it is, in my view, the moral equivalent of jim crow. >> get ready, booktv's first online book club meets at the end of the month. watch video of michelle alexander at booktv.org and read "the new jim crow" and then on tuesday, march 26th at 9 p.m. eastern, join us live online with your questions and comments on "the new jim crow." >> next, historian hugh howard recounts the war of 1812 from the viewpoint of president james madison and first lady dolly madison. the author examines president madison's decision to declare war, the first president to do so, and the succeeding battles on land and sea as america fought its second war for independence from britain. this is a little under an hour. ..
we will ask staff take? maybe. or maybe not. just didn't hold up. or yes. even though hugh howard and i are fast friends and had more than a few beers together over the years and written many chair left side by side while skiing doesn't necessarily follow that i would staff pick his excellent new book. i did it because it is in fact an excellent book. moron that in a moment. hugh howard's book shop working in new york for various publishing houses for ten years. as an architectural historian he wrote a series of articles for the new york times which became
the basis for his first book the preservationist's progress. over the ensuing years he has written a dozen books on american architecture, art and history. happily for us he and his wife betsy moved to columbia county in 1981 where he crackled their efforts remodeling an old colonial in his terrific book house dreams. since then among his other products he turned his eye to thomas jefferson and his role as an architect and an inspiration to other early american architects. dr. campbell and mr. jefferson. in the painter's chair he brought to life the founding fathers of american painting and the use of george washington. more recently along with his longtime collaborator, photographer, roger straus, he wrote of the houses of the founding fathers, a book of the same name. he and roger are at it again in a sequel of sorts called houses of the presidents.
i so envy hugh howard his research trips. it ask him some time about his visit to bill clinton's boyhood bedroom. hugh howard has turned his attention to the war of 1812 with his new book "mr. and mrs. madison's war," america's first couple in the second war for independence, a history book club selection of the month. most of us have a sort of grade school remembrance of the war of 1812, francis scott key, saving the george washington portrait and that is about it. it was of much more complicated affair. after a time of considerable political division we yankees wanted nothing to do with that war and what a fascinating and diverse cast of characters. chief among them was the diminutive and brilliant james madison and his vivacious and cunning wife, dolley.
they were america's first power couple. no doubt the obamas to learn much from james and dolley, perhaps they already have. it was a pivotal moment in our nation's history as america, besieged on all sides, sought to maintain its independence from forces seemingly too huge to repel. it was a concept we few independent bookstores left standing fully appreciate. thanks to c-span booktv, check out booktv's schedule to find out when this event will be held, will be telecast. hugh howard will be offering some remarks and take some questions and will happily sign copies of his book. also copies of the hugh howard's book will be available on our web site, thebookwatch.com.
i assume all cellphones are often defend when you do have questions please remember to wage the moment. evelyn and i and the entire staff are very pleased to welcome our friend and neighbor and fellow bookie, hugh howard. [applause] >> good evening. good evening. it is wonderful to be here. i thank eric for those kind words and mark and alec and all the other folks at the book loft, not least because independent stores are becoming more and more important in this world and for those of us who enjoy the process of browsing for books and reading and writing them i think bookstores,
whatever the merits of the web, our special places. i thank them for being here to welcome us tonight and also to sell off their wares. to begin, a question comes to mind, why a book on the war of 1812? part me the answer is because i can read a calendar. this is 2012 and therefore it is the bicentennial of the war of 1812. anniversary's i found have a kind of doppler effect. you don't hear the much and there is a loud sound and everything happens and i was hoping i could catch that moment and judge from the folks we have here i would say maybe it is working the a little tiny bit. another reason for a book about the war of 1812 is my curiosity
and other people's because as eric said it is a war that tends to blur. if you ask any casual student of history about the revolution or the civil war or any other conflict of the 20th century. and the declaration of independence and the shot heard around world and george washington, and valley forge and great things. and they come easily to mind. it is a different matter, and the war had remarkable moment and great heroes but the war is kind of a no man's land. i wanted to do something.
deciding what to write next is not the most obvious thing. the pattern is basically the same, i do some homework usually with the original sources, and what the participants back in time and new and little bit of a handle on this subject i put a few words on paper. there's always a moment when i dropped off when and move to another subject. i know it is right to me. and this paragraph came to me, more or less in a moment. picture a president looking more
rosily at the ruin of two of his nation's most iconic -- he mourned their loss, an act of international terrorism. a war declaration is in the air base on false intelligence. unfortunately the conflict will turn into a long slog that divides the country, empty treasury and leaves none of the warring parties feeling triumphant. considering the president was james madison, it was in the president's house. our history's echoes interesting? some times the past can be of the contemporary. the more i learned, the more intriguing and confusing was the
subject, the name of the war of 1812 is something of a misnomer. it was declared in june, the balance of the team's twelfth, it was the 32 month war. and a single military victory was the battle of new orleans was fought after the war was over, after the treaty of peace was signed. it was without instant e-mail headlines, and the news in belgium, and a messenger had to climb on a boat, climb on another boat and sail to new york and climb in a carriage and take another carriage and another carriage after that all the way to washington d.c..
it took seven weeks during which time the british attacked andrew jackson and his men at new orleans and plane demolished the british war. dozens of american soldiers were killed. and people who don't remember this war say the sequence of the events alone is confusing. the treaty that ended the war resolved nothing because the stated reasons for going to war were entirely out of the treaty. we have andrew jackson. the treaty--john quincy adams standing at center in a short jacket. the treaty can be summed up in a latin phrase.
