tv Richard Brookhiser Give Me Liberty CSPAN November 29, 2019 5:40pm-6:42pm EST
it's a story about facts and it's a story about his amazing work as a journalist and his relationship with this incredible journalist wife his re-entry into society after the terrible ordeal. this is my dogeared copy of prisoner and i hope everyone watching this will go out and buy a prisoner available on amazon. in reputable bookstores around the country and it's a great read. [applause] welcome to the new york historical society. i and the new york historical society president seau.
tonight's program is a history of america's exceptional idea is part of our eileen george speaker series. it's great generosity has allowed us to bring so many great speakers to the states i want to thank our chairman councilmembers who were in attendance this evening and thank you for your great support which enables us to do our work. tonight's program will last about one hour and it will include a question-and-answer sessionti. you should have received a note card and pencil as you enter the auditorium this afternoon this evening and if not my colleagues are going up and down the aisle with no cards. following the program there will be a book signing and are storing s copies of the book wil be available for purchase.
tonight we are thrilled to welcome richard brookhiser back to the new york historical society produces senior fellow at the national review institute a senior editor at the national review and an author of numerous books including jon marshall's the man who made the supreme court and alexander hamilton the america. i got to know him when he was our chief historian curator on the blockbuster show alexander hamilton the man whoho made modn america way back in 2004. we were wayay ahead of our timen the hamilton craze but it caught up with us. richard brookhiser was awarded the national humanities medal by president george w. bush in 2008 and his newest book "give me liberty" a history of america's exceptional idea was published just this week. congratulations. our moderator this evening is her own chuck c. professor van
political science ideas university group were for joining the faculty professor amar clerked for associate justice breyer when he was on the court of appeals for the first sector. in 2017 professor amar received the american bar foundation annual outstanding scholar award as well as the howard r. lamar award. he's the author of numerous books including his most recent the constitution today. we are grateful professor omar is our very own as we said a trustee at new york historical. the four speakers began our conversation i'd like to ask that you make sure anything makes it sound like a cell phone is switched off and now please join me in welcoming -- welcoming our speakers. [applause] see a good evening.
it's a great honor and personal pleasure to be here with one of my heroes rick brookhiser. i've admireded him ever since te first time i saw him. he was my very first week at gale college and i had just turned 18 that week. i listened to rick and i've been following his words ever since. his latest is as you have heard this book "give me liberty" a history of america's exceptional idea and it's dedicated to the american people. it is slender. it has wit and decisiveness and it's also a big book in a way
because most history books don't try to take on such a broad sweep of time. talk a little bit about the choices that went into the basic framing of the project. >> i'm making an argument in this book and i'm saying the characteristic of american nationalism is there concern with sis liberty. that's what makes us not canada not mexico and not whatever. this is thing going on a long time. began before we were a country. began in our colonial past. in thisou book i take 13 episods each of which produces a document of some kind and the first one is 16 time to 19 in jamestown and the most recent one is 1987 in berlin when
president reagan gives the tear down this wall speech. they are not quite 400 years but for centuries of concern with this concept of liberty defining it sometimes fighting for it, announcing it and three of the episodes are colonial. they are for the declaration of independence. this concern of ours goes back that far. we have to trace it back that far to begin to get a grasp on it. >> you won't be surprised i expect to learn that there are 13 different episodes. you described them as snapshots and anem album, a marital album over these four good years and we can't do all 13 probably in
the time we have today. this is the new york historical society and we are going to focus on theyo new york aspect f your story. why don't you before we focus in on that line tell us with the 13 episodes are. >> the 13 are, the first is the minutes of the first meeting of the general assembly of jamestown, jamestown colony since 1619. number two is the flushing remonstrance 1657. number three is the trial and particularly the argument to the jury at the trial of jon peter singer in 1735 remember for the declaration of independence and number five is the constitution of the new york society in 1785. number six is the constitution,
1787. number seven is the monroe doctrine in 1823. number eight is the seneca falls declaration of sentiments 1848. next is the gettysburg address 1863. next is the new colossus which is written for the pedestal of the statue of liberty and i. the two. the poems are in 1883 and the next is the panel to that one is the fireside chat on democracy in 1940 in the last as i said is tear down this wall speech berlin in 1987. >> 13 out of 13. [applause] so we aren't going to talk about 1519 in jamestown but we are going to talk about something that i will be honest with you i have never even h heard of befo.
