tv Author Discussion on American History CSPAN March 3, 2019 5:27am-6:35am EST
wasn't for trump and his messaging on hillary clinton -- on barack obama, his reference on hillary clinton. she was unable to mount the crack campaign to defeat donald trump at the end of the day. i'm not disputing the fact that trump has a lot of messaging that is racially charged. but at this point, he relatively had little messaging about obama, but it was all about crooked hillary. >> your book is out in paperback, ngt, time for volume two,. >> it looks like it's time for volume two, i have news on that soon. what would you write about questioning. >> the president writes it for me and a lot of ways every day. [laughter] >> a republican
.. tucson festival of books, my name is jonathan, i am still the mayor of tucson. [applause] i'm looking forward to this session and hopefully this will be the politest audience i've ever participated in before we start, i want to announce two very important people. congratulations to ann and bill anderson. wave. they have those front-row seats. they won the front of the festival raffle.
[applause] you are a friend or would like to become one, you still have an opportunity to win raffle prizes today. please go to the tent in front of the bookstore and under. you are all going to have the opportunity because the session ends, the opportunity to buy these books. he's actually going to be out in front of the bookstore. go to your right and right and they tell me that's where it is. i always say follow the doctors out. , 25-dollar gift card, maybe another set of vip front row seats. in addition after getting a wristband, friends can preorder and prepay for lunch. six participating restaurants. that will be very nice tomorrow. so the business we are here on, we have three imminent best-selling historians, all kind of with a political dent.
going to tell you a bit about each of them. also, i want to tell you we are live on book tv on c-span2. keep that in mind, i certainly will. our first author is h.w. brandt, he's the history chair at the university of texas in austin. he is a final four the surprise twice. for the first american, benjamin franklin and then a book that i actually enjoyed, can you imagine? traitor to his class. the privileged life of a radical presidency roosevelt. he's written 30 history books in the new york times best-selling author, please welcome to the tucson festival. h.w. brandt.
[applause] our second author is stephen friede, stephen, there you go. he's in a award-winning journalist with the new york times best-selling author. he teaches university. in the university of pennsylvania. he was quick to point out, he's from philly, not new york. he has written for vanity fair gq. the washington post magazine. glimmer of the philadelphia magazine and his most recent book, which he might speak about, rush, the revolution man doctor who became a founding father. a big hand for -- [applause] i should have probably said, his most recent book airs at the epic rivalry of henry clay, john calhoun and daniel webster, second-generation of american giants. our final author today is craig.
he doesn't have to raise his hand because you know who he is. is a history professor at nyu, member of the american academy of arts and sciences, he writes on u.s. foreign policy. genocide and human rights. his published in the new york times, the london review of books, the nation, the boston review, los angeles times, american historical review and he's a frequent guest on democracy now. his most recent book, which is particularly relevant to us, the end of the myth from the front, front your to the border wall in the bind of america. what we agreed on, give him a big can't. [applause] h.w., stephen and i got together and we happened to be in the green room in a typical american democracy session, there were
three of us there so we decided how it would go. by the time craig showed up, he agreed. i'm going to do is just have each of these women speak for about five minutes. the topic that's common that we gave that you read about was democracy foundations. they might speak about that, they might not. we're going to give them each about five minutes. i thought we would open up to questions from the audience. you got to mike's there, hopefully it will be an active group and if not, i will have to ask the questions and that will be born. let's start with h.w. brent. >> thank you. i'm delighted to be here. thank you all for coming. the book that i am promoting, the book that i wrote most recent, airs and founders. it's a long-delayed sequel to a book that i wrote almost 20 years ago. the entire graffiti avenger
infrequent. the very last line of my book, it's a, african made when he was pushed by a woman and knew something had been going on in the constitutional convention of 1787. nobody knew exactly but because it was a closed-door session. it was held in top-secret. it was clear that convention had frequent come out when he's greeted by the woman on the street and she's says, what have you given us? he said, a republic, madam. if you can keep it. this was what prompted me to write about the second generation of american clinical leaders. i chose not to write about a president, though i had actually written about in jackson earlier. i wanted to focus on members of, in particular the three celebrate senators of the first half of the 19th century. they were called great time in the day.
