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tv   American Artifacts  CSPAN  March 25, 2016 11:39pm-12:15am EDT

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he should be against it. he is convinced maybe not going to war is a good idea. he ends up voting to pass the bill for the funding of this treaty. and he is vilified. he is vilified that he voted for this treaty against his side to the point where he loses his seat in his next election to congress. but even worse, in the short-term, he is stabbed on the sidewalk of philadelphia by his brother-in-law because of his vote. he survives but i'm sure family gathers become a little awkward for a while. but it tells us how high our political tensions can be in our early days. yet, yet at the same time, we're also proving that that new constitution, despite the difficulties, works. probably the best day in this room's history in a lot of ways is the day john adams is naurg inaugurated by the speaker of the house's platform. he will stand on the platform with thomas jefferson at the front of the room, outgoing president george washington. this is a big deal. changing presidents for us today is a fairly normal thing. we have parades and parties. it's a big thing. but this was a really important
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day. because this is where we are proving that the system where we the voters elect our leaders and we change them when we vote, ato
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washington, d.c. are burned when washington is burned in the war of 1812. we lose a lot of the early things. that's one of the challenges with a building like this, you don't necessarily have all the thing things, but you make due the best you can to give people the sense when they come in to see them of what it looked like when men like james madison or young andrew jackson were sitting in this room as members of the house of representatives. we're in the senate chamber here at congress hall in philadelphia. the room as you can see is quite a bit more grand than the house of representatives would have been. there's a couple of reasons for that. our roots as a nation go back to when we were british, of course. the british have a parliament with two houses. an upper house, the house of lords, lower house, house of
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commons. there's definitely parallels with our congress today. the house of representatives is very similarly set up to the house of commons. and then the senate would, therefore, be left to be based on the house of lords. we don't have dukes and earls and noble titles like that. we have states. every state is equal in the senate. so the states kind of take the place of our house of lords and our senate chamber. the british often using that green color in government. the colonies would use it and into the american government. but the red would be much more the house of lords kind of color. you will see red in that early senate here in philadelphia. definitely has that kind of look tore to it that seems higher end. the interesting thing about the senate is they are created with more power. the power is a tie to the president that the house of representatives does not have. treaties in the united states
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are with the advice and consent of the senate, approved by the advice and consent of the senate. the senate has to approve all treaties. the house does not. the senate does. so there's one power. also any time the president makes an appointment to his cabinet, ambassador, supreme court, of course, those folks would have to come in front of the senate and be approved by the senate or rejected. so here in philadelphia, we have our very first treaty approved by the senate, which is the jay treaty. that led to the big fight in the house of representatives over whether or not to pay for it. but over that same issue, we have the first rejection of a presidential nominee by the senate. john rutledge, who is actually a signer of the u.s. constitution, actually one of the players in creating that constitution, is one of washington's first choices for the original six justices on the supreme court. he accepts but then resigns the
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post without ever really having served on the supreme court. he will later become the chief justice of the south carolina supreme court when john jay, who was the first united states supreme court chief justice, resigns, he is elected governor of new york, he he leaves the post of chief justice. that leaves it empty. washington will eventually tap john rutledge of south carolina. rutledge will come back to philadelphia this time and serve as chief justice. however, he is appointed during a recess of congress, and so technically the senate hasn't confirmed him but he actually serves a session of the court as chief justice and leads them through some cases. when the senate comes back later that year to return to session, they then take up the question of approving john rutledge. now, george washington's never had anyone rejected that he's appointed, so this has never happened in our young history. john rutledge has a couple of things going against him. there are guys in the senate that think the guy's a little
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crazy. he's had some kind of strange things that he's had to say in the years in the 1790s so he's got a reputation but also where he's going to get into trouble is he made very pointed comments about that j treaty that was negotiated by his predecessor. he was very critical in some speeches and they tended to be a bit of rambly speeches. he was very critical about the senate itself which of course senators would read the newspapers and they would read what the south carolina supreme court chief justice had to say about them and when he came in front of them they would remember these sorts of things and then they would decide perhaps this guy is not the best choice to be the chief justice of the supreme court. so even though he'd run the court for a while he was sent packing and back home. so the very first rejection of a presidential nominee. so here in philadelphia you're