you helped teach me about it flushing remonstrance. what the heck is that? >> this is when new york is still a dutch colony and it is being governed by a man who turns out to be peter stivers. live down on 16th street and third avenue near stuyvesant park and i have a statue of him. he captures the man's personality. he looks vigorous and it looks energetic and he had a wooden leg. it looks like you would want to cross this guy. he is very much wants to be in charge of everything. although -- >> nor -- new yorkers tend to be like that. >> your my demille hall bit of rudy giuliani.
a little crazy but also very effective and despite all the good he did for new netherland he was a. he was a dutch calvinist. his father was a minister and he wanted to impose that on his domain here in the netherlands. he tried to throw out birther and send jewish at different points but because there were lutheranse in jewish investors n the dutch company that employed him he was told to back off and leave them alone. then he decided to pick on quakers. there were no quakers on the directors of the dutch company so he had a free hand for a wild. quakers that were extremely countercultural religion. they did not recognize rank. they would not do off their hat.
they use the same forms of address for everything. they will let many women preach equally and they believe everyone had access to the inner lives of those made them very peculiar and threatening. they start appearing in the netherlands and you know he handles them in various ways. a couple of them he almost whips to death another one and then he decides okay we can't have any of them in here. we just aren't letting them and it all and he says fine we are going to send it back. anyone here who harbors one in his house that will be a crime. you cannot lead a quicker in your house and he promulgates this. and flushing which is in the same place it is now that was part of his domain they send them a rhaman strands and they tell him we cannot obey this
order of yours. and they say it's for religious reasons. we would do under the minutes we would have other men do unto us and this is the law of church and state. they send this letter to him. it's a remarkable stand for freedom of conscience. what moves me most about this and you find us on line, six of them couldn't find their names. they didn't know how to spell their own names. but they laid down a marker and they were standing up to the sky. he leaned ong them. he had them arrested. he brought in a guy who was described. the dutch cat very good records so we have the record of the interrogation and dislike who
told you to ride it? no one told me to ride it. how did you come to ride it? i was listening to the sentiments of the people. where did they express the sentiment? >> no place in particular. where did you ride it? it's really interrogation. no beating torture but really an interrogation. he did make them all crack but quakers continued to come in and defied his order. he decided to send one to amsterdam to be tried. he was going to send them across the ocean. his bosses even though there were no quakers among them said to lay off of these people too. they said to him we don't like quakers any more than you do but we want -- so if they are willing to come here find that
them, and he finally does back off. >> speaking of thin-skinned people running new york, you mentioned rudy giuliani. the next one is the trial of jon keating another thin-skinned person now the governor. >> english royal governor. >> tell us the story and that's going to be different than the one they have heard you talk about before. >> that's right. the english conquered new amsterdam in 1664. in the 18th century we have a series of royal governors that had been sent over. some of the more worse than others for the new york historical society on the portrait of one of them in women's dress. >> rudy giuliani doing saturday night live by the way. just saying. >> this man but allegedly lurk
on the street corners at night. this pictured pics him in drag although it's probably a portrait, a hoax done by his enemies. there was anotherrg man who becomes governor of new york because he's married to an earl. when he gets this appointment it takes them six months to get over here from england. during that time the job of governor was filled by a substitute. when he arrives he says well below me my back salary for the six months that i wasn't here. they don't want to pay him and it goes before the local court presided over by a man named louis morris the judge of the local supreme court. he rolls -- rules against cosby
so cosby puts in place a much younger man whose last name was delancey as in the street on the lowrey side. what morris does to fight back if he hires an immigrant named jon peter singer a chairman immigrant to start a newspaper. newspaper culture is already started in the 13 colonies. there are different thing brothers who started newspaper in boston and james and his famous older brother. every significant town on the coast has one newspaper come at least one newspaper and now new york has two. the previous one was the official one. it would. all the official notices and whatisey not. all those lives in the pocket of whoever the governor is but now there's a rival the weekly journal and for years he campaigned against governor
cosby rarely mentioning kempe talking about arbitrary power and what a terrible thing that is. they run bogus ads. there's an ad from one of cosby supporters. spaniels are affectionate and loyal dogs. cosby doesn't like this so he finally on his own say-so he is in your arrested and has the newspaper burn. he does grant him a trial. zynga or's supporters hired from out of town the best lawyer at that time in british north america a man named andrew hamilton no relation to alexander but he's a lawyer in philadelphia. as a law professor you would be very interested in the drama here. the relevant law is the law of seditious libel which at the time was a recognized law and
anglo-american law and it criminalized criticism of rulers on the ground because that could cause of violent upheaval in rebellion. we obviously don't want that so therefore we will not permit criticism of rulers. that is the law of the land in england and its colonies. what hamilton does which is really a performance he basically is asking for jury nullification. you can't say that in their times when judge delancey won't let him make a certain argument. what hamilton always does, he knows his way around the courtroom. he willar apologize and he will make the same argument later in a slightly different form. it's a brilliant performance in its also a brilliant recourse.