it was status quo antebellum. the way things were before the board, no territory changed hands, very little change. psychologically and politically, it was something of a watershed. while this proved a memorable war i want to make the case was an important war in shaping the american character. we stood up for ourselves. was david and goliath, and although we did not knock it to the ground world's expectations and our own self-confidence as a nation was altered as a result of the war. it might be useful to explain to mr. and mrs. madison in the
title, it is a function of chronology. madison was president when the war began, his declaration began it so he got the blame and eventually whatever credit there was. in new england, no one really wanted to go to war. it would interfere with trade and politicians as the region was known were mostly merchants so the new england pamphleteer quickly dubbed the conflict mr. madison's war simply discussed. although no warrior, madison was small, sickly and intellectual by nature, his voice sounded fragile. he was always dressed in black but the name of a war, his name stuck to that war. the first american writer to make a living off of his books,
washington irving, described madison as a withered little apple don. president madison came to thing going to war was necessary. he had been thomas jefferson's secretary of state for two terms and by the time the war came along he had seen a dozen in the bush. and at the risk of sounding like i am teaching to the test, anybody ready to take advanced placement in u.s. history, madison had four moral reasons for going to war. maybe you remember that word from u.s. history, in the midst of a long war with the french had a nasty habit of not the decks of american ships, what some of them were british had gone awol but lots were americans. 5,000 american soldiers were
impressed this way in the years before the war. a second reason is, the british patent limited themselves to sailors either but they had taken ships, more than a thousand merchant ships confiscating cargo without american voters. the navy was the most powerful in the world, couldn't this be paid with impunity on the high seas. madison's third reason for war was evidence the british employed secret agents. we didn't like it then. we don't like it now. fourth, it was alleged that the british were stirring up the indians. the term native americans to coming to use until the 1960s and in his declaration of war madison refused but referred to the warfare by the savages in the northwest territory. he blamed the english for causing trouble and for some
degree it was true. with the support of a new faction in congress called war hawk, the rationale for war, probably didn't urge that the people around madison told him taking canada would be an easy matter. his mentor, jefferson, predicted the capture of canada would be a mere matter of marching which makes good alliteration but unfortunately bad soothsaying. didn't play out that way at all. next i am delighted to say i must talk about this event. i knew when i decided to write this book that i wanted to tell the from a human perspective and that would be mr. madison's but also mrs. madison's all of which meant i got to spend a couple years hanging out with dolley
payne todd madison and she was great. this is she painted by gilbert stuart in 1804. she is pretty young in this picture, i think 36 and if you will excuse the anachronism she is a bit of a baby. not afraid of displaying it. look at her. her gaze is direct, so is she. when she met james in 1794 she was recently widowed. he was 43, world renowned political philosopher and principal author of the constitution and still lives with his parents. she was 17 years younger, stood taller and handsome, black haired with striking good looks that literally turned heads on the streets but as a team you might say they were ready for prime time.
in this picture perhaps you can sense her personality. i think i can see why washington irving, having disturbed husband found mrs. madison more to his taste. he knew her as lady president. the term first lady didn't coming to use until 1848 at mrs. madison's funeral and president taylor referred to her as first lady, first time ever been used so was actually going to characterize this woman. a made no attempt to be willowy in the eyes of her admirers, she was perfect as serving senator in 1811, mrs. madison is a fine, but some of dame who has a smile and a pleasant word for everybody. when james was secretary of state and his friend jefferson administration, dolley was the president's hostess. jefferson you recall is a widower.
she was on her way to becoming the central figure in washington society. uconn full time when her husband took the oath of office on march 4, '89. she wasn't the lindsey will the source, no homespun for her and one admirer observed on the evening of her husband and swearing in she looked a queen. adopted the parisian fashion of wrapping silk fabric two four feet in length about her head. james who admitted having slept poorly the night before looked pale and exhausted, but dolly, affable to everyone presided happily. in must've looked fabulous. however, mrs. madison did more than look great. for 16 years she will benevolence of the over washington society, welcoming political friend and foe alike to her evenings. so many came to her so-called drawing rooms that during
madison's presidency they were known as squeezes. she was well known and probably more widely loved and admired than her husband. charles in south carolina, the james -- the man james madison defeated was heard to remark after the vote had been counted, i was beaten by mr. and mrs. madison. i might have had a better chance if i could face alone. taken together, i decided james and the dolley madison provided complementary perspectives and a unique view at telling the story of the war of 1812. to tell the story of the war of 1812 would take hours rather than the minutes we have here but i would be remiss if i didn't tell the couple of war stories. the conflict did produce some legends that are essential to
the american pathology even if not everyone is necessary associated these stories with the war. for example in the early weeks of the war, 18 pounds british cannonballs seemed to bounce off of the hall of the uss constitution, a ship built here in the bay state, unique survivor of the early days and i am guessing more than a few people have walked its decks. on august 19, 1812, the constitution won a decisive victory when the american ship produce the h m s carrier to what it's captain termed a perfect unmanageable wreck. the american frigate also won its name that they old ironsides. the ship wasn't made of fire and. that was a great day in u.s. navy history but i'm going to read you another story of american sailors right from the
pages of my book. the two great ships were well out from boston harbor under easy sale in the midday sun. on the tranquil scene, the h m s shannon led the uss chesapeake, but this was a pursuit in name only. as the captain reached a tacit understanding their shifts would square off in a fair fight, at the stroke of 4:00 with seven miles separating the ships the americans fired a gun. british captain philip broke ordered the topsails rig showing slowing the shannon's progress. by half past 5 the chesapeake was closing fast on the shannon. both ships steer into the wind moving fast enough to maintain steerage, this opponent came down upon the shannon's started quarter and a speed of six or
seven not. the moment was a nervous one as lawrence might have passed under the stern of the british frigate and opened fire but the american captain chose not to attempt a raking maneuver. again an unspoken gentleman's agreement honored, the two ships would fight on in equal terms. this was to be an artillery duel at close range with ships sailing nearly side-by-side, separated by a mere 50 yards. they were 20 miles east when the chesapeake range up on the shannon at 10 minutes before 6:00. the american captain, james lawrence, even as she slowed, the ship entered firing range. broke's standing order were for his crews tissues when their guns bore on the second port of the chesapeake. gun 14 was the first to fire and the second report was heard from the british frigate before the gun is on the chesapeake
replied. thereafter the air thundered and in the next six minutes the ships exchanged three full broadsides. dimly heard among the deafening boom of the can was the crackling of pops of small arms fire from muskets, rifles and slogans. the alisha cannon fire aimed low blasted into the decks and halls of those ships. don't try -- fire into the quarters, main deck into main deck, quarter point into a quarter point and ship is yours, killed men and the ship is yours. on both ships many men fell. a rifleman behind the rigging shot the helmsman of the chesapeake, the man who took his place soon matched the same fate. a round shot to be headed lieutenant in an explosion of bone and brain. two michigan were killed outright. another had his leg blown off. in the opening minutes of the action the crew of the chesapeake sustained 100