in roman times, that was not always a copper but the three were henry clay of kentucky, john of south carolina and daniel webster originally of new hampshire but then massachusetts. i wanted to write about the street because i wanted to make a couple of points that are often lost in our recollection, study of american history. one, we have a constitution that was designed for republican that was not a democracy. during the space of a lifetime, of these three guys, he became a democracy against expectations of the framers of the constitution became a democracy for reasons that were inherent in the other great charter american freedom, the decoration of independence. we talk ms. jefferson wrote all created equally, it was a throw away line, complained against king george.
words have power and ideas have meaning. once he threw this down as a marker, americans collectively, individually overtime has self compelled to live up to it. i think i can make a case, the other people in the case that you want to understand american history, one way is to see how americans have tried to live up to thomas jefferson's claim, his help. it became democracy this, that's one of the stories i wanted to tell. the second one was, the constitution did not intend, we would have a political system dominated by the presidency and for most of the 19th century, it was not. the three individuals were considered the most celebrated historical figures of their time. chemically was by many majors, the great man of the era. he ran for president three times and lost all three times. if somebody did that in the 20th century, the top line of their obituary would be, loser
for the presidency. that was almost an afterthought. in the obituaries of henry clay when he died in 1852. i wanted to recapture that time when our american political system operated the way the framers intended it to. over time, by the end of the 20th century kim, things shifted and we still have a very powerful presidency. that wasn't the case in the 19 center. there's one last thing that i didn't go into in the book intending to draw out but it became impressed upon me as i was writing the book. and as i was serving contemporary american politics. those are what have that you can't help but have one eye on president. i certainly try not to let the president influenced my writing, it does tend to influence the way i'm thinking about my subject.
it was this, henry clay, i told you he was called the great triumph. henry clay himself was called the great copper miser. in his day, that was indeed a high compliment. henry clay was the architect, the missouri compromise of 1820. they split the freak north and slave. he was the author of the compromised 1833. the second south carolina in the union when the south carolina inns were threatening to succeed over a tariff they didn't like. when i was writing the book there was a lot of time i was thinking about having to explain and motivate interest in the tariff. it was a topic that until two years ago, had been an american policy since the 1930s. i do have at least one thing to think trump four. making the tariff again.
henry clay was also the architect, author of the copper mice 1850, that held the union together again over threats by south carolina. one of the things that i conclude, of the lessons i take away from this is that when benjamin franklin said you can keep it, they kept the country together during those 50 years, was the spirit of compromise, example fight by henry clay also participated in everybody else. the spirit of compromise, died after henry clay and webster and calhoun died. they died in the 1850s. it held the country together within ten years, the nation was at civil war. we live in a time when compromise could call somebody a great copper miser is no means equipment, more of an insult. the convicts, he conveys a lack of believing in what you said. we have a president, political
system dominated by the presidency. at the executive branch out of the legislative branch. that's far for me to predict if there is another civil war in the army. i will say this, when you live in a time when compromise is considered surrender and when your political opponents are often treated as your political enemies, then a republican doesn't work very well. i hope something will happen to get us back on track where we can say once again, compromise can be a good thing. think a lot of it but i'm keeping my fingers crossed. [applause] >> stephen, your most recent book is about benjamin rush. he studied history a lot and knew about -- >> knew very little about. >> for some reason, you think
there's a reason we should study him now. >> that's an encouraging way to get me to start. [laughter] i would say, he probably is best known founding father you knew nothing about. certainly true for me even though i was down the street from him and thought of you. all my life as a magazine writer, when i started writing history books in the middle of my career, i thought i should write about about what happened down the street from where my wife and i live. to us, that's a lot of benjamin bricklin impersonators and characters john by horse-drawn carriages. i do think they have a love-hate relationship with the history they grew up with. now i know why. it's partly because the country has a love-hate relationship with philadelphia version of the story even though there's so
many things in our revolution happened there. i got to see it initially because some of you may know, russia is the founding father of american mental health care. i write about that but when you ask people why he's considered the founding father of mental health? they never know. in reality, he crated ideas that we now take credit today about mental illness and addiction being medical procedures. when he talked about this in the 1780s, that was as shocking and still is to some people today. benjamin rush was a physician and politician and part of the reason he's really interesting. his relationship with the other founders is such that there's a reason that he, you don't know a lot about him. he was very close friends with him precious in. they wrote incredibly personal letters to rush. this is probably because he was there friend. he was kind of a therapist. he was trying to get the two of them back together for one of them died. when fresh died first, the thing jefferson did we say, we'd like
