tv Book Discussion... CSPAN December 22, 2013 10:00pm-10:51pm EST
[applause] >> it is great to be back at the link in library again. as mentioned, i did some of the research, spent many happy days down the hall scrolling through newspaper microfilm reels and letters across the hall agent doing research at the of lincoln library it is terrible in a way because the people are
absolutely amazing like i lead to is an expert of foreign policy is alright and dr. cornelius the curator of the lincoln collection who is a living breathing encyclopedia of all things lincoln. the terrible thing is when you are here during research he were surrounded by the 15,000 books about abraham lincoln that have already been written. it is a stark reminder that anybody who comes here to ask you to put another book on the shelf has some explaining to do right at the beginning. that is what i wanted to start off doing. i keep lincoln in a backwards way. talk about his foreign policy that has been written about very infrequently in my background is in journalism not academia. i was a foreign
correspondent for many years reporting on the ground in places like syria, libya, yemen, i was used to covering foreign affairs at the street level but i went through period several years ago where i wanted to take a setback to look at the framework of american foreign policy of those traditions i started reading. i started studying this from the early days of the republic through empire building and i discover the diplomatic history is surprisingly small academic field. i saw the former pakistan any embassador this summer and he said americans are the only ones when they say that's history they mean that's irrelevant. [laughter] there is some interest to that but i guess i felt like
studying how americans acted historically with international affairs with the to a deeper understanding of the way that we act now so i stumble across this period but i was sucked in right away. first because the characters are absolutely amazing. like something a lot of the novel but cassius clay the minister to russia all -- of the streets of st. petersburg peaking fistfights. in lincoln's personal secretary, hey, is worth $0.25 of yellow covered robbia's. [laughter] charles summer pompous and foreign relations senate committee and he works the adjective so hard that if they got him alone they would murder him. [laughter] and the british prime minister victor hugo said he
belong to history but much more to fiction. of you have the eugenia french empress item number this story is true but she was stabbed to herself in the arm with the attacker to prove how tough she was then you have lincoln himself and for all that has been written there is very little of his foreign policy not a holistic human account deficits for the affairs of nearly 70 years before the lincoln papers were made public in 1947 so there is a lot of water under the bridge since then. first of all, the obvious reason is we think of the civil war as a domestic conflict. but another reason is lincoln had the shrewd secretary of state was seward. he delegated a lot of
day-to-day diplomacy to him. if he is in the center of his own foreign policy he did not do every single thing. part of my approach is james randall said you compared him to the roosevelt or others he did not do much but what he did was important. i approach was to be very selective to look at five key episodes and i feat what lincoln for a policy is all about. there has been a genuine and astonishing to of lincoln scholarship. there has been a lot but the quality of books coming out right now. i want to explain because i think it is fascinating. because there has been so
many biographies of lincoln some of those have become figures of the importance. so they leave research materials or no cards to university libraries were libraries of congress so other scholars can look through their note cards. it is useful because historians can look for the bits that have ended up on the cutting room floor. the greatest is michael berlin game. read his book is the gold standard with a two volume biography and has done justice to go to the papers to take out newspaper clippings in addition to the primary sources like diaries that smith did worked really well on the project like this to look through the lens of foreign policy.