casualties, a third of them dead within thousands. aboard the shannon, 50 men were dead or wounded. clearly visible from the tops captain lawrence in his uniform made a pretty target and a musket balls ripped into his legs. he could no longer stand without bracing himself but issued orders refusing to be carried below. as solid shots parade the desk the chesapeake's momentum carry her beyond where her guns would bear on the shannon. for head sales damage, the sailing master dead and home shattered by cannon shot she fell off her course and into the path of the shannon as the british continued. captain lawrence, blood pouring from a legroom called for a boarding party but the british were quicker. as the ships collided the captain stepped from the railing of his ship on to the chesapeake and left on the deck of the
chesapeake for captain lawrence could order a counterattack, another shot struck him, this one ripping him to his groin. he staggered and fell, calling to his food to fire away, lands. several american sailors met the british commander with force. the chaplain discharge his pistol but missed the british captain. it struck him in the face with his cutlass, awarded the pike to the second assailant the two other attackers drove into the deck, one covering him with a musket, the other lot and onto a section of his skull. a marine came to his aid and bayoneted the attackers. another britisher found the captain's head wouldn't. brokes in and out of consciousness as is men a overwhelm the american in a matter of minutes. another way of of british marines came aboard the american ship and drove the chesapeake's remaining crewman belowdecks and secured the hatches. captain lawrence had been
carried below. despite his wounds he still issued commands. don't surrender the ship, he ordered. to ship's surgeon and his mate came to him, he said the way to tend to the wounded men would arrive before him. i will wait my turn, he insisted. but upon hearing the quiet of his ownership and guns he issued more orders, order them to fight faster and fight until she sinks. even when another wounded officer was carried from the saber wound the news he brought didn't seem possible. they have carried her, he reported, but warrants remained insistent, don't give up the ship, he ordered again. don't give up the ship. his expectations were too late. a british lieutenant, his countrymen in full control of the deck have already hauled down the chesapeake's colors and hoisted the british flag in its
place. captain james lawrence would live three days before he died of his wounds. a few doubts were expressed as the wisdom of seeking out broke and fighting the shannon that they but many much louder voices extolled his heroism, pauses for soon offered by the secretary of state, james monroe and the society of cincinnati in new york but the most prophetic was spoken in baltimore, made the inspiring words of the illustrious don't give up the ship caught the eventual eternal motto of america. in fact, lawrence's french perry soon raise dependent on his just launched ship on waters of lake erie, the u.s. as lawrence claimed after the late captain lawrence and the incident was sown with his famous phrase
which subsequently came the model of the u.s. navy, don't give up the ship. ironically a tour of the cloth in american hero and rallying cry for american forces. right don't have any video from the war of 1812. thomas edison would not figure out how to do that for many decades to come but in my mind's i i can envision a movie trailer, of those clever things calling this to sell us an upcoming movie and the highlight would have to include the battle of baltimore, a crucial conflict for the citizens of the city, resisted both the land and sea ports, bombardment of the royal navy observed by a sometime poet who was held captive on a ship in harbor. he recorded what he saw in a poem titled in its first
publication the defense of henry. but someone else in put it to music and renamed it the star spangled banner. we would have to see oliver hazard perry with the smoke of the battle of lake erie still in the air jotting a note to the secretary of war in pencil on views on the love he pulls from his pocket. we have met the enemy and they are ours. remember the words. most dramatic of all for my money would be dolley madison on august 24, 1814. we glimpsed the battle where the british route the american militia a few miles from the capital with rockets flying through the air, spirited british charge that by grenadier on horseback wielding a saber and then we have to jump cut to the president's house where she is awaiting james's return from the front, only time in american
history of president has actually been at the front during a work. only mr. madison and his cabinet did not return. instead retreating soldiers streamed to the town so i suppose we have the pov of dolly -- dolley looking down with a spyglass. for days she has been packing james's papers with her red velvet curtains, waiting and wondering and telling messenger arrives with word from james. a free slave named james smith who brings the word they must flee but she can. at least until she deals with george. because, you see, although she can hear the canons from the rooms of the president's house as the white house was then known she refuses to leave until she has arranged the safe departure of the life-size portraits of george washington hanging in her dining room.
ever politically savvy she rested deniess it would be a prize for the invaders. she says later if it were to fall into the hands of the enemy its capture would allow them to make a great finish. two servants are such to the task of fleeing the portrait, taller than any person, an arm span in width. this is madison's permission anne hathaway with a hatchet. once the frame is reduced to little more, the canvas is lowered to the floor. only them can we cut to the carriage on the streets and watcher depart. had entrusted the painter, the two friends who carted into safety in a barn in rural maryland. it would make a great scene in a film. if i were planning a movie i suppose i would want to convey that in twenty-first century terms dolley was the little bit
hot, james was a little bit nerdy, andrew jackson became a rock star coughed lot but more seriously. , the substance of the war. as americans. and and when we read about in an baines johnson talking to his ambassador in south viet nam saying i am not going to go down in history as the first american president to lose a war and mumble under my breath hold the phone. at ship sailed. james madison already lost the war sort of. which prompted me to think a little bit about winners and losers and ask the question so
who won the war of 1812 anyway? although it may seem one candidate is canada, let me explain. in a dumb handed miss reading of what their neighbors were thinking many americans in the months before the war talked themselves into thinking that canadians would welcome an invading american force with open arms and wasn't only jefferson. house speaker henry clay assured president madison that the militia of kentucky are alone competent to place canada at your feet. quite incorrect as the happened. when it came to the american invasion the canadians did not welcome invaders from the south as liberators and the three prong the invasion of canada approved abject failure. in august of 1812 the northwestern army of the united states surrendered to a much
smaller force. it was a debacle. in october the same year, the american force in niagara was captured and henry dearborn's assault ended in retreat in a terrifying exchange of friendly fire. in short the british forces of canada more than held their own throughout the war. perhaps it can be said that in a supporting role the canadians were in the victorious. a group who certainly didn't win were the american indians. with sellers encroach on their lands many indigenous tribes sided with the british before the war began. senator andrew jackson along with many others in washington believe native americans had been excited to war by the secret agents of great britain with the ongoing fear among westerners of what the lexington, kentucky, reporter called the scalping knife and the tomahawk of the british
savages. and the likes of governor william henry harrison in the northwest territory. and later brigadier-general andrew jackson after he took charge of the u.s. forces in the south. charismatic tecumseh, wellington of the indians as he was called by british officer fell in the battle of thames. after massacring the inhabitants which would later become alabama by band of red stick creeks, jackson led campaign against the indians culminated in march 18, '14 at the battle of horseshoe bend. one result was the creeks were forced to see twenty million acres from white settlements. the american indians were the latest loser, native americans proved to be a prelude for many others for decades to come.