to recruit to rush. rush had also been writing an autobiography which included the burns book for those of you who went to high school so mean girls, in which he told what he really thought of everybody and everyone of washington's lawyers. they thought that would not be a good thing to be seen. he was a rising member of the administration during the war between 1812. i thought i was going to write a medical biography about precious life but in reality, he was an amazing retelling of the entire history of the american revolution through the eyes of someone who was almost like running a camera the whole time and don't ever developed the skill. so he was at many things you read about before offered completely different views of what they were like. view of somebody who is a full-time doctor and part-time politician. he also was someone who was involved in a lot of social
issues that didn't seem that big a deal and now are in the forefront of everything. rush was an epidemic politician, involved, he did common sense. he published and he did sign the declaration of independence. he joined about three weeks before he signed it. he spent most of his time in public service being a doctor on the battlefield and wrote amazing recollections of what it was like to treat patients. he was taking care of people who died right in front of muscle hall where he had gone to college. it wasn't long before he realized the politics as an elector office was not for him. he needed to make a living. we forget a lot of the people who in our country had other jobs wife at home running their fonts. rush did not. he stayed involved in a much different way. he was close to all the founde
founders, an incredible amount of essay writing, particularly on the things he thought the constitutional was never going to get to. what rush was interested in, or the things in society that the laws wouldn't fix. he first focus on education, putting out ideas about public education, the first lectures on what the schools should be. college and he became excellent marshall college. he started thinking about how wealthy americans, when there's no gang and no state church, how will we teach morality? how we teach people to do the right thing and make them republican machines? people who were worthy of freedom that we fought for. he softly sings, if we are going to do it voluntarily and in a way, he became the air of frequent. frank then saw a lot of these earlier in his career as well. much of what rush did was to
bring back a lot of the organizations that frequent originally started but beginning again, this idea of volunteering things to do and also make sure the inequality society rush row about the inequalities of gender and race, he was an abolitionist. he wrote a lot about the qualities of in mental owners and addiction which people discriminate against them. people felt they were failures of religion, not failures of medicine. he had a very aggressive way of writing, also very funny. his writing stands out, when you are writing a biography, it really helps when you are writing about a good writer. it slows things down a bit. otherwise. he was the kind of person who wrote the fast, the model for today. have you ever sent an e-mail that you shouldn't have sent? you push to send too quickly, he
did that a lot including one toward washington, which changed his entire life. they feuded over this for the rest of their lives. an e-mail that went to patrick and about him. the great thing for me about him was he was a way of looking fresh in the american revolution and the very earliest times, he was involved in what led to the boston tea party. he was making his son not to help support. he was also close friends with the founders and generationally, families were mister and mrs. rush and mr. and mrs. adams, they were friends. it ends up being more of a generational biography as well. also biography that most of the revolutionary stories told through the eyes of virginia and massachusetts. they got the best pr. i was a part of my job is to
reclaim the story of america for the city actually birthed america. thank you. [laughter] [applause] >> before we get to greg, what did rush say to patrick about george washington? >> in the fall of 1777, we were getting our butts kicked. many people were talking about whether he was a great guy or whether he was naming the right people. this is very common in what was called the conway, a lot of people who are upset. he knew other generals, he had been in congress and he repeated these things, he wrote a letter to john adams reaping these things, wondering if washington was the right to, not necessarily a great thing. he wrote this letter, an anonymous letter untied. he was fighting about the budget for the military hospitals. they made up on the budget and two months later, henry sent a
letter to washington. he didn't know russia had written. he knew it was a letter he might care about because he criticized him. washington new his handwriting because they were friends. he was really upset, not that he hadn't heard these criticisms before but somebody was his friend and it matter to him politically had said that and he never forgive rush for that. we realized that when he died, he made sure somebody had the letter, so when he wrote the biography of washington, he had the letters, washington nature somebody had them. people held longer just back then. unlike today. [laughter] >> we've heard about webster and rush, you've written about the frontier, you write about contemporary america. >> thanks so much. can you hear me? the first thing, i want to
apologize for season. a few hours ago, i was sitting at this seat talking about this book and i think some people at home, might be a bit of a déjà vu. i'm glad i'm getting a do over because i felt like i slept the questions. i wanted them back later on. his book is different, wholly driven by the national politics, the national order brutality, the way in which title is a parking it. the way that central myth of american identity, excessive as well as, nationalism, whatever phrase you want to use has been supplanted by another icon. that symbol is the border wall. how did we get from a nationalism, ideology that was
founded on the notion of moving out in the world to what is based on hunkering down, what people call as realism. it's not enough to go around and we have to take care of our own first. we know we are living through this national emergency that is declared and i would define it, the specifics of what is an emergency crisis in a much different terms, the moral crisis of the detention regime separation of family, children and migrants, the borderlands, thousands of people who died trying to get into this country and that is in some ways, the moral crisis. the real national emergency.
