. i have taken up my pen again to relieve the anxiety of a heart to susceptible for its own repros. nor can i help complain to my friends his painful actions are not as formerly alleviated by the tender tokens of his friendship. three very short letters on the
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have reached my hands during a nine month absence. i cannot be so on just to this affection as to suppose he has not written much and more particularly must set down to the score of misfortune so few have reached me. i cannot charge myself with any deficiency in this particular house i have never had an opportunity to put writing to you since we have parted there you have no mention of having received a line from me if it becomes of so little importance as not to be worth noticing with your own hand, be so kind as to direct your secretary. >> i will not finish the
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sentence. my heart denies the justice of the aggravation nor does it believe your affection diminished by distance or absence but my soul is wounded as the separation from you and my fortitude all dissolved. when i cast my thoughts across the atlantic and beau the distance, the danger, the hazard which you have already passed through and to which you must probably be again exposed their we shall meet. the time of your absence unlimited all conspired to cast a gloom over my solitary hours and relieve me of all domestic. >> december 18th, 1778. this moment i have what shall i say the pleasure with the pain of your letter of the 25th of
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october. as a letter from my dearest friend it gave me a pleasure that it would be in vain to attempt to describe the complaints gave me more pain than i can express. this is the third letter i have received in this complaining style. [laughter] the former to i have not answered. [laughter] i have written several answers but upon review they appear to be such a could not stand. one was angry, another was full of grief and the third with melancholy so i burned them all. if you write me in this style i shall leave out writing entirely. it kills me in professions of the steam wanting me to you can the affection be necessary?
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ken tokens of remembrance be desired? the very idea of this sickens me. and i'm not wretched enough without this? what course should i take to convince you my heart is warm? jul declared to it, swear it, would you doubt it less? and is it possible you should doubt it? i know it is not. if i could once believed it possible i cannot answer to the consequence, but i beg you never more right to me in such a strained for it really makes me unhappy. >> february 13th, 1779. my dearest friend, it is with a double pleasure that i hold my time this day to acquaint my friend that i have had a rich feast indeed by the private year
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which arrived here on the eighth of this month and brought his letters of the ninth of september, 23rd of october, second of november and second of december all together making more than i have received since your absence at one time. ander chief in which they were tied felt to me like the return of an absent friend. it is natural to feel an affection for everything which belongs to those we love. and more so when the object is far, far distant from us. he shot me from my complaints when in reality i had so little location for them. i must treat you to attribute it to the real cause and over anxious solitudes to hear of your welfare and and gillibrand fair of public care and
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applications might render you less attentive to your friends than i would wish. but the oblivion of the free expression i've complained the race from the letters which contain them as i have from my mind every ideas the contrary to that regard and affection you have ever manifested towards me. during his years of talent the achieved a great diplomatic success earning recognition of the united states by the netherlands, securing a much needed loan from the dutch to keep the american government financially solvent and negotiating a peace treaty with britain. once peace was achieved, he submitted his resignation to congress and contemplated returning home but then held off hoping he might be appointed minister to great britain. abigail, tired of waiting after
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nearly six years finally resolved in the spring of 1784 to july and john in europe. she and her daughter reached london in july. >> london, july 23rd, 74. my dear friend, at length heaven be praised i am with our daughter safely landed upon the british short after the passage of 30 days from boston to the down. how often do i reflect during my voyage upon what i once heard you say that no object of nature was more disagreeable than a lady at the sea. [laughter] it really reconciled me to the fault of being without you. for 70 my witness, and no situation would i be willing to appear thus to you. i would have an observation of my own that i think no induce less than that of coming to the
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tenderness of friends could never prevail with me to cross the ocean, nor do i ever wish to try it but once more i am otherwise very sick besides seasickness must not expect to see me a line from nothing less than that would carry away my flesh the white do not think i ate more capacity than would have sufficed for one week. life that he is in some measure gone off and every hour i am impatient to be with you. >> the hague, july 26, 74. my dearest friend, your letter of the 23rd has made me the happiest man on earth. i am 20 years younger than i was yesterday. it is a cruel mortification to me that i cannot go to meet you in london pity in the meantime i send you a son who is the greatest traveler of his age and