another loser was the federalist party. to prison madison the federalists including alexander hamilton and george washington, disloyal opposition. they block 39-0 against the war. does that sound familiar. and they employ a strategy of unanimous opposition rather often. and, and the opposition continuing to trade, and refusal by the governor of massachusetts to commit his melissa men in the boundaries of massachusetts, and richard rush observed, mass.
half of it is riley, hand and a final and ultimately suicide lacked, the federalists assembled in hartford behind closed doors with came to be called the hearts of convention, and radical reform, it was an open secret that they were advocating the withdrawal of the institute, the convention didn't succeed on agreeing to any radical action. the resolutions they produce are really politics. the paint would poison their party. by the time of the presidential election, cease to wield political party in washington. the electoral count is 183 and 344 federalist papers in new york. for generations the nation would in effect have but one party in
the lake of the democratic republicans. in the federalist party died during the war of 1812 of self-inflicted wound. how about his britannic majesty and mr. madison? what would either of their country's be called victorious? the much vaunted royal navy was shown to be involved in that and the shifted confrontation that began the work and demonstrating prowess of the american sailors and ending the illusion that what was in a vulnerable. we would do better job with the capital burning nation's public burnings. in short form some wars are won, others lost, but still others like the war of 1812 nearly end
the combatants most bloody and pack up and go home. that is what happened at the end of the war of 1812 and given how the goals of the most recent wars have evolve the focus has become less on winning and more on going home. maybe we should make a particular attempt to look again at the war of 1812 and the forgetfulness that seems to have engendered. as an aside it is not incidental eidetic aided this book to presidents then and now who have views unwinnable war is. that are out comes that served american interests. with the return of peace in europe with the signing of the treaty of ghent, trade was restored, ships departed for ports around the world.
westward boom was in underway in the united states with soaring land values and population growth and substantial new towns. there was the new unity symbolized by james and dolley madison. the above washington rising tide of popularity in april of 1917. madison at successor james monroe upon taking office this year on tours of the north and south that won -- one boston newspaper called the era of good feeling. the fighting had been launched out of the perception as henry clay express said that war was as necessary to america as a duel is too young officer to prevent his being bullied and elbowed in society. the american belligerents had clearly not vanquished this, the war of 1812 did believe the
nation's confidence. and the war has given the americans what they so essentially lack. national character found on a glory, and to wall. in ensuing decades with policies such as the monroe doctrine the united states would begin to demonstrate new-found confidence and a belief that the united states had an essentials role to play in a larger world. that, i think is the most significant legacy of mr. and mrs. madison's war. thank you. [applause] >> if we have any questions, we have a microphone that i think needs to be delivered to the questioner and it is on its way. bear with us just a second. please.
>> very interesting. you called this "mr. and mrs. madison's war". to what extent do you think it was madison's initiative to go to war? there's a promise to my question. that war was fought 25 years after the constitution. was a last big event done by the constitutional generation before folks who were not there at the founding took over and was the first and last time congress actually followed the rules and congress debated and declared war before we started fighting it. you think was nonetheless madison's initiative? >> he certainly roadway, fear of widespread public opinion, that is to say if you got out of a north, out of the east at that point you certainly found lots and lots of folks who thought that it was necessary to go to war to save face, and there was
support in the congress, there was a great shift with the election of 1910 where many war hawks came to power. that was part of it. in no sense was it is idea. the notion of going to war and coming up before in 1807 -- was attacked quite unexpectedly by a british ship and at that time there were many calls for going to war so the idea was in the war and no seemingly easy solution and the british didn't seem to be interested in negotiating. wasn't clearly his idea but he finally decided it was a necessity and dictated the document that was delivered to congress and subsequently was ratified as declaration of war. is that in answer to your
question? anymore questions? >> to what extent do you think america locked out by having napoleon rampaging in europe in the war of 1812. >> interesting question. certainly at the beginning of the war that was a major issue. napoleon abdicated in april of 1814 and all the unpleasantness, the worst of the unpleasantness on the land war and america came thereafter because so many troops, so many of the duke of wellington arrived here and to march on washington and did wha wellington arrived here and to march on washington and did what they did and subsequently turned back and it is pretty hard to separate the causes of the war
and the events of the war from what was happening in europe because one of the principal reasons it was taking place was the british needed more wherever they could because they were at war for 20 years, the simple answer is it is impossible to separate the french wars from this war and integrated in a very complicated way. i am not sure that is a good answer. question? >> for people who are interested mostly in the naval aspect of it, the fact that adams had started building a navy which jefferson did not particularly
support, how proud he was of the navy. there is a thesis that the six frigates which the british could not defeat repeatedly on lake erie convinced wellington they could not really win and that really led to them being willing to make the peace, would you have a comment on that thesis? >> i don't think -- i know there is a letter that wellington wrote. after wellington's forces prevail and was beat, wellington was minister to france and there's a letter he wrote back to london when his advice was solicited to what should be done in america and he said -- i am paraphrasing -- more or less, it would be son because you are not going to win. this also came in the wake of
the battle of plattsburgh, this came in the wake of the battle of baltimore both of which were significant american victories. i think those are likely us to have impacted his decision and led to this recommendation to prosecute war further. there is no question that wellington's opinion carried a lot of weight and was solicited and the peace negotiation, the character of that negotiation shifted at the same time so there is no question wellington had an impact on the thinking. >> curious if you could tell us a little bit about the romantic thing that i learned about in
school about the alliance between andrew jackson and his pirates in the battle of new orleans? what is true and what is not? >> it is a very interesting story and i am sure those who know lot more about it than i do bus what i do at tow is a earlyn jackson's time in louisiana he wanted nothing to do with fire. he had some unpleasant terms that he used to describe them. howparaer, jackson was nothing not pragmatic. the pirates brought a number of different skon intimate knowledge of a very y oomplicated watery terrain. i think for reasons of strategy, reasons of personal, the srgple reason he wanted to prevail, he made a bargain with the pirates.