they have to have the right to complain. how else can anything be redressed? nobody knows what it is and nobody can talk about it. if you don't allow this the only only alternative your allowing is a revolution. he mentioned the overthrow of the roman kingdom by the first brutus. he mentions the english civil ware but he keeps coming back to this point that the right to complain to a pose and expose this rule is something that every freeman have. and the jury agrees with him. they leave a box for a very short time. they come back. these 12 ordinary new yorkers. it's an impressive group. i've never heard of any of them but they again like the men of
flushing they stood up and acquitted singer. the effect of this is that colonial governors will not bring actions for seditious libel after this because no jury is going to l bring in a conviction. .. is 17 thirties but you want us to know these names some are recognizable today but many are not you mentioned the name of the u.s. -- he is the backer, he is anger's backer, the next chapter is not completely a new york story, happens in philly, the declaration of independence butted my copy there is a lewis
morris, same guy? >> grandson. >> and there is going to be another family connection. so, we are going to pass over the declaration of independence, you focus especially on the liberty of independence. there are other aspects as well. it declares independence for example which has lost significance and all the rest. but will jump back over you will just have to read the chapter for yourself to get the views on declaration of independence and now let's leapfrog to a constitution, not of the united states but the constitution of the new york, tübingen hyphenated, the new york society.
>> some of the chapters are about filling gaps. i argue that the concern of liberty is centuries long and central to our experience but of course we have violated it. in numerous ways. we have had to correct those violations over the course of our history. in the largest most inflamed and in the civil war most painful was chattel slavery. you're wanted to do a chapter or a northern state because we forget this is not just a southern thing, new york was a slave colony and it was a slave state after independence. i learned in writing this book that new york city had more slaves than any american city except charleston. that's partly a function of our size, we become a city, that is
startling and shameful statistic. so after the revolution, there was a scandal's event where some free racks living in newark were about to be lured aboard a ship and taken to charleston or the bay of honduras were a lot of slave trading one. and newark and other free towns were prey to man's dealers or black murders. these were people looking for runaway slaves but if they cannot find one they might try and pick up some free blacks and carry them off into slavery. so the authorities had stopped this, it was a scandalous event and there was a meeting in new york of an interesting combination of people, there was the elite of the city in the
state, john boehner george could was part of it, mayor james duane, joh john jake a diplomat patriarch and the young joining these was alexander hamilton who had a good work and you can see the musical part but these men werese also working with new york's who appear several times in this book and they are always on the outs, there always up tigers by their own choice because our religious vision is so radical and to what extent should they participate in what the rest of the world is doing, this is an ongoing debate within the community. at this moment the two of them see a common interest in trying to rectify newark situation with
respect to slavery. they feel this is a violation of the principles of the revolution to which some of the men have fought not the quakers but people like hamilton did and they want to set new york on the path of ammunition. so they were a constitution which is very eloquent and, it resembles the famous opening of the declaration of independence and much more explicitly religious, jefferson talked about the law of nature and nature's god. the constitution of the society speaks to the creator and fath father, this is not a philosophers guide, this is the father man. our duty as citizens and as christians, not only to sympathize with the condition of black people in new york but to
actively work so they can enjoy the same rights as ourselves that these are brother and to enjoy the same rights. this is a very sweeping statement. many of the members of the society owned slaves. but they were willing to put themselves on record and to go to work to try and in this institution. over time they did in various ways and they lobbied for certain laws such as no slave in new york can be sold outside of the state, nor can any slave be brought into the state. there were a number of slaves that belong to them in the slaves confiscated them. they said they should all be free. they established a system of schools for black children. because they felt the ignorance may have done a prey to man's