and i could pull out interesting material that was overlooked. one example we have a certain image of mary todd as a difficult person who had a difficult life three children died and she saw her husband assassinated so when it was not easy to be her but she was more cosmopolitan growing up in lexington and went to a school where the students spoke french and her family will hold this over him and he would say one was good enough for it god but not the todd. when you go to the papers of past historians with newspaper clippings had not been used talks about her interference of diplomatic
matters sometimes it worked. that was interesting so i included it. one of the things that drew me to this period was mid-19th century and their own times. in one sense there is no comparison with the u.s. was the emerging market. britain was the superpower but there rather power for players at this time. france was a major player in russia. spain was becoming less important brazil a player so it is the age of nationalism and you end up with some great powerful self interested statesman bismarck became prime minister so the age is coming than those the said
britain has no friends but just interest i read you have to grit -- hugo's description of napoleon he said a man of middle height height, a cold, pale, who looks like he is not quite awake a stint by women that used to be prostitutes. that is to be deal with in this area with a cast of characters. many foreign policy people think we are headed in that direction again. instead of acting like the source of power it competes on the world stage and we see that happening already. but it was also the information age in the world was shrinking with this dealership and a huge plume of newspaper publishing sought the same time the
national conflicts take place others bring nations closer. in the diplomatic row that mitt nothing was private anymore they complain diplomacy has so new few secrets those are the words 150 years ago, carl marks was also a contemporary and wrongly predicted globalization would have national differences to disappear but he was right about the forces shaping the world into pro for the new york tribune a paper of a circulation of to the thousand that lincoln read all the least of riding towards the beginning of the civil war he had to deal with this world with all the vintages and drawbacks know he had the capability to speak directly to european newspaper readers he viewed
that partly as a tool of international relations the of thought ordinary europeans might put pressure of the statesman to keep from intervening in though war. he was partly right. but he also had to deal with the lack of diplomatic privacy like the leaks in of months ago there was a guy in washington who was working on the national security staff he said he was treating things about secretary kerry in president obama bay and covered him and fired him and lincoln had his own version and that reminds me a of a counter working in the state department and published his diary at the height of the civil war and he said his job was to keep sioux word from making a fool of
himself so in the end he did a good job to keep his head above water among these competing currents. his background was provincial he spoke no foreign languages and did not travel abroad he spoke a little german to win votes in illinois but that was about it but he ended up being a good foreign policy president for a few reasons. first body was naturally diplomatic in the broadest sense. we know that about him as part of his character to a british journalist visited the executive mansion in said while european diplomats shrug their shoulders or tell the little white lie lincoln would tell a story or a joke to crack them up and move. some said his laugh was like
the neigh of a wild horse. blocking up the raw material right at the beginning of his first term in your paper wrote there is hardly a court is in europe if that does not see a swindler looking at the diplomatic corps it was a dumping ground to send in convenience radicals or troublemakers. in diplomatic posts were considered extended vacations. there is a great scene of herman melville coming to the white house to convince clinton to appoint him in you don't get the sense it is to hone his diplomatic skills but a vacation one group tries to get the candidate appointed on
modern day hawaiian they make their case but then they say our guy is really sick and the climate of the islands would be really good for him then lincoln has a great ride and says unfortunately i have eight other applicants and they are all sector is in your mail. [laughter] the irony is his friends tried for him in 1841 he was going through a bout of depression and his friends wrote at the time and said you should send lincoln to colombia he is very depressed not doing well this would be good for him and did you webster turned him down not surprisingly but by the time we get to the civil war serrated secretary of state he could
be a nonvolatile but for the people he thought might recognize him but he was worldly and competent. francis adams is also a skilled diplomat but he had to overcome his share of turkeys. his minister in paris ended up dying in a hotel room with a woman that was not his wife and the body had to be flown back to the embassy. nobody could actually speak french at the french embassy. it is amazing he could do what he did. but he did have a of a broad picture in radiovision of american power he felt for the most part foreign wars would diminish american strength even before the civil war. he thought cultivating economic growth was the better pass to power the and
wars of conquest in this is a pretty common position. agent lincoln once explained we do not keep the enlarging our field by cultivating ourselves to make it a bargain. this is not the same as isolationism it was not a term used but he was a vigorous proponent of economic growth looking at asian exports before the pivot to asia so i think basic conception of american power was sound. and in the end lincoln was successful they would intervene on the size of the confederacy which was a real possibility and he avoided this. with france or spain or herb britain erupted into a war was a real possibility also
lead the unification of the nation where it emerges as several power age europeans realized if you look at khartoum's at the beginning it would it be painted as a goofball but then by the end it showed a fierce and powerful figure so it was clear from the imagery lincoln past a certain kind of test as the war was going on. day tocqueville said democracy is decidedly inferior when it comes to using international relations sometimes it feels like he was right and on the way here i was reading a book the father of containment it even him. even he described democracy is an international affair
as a monster the size of this room with their brain of the size of the pin. an idea that's among experts and international affairs that he beats wise men are better at handling foreign affairs than ordinary people. in lincoln thought it was customary for the democracy even among the crisis. i don't want to go through every foreign policy crisis i want you to read it and buy it but one in particular it is a good representative. for the beginning of them for france invaded mexico by 1863 by the following year the call in the third had installed the puppet so he had a major crisis what what
would he do? he did not have a choice he cannot do anything about mexico but he did have a choice in many americans were urging him to take action to invade mexico people fought beginning confederal armies should reconcile and that a peace conference the confederate vice president made the case members of the penny press and seven advisers and that the time a visitor recalled him saying that 1.if nicole lead interferes i will be deemed vital get a million men to march. he would like to talk tough but he resisted the impulse. he let the police and unto himself. lincoln realized he would have to retreat on his own
eventually because he was overextended with problems closer to home in europe. this is something important. he later wrote patients was a cargo element of his character. he had a sense of patients and timing. he would wait and wait and then make the decision because exploiting the changing happened glacially. not all the time. and in that serenity pair they stop teaching post at programs help me to change the things i can't in the wisdom to know the difference. to know the things that you can change and cannot do and he was a master.