the prompt for the book was when donald trump announced his presidency on june 16, 2015 and he declared his intention to great, build a great great wall. including the mexican rapists and it's a theme that has continued throughout, as i was writing this, he felt a bit like indiana jones when the big stone is coming down, he's constantly running, trying to get ahead of it because real politics was in some ways to think what i was writing about as i was trying to make sense of this so the question is, how did we go from this idea from frontier to a portable? that's one of the arguments, one of the ways the book tries to get out. the frontier, backtrack a bit, another word for expansion.
one of the things the book does is look at the united states and what is exceptional about the u.s., but no other national country has had the ability for operative, the luxury of using foreign, to organize domestic politics and go back to the beginning before the united states was actually founded, when it was still at conception, an idea in the writings of people, franklin and jefferson. the ability to kind of grow and move forward was held up, very consciously as a rate of solving a lot of problems that traditional republican viewers felt, particularly concentration of wealth. later on, expansion was held up as a problem. slavery, later on for industrializing, this location
that capitalism called and later on, monopoly. whether you go through the frontier expansion, mississippi to texas, mexican american fork, the united states is feeling itself out on the land, more than pushing out the pacific, into the philippine, cuba, central america. the ability of politicians and rising political coalitions, jacksonians, civil war coalition, to use the promise or possibility of expansion to resolve domestic problems. at least on an ideological mythic level. looking beyond the frontier and sing there, beyond the frontier is where our problems will be solved. expansion allowed political coalitions to bring together constituents sees them might have had irreconcilable intentions or conflicts of
interest, a way of creating a moral vision of the what the world would be like. most famous theories of the frontier, and latin american, basically means border boundary or military, it's pretty much any english, the word frontier becomes this kind of site of existential creation, placed where america understands itself to be unique. they were in the light 1960s, one of the things they look at is the way trump turns turner on his head. the book goes through many different historical episodes, the way the war of 1898 allowed reunification of north and south and the role of confederate flag in national politics, the way
the military was the main vector venue of social mobility for african-americans but also for whites, even after the land and frontier closed, the weight the idea that once we break up spain's empire in the philippines, we could break up the trust at home. traded support for world war i in exchange for wasn't support and labor trade unions did the same thing. the way liberal activists in the cold war advanced civil rights, to leverage in the conflict with the soviet union, those are all ways in which expansion, social work and legitimacy in domestic hegemony is created through the ability of moving out in the world. my argument is that we lost that ability. what is, it's not as frank or
crude is him and they it out, for the purpose of getting it out there. one is and this work, the moral bankruptcy of post- 9/11 foreign policy, the construction of the middle east, the way in which it war that was supposed to go over the middle east, bring democracy to the world, found the base of using torture, a right to torture, corruption of that war, the financial strain of that w war, the second thing is there are people now in the sink to fight in afghanistan, iraq from george w. bush declared war. this is a multi- generalization war.
there seems to be no exit. the second thing is, financial crisis of 2008, which there has been a recovery but it's a very reverse recovery, revealing deep inequality and social immobility the third is hovering all over this is the climate crisis. the fact that we have a sense that in this growth is no longer a possibility. the world stands on the precipice of catastrophe. ... >> of the frontier, that all can rise that. there's enough resources to go around. it structured. the arguing is is trump is what
happens when the empire ends. when all of the passions that can be deflected outward our shadow back inward and a lot of stuff about the reacting towards obama and the racism towards obama and the tea party. so, let me just say, the one thing i wanted to do over with, i was asked in the last panel what should be done. we were all asked. we answered. i muttered something about breaking from the security first. then i realize what should be done is that we should go back to an understanding that you actually can't have a democracy when you have tens of millions of people living second-class lives in the shadow. you can't have a democracy when
you have thousands of children in detention centers, suffering all sorts of abuse. you can't have a democracy in which millions of of dollars are used to turn the borderland into a war zone in some ways the fight for migrants rights should be as uncompromising as the fight against slavery. [applause] just as you couldn't have police force and apartheid jim crow laws and call yourself a democracy, you can have what democrats and republicans, and again the.of the book is that it is not just trump, it's been a bipartisan military's asian of policy that goes back decades and call yourself a free and open and liberal society. that's the argument.