dealers and blackbirds. so they started off with schools for boys and the girls were allowed a few years later and ultimately folded into the public school system in the 19th century. the final result is john j who is the first president of the society, he is elected governor and at the end of the 1790s, in 1799 he solves a bil signs al which will end in 1827. that's a long time. and i think people reading about this to comfort for the first time may say there really dragging their heels weren't there. but the other side, they got it done. this was something that was in the culture of the state and they wanted to get it out and someone has to do it. you cannot say, over time it will go away. you have to push and you have to
work, that is what they did, in 1827 finally when the last slaves in new york were free on july 4, i end with another hamilton, william hamilton was a black man, self trained journalist founded the church in the city and he wrote an eloquent essay about the end of slavery in new york in which he praises the society as being the engine, the main engine of this process. >> let me introduce for the audience, a very important conceptual distinction between manumission or emancipation, the firing of individual slaves which goes back to antiquity and all societies prior and some sort of human unfreedom and they had regimes of manumission or emancipation, but actually it is
the americans that developed the idea of abolishing slavery itself, abolition as distinct from freeing slaves so you go from a manumission society to ultimately and abolition, and may not be that many existing slaves for a long time but eventually there is no slavery at all ever. one final thing that you mentioned john jay, the governor who signs this abolition law and bill into law, he is the president of the manumission society, he is so opposed to slavery that he buys some slaves. what is up with that. >> his explanation is when they work off their price they will be free.
it sounds odd to us, i would also maybe in his defense say he tried to get antislavery language in new york state first constitution during the revolution. he helped write it, he failed in this respect and three years later he wrote until weg g do , our prayers to heaven for liberty will be empires. so that's a pretty hard saying. >> the next chapter is a different constitution, the constitution of united states and much is not quite an new york story in the drafting of the constitution, robert yates and robert lansing basically defect and at a certain point leaving new york without a vote, there's alexander hamilton from the left who can talk but cannot cast the vote on behalf of new york but there is a new york
angle, we will move quickly because there's more new york stories but there's another morris who comes into the picture and you written a little bit about him. some connection to the lewises, tell us abou about morris and te ratification process in new york led by the folks on the other side, give us the new york take on the u.s. constitution. >> governor morris is also the grandson of morrison, the half-brother who signs a declaration. the morse's are active, then active political family, this goes on for a long time. i love him, he had a piggly and was a ladies man and a wit, he was brave, he would go on to be
a minister of francedu during terror and he sticks to his guns and guillotine of this diary. and in terms of the ratification struggle, new york is a must kept state. nine of 13 states ratify they go into effect. they know they have to have certain states, we have to have the biggest ones which are massachusetts, pennsylvania and virginia in newark which is not to beget but clearly growing and located, if new york state out anyone new england and the rest. there's a gap. so there is a very lively press controversy about the ratification of the constitution. we have already photos papers,s, there's a great blast on the pro
constitution. >> are these new york newspaper essays. >> these are op-ed pieces. paul and david wright 750 words twice a week. these were 2000 words coming out three, four, sometimes five times a week, i'd out a quicker rate, they were very eloquent and intelligent essays on the other side, new york state is one of the places where there are rights, there was a riot in albany and one in new york and no one was killed but it shows you how high the passions were.