i doncomm think he was ever hap about it. maybe he was happy after they acquitted themselves extremely well in the battle of new orleans but andrew jackson did not hold them in high regard but found pragmatic solution to a problem of nodding of meited nodding of intelligence, nodding of ugon things to it. >> i see a question here. >> dolley madison 11. the way you desms thae heard sounds like she might have been the first of the maticern first lady's. i am curious what you would say usout o or potential fot pst ls right now. who do you think is the most ln ve dolld mo? >> interesting. >> whatever it was you said before? >> no question she is the model
for the -- activists is not a wo or she wouldn thanow but participatory first lady as opposed to and example in her time when she was the young woman, abigail adams was the first lathe - and shen thanew a those people. at their weekly events with a welcome to the general publihem they sat on a day s&p 2 had to power and scraper effectively to get the attention of the first lady. dolly -- dolld mo shook hands. i doncommn thanow shen thaissed or not but she was definitely a very accessible, . theriendly, warm person who among other things welcome to both sides of the
political spectrtic.. this was a force for political goatic and would be a very nice thing if we could do a little bit more of that tos was y. i am not placing any blame on michele obama because we have such a polarized situation in washingtoledg who would be the best at this? i doncommn thanow enough about first lady's. one has to admire a variety of things usout apoli ntic.ber of. i don't know enough about contemporary fot pst ladies to offer a goatic answer. i see another question in the back. >> m.wonder if you send a copy of the book to the president and of the book to the president and mrs. d bama yet? >> good idea. i doncomm think we have but we should do that.
okay. any others? we have one more. >> i suppose i have to use the mic. >> y fs. >> you mentioned how you did some of your early research, but go back a steir before that. how did you pick a subject to do research on? >> partly a consequence of l leimpng at the calendar and saying room, 2012, 1812. there may be an opportunity to get some attention to this subject and also my previous ic.b leks, the last b l about george washington, the other was about thomas jefferson. there is a kind of logic to writing usout the federal era having done that. i was in this general vicinity
and the chronoloain fit. i also know a little bit about dolley madison which attracts me to the s alavct because it make a little more interesting. traditional history in the past has been all about white guys doing all these things so we can talk about in aouses and slaves and architecture and taking a ic.broad based approach could make the history little more interactive, what m.hope to bring to a. thank you. another question? >> of all the p allic buildindd in washington were burned except the old an and ninth which was inhabited by the u.s. marines and the commans was nt at the trgbe rumor has it the marines there it from buppring out of rein ae for o or marines but nobody knos the absolute truth.
can you shed apoli light on tha? >> i am wondering if we are talking about one buiureing tha was scared was the patent office and the reason it was there was the head of the patent otuice was the architect of among other things executed the first design for the capital. he stood in front of the buon this. this would be like destroying the alexandria lian a crime against htic.anity. is not a political place. is not about politics. i nparaer hea or the story about the marine building. deo i am afraid i cancomm comme on that. thank you all for coming. i appre aate your time and listening. good evening to you.
[applause] >> a more private fot pstly, elizabeth monroe refuse to make deocial calls to washington's political society. she spoke french inside the white house and gained a reputation of being queenly by her critics. we explore her relationship with her husband james monroe and first friendshiir with her suhe sessor, the only first lad born outside the u.s.. we won keep lady in the 1824 presidential campaign of her makesband john quincy as was ms the complex relationship with her mother-in-law, fot pst lady usigail adams. we will include your questions and comments by phone, faceb le and twitter monday night at 9:00 eastern on c-in aan and ouldin and also cer-pan radio and c-span.org. >> the british nnt any had out lae toe impact on the war of 18. in alexandria, va. with the help
of o or l foal c usle partner comcast we sat down with denver to discuss the nnt any admot pa. his book is the evil necessity:british naval imprisonment in the atlantihem worure. it is next on booktv. >> the british empot pe in the 18th-cenhry was really a maritime and hire. as an island nation they dnshended hent anon controlling the trade of various colonor l territories. eor this work they neey powerful navy and the nnt any needed meledg so british naval ships sailed the world but were ein aecor ll avaoncentrated in the atlantic d this is how the system affected american colonists. when british naval vessels came into various ports they often lost men because of death, disease and desertion and the
only way they couure resupply theot p ships was to capture colonists. in that wt the america was intraticuced to really what i think of as the nasty underside of this british sorytem that in many ways benefited from and appre aated but they got some hints to what was really involved and obligations of ic.blittleng a british . the issue of impressments was important for the american hsat andes in the 18thst wen always one of the most unpopular parts of belonging to the an things we forget as americans tos was y is the american colon loved to be part of the british empot pe overall all the wt the through the seven years war in 1763. in that sense the american reoothetion was an aberration. there were these various i o ue that moserged early on and one
was impressment. during the american rparaolutionasat era it was an incredibly unpopular in 1760s and 177 l leading uir to american indnshendence. it appears in the declaration of independence as one of the grievances against george iii and it continued in the americao reoothetionary wanch american vessels were captured by the ic.british. saon choice. they could join the british naval ve o el or they could go into horrible prisons in england and some ended navy serving on british naval ships. the american revolution ended in 178iss secade later the british wen a new war with france, the . therench rparaolutionasat and napoleonic wars. those wars went . theromved 793 to 1815 and the british nnt any ned more men than it ever did before and in the final y fars of the war it needed 140,000 sailors
and selig couuren't really spar anyone. .. >> continuing with john adams, jefferson and, ultimately, james madison all rejected this as something of a violation of american sovereign rights. and the way that impressment worked is that the british navy, essentially, needed more sailors than were available at the time.