i there are also so many dilemmas on the international stage that are not solvable looking to syria or egypt but there are really no solutions justice series of trade-offs lincoln had as favorite story to tell he thought a man who goes sees his preacher for a price yet he says there are two roads before you. one goes right to hell the other goes straight to damnation. the mayor said if those are my two tauruses i will go through the woods. lincoln tells the story a number of times specifically asking to intervene in foreign conflicts during the beginning of the of war. with the dispute in the caribbean them later with the war of mexico.
if the choice led right to health bin lincoln said he would stay at a bit. because the united states is in a much better position when we were in the 19th century but most of the time he displayed pretty good judgment and values. i want to leave you with the impression he was perfect. he made his share of mistakes and was a longtime advocate for colonization of africa or central america. research suggests that favorite colonization if you want to do is start an argument is hotly debated but there are serious or moral implications ou's
saying i am for bringing men into the country but not out. said that when it came to foreign affairs and with the colonial powers that was the of view of the middle of the war. keyhole excellent point* is he did not do everything right. he was a humble person but when it comes to foreign affairs that is important. with big 20th century like to say the greatest share of international relations is to think we are god's. he knew that in his bones.
so now 150 years later when the ability to act in the international arena. fate you very much. [applause] i would be happy to take any questions. >> what precautions did lincoln actually do? and other then the embargo of course. >> the most important thing was to recognize the true interest of the european powers what they really were
the statesmen of places like britain and france there was a gleeful this that would crow about it in this united states of america said there was a visceral excitement tuesday the united states go to pieces but it really wasn't in britain's interest to intervene. they had problems at home and strong commercial and financial ties. with u.s. largest creditor at the times but france is even more interesting because to be the historical enemy. tuesday the united united states as a potential counterweight.
also on a visceral level but to recognize what the interest really were. we see that crisis after crisis. with the mexican crisis at the beginning of the war the caribbean policy that was the biggest. >> what about other countries? >> it rested on cotton after lincoln blockaded the coast with the manufacturing districts of britain and france were hurting. weber getting caught in from other sources but not the raw material they were once getting so the power of
cotton would cause the european powers to intervene he did not happen for a variety of reasons. they did manage to get cotton so that was another reason ordinary european workers headed to a moral appeal. in the league in view that "emancipation proclamation" allowed him to use speak across the atlantic to european workers to get them to appeal to their sense of justice to apply pressure. that power is limited recall that soft power today.
it has its role but not always as powerful as we like to think but it did work in the long run errands there were a enormous monster meetings in britain in the first half of 1863 where the day workers rallied but in the short term the latest scholarship shows that the "emancipation proclamation" spurred intervention because they fear the slavery disorder so that was one of the most dangerous moments as the "emancipation proclamation" leading to universal support in europe he was not exactly
right but in the long run he was. >> if you would address with the trend between lincoln and sioux word i would like to hear you address that issue a little more. >> is one of the most dangerous crisis of the war with britain late 18th 61 a union naval captain intercepted their british mail packet in the caribbean and took a couple of confederate diplomats off
the ship and put them in prison and sent the ship on its way creating a huge amount of indignation including bomber crews ran into more effective federate diplomats were not immediately released. the ultimate resolution i don't want to spoil it, but the lincoln back down and released the diplomats. anwr was avoided. one of the interesting things is the length of time it took for news to cross the you mantic. we take it for granted we instantly know what is going on but that was not the case in the mid 19th century. you have the telegraph in north america to get the news instantaneously.
of the other hand the transatlantic was still not yet working. a week or 10 days or longer longer, with the upside in the down side aisle week or 10 days is a lot of time for misunderstanding or trouble to have been but it is a lot of time for passion to cool. ultimately that is what happened. one of the big scholarly debates is who was right? lincoln or seward? it is a part of their game and lincoln actually seward shows he was advocating pretty hard and to release the men relatively yearly. but most of the evidence
says lincoln made a show to keep the diplomats until the end when seward convinced him to release them. i think that version misses the point a little bit. there is some evidence that lincoln was talking tough but preparing the ground to release the diplomats there was a reminiscence at the time that remembers lincoln to start preparing the readers we have to release these guys to right some articles and he said it misses the point how presidential decision making is made. it is not static one person says don't release them the other one says to it.