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seeing the constitution in a lot of different directions being explored and used for the first time and of course you go through our history and you see other occurrences where this happened. the one other power of the senate that's not going to get exercised here in philadelphia is the power of impeaching if the president is impeached, the house would vote to have an impeachment. the senate would be basically the jury in what is essentially a trial to decide whether the president should be removed from office. so again, you look at the powers of the senate and you see these things that you can do that tie them to the president in a lot of ways, and so therefore, give them that little bit of extra advantage over the house of representatives. plus, they're a smaller body of men with only two senators per state. you represent an entire state, which means if you're from a large state you represent a lot of people. finally, the other thing about the senate that makes it a bit
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unique is you get that longer term, the longest elected term in the united states with six-year term, but early on, senators were not even elected. senators are appointed on the basis of the constitution originally. senators are appointed by their state legislatures. so senators do not have to run for office. so as a result, senators here in philadelphia met in private. they did not meet in public. the house of repts alwaresentat always did. the senate gets into their own controversial bills like the j trayty. one of the early senators that is sent by pnnsylvania is a man most famous for being a long-time secretary of treasury and he is of the democratic/republican side and so the federal aside of the early senate and basically locking at the strict rules
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would say that albert galton has not lived in the united states for the requisite number of years to be in the senate. so the senate voted him out. he's later elected to the house of representatives but he's rejected from the senate. so they want to know why their senator has been kicked out of the senate. so you start getting this growing public feeling that we want to see what's going on when the senate meets here in philadelphia and add to that the press, obviously wants to know what's going on because they've got guys sitting in the balcony watching the house, they want to have guys sitting up here watching the senate because that's news. finally, i am sure of it, that the house of representatives is sitting in public saying why do those guys get to meet in private when we have to sit in front of all these people? so finally after about five years of meeting behind closed doors, the senate relents and
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they start to as well meet in public here in philadelphia. and that's one of those long standing traditions. but this is where you're seeing that they don't have everything set in stone. they have a constitution that's only four pages long. these men have to figure out what their job is all about based on a few paragraphs that say duties and powers that they have. george washington essentially invents the job of president here in philadelphia. again, just going on some, you know, paragraphs in the constitution and figuring out, okay, what does that mean i do every day? so when he wants to negotiate a treaty with various indian tribes, what he'll do, the first time he's going to do something with this is he'll come into the senate and sit down and say, well, i'm supposed to do treaties with your advice and consent so i want your advice and consent on these issues i want to discuss and the senate goes wait a minute, yeah, weir not interested in talking about that with you in the room.
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why don't you give us some stuff and we'll talk and get back to you later. and so that's when the president comes and goes from the senate. it's that more strict separation that we're used to. now, for washington, he's not a guy who likes tons of, you know, public accolade and he doesn't like to give a lot of speeches if he can avoid it. he will do an address to congress every year. they don't call it the state of the union yet, but his address to congress which he writes with his cabinet. he will come to the senate for his inauguration for his second term as president. he kind of keeps it low key. he doesn't do the bigger event that we saw downstairs in the house of representatives with john adams which was a much bigger deal. washington just going to a second term basically comes in and takes his oath of office and more or less goes back to work because he didn't really want the big public ceremony to take place, but that's something that would change with adams' inauguration and of course when
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you move down to washington you start having inaugurations at the new capitol building so that would be a change. so we're growing into what the united states is today. as you look around this room, a lot of the guys that sat here in the senate were the architects of our constitution because senators being chosen by their states, a lot of the guys that had a big impact on writing that constitution would be then sent by their states to philadelphia. one of the ones that's not as is james madison and he runs into the problem in virginia that patrick henry is one of the great powers in virginia. henry's not a big fan of madison and his big role in the constitution so essentially madison is sort of -- we call him the father of the constitution, the obvious plumb of getting a seat in the constitution doesn't happen. he has to suffer through getting elected and becoming a member of the house. but as for election of senators that's a recent phenomenon in