sailors in the british empire worked on merchant ships and on naval ships, and this was fine in peace, but in times of war there was, essentially, more need than there was supply. and so what the british navy did is they used a forcible conscription system, impressment, in which it was actually legal to violently apprehend men and put them on ships. because the american colonies were members of the british empire, that meant that american sailors also could be impressed. and once a sailor was impressed on a ship, he was, essentially, on that vessel until that particular war ended, until he died or until he escaped. those were really the only three ways out of the situation. impressment was often compared to slavery in its own time. the systems were different, but they had some similarities. when a sailor was impressed, we
have some firsthand accounts, they often likened themselves to enslaved africans. the really important differences were that slavery was permanent, it was hereditary -- you know, that means that it passed down to following generations -- and, of course, there was few, if any, not any, benefits. impressment only lasted for the duration of a particular war, and then sailors went free. they were still paid a wage by the british navy, and i think the single most important way to tell the difference between the two systems is that we have amazing records of some enslaved africans who actually wanted to be impressed. that means they sought freedom in the british navy. so that, you know, clearly shows that impressment provided a certain amount of freedom that wasn't available under slavery.
indentured servants in colonial america also worked under a certain term of service. the way that indentured servitude worked is that a laborer in england that didn't have really great prospects could come to america and, essentially, the cost of that voyage that person pledged to work for a certain number of years, usually four to seven years. and at the end of that indenture, a person was free. and ideally, he would get some land, some benefits. so in my book i compare impressment to indentured servitude, to slavery. we often think of the 18th century as the age of enlightenment and the age of liberty, and it certainly was those things, but it was also the era of servitude. more people crossed the atlantic ocean to come to the western hemisphere under some condition of unfreedom than they did freedom. we don't have exact figures
about the number of men who were impressed, and that's because the navy didn't keep track of them, you know, itself. whenever a person entered a ship, you know, the person's name was written down, but the exact circumstances weren't clear. and so our best estimates for the number of men that were impressed are somewhere between half and two-thirds for any given, for any given war. so using those numbers, we can safely say that about a quarter of a million men were impressed during the 18th century. that makes it the second most common form of forced labor, forced service in the british empire after slavery. the great quote by a british admiral in the 18th century, phillip cavern dish, and he said that all volunteers when they find out they can't get away. and by that he meant when a say door was -- sailor was captured by a press gang, he was offered
a bounty. if he took the bounty, he was automatically a volunteer. and who wouldn't take the bounty? the one problem in taking the bounty from the press gang is that at that point that sailor had no legal recourse to get out of the navy. and the there were certain ways, certain legal means that a sailor could escape if he wasn't a sailor. that was the quickest way. because legally the navy could only impress seamen. so if they, if a person could show that they had some other occupation, that they were impressed illegally, then they could get out. one way that this happened was through their family on shore, and so this institution affected a lot of people, a bigger cross-section of society than just the men who were captured. and so wives and mothers and other relatives would petition the british admiralty to get the men, to get the men out. the other thing they could do is they could file for a writ of
maybes corporation. and this -- haines corpse. and this basically meant they were captured illegally. at that point the navy would have to show the courts that this person actually was a sailor and that he belonged in the navy. there was always a certain amount of controversy about press gangs and whether they were on the up and up, you know? whether they acted properly. they were certainly susceptible to bribes. men got out of service that way. and so, you know, really there was a lot of legends about press gangs and recruiting, it's in english lore. one of my favorites is that you should always be careful when you were sipping your ale in a tavern because some recruiter could always have put a schilling inside of your glass, and if you accepted that shilling, just like the bounty, you essentially were saying that you were volunteering for service. so you wouldn't want to drink that. and that's one reason, according
to legend, that to this day pint glasses in england are glass, clear, so you can see what you're drinking. so there's some amazing moments in the atlantic world involving impressment in the 18th century. one of them takes place in november of 1747 when a small british fleet under admiral charles knowles was sailing from qanta to the -- canada to the caribbean. and they stopped over in boston. and knowles, like so many british commanders, needed men. and so he did what the british do, he took about 50 men from the boston area and put them on royal navy vessels. well, this caused boston to explode in protest because knowles had violated some unwritten rules about impressment in massachusetts at the time. and the most important one was that the british navy was not to take massachusetts sailors; that
is, men that were born in the colony. and that's exactly what knowles did. and so the crowd rose up. they actually captured knowles' officers, so in a sense they turned around and impressed british navy officers, held them hostage and took over the town for three days. the governor of massachusetts, william shirley, fled. he went into, he went to one of the islands in boston harbor. and the only thing that ended the whole commotion is that knowles threatened to fire on the town if they didn't release his officers. well, at the time there was a young sam adams that witnessed all of this. he was 25 years old and had recently completed his master's thesis at harvard which was about when it was legitimate to oppose civil government. and he decided that this was one of those times. and that the riot against the navy was justified. and so in thatceps it helped to
be a wellspring of ideas that would play out in the american revolution. really kind of an amazing moment in the history of impressment, happened in the early 1770s. before the american revolution but during a time of tension between the american colonies and great britain, the british navy began to man for a possible war with spain over the falkland islands which remains a controversial issue to this day. and various people wanted to explore whether this was actually legal. could the british actually capture men and put them on ships? and so we have records from the early 1770s of benjamin franklin educating himself and reading one of the leading rulings that says impressment was legal, and he wrote on the margins of this ruling all kinds of sarcastic comments against really the whole british system
of government which he decided that if this was legal, then it showed that it didn't really support liberty. and his solution was that if regular sailors could be impressed, then that means that judges should be impressed, british naval officers can be impressed, and even the king himself should be liable to impressment. that was franklin's solution. almost at the exact same time, george iii was reviewing the same legal decision and came at a completely opposite conclusion. he decided that it was perfectly legal, that the king should be able to command the service of his subjects when he needed them. and this was a case of difference in style and substance as well. whereas franklin had been creative in writing on the margins of the ruling and, you know, making up his own solution, george iii very diligently had recorded the legal ruling in his own hand line by line by line.
