tv Call-in with H.W. Brands Heirs of the Founders CSPAN March 3, 2019 6:34am-6:52am EST
>> 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 reelected to
congress and ultimately the senate. he represented new england states in the northeast. there was a commercial interest there. he was more closely related to old england the many parts of the united states. john calhoun was born and raised in south carolina. educated in new england, but he went right back to south carolina after law school. he spent his entire political career in south carolina. he became the representative of southern's and slaveholders. during the 1830s and 1850. henry clay was a westerner from kentucky. it's a useful reminder, although we often think of sectionalism in the united states is north versus south, in those days the united states had three sections. there is the north, south, and
west. henry clay was representative of the west. he was a congressman and senator from kentucky. their interest associated with each region of the country. >> the book, and our viewers want to pick up on what they are hearing from all of you. let's go first to jerry who is in new hampshire. >> hello. do you think there is any way that it could be a compromise today, on abortion? with the taking of the government out of the situation be in any way helpful? >> a compromise on abortion would be very difficult. it would be almost as difficult as a compromise on slavery in the 1850s. because, aside from the other political aspects, it's a deeply
moral issue. people hold moral opinions on the subject. morality is a really tough one to ask people to compromise on. if you believe a woman has a right to control her reproductive process then you don't want to give that up. on the other hand, if you believe in embryo and fetus is a human being, then, you will take the position that abortion is murder. it's very hard to find a compromise on those moral positions. the one thing i suppose that could come out of this is that there might be medications and procedures that will allow abortion to take place very early in a pregnancy, to the.where, a lot of people in the country are willing to consider a gray area early in the pregnancy. if you get toward the end of the pregnancy becomes much more morally fraught. moral issues are the hardest to compromise. host: do you think our founding
fathers that you write about would be surprised that we can't compromise on moral issues? >> they would be aware that moral issues are difficult to compromise on. however, one thing that motivated henry clay who is called the great compromise or, was the belief that if we don't let politics get in the way, very often changes in technology, changes in the economy will allow us to get past those problems. henry clay was the author of a number of compromises. but, the issue of, can the union hold together over these very divisive issues, the union almost fall apart during the war of 1812. over the question of the war powers of the federal government. clay, among other people was able to hold things together. eventually that was an issue that went to wait.
the union almost fell apart over the issue of the tariff. south carolina was willing and ready to secede. but, compromise was made at the last minute and the type and try and terraform away. this is quite historic for me to say this, but, it's quite possible slavery would have gone away as an issue. because, slavery ended in the north. not because northerners had a fit of morality, but because, the evolution of the northern economy meant slavery was no longer profitable. reading the economy of the north. the same forces that eliminated slavery, peacefully, albeit slowly in the north were at work in the south. the striking thing. in 1800 nearly every country in the world allowed slavery. in 1900, virtually no country
allowed slavery. it was only in the united states at this required a great civil war. i was henry clay's belief that if the compromise of 1850 have been given 30 years to run that southerners were calm on their own to the conclusion that slavery no longer serve their purposes and that would be a much better solution to the slavery question than if the war came in the south was forced to give up slavery by union arms. >> jody is watching in marquette, michigan. caller: hello. i'm calling because i'm fascinated by the concept that you shared that democracy is basically a very messy business. and yet, we seem to, as americans get through these difficult times, but, what do you feel, where is your optimism for us to figure out this
particular time in our years as americans. is this period of time any different than any other ones you mentioned? and what can we do to rise above it and be better and sometimes what we see on the news? guest: when i was writing the book i had this idea, is going for the past. when i finish the book i came back and i would say i've been to the 19th century, the time that was more fraught politically than our current time. i have good news and bad news. the good news is, that we survive. the united states is still here. the bad news is, it took a civil war. so, this is one where it has often come in american history required some major crisis to break through a deadlock. it was true in the era of the civil war.
it was true during the great depression when big changes have to be made. we live at a time today, the problem that many people ascribe to gridlock or deadlock in the economy. excuse me, and the political system. that's not the heart of the problem. the problem is that we the people are split on these basic issues. whether it's immigration, inequality, foreign policy or abortion, the problem isn't that democracy doesn't work, democracy is working in the sense that if there is in a majority for one side or the other than what democracy ought to be doing is essentially nothing and that's what we got. maybe we will reach a time when mines are change how we can get a critical mass of voters behind one solution to immigration or foreign policy. this is why we have elections.