they might agree on something in the slavery of george clinton is there and alexander hamilton and other things like the constitution so, it is a fascinating story that we will skip over because there is not a strong new york angle to that, now we will go up state andec you can tell me about seneca falls. this is another gap to be plugged in obviously women have mostly had the right to vote here. i say mostly because in new jersey from 1776 to 1807 women who met the property qualification could vote. that was because the language of the first new jersey constitution was inhabitants. people notice this. and there were enough women meeting the property
qualification, the joker in the stack is that mar they thought e property belong to the husband but if you're single or widow and you met the property qualification you could vote in new jersey for those 31 years and there were enough women they had a name called the lady coat vote, recognized like the block that the party is contending for. that ended in 1807. mostly women don't have it. in this chapter, the most important individual is a woman from new york, upstate called elizabeth cady statin in her interest in politics is from her youth and her family her father is a judge and he served as a german congress, she is a law clerk, she marries a man who is himself very involved in politics and the politics of
abolition and in 1840 she and her husband go to worldwide abolition conference in london where the issue is, are the women in attendance allowed to vote. this becomes an argument in the conference votes says no, they should not be allowed to vote. then when this young american gets home she says to one off hr friends, why can't we have a conference on women's rights. and then she moves ultimately with her husband to seneca falls and one afternoon she is having tea with friends of hers and her life was stressed at this point, she in her husband are prosperous enough and her father is helping to support them but she has three little boys, her husband is away politicking a lot of the time, she has to run everything and they are talking
about situations and the husband of one of these women say, why don't you do something about it. so they decided we would have a conference on women's rights. and they have to act quickly because there is a noted woman in the cause of abolition who is biddinvisiting seneca falls ands going to be going homee soon. they have to put the word out fast, get a venue and they get a chapel which is antislavery section of the methodist church to hold their meeting. they have a two day meeting in one of the more famous people who attend is frederick douglass from rochester, new york and the only known black person although there are 12 people of whom we know nothing so possibly others. and what is interesting about
the meaning that even here the issue of women voting controversial because many of these women were quakers and quakers by this point are thinking, the whole political system is corrupt. it supports slavery, we don't want anything to do it we should agitate our politics but participate is playing the doubles game. elizabeth cady stan says if you are not voting you are not represented and you have no guarantees in the ways of protecting your own station and your own rights. and i think she is guided by the fact that her father was in politics and her husband was in politics and she's been observing politics her whole life so she knows the importance. she wins this point and it gets in the document. i will skip ahead, obviously the civil war sucks up everyone's attention, after the civil war western states and territories
do individually allow women to vote and before the 19th amendment has passed new york state the year before, less women vote. elizabeth cady stanton has died and there's one woman still surviving from the seneca falls convention, she's 102 years old her name is rhoda palmer and she's always lived in geneva new york into houses. but she went with her father to a seneca fault convention and he drove her into carriage and they drove back home and which is 102 she's taken in a car to the polls to vote. >> as much as it pains me too jump over the gettysburg address, it doesn't have as strong of a new york angle but tell us about the statue and the plaque that we understand together. >> the statue of liberty was a
gift to this country from france. it was a gift from a particular slice of the french nation. when you are in your american politics, look at france sometime. [laughter] the the data have always had a tough return than we have. but to have been reactionaries, left that is so much further left than ours but there has always been in france from the 18th century on, a kind of centrist liberal strain which has honestly admired american republicanism and proud of its role in sustaining the american revolution. and pushed for republicanism in france. he is the most famous of the beginning and tofu is another
one. during the second empire which is napoleon's nephew becomes a second emperor of france in the middle of the 19th century, he had authoritarian state but one of these liberals, a man named ed internet war, he is very interested in the civil war. he favors the union side and is very interested in american emancipation. after the passage of the 13th amendment and the civil war, he thinks would it be a great thing for france to give a present to the united states commemorating emancipation in the form of a statue. at the luncheon in which he floats this idea one of his guest is frederick, a young sculptor learning in france and
for his own reasons he's interested in monumental sculptures. he goes to egypt, he sees where monuments to the ancient worldle are still standing any rights interesting and theatrical things of how you should do this and he says is very important not to have too many details. you don't want to distract the eye. they should be a simple as a sketch almost like advertising. these two getpl together and whn france becomes a republic once again in 1870 republicanism is now the official position of the french nation and they offer this gift to the united states. but they will not pay for the pedestal. they built the statute and they paid for it themselves, but we have to come up the money for the pedestal. this takes a long time. one of the projects to raise money is an album of literary production, and he writes
something and mark twain write something and they have poetry in their and one poem is by emma. she who writes a senate about the statue which she identifies of the mother of exile. it is called the new colossus because she's contrasting with the colossus of rhodes which is the ancient statue everyone would have thought of at the time. that celebrated a military trend. and she says this is different, this is not about that. this is welcomingt.g people hers a refuge and this is what we should be proud of that we have a free country, a country of liberty and were willing to welcome people to it. it gets put on the statue after she is done, she leaves and she tells her sister who is her
executor, when you publish them make sure the new colossus is at the front. the new sister has about 404, there you seem to be family issues going on. but she had a friend, a blue stocking who was a descendent of alexander hamilton to get on the pedestal where it is today present to the statue in the poem meet. i think the poem is very effective piece of rhetoric and i think it's important that it's on that statue because that identifies who the mother of exiles is. she is the mother of liberty. it ishe not just your broke or being depressed, come over here that will stop, but you come over here and it will stop for good because this is a country of liberty and you will not have to worry about it happening again.