>> okay. [applause] before you all rush the stage and please start to, but, we were talking a little bit before started we are talking about the good in compromise and that if you really want to have a democracy and a rational democracy that compromise has to once again become a good phrase and we just heard from greg about -- and you have said to me that we probably would not see that again until we saw a crisis. you just heard about a whole lot of crises. do you see a path forward to getting back to where people where electives will come together? before you answer that question
i would like to respond to something that greg said at the end. he said, you cannot have all of these evils and call yourself a democracy. i disagree with that. you cannot have the border detentions, you can have all the other stuff, i agree with his criticism. you can have that and call yourself a free, liberal and open society. i agree with that 100%. the part i disagree, in fact it is democracy that got us all the stuff. so this is not an aberration. we get the president and the other elected officials we deserve, we elect them. this democracy has lots of imperfections. although in the united states we often act as though if we can say something is done in the name of democracy, we are going to get right.
no, democracy does not always get it right. democracy brought us the civil war which was the worst thing to ever happen in american history. if democracy stands for anything, is the ability to resolve our differences peacefully. the civil war killed over 600,000 people. so, to think of democracy as this thing were going to hold up and always strive for, i think we need to reconsider whether democracy is the thing we are aiming for. i think that, jonathan asked about the spirit of compromise. it's the spirit of compromise that will keep democracy moving forward and getting over our problems. but, there is no guarantee is to happen in a pretty way. that is going to happen anytime soon. because, democracy is a system in which successful candidates
for office are successful because they respond to demands from the electorate. if the electorate is going to demand aspects of humanity that we don't like much, somebody's going to win. the jim crow system in the south. this was a very democratic sort of thing. so this is what democracy gets us. can we get out of our current fix? i hope so. but, i don't have great expectations. and, this because i talk about this generation of compromisers well, the compromisers died in the early 1850s and we had the civil war within ten years. again, i'm not predicting we will have a civil war, but i don't see what will bring us out of the situation where successful candidates can pander to some of our basics and our basis interests. i will allow one possibility.
that is, occasionally in politics comes along and someone is really charismatic. someone who can appeal to the better angels of our nature. sometimes there's a theater roosevelt. in theater roosevelt is not always universally admired today. he has, by our standards some reactionary views, but he was an ardent spokesman for democracy as it was understood in those days. he led the progressive charge against the trust. he did what he could promote african-american rights in the south, which wasn't much, but someone like that occasionally comes along. john kennedy, barack obama, they look at individuals like that and as admired as they might be on half of the political
spectrum the last thing i want to say is there's one thing that will come closest to guaranteeing a revival of democracy. that is some indisputable national crisis. when there's something that threatens the country, then there is a tendency to put pettis petty and partisan differences aside. i would say in this will sound really contrary. but one of the reasons our politics seems so messy and nasty is, we do not face any problem that rises to the level of an existential crisis that will and the republic in the next year. the problem we face are chronic rather than acute. we don't deal with climate change this year next year, we will all be here, 50 years from now we might not. same thing with immigration and inequality. all of these issues don't demand
action and answers right now. if democracy is really bad at anything, it tends to reward short-term answers use been to long-term problems. somehow we need to get out of that cycle. >> since we are here with a history book panel i would like to make one point since i entered this at the beginning of american history, it seems to me to my know there is a time when the compromisers change. but the minute this country became his country all these things that you are describing existed. the history of america's peoples in this period is over and we are now in this period. every time i read about history, all the media from that time period explains everything that happened before is different than everything that's happening now. part of the reason we keep writing history book about these
period is that these things are cyclical. they begin the second america started. i'm interested with rush because rush sat down as a dr. and politician and tried to talk about all those things that were going to cycle around. honestly, i see little evidence that we aren't circling through them. i take a little bit of comfort in believing that, when i read about what rush wrote about public health he was convinced the lack of public health would kill everybody, too. there's two kinds of people who get it right. politicians and doctors. politicians write about the country in a certain way, doctors write about a certain way knowing most of what they know is going to be wrong and changed in the next generation, but we still have to keep taking care of people bringing the best we have. part of the reason we write history books is that it's been
a short enough time for us to watch, see these ideas come back around and be comforted and outrage that we have been arguing about them since the minute we became america. >> i'll be very quick. >> i would just say, but disagreement around the statement that the civil war was the worst thing to happen to the united states. i think the worst thing was child slavery, 6 million african americans on slavery on the eve of the civil war. art also talked about the trail of tears, the pacification of the west and the genocide and ethnic cleansing that was unimaginable history of sorrow and destruction violence and brutality. i would include that a significantly worse in civil war. in the civil war actually be a necessary to expansion of liberal democracy in the united