opinions change over eric over white cuban missile crisis in the early-- kennedy says cuba then later he says the blockade is better so it evolves here what is important he made the right decision and listen to the voice of reason in more war was avoided. >>. >> are you aware of any circumstances of naval technology had an impact on national diplomacy? >> i don't get into it.
there is some great monographs but i don't get into it with great detail in the book because it is not a lot of the naval staff. lincoln says said in a much about the navy but diplomacy but he knew a lot about the navy with a device for raising naval vessels in his designs are ironclad so it is not something i go into a great detail in the book. >> tell us about your next book? >> no. [laughter] not yet. maybe after six months.
>> during the course of the war fetters he was seeking weapons from abroad in the use by those vessels how did lincoln and in his administration react to not paid the confederacy? >> this is another topic that i don't get into in great detail is an important topic with the diplomacy it is really important in the first year of the civil war but i don't get into it a great detail because i
didn't think lincoln was deeply involved than or seward and he did this in my goal was to look at those things that lincoln was involved but there are definitely books to be written maybe it is your next book about the spy wars because there was a lot. spawning and counterspy and confederate ship building and trying to prevent the ships to escape and being outfitted elsewhere on the union's part to prevent this from happening '70s were not resolved until well after the civil war saw it was lasting and important but in
my view i am not sure how much that tells us about character of diplomacy but i am not sure about lincoln. >> you have mentioned seward and several occasions what made him unique for this job at this time? >> he was better traveled in he had gone as a young man again just before the civil war. in general he was more cosmopolitan, and moral pearl street, the better read up international what a
and the new ones of diplomacy but seward had his flaws. vein, hot headed in a hot tempered. the episode that people talk most often is the april fools the bow. he wrote lincoln a memo the backdrop for is that french cadre and next is introducing go in and said we should didn't they withdraw and if they don't we should declare war on spain and france and by the way the somebody needs to take over the job i can do it in and lincoln writes back and accepted some of the recommendations although not florida for a and he made clear that if anybody would take charge of that coming he would. that was a moment where
lincoln died of him back a little bit but essentially they walked in lockstep and won their brother of seward describes them almost like has been dead wife where sometimes lincoln was right sometimes it was seward but they would make good decisions together going in the right direction. >> 84 addressing the issue. >> we cannot hear you. >> can you talk more? >> we can hear you. [laughter] >> but at the forefront fake
you for talking about mexico and that issue but if you address the issue dealing with canada in dealing with the african-american is that worth there a and what was the diplomatic power or the diplomacy in other than emancipation? >> i don't go into great detail but it was important as we talk about the for some of the reasons why the united states and britain specifically did not go to war. a aside from the financial and commercial trade. canada was right there in an foldable to attack. one of the reasons why but
really. did he consider the recipe a foreign relations issue? or the secretary of the treasury? >> about what of this a lot of folks of securing financing especially earlier there was a lot of complaints how difficult that had become the navigator fred michel factor are the innovations not just lincoln that congress made in financing those are more
important of the united states faces like the issuance of greenbacks for the first time that began to knit the united states together like the first national income-tax to allow the government to extract a measure of our resources. >> this domestic financial innovations in they mostly came from congress but those savings are more useful but the united states barred heavily. >>. >> but this was the conundrum there is a
the. >> 7.torrey says that i thought were critical to understand the critical for the people that we are i thought the first chapter was boring how the parties came into being. that seem to provoke the most interest of all. >> why did that spoken interest? >> in order to protect slavery he calls it the democratic party the goal is to keep people from talking about slavery the way to do that is by rewarding them
jobs of the federal government to be quiet about slavery you don't talk about that. it worked almost 40 years but it also contains the seeds of its own destruction. says states have to be powerful. to be under the control a northern region of southern principles. and by the 1820 she did not elect slaveholders. it will be hard to elect abolitionist. to have northern red space are moderate.
said they are comfortable to vote for them. but the dread scott decision it was the primary cause. first of all, i want to show a the panic of 1857 is a direct result of lee scott decision. all out of the territories is billed under the notion of popular sovereignty going to the nebraska act. the dread scott totally undermines that. and what businessmen saw was talk about the slave holders it will be chaos the end