>> one exciting thing about this book and then i have great questions to turn to. this has -- since you talk about filling gaps of liberty responding to the exclusion of slaves or blocks or women early on, this book fills a gap in your own okra because you've been a journalist about contemporary era and you have been a great scholar of the founding and founders and i had you forward in time all the way to lincoln with your great book founders son. but i don't remember a lot of post lincoln pre-reagan. and with the colossus, you have that. but you also for the first time that i can recall talking about
that man as a new yorker who isn't always beloved by the national review or maybe he is, franklin roosevelt. so we can skip over the new york angle. and i won't let you talk about reagan today although you can later. i want you to talk about the arsenal of democracy and then will take the questions. >> there are three chapters in the book that deal with america in the world and i may seem paradoxical because in talking about liberty in america but there are instances when we have seen that our interest in or preservation of our own liberty is bound up with liberty elsewhere. this was certainly what roosevelt thought in the 1930s went on in the world seem dark
and. he was elected president to the foreign-policy press. he was elected to deal with depression. but he was always mindful of foreign affairs, he had a lifelong interest in it and he saw the coming of the fascist dictatorship in the military regime in japan, he saw these as bad things early on and he took steps to prepare to deal with them. one of them was putting two young officers in charge of the army andnd the navy general geoe marshall. and they were planners who developed plans to how we would fight a war against germany, italy and japan. among those was the plan dog mama because military code dog stands for dprk there were four options on like a good memo
admiral who made his fourth and final one the one he really wanted it was trying to direct was about to do, you hold the line in the pacific but your main focus will be on europe and defeating germany. this is not a time when germany has overrun a norway in france and pounding england in the air war and a u-boat war. as stark, tells roosevelt, if we win and britain survives, we can win everywhere, if britain goes down we might not lose everywhere but we cannot win. so britain has to be saved. then he tells roosevelt something that roosevelt already does not believe. so roosevelt has his means of communication perceiving
presidents were speech makers, roosevelt uses the radio to bring the podium into the living room. and he is given a number of chats, probably radiator chat, it was a way of intimately connecting with americans in the 16th chat in 1940 is telling america that he wants us to be the arsenal of democracy and the defense of britain. and he says, we used to have oceans, the oceans are still there but they're smaller because transportation is quicker and better. he explains from senegal which is a french colony is shorter than washington, d.c. to denver. he says the oceans are smaller than they were in the days of clipper chinks. we have to be mindful of a that. he addresses of his coalition
and says irish-americans, would be possible that irish liberty could survive if every other country in the continent went under including your old enemy britain, with the nazis let you be in exception, no. he says to italians, you made an alliance with hitler but you may embrace is not comfortable, it's too close. he's trying to address the voting box in his corner but not to take this piece of advice. and he knows, there has to be a months -- many months buildup of american resources before we could take the axisbe on. he is not saying were going to go to work, in fact he's denying that were gonna go to war.