states. >> okay really go here and here and then maybe we can see if we can circle back. >> i have a question for each w brands. first of all, thank you for the first america these are terrific books, highly recommend them. the question and you mention roosevelt in terms of congress, who are the heirs of clay calhoun and webster and you see any potential errors in. >> there were no modern heirs. the center of gravity of american politics lies in the executive branch. the closest relatively model parallel to any of those was lyndon johnson when he was son of majority leader in the 1950s. but mitch mcconnell is never going to be henry clay. it's because the structure of american politics is change. so, presidents dominate american
public life. one of the reasons the center of gravity has moved to the west end of pennsylvania avenue is that we have a full-time foreign policy. foreign policy in the 18th and 19th century was very part time. this is why the constitution is written the way it is. the framers of the constitution did not expect or intend the united states would have a regular foreign policy. the oceans worldwide. looking 20 years down the road, the framers of the constitution had no idea we would still be laboring under that document centuries later and i am sure they would criticize us for lack of imagination in that regard. [applause] >> before my question, i want to thank all three panelists. excellent. very enlightening discussions and very thought-provoking. i apologize, my question again
is to professor brilliant, unless i severely misunderstood what you said, seems like you are comparing the era of the three giants in the science compared to now in terms of strength of executive. my question would be, do we have that going on from the beginning? for example, "alexander hamilton" ironically supporting jefferson and jefferson turning out to be a pretty strong president. monroe leading from behind with john quincy adams and then of course link and then later grover cleveland. also, not to forget grant during the reconstruction. seems like we had strong presidents in the 19th century and so i think we had those focal points there. then the question would be, hasn't there been a tense sense
lyndon johnson and since bush to recover strengths for the legislature? >> ten to the last part, i fully expected after the election and inauguration of donald trump, republicans in congress holding majorities in both houses would reassert the congressional prerogatives. but, they did not. they did not in part because president trump remained popular among the people who elected him. also, the leaders just got out of the habit, they did not know how to lead and organize. executives have an advantage if they get used to things. in the 19th century, congress would write the budget for the united states. the 20th century that fell by the wayside in congress would wait for presidents to deliver their budget and then react. what congress became was the reactive branch of the 20th
century. because president said both power parties have amassed so much it's really hard to resist that even if mitch mcconnell or someone should decide this is what we need to try. i forgot the first part of your question, where they're not strong presidents during the 19th century? i would say really, no, not in comparison to presidents of the 20th century. thomas jefferson, occasionally, andrew jackson was striking that he didn't take a strong role of executive leadership. he would suggest suggested to congress the indian removal act of 1830, but it was very popular. wasn't something endorsed by a majority in congress. but, you really have to jump to abraham lincoln to have another president who exercise power
anywhere near equivalent to every president since woodrow wilson. the reason is that abraham lincoln was a wartime president. one reason ulysses grant had such trouble with reconstruction after the war was congress reclaimed much of the authority that president lincoln had taken during wartime. so, it's really not until the 20th century, theater roosevelt is the first president and that modern mold in part because he had a different theory of presidential authority the most presidents in the 19th century. he contrasts himself to james buchanan. james buchanan was the butt of the jokes. according to roosevelt buchanan looks at his constitution and asked, is there express authority given to me as president. if it's not there, than i cannot do it. that was pretty much the stand promote most 19th century
presidents. as well says by contrast, when i look at the constitution if it says i can camp then i will. >> with some of our legislatures and voting citizens the are unwilling to learn the lessons of the civil war, of slavery, of internment camps in the trailer tears. when are unwilling to hear those as facts, how can the republic or democracy survive? >> that's a scary question for journalists and historians. it's interesting because benjamin rush is almost like the tofu of the founding fathers. anything he has written can be used by anybody because they don't know enough about him. i will say as a journalist
writing about rush on the revolution, there is a lot of fact checking that needs to be done. also, the internet has allowed people to write whatever they want about what the founders did the school kids look it up and put it in paper. you could say it cycles back to read more history books. i do think it's a challenge. i think it's an ongoing challenge. as a journalist who works for magazine i'm afraid what's happening is the attack on the history of the country is something that's happening always. people interpret things from the passover they want. it's important for people to keep reading history books and look at new versions of history that look at newer things as they become available. i was amazed at how much history is new and how much it is a live. even the subjects you have read about, you need to update what
has been updated about it. the way to do that is to attack back. is very important that people understand that we are manipulating history every day. but that's also very american. what people did from the beginning. i think one of the greatest things about these big bucks we turn in the proposal will be this big, when the book comes out is this big. but we love the big bucks. not only do they go into the depth necessary, they are full of chapter notes at the end which we are making longer and longer because people need the background to have the arguments with their friends. they don't fit on twitter. they are actually incredibly important. they give you the ability to make those arguments, which older books didn't have as many details. the best way to fight those battles is to have better, more accurate facts.