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without partiality i think as promising and manly as a youth as is in the world. every hour to me will be a day but don't you hurry or disquiet yourself upon the jury. be careful of your health. after spending a week or to hear you will have to set out with me to france. there are no scenes between a good road, a fine, and we will make moderate journeys and see the curiosities of several cities and our way. it is the first time in europe that i look forward to a journey with pleasure. >> john and abigail spent the next four years together first in france, then in london while he served as the minister to britain. the exchange only a handful of letters during those years and were never a part for more than a few weeks. abigail greatly enjoyed years of reveling in the opportunity to travel and see the sights that john found his position difficult at best. while king george iii greeted
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him more cordially than john ever expected, the british have little interest in diplomatic relations with their former colleagues. barely 77, john recognized the futility of his mission and submit his resignation to compress though it would take another year for john and abigail to make arrangements to come home. the return to massachusetts in june of 1788 was in the year their life changed again when john was elected the first vice president under the new constitution. he served eight years and what he called the most significant office. [laughter] during those years and later during the presidency, abigail frequently returned to currency to oversee and the format preserve her health. she preferred the which life in massachusetts to that in any of the three capital cities. first new york and philadelphia, in washington, d.c.. more than 500 of john and
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abigail's letters survived from this period of their lives. >> new york, may 15, 79. my dearest friend, i have received yours on the fifth. you'd think it best to leave that thomas college, but i pray that he would come on with charles as soon as possible. as for money to your expenses, you must if you can borrow from a trendy enough to bring you here. if you cannot borrow enough, you must sell horses oxen, sheep, cows, anything at any rate rather than not come. if no one will take the place leave it to the birds in the air and of the field, but all evens break up the establishment and the household. i have as many difficulties here as you can have public and private, but my life from my cradle has been a series of difficulties and that will continue to the grave.
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>> me 31st, 1789. my dearest friend, i hope to be able to relieve you soon of all domestic care and anxiety. at least my best endeavor shall not be wanting. i know you want your own bed and pillows, you're hot coffee and your full portion where habit has become natural. how many of these matters like a large portion of our happiness and contentment? and the more public care and complexity you are surrounded with, the more necessary these abbreviations. our blessings are sometimes enhanced to us by the feeling, the want of them. >> even from quincy, abigail followed the national and international advances in the press such as the war between britain and france in which the united states threatened to
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become embroiled, counting on the letters to serve as her most reliable news source. the in turn became a trusted advisor and the only confidante. as the children reached adulthood, john and abigail saved new challenges and worries as parents now being married the unsuccessful william stephen smith charles become to alcoholism during his father's presidency the youngest had a marginal legal career. only john quincy was shown by 79 for he had gained a reputation like his father in all and politics prompting the president to appoint him u.s. minister to the netherlands. the first in a series of diplomatic missions that would culminate in him serving as the most noted secretary of state in american history. quincy, april 18th, 1794. my dearest friend, your letter
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is april 5th and 7th reached me last evening and filled me with more apprehension of a war than anything that i had before heard. the body of the people are decidedly against the war. and if the war is madly or foolishly precipitated upon us without the union of the people we shall neither find men or money to prosecute its and the government will be cursed and used for all the consequences which it must follow. i have many disputes with your brother of on this subject whose passions are up upon the insults and abuse is offered us by britain and who is providing them instantly without seeing one difficulty in our way. in order to put a stop to the rash measures, congress must rise. the people without are willing to wait a result of negotiation as far as i can learn. and in the meantime, we ought to