i maintain hope, although my expectations are not great for resolution in the near term. >> our next callers bill in new mexico. go ahead. >> i have a quick comment, the constitution was written during the 13 colonies. at that time, the back black people were considered one quarter human, the native americans were considered savages, and the women were considered no value in a barnyard critter. my question is, sir, "we the people" just the white man? or "we the people" apply to all of us? if it does apply to the latter, why the word all not written in
the constitution? >> i think it is one of the remarkably positive aspects of the constitution. it was written at a time of great political exclusivity, as you identify. but, it also allowed for growth. so, yeah, the constitution was written at a different time with a sense of who should participate politically. over time, political participation has grown dramatically. democracy still isn't perfect but is much more inclusive than it used to be. it is that greater inclusivity has come under the original constitution. that is one of the remarkable aspects in favor of the constitution. >> let's go to new jersey. william you're on the air. >> yes. i have a question for you. i'm very concerned about was going on in washington, d.c. right now with the so-called leader of ours who is committing
all sorts of criminal acts, he is acting in a very political, dictatorial way. he is just elected one of his in-laws into office office, because that in-laws now controlling the businesses which were taken away from him when he accepted office as president. i'm trying to figure out why congress and the senate haven't taken action to impeach him and file criminal charges against him which would be appropriate for what he is doing? he is from raped women,. host: i'm gonna leave it there. professor, if you can answer the question. guest: until recently the present congress was controlled by the presidents on party. the real task is going to come, assuming donald trump runs for
reelection in 2020. the american people will have a chance to say to be like his performance or not? if he wins, then the problem isn't with congress, it's with the american people. if a majority of people vote for somebody under a democracy, then you might think it's a problem, but the people who voted for president trump don't think it's a problem at all. this is the messy nature of democracy. >> let's go to sue. >> hello. host: go ahead with your question or comment. >> can we truly call ourselves a democracy with an electoral college our country would look very different if the popular vote actually elected presidents. i would also add, that john mccain and barack obama, i think
were to find examples of compromisers. thank you. guest: there's no question in the electoral college is an anti- democratic elements of the political system. it was created at a time when the people who wrote the constitution did not believe in democracy and they did not want the government to be a democracy. things changed over the next years. were still stuck with it. all i can say is, there is no democracy on earth that is a perfect democracy. some in one way and some in another. i don't know if were going to get around the electoral college. as long as it exists is one of the antidemocratic elements in our political system. host: dna in california, go ahead. >> hello. my question has to do with the resolution or this new condition of power. i was watching michael cohen's
closing remarks on c-span. he spoke about how the reason he has come forward now to tell the truth about everything having to do with trump is because he fears trump will not give up power if he is voted out. then, i've known for about a year that ibaka has gotten a chinese permit to produce voting machines in china. so, my big question is, do you think we should return to paper ballots? >> may be. i don't have a strong opinion on that. it might be an advantage, although we live at a time when nearly everything else is digital. lots of digital systems are secure. i don't know if it will happen. it will certainly slow down vote counts. host: she also expressed concern, that trump would not give up power if he was voted
out. guest: that's a possibility. i would be stunned if he actually tried to do that. but, i've been surprised by donald trump in many ways in the last three years. >> does the constitution protect against that? >> it does. but, if the president refuses to leave office, that if you just won't leave the white house, who is going to throw him out? is it the sheriff of washington, d.c.? it's never been done before. it boggles my mind to think that this president will try to do that, that any president would try to do it. >> let's talk to jim in ohio. >> i have a question for you. this concerns henry clay. i see a link both with henry clay and the fact that he was educated by george with. also not only henry clay but, thomas jefferson.
with henry clay he was the person that abraham lincoln adored. i feel there is a link that goes all the way back to the declaration of independence all the way through abraham lincoln. how do you feel about that? >> it is true, thomas jefferson and henry clay both studied at george with and they both considered henry clay to be a political figure. lincoln was born in kentucky. henry clay made his reputation in kentucky. i think in lincoln there is very much a henry clay believe that we need to compromise. that, we cannot simply impose our own moral views on the country. that the most important thing, henry clay believed it is to hold the union together. if the union can stay together, america will work past whatever