>> professor, you made a comment that the founding fathers would be embarrassed at how little we have taken the constitution and adapted it, how would they feel about how far we have gotten from the original meaning of the constitution without adapting and allowing the presidency or congress and courts to make changes? >> i suspect they might grudgingly admire that part of it. and that, you're clever to do that sort of thing. but, consider what they accomplished during that critical period of their lives. it's often struck me and amuse me that, the founding fathers had been adopted and claimed by conservatives in the united states. well, they were not conservatives, at all. they were not even liberals or radicals, they were revolutionaries.
he took the system and overturned it. then, they tried writing the constitution they wrote one constitution and those were working so well and so they tried it again. so, if you were thomas jefferson or "alexander hamilton" and you look at the course of american history from 1765 can you think boy, things have really cycled through quickly and the idea then 1787 comes the constitution gets ratified and everything freezes in place. well, actually didn't freeze in place. one of the reasons it has lasted that long is it is merely a sketch. by no means a blueprint. a great deal of what we do in politics is nowhere to be found in the constitution. so, political parties, the framers part thought political
parties were the worst things to happen to a republic. i may have been with us ever since. so to stretch the constitution is something quite remarkable. i think that the framers of the constitution, the original writers of the constitution would be the least originalist of the constitution today. first of all, they disagreed among themselves. which original view are you going to take. secondly, they understood that every generation ought to get the government wants you shouldn't be tied into a straitjacket created by a generation that lived 200 years before. >> this is directed to professor brandon. we begin the discussion today about the great compromise. i listen to your impassioned
statement concerning immigration but there are 3035 may be 40% of the country who may be disagree with you. if were going to compromise that, how would you having stated your position compromise it? >> i'm sure i don't what the numbers were on the eve of the civil war but certainly a high percentage in favor of slavery. i don't know if poll numbers should should guide one's moral position. second of all, both republicans and democrats have compromise on immigration, that's the whole. basically, george w. bush george w. bush wanted immigration reform. but, he also wanted to keep the nativist happy so, he first did the secure fence act which
spends millions of dollars on militarizing the border. and expanded the border patrol, expanded and created an expanded ice and didn't get reform. obama basically made the same bed. these were all compromises. there's been constant compromise. the border brutalist got everything they want, and the country got trolled. so, compromise as a non- specified value, not linked to a moral worldview is just that. it's just empty procedural was in. i mean,, the founders. let's go back to the american revolution. they do not compromise. they rose up, overthrew the british empire, created a
constitutional order the first in history. they were revolutionaries. there is no compromise there. why is compromise valued in one place and not another. what matters is the content. again, i don't know what the poll numbers would be an 1861, but that cannot determine abraham lincoln's politics. there is a moral, clear moral vision. >> thank you. >> thank you to the panel for an excellent panel. a question for greg and anyone else who wants to comment. wonder if you would comment on two things they feel are quite significant. one is the fact that for the first time in 175 years we have a pacific power that can tell us, manifest destiny is not going to determine what happens
in the western pacific. so, china says where you are as big of an economy is you, and we do not play by your rules. the fact that with climate change you have a problem that doesn't really have a national enemy or national other to rally around. >> is the second one is just a statement? >> i just want to know what you think the significances. for your thesis in terms of domestic, how we react domestically to that what we do with that? >> it's a good question about climate change. climate changes in just a difference of opinion, there's been a power structure that's been manipulating and creating comments and i'll, linked to corporate structure linked to an
ideological apparatus that has been pushing a worldview that the majority of people don't agree with. that's what's been stein stein many. i think the question may be. >> i'm just relating it back to the a dia of compromise. >> these are world issues, not national issues. so how do you deal with that? >> maybe i'll be on c-span again and. >> are we required to solve all of the problems? >> these are great questions and these are all part of the incoherence of the current moment. there isn't a clear vision for how to move forward in the old framework to address these problems. >> i'm going to take one more. then we will try to get you up
here. >> it was mentioned earlier about the constitutional convention and benjamin franklin's comments. i would appreciate some insights. i grew up in the philadelphia area shortly after before the constitution when i went to school, we were taught the constitution was based primarily and not solely on the judeo-christian ethics. i have come to understand that your coordination constitution was a factor as well. i thought franklin was one of the primary persons with insights into that. i'm curious if you have any insights and if that is the case is it something that should be taught in our history? >> franklin did refer to this in his efforts to get unity among the colonists before the revolutionary war.