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prepare for the worst. i most devoutly pray that we may be preserved from the horrors of the war and the machinations of man. i wish it were in our power to persuade all of the nation's into a palm and steady disposition while seeking particularly the quiet of our own country and wishing for a total end of all the unhappy divisions of mankind by the party split which at best is at the madness of many for the games of the few. >> philadelphia, may 19th, 1794. my dear friend, the project for the war had been detected and exposed in every shape and under every disguise that has been given to them and heather their
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too defeated. another year may bring forth i know not. john rises in his reputation of the war as well as the esteem of his fellow citizens. his writings have given him a greater consideration in this place than he is aware of. i am sometimes told i ought to be proud of him and truly i don't want to be told this. he would be made a politician to assume that he's a man of great experience and i hope sound philosophy. he was a greater states not 18 them some senators i have known at 50. [laughter] but he must learn silence and reserve come prudence and caution, above all to curve of vanity and collect himself. faculties are virtues that his father has often much wanted. i have often thought he has more
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prudence at 27 than his father at 58. >> and early 7096, washington's decision not to run for a third term dramatically altered abigail and in john's life. john became the terrorist and he and abigail agonized over whether he should seek the presidency. george and martha washington had set high standards of republican elegance and hospitality that abigail feared she couldn't meet. >> philadelphia, january 5th, 7096. my dearest friend. there is a dead colin the political the atmosphere which furnishes no evin porth relating. i have this day however heard news that is of some importance. it must be kept a secret police to yourself. one of the ministry told me today that the president would solemnly determined to serve no
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longer than the end of his present period. he mentioned circumstances of observation has left no room to doubt as washington said one thing to me lately which seemed to imply as much. others, man of the first i find consider that even as certain. you know the consequence of this to me and to yourself. either we must enter upon others more trying than ever yet experienced or retire to quincy farmers for life. i am determined not to serve under jefferson as washington is not to serve at all. [laughter] i will not be frightened out of the public service, nor will we be disgraced in eight. >> january 21st come 796. my friend, some occasions in your letters or a source of much
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anxiety to me. my ambition leads me not to be first enrolled and the events that you request for of such serious nature it requires much reflection and liberation to determine upon it. there isn't a beam of light or a shadow of comfort or pleasure in the contemplation of the object. if personal consideration alone are to way i should immediately tie year with the principles. i can only say that circumstances must govern you in a matter of such momentous concern i dare not influence you. i must pray you may have superior direction. as to holding the office of the vice president, i will give you my opinion, resigned. [laughter] retired. i would be sick and under no man but washington. quincy, february 28, 1796.
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my friend, upon some subjects i think much more than on a right. i think what is the duty to others and what is the duty to ourselves. you write me assured the president is determined to retire. this is an event not yet contemplated by the people at large. we must be attentive to their feelings and to their voice. no successor can expect such the president has had. this though an arduous task will be a glorious reward and such a reward as all good men will unite given to washington and such a reward as a pre-his successor of nemer debt and obtained showed providence a large the task to my friend. the big not alone anxious for the part to be called to act but by far the most important i am anxious for the proper discharge
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of that share which will devolve upon me. whether i have patience, prudence, discussions, the stations so unexceptional as though were believe that now holds it i fear i have not. as sick and i had the happiness of steering clear as far as i know. if the contemplation didn't make me feel very serious, i should say that i have been so used to a freedom of sentiment that i know not how to place so many guards without me as would be indispensable to look at every word before i under it and to impose the silence upon myself when all i long to talk. >> abigail remained in quincy and congratulated him by letter on gaining the presidency on the day that the electoral vote was counted. she also did not attend the inauguration on march 4th, sir john of course revealed his innermost anxieties to her.
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>> february 8, 1797. my faults and meditations are with you but personally absent and my petition to have been or that the things which may not be hidden from your point my feelings are not those of pride or ostentation upon again location. they are colonized by a sense of the obligation. the important trust and duties connected with it that you may be unable to discharge them with honor to yourselves with justice and in partiality to your country and with satisfaction to people shall the the daily prayer of your abigail adams. >> philadelphia, march 5th,


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