he reached a conclusion that he was happy with. there's a lot of lessons that we can really take from the issue of impressment and how it worked during the 18th century. i titled the book "the evil necessity" because britain found itself really in a compromised position. in order to, um, establish and continue the world dominance that it had it, in essence, had to violate one of its own principles. the british were really associated with liberty in the 18th century, something as americans we sometimes forget. and so when they resorted to impressment, this system, you know, was so controversial and for so many was the opposite of liberty, in a sense they violated one of their primary ideals. i see it as a lesson really for all societies going forward thinking about what their values are and what's necessary for them to continue their way of
life and whether it's worth it. >> during our recent visit to alexandria, virginia, booktv took a tour of several locations that have strong but not necessarily well-known historical value with the help of comcast, our local cable partner. author michael lee pope describes each location and discusses the importance of alexandria's history next, on booktv. >> the book is "hidden history of alexandria d.c.," and the last part of that title is very important because it's not about alexandria, virginia, it's about the period in history when the district of columbia included parts of what's now virginia. what i wanted to do was look at this 50-year time period and get a sense of why alexandria became part of the district of columbia, what went wrong and why it left. one of the things i really wanted to do with the book is give people a sense of what life was like in this time period.
fire fighting, for example, worked very differently in this time period. crime worked very differently. slavery played a crucial role in the business world of this time period. politics were very different. i've got, i did lots of research on the politics of this era. this was a whig town and what was, essentially, a democratic city. so i thought that was kind of interesting because today in the modern world this is a democratic town in what's, essentially, a republican state. so from that sense there's sort of a through line that you can look back to this time period and see there was a political division then that still exists today. when i was doing the research for the book, i found three places that i would really like to take you to give you a sense of what it was like to live in alexandria, d.c. one of them is jones point park. this is where you will find the original boundary marker for the southernmost tip of the district of columbia. the other is the dueling ground where a very famous duel took place between secretary of state henry clay and virginia senator
john randolph. the other place i was really interested in taking you is the infamous slave pen at the franklin and armfield slave dealers which is where we're headed next. we're standing in one of the hidden gems of old town alexandria. this is the infamous slave pen at the franklin and armfield slave dealers. we're located right now in the basement of the northern virginia urban league. this was, at one time, the most prosperous slave business in america. franklin and armfield would round up slaves from all points; virginia, maryland, even delaware. and they would bring them here, process them, and then they had camps. there was a men's camp on one side of the campus and a women's camp on the other side of the campus. they weren't allowed to comingle with each other, and they were kept here until they could be sold this large quantities down south. so then they would be transported either via ship or
sometimes marched on foot down through mississippi and louisiana. when the union army invaded alexandria, one of the first places they came was here to this slave pen because it was an infamous spot in slavery. it had been featured in all of the abolitionist newspapers of the time period, so when the union soldiers came here, they came down to the basement and found slaves actually shackled to the wall. slavery played an important role in the early history of the district of columbia. it also played a very important role in why alexandria wanted to leave the district of columbia. if you were to take a look at this 50-year time period that alexandria was part of the district of columbia, you would see that the business of slavery was the predominant business in alexandria. it was where all the money was at. and so this slave-trading operation that we're standing in right now was the most, one of the most successful businesses in alexandria. and it was so successful, as a matter of fact, that the threat
posed by the potential outlawing of slavery in the district of columbia was enough to push this movement forward for what they call retrocession, so slavery played an important role as the predominant business, it also played a key role in why alexandria wanted to leave the district of columbia. we're standing now at the dueling ground in north arlington. this is a famous spot because this is where the duel happened between secretary of state henry clay and virginia senator john randolph. this is a little-known duel. i had actually never heard of this duel until i started researching the history for the book. but these are two titans of american politics. the modern day equivalent of this would be secretary of state john kerry versus virginia senator mark warner. so they arrived here on the day of the duel after randolph had given a speech on the senate floor calling clay a black leg which is, essentially, a corrupt
gambler. clay did not like this. aarriveed here on the morning of the duel, they were handed weapons. they shot at each other, both sides missed. they were handed new weapons, they shot at each other and missed again. then so they came together and so randolph said to clay you owe me a new coat, mr. clay, because the bullet had pierced his coat. and so clay said to randolph, well, i'm glad the debt is not greater. right now we are at jones point. we're standing on top of the southernmost tip of the district of columbia here, and this is the boundary marker that was laid in 1791 when the federal government was creating the district of columbia. when you look at a map of district of columbia, it looks like a diamond shape. but if you look at a modern map of d.c., it looks like moths have eaten the southern half of it. that's because the virginia part of the original district was retro ceded back to virginia.
this point is very significant because it was the original boundary marker of -- there were a number of boundary markers that were laid all around this area to point out the diamond shape, the actual boundaries of the district. but this was the first, and it was also, there was a lot of ceremony that was involved in the placement of this stone in 1791. that's when it was placed here. so the significance actually had, it's a long story that dates back to 1784, right at the end of the american revolution. the congress was debating how they should have a capital city and whether or not they should create a district. a guy by the name of elbridge gerry who we know from gerrymandering suggested that a district be created, a federal district. gerry suggested two possibilities. one was trenton, new jersey, and the other was georgetown, maryland. and so the congress debated it and eventually chose trenton. and then they kind of
backtracked a little pit and approved funding -- a little bit and approved funding for georgetown and trenton. they would be in trenton part of the year, then in georgetown another part of the year. virginians were really willing to go to great lengths to make sure that the capital was placed here on the potomac. and one of the people that played a key role in this is a guy whose name has been kind of lost to history, but it's a man by the name of david stewart. this was a friend of washington's, he was actually related to washington. he was a business partner of washington. interestingly enough, david stewart actually laid the cornerstone here in that 1791 masonic ritual. the infamous compromise of 1790 is what finally sealed the deal. it had to do with the assumption of debt. after the revolutionary war, there was a whole lot of debt that had been taken on by the various states. and there was, the politics of this is that the southern states had largely paid off their debts, but the northern states had not.