so, it was part of conventional wisdom at the time. it didn't cut a whole lot of ice with many other people at the convention who preferred greek, especially. >> that was quick we get one more. >> i'm actually curious as to what the other two have to say about the discussion about compromise. i was just wondering, audioboo audiobooks? are you having your stuff on audiobooks so we can get it from overdrive and in the library from for those of us who like to listen over read? in the second one has to have come i deal with people who are very right wing and cannot understand how the left things and open borders, how awful is that. it's a threat to our democracy and letting these people in. could you perhaps address the
spirit and the utopian part of the year. >> let's do audio for. >> yes. >> there you go. we got the audio answer. everyone is on. how do you deal with the utopian view? >> one thing that has to do with book reading and this is true in narrative journalism. the idea that you can assume who your readership is and how they will react has changed a lot in the last ten or 15 years. i work for national magazines before i wrote for books and their changing ways based on who is president. when i work for glamour when there is a republican president you had to acknowledge both political sides. when there's a democratic president, you didn't. i think behind the scenes is very interesting how authors have conversations with their editors especially the editors are younger than them about
what's politically correct and what isn't and what they're writing about in the world very live in. i do think these conversations come up, besides the reason you asked about it, they come up in the interior design of how we write our books and cover history. in ways that people would be surprised by the do influence the way history is written and rewritten. >> the question about open borders is a great question. i think one could say the border represents a problem that might not be resolvable in the current terms of politics and political debate. i don't know. the border was open for a good part of history. there was free-flowing movement back and forth. mostly based on seasonal migration in the growth of a
growing economy. the closing of the borders of the historical process. we can go through different programs and quotas on mexico, there was a process in which migration was criminalized. that might be a way of responding to the open border question. in the 1970s, around the time the border began to be reamed militarized there are a number of people including a vietnam veteran and brigadier general who is put in charge of the ins, he believed the ongoing calls for militarization of the border that began in the 1970s was creating a unique form of despotism and tyranny they talked about this belief, this desire that the border can be sealed. 2000-mile long border that is organized around not national security concerns, but around an
economic system and the importance of the reorganization of the north american economy grew that much more important in the 1990s and 2000's. but, he thought also if tierney ever came to the united states it wouldn't be because of the usual explanations of a rather left or right. fascism rises up because of a strong workers movement so you have fascism, or the tyranny and despotism emerges out of a state that begins to control all aspects. several editorials in the washington post and new york times all began to hint at or suggest and argue that these, the militarization of the border, the pushing back of the criminalization and militarization of immigration,
the weakening of due process which happened under bill clinton after all of these concerns, was a unique kind of threat to american democracy, that you cannot have an open society and in bold and force rating workplaces. now, these were predictions that mainstream establishment people had in the 70s and we have since got all of those things that they were worried about. so, i don't know what the answer is when one speaks to conservatives about what the solution is. certainly having a clear moral vision and historical vision of what the problem is we gurgled way towards having a good faith argument. >> on the final question, how to change people's minds, first,
don't shout. >> thank you. great panel. thank you. >> there going to sign books. [applause] go supportlive coverage at 1:00. mountain time. we have one final conversation with you picking up on what you just heard an hw brand is here with us, i just want to begin, you talked about why you wrote the book in the three that you focus on, you said what states they are from. but, who did they represent? where the people they represented in the philosophy? >> and daniel webster was from new england, born in new hampshire. he was elected to congress from new hampshire but he moved to boston and was reeed