but he seen will be the arsenal of democracy which i think he's just saying that because arsenal is not a food pantry and not a bank, it is of weapons so if you're s supplying weapons to oe side you are taking a separate and you know hitler is mindful of what is going on and he tries to not provoke us for the longest time, he gives orders to ships. and the japanese had tripped the wire. that plan is followed, we prioritize the war in europe even as redoing the pacific. but the arsenal democracy is a crucial step in that process. >> had you written about fdr before? >> i don't think so. >> great questions, i will pull some of them together, this is
one -- >> one detail when he was doing the arsenal, he was reading behind a desk and 500 radio stations but actually in the room were his political interest circle, his mother and gabriel. [laughter] >> i thought that was fun. [laughter] >> so maybe that's the connection to ronald reagan who did admire, who is a democrat back then. i did not know about. so obviously the missing link. okay obviously you thought about this a lot, what other documents did you consider that did not quite make the cut and related to that if you return to pick something since reagan's speech,
what might have you picked? >> i do address this in the log in my model is a wonderful book about the constitution called the green convention. i still say if you're reading one book about the constitution, that's the one. in it he says -- >> you have written many books about the constitution. t but in it he says if these men had not come to philadelphia couldn't you found another set? andy comes up with another set of people in the same number from each state. in their irreplaceable but i can
replace everybody else. similarly with these documents obviously the declaration and the constitution of gettysburg address, you will not replace them but you can find other documents. the mayflower, there is martin luther king at the mall and i think that the characteristic of a free society and concerned with liberty that is has philosophies and options to choose from. and we should not rest assured on that. because it is not t self-perpetuating. that's why dedicated the book to the american people because we have to keep doing this. our fate is in our hands, we have great models and great inspirations and something that always has to be done and keep
being done. >> they say it's a dead politician and maybe this will only be obvious to us in theob future but if you had to pick something since reagan, could you? >> i could but i am not going to say. i don't want to turn anyone off the story by wrestling a contemporary failure. i'm alsoo not writing policy prescription. i will not do your work for you. this is not to hold your hand in this book is to show where we have, and how we did it and what is most important about this country. that is what this book is about. >> three questions about america and the world, a question about american exceptionalism and if it still exist, i think you
think it does in the second one because much of the rest of the world since roosevelt triumph has begun to emulate the united states in certain ways so are we less exceptional today because we bless succeeded in spreading liberty and democracy and in particular how does canada and holland differ from the u.s. today from the liberty point, you mentioned them at times in your narrative. >> the closest i got to canadian politics vanity fair commission me too do a piece years ago and the reform party was just getting going, and carter is a canadian and that's what he was aware of it and that was also the reason he ended up not running because if he did people
would say he ran it because he's canadian. so he decided not to bring he traveled all around canada, i like the canadians but they are different. there is no first amendment. this can really land hard on you and you have no recourse. it does not happen a lot because canadians are nice and i like to say their neurotics and were psychotics. but there are protections that we have that they just don't. >> have you looked at the canadian constitution, the one adopted in the 1980s? it's very interesting, it begins by a reference to a statute under queen victoria that allows us to do this thing, we have permission from our parents to
declare independence and from my point of view, i think i would say, canada becomes independent because our hero lincoln wins the civil war and britain begins to give up the new world ambition once it's clear that america is not going to divide. they own their independence to us, they did not fight for in the same way. that is a piece of some of the things in the american revolution who do not want to fight when to canada. or were in vietnam. and even their independence is more a product of america's.
>> certainly their unity, and one of his novels, his job is the real way and is definitely in response to the american civil war and the fact the world's first modern army all of a sudden at the southern border. maybe we should unite these colonies here and there. >> we have time for a couple questions. >> i'm going to have to pick. there was a great question about religious liberty in particular but i cannot resist because it pained me so much not to get to ask about the gettysburg address but what is there new to say about the gettysburg address and go for.
>> one thing is not entirely new, i was inspired by a wonderful book called forge of empires by michael, an old friend of mine. a little noted aspect, this is not just about americans and for americans, the whole world was watching. lincoln is mindful t of this and it's reflected here and there. this is the big republican world and if it falls apart and feels, that will send a lesson to the world and a lesson to england which a few done parliamentary reform but still don't have the right to vote, it will be an argument on the side of let's not give it to them because will happen in america. it will be an lesson to france which has a restoration and also a print on the throne of mexico.
the faith of the republican experiment is being watched, not just by us. >> all the reforms of the 1840s that have failed and if we have a regime in which people who lose elections are allowed to overturn by force of arms, the world will have lost the last best hope of earth. i think that is the theme and whether that is new or not it's a good note for us to and on. >> thank you. [applause] booktv continues on c-span2. television for serious readers.