so alexander hamilton wanted the federal government to assume these debts. james madison was against that, but madison and the virginians wanted the capital on the potomac river. so there was a famous dinner that was held at monticello, thomas jefferson's house, where thomas jefferson invited james madison and alexander hamilton, and then over dinner at monticello they struck the compromise of 1790 which was that the federal government would assume the debts, the wartime debts from the revolutionary war in exchange for the capital being placed right here on the potomac river. so the compromise of 1790 was, actually, the key deciding factor in creating the district of columbia. they came here to this spot we're standing on now and had a masonic ritual. this is the masons had their aprons and the trowels and corn oil, and they gave some speeches right here on this spot and did
the ceremonial laying of the southernmost boundary marker which is what we're standing over now. and that was how the district was created. >> next, bob matteson, author of "walking with washington," takes us on a tour of several alexandria, virginia, locations that were important to george washington. >> i retired about 15 years ago. i was looking for things to do, and the alexandria city archaeologist was looking for somebody to do, to develop a walking tour of alexandria sites associated with george washington. so i agreed to undertake that project. and i researched, i spent about two years researching alexandria history, and i came up with 140 sites. and i think she was looking for a brochure, but i ended up writing a book. it's called "walking with washington," and it, of course, contains walking tours of alexandria sites associated with george washington. george washington enjoyed a long 50-year relationship with
alexandria. from the time alexandria was founded in 1749 when he was 17 until he died in 1799 at the age of 67. he participated in the political life of the city. he was a trustee of alexandria, and he was a justice of the peace of fairfax county. he represented alexandria in the house of burgesses, the virginia legislature. even when he was president, he made sure that when they chose the new, this area to be the new site of the nation's capitol that alexandria was included in the original district of columbia. the george washington national memorial towers over the city, and alexandria has the largest george washington's birthday parade in the nation. al sand drink alexandrian's like to say this is george washington's home. today we're going to look at the carlyle house, we're going to go
to gadsby's tavern and to christ church where he worshiped regularly. this is carlyle house, and, yes, george washington did sleep here. carlyle house was built by john carlyle, who was one of the founders of alexandria. and george washington's big brother, lawrence, also was a founder. lawrence washington's wife was a for of john carlyle's wife, so you know the two families got together frequently. the carlyles would go to mount vernon, the washingtons would come here. look in george washington's account book, you can see how much he would tip the slaves when he stayed all night here. george washington continued to come here to visit with members of the or carlyle family. he came here to dine with the carlyle's daughter and her family. let's go inside and see where george washington dined with john carlyle. this is the dining room of the
carlyle house where george washington dined many times. this room is all original, original hand-carved woodwork, original flooring. there's no subflooring. you can see the office down below. this is the actual color it was when george washington dined here. and this was an important room in american history. in 1755 general braddock came to town for the french and indian war, and he chose carlyle house to be his headquarters because this was the grandest house in town. and general braddock called a conference of the colonial governors. again, john carlyle, this was the grandest congress ever held on this continent up until then. it probably was the grandest congress until the continental congress in philadelphia 20 years later. and five governors met in this room to plan the french and indian war, and one of the things they talked about was how to pay for the war, and what they suggested was taxing the colonists. you remember taxation without representation, so you can trace the beginnings of the american revolution back to this room.
and now the room is set up for dinner. this is the way it would have been when george washington came here for dinner, when he and martha and the family would come. it very much might be like this. he not only dined here, but he also dined at various taverns around town, so let's go over and see gadsby's tavern which was probably george washington's favorite tavern. [background sounds] >> this is gadsby's tavern, probably george washington's favorite tavern. he dined here frequently. there was a tavern on this side in the early 1770s. in the current building where the museum is today, it was built circa 1785, and the new addition on the corner was added in 1792, so the new addition is over 200 years old too.
besides george washington, some of the famous people who dined here included john adams, thomas jefferson, james madison and james monroe. thomas jefferson had his inaugural dinner here. john gadsby had a terrific reputation for his hospitality. he was known for the really great dinners that he would serve. so he was well known all over the area. and that's why the presidents of the united states would come here, because it was probably the best place to eat in this entire area. he left here to establish restaurants in baltimore and then in washington city. when you think about george washington, you always think about him as winning the revolutionary war and being the president and being this real stiff character on your dollar bill. but here at gadsby's tavern, you see him as a human being. you see him dining and drinking, having a glass, dancing -- he loved to dance -- telling
stories, meeting his friends here, having conversations. you see him as a real person here at gadsby's tavern and not as a statue. we're in right now the ballroom of gadsby's tavern, and george washington loved to dance. and all the ladies really wanted to dance with him. to dance with the most famous person in the united states was a big thrill. and they had birthday balls here for george washington in 1798 and 1799. he and martha came here for birthday balls. when george washington was here for a ball, the music would have been up on the gallery which is kind of neat. to get onto the musicians' gallery, there's a ladder out in the hallway. you have to go through the door to get into there. it would have been packed. virginians loved to dance, and any dance that george washington was going to be at, everybody would have come. so this would have been the highlight of the social season, to come to a ball with george washington. in my book, "walking with washington," we mention a number of alexandria sites associated
with george washington, and so now we're going to go to christ church where he would worship. now we're standing in front of christ church which george washington attended frequently. today it's an active church, and you can still go to church services here on sundays. when they're not having church services here, you can come, go inside and sit in george washington's pew. this church was built between 1767 and 1773. when it was built, it was known as the little church in the woods was it was on the outskirts of alexandria. today it's downtown, and you can hear all the traffic noise. this is george washington's pew in christ church. he purchased pew number five for 36 pounds, 10 shillings. he was shutting here with his family -- sitting here with his family, martha and depending what time of his life it was, her children or grandchildren. probably would have been a pretty full pew if he had the whole family here.
george washington was baptized in the anglican church at the age of two months. he was married in the anglican church, and he was buried in the episcopal church. his religious life was what you'd expect of a man of his means. he supported the church financially and also helped out poor people. and he supported, as president, he supported religious freedom. we've only looked at a small number of the sites discussed in my book, "walking with washington," but i want people to realize that george washington was all over alexandria. george washington is really an important part of alexandria, and alexandria was very important to george washington as well. >> for more information on booktv's recent visit to alexandria, virginia, and the many other cities visited by our local content vehicles, go to c-span.org/localcontent. >> you're watching booktv on c-span2. he