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our history. so 1913 when he'd start electing our senators. so all the men prior to that just have to court their state legislature, so you think of the lincoln/douglas debates over senate, they're not debating for people to vote for them, they're debating for people to vote for the people of the state government to vote for them. so it's a very complicated system. and people are saying you know what? we want to be able to vote for our own senators. we vote for everyone else in government, why not the senate, so that's one of the things that changes, but we have to grow into how some of these things work. but the remarkable thing when you go back to these years if philadelphia, other than that, most everything does operate pretty well the same way. we're using the system designed in independence hall that they take into this building and use and continue on when they move to washington in 1800. now, as you look at this room,
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unlike downstairs in the house of representatives, the second floor of the building with the senate is a lot more original as far as the things in the building go. we have -- we have the setting for 32 senators. we start with just of course 26 representing 13 states, and as each new state, vermont, kentucky, tennessee, up to the 32, now, when they leave for washington, 32 senators would go, the room would turn into a courtroom, eventually actually it was the united states federal district courtroom in the 19th century. they don't necessarily need the stuff that's here. so desks kind of go away. we don't know what happened to them. these are sort of our best guess, but chairs you always need. so when the mid-1800s when people start thinking about american history like we do so
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much of today, they started saying, well, we need to collect things for independence hall and somebody says well, we've got a bunch of these chairs, a couple dozen chairs and at some point somebody thinks maybe they were the chairs for the continental congress so they stuck them in the room but of course they were for the federal congress but these were displayed in independence hall for a long time and when we are restoring congress hall, the old u.s. capitol to look as it would have we had 29 original chairs. some of them were in the house based on simple proportion, but a couple of them were marked senate, a couple of them had bits of different colored upholstery. some of these are probably in the house. we said, well, let's just put them all in the senate chamber. so we'll fill it with 29 of the 32 chairs being original. the eagle on the ceiling is -- we're not 100% sure of the date
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on that. the one thing i can tell you is there's 15 stars above it so it's sometime after the 15th state enters the union. we don't know exactly when and may no never know when that was painted, but the seal was another thing created here in philadelphia actually by the continental congress and independence hall in 1782. something they'd worked on throughout the war, the different committees and kept changing a little bit here and there until they worked out the final version of the seal. we have a carpet on the floor that is a reproduction of the original carpet. the original carpet more than likely went to washington when they moved, but whatever happened to it, it's long gone. we don't know what happened to the senate carpet but it was made specifically for the room here and there was actually enough written description of exactly what it was that enabled us to sort of recreate the carpet and it would have also featured the seal of the united
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states, but it would have been encircled by the original state seals. it's set up as a chain which was a common motif of the time. chaining the states together. so a lot of those interesting symbols whether for the states themselves or the united states have their roots here in philadelphia. the one original desk we still have is the secretary's desk and the vice president would sit in the back of the room and that's another interesting part of our story. the vice president which we'll start with john adams and he'll be succeeded by doms jefferson, they would be here a good bit of the time. probably a lot more than the vice president today. today the vice president can sit in the senate any day they want, but early on they made it clear to john adams they didn't want him talking so he can sit there and run the meetings, which left him very disappointed. he's the first, but certainly not the last vice president to complain about the limitations of that job.
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he is allowed to vote only to break ties, which again, that carries through the years, so if there's a tie vote the vice president is always the tie breaker. so any big day, any big vote, the vice president will be there and other than that, the vice president, you know, john adams would find he was kind of stuck here in philadelphia running a bunch of meetings with a bunch of guys who wouldn't let him talk and found it dissatisfying and for thomas jefferson, when he's vice president his opponent is the president so he doesn't necessarily agree with a lot of the policies that he has to be part of the executive over so it was a very difficult situation which is what leads to creating the system where we're going to elect president and vice president a little bit more carefully because rather than the electoral college voting for two men, the guy who gets the most votes being president and the guy who gets the second most being vice president we would create a system where it's a candidate for president and a candidate for vice president and
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the real impo tus to that is the jefferson election in 1800 which is when they're packing up and moving to washington, d.c. so there's no one election day in those days but they will start meeting in the new capitol december of 1800. they're leaving philadelphia that summer and in the midst of this we're electing adams versus jefferson, but they've learned their lesson. they say we'll run two guys but you can't specify which is which. so when jefferson wins the election he ties his own vice president candidate and of course burr and jefferson being tied means by the constitution the election goes to the house of representatives so the first thing we do in our new capitol is basically the house of representatives has to elect the new president and they have to vote more than 30 times before the tie can be broken so now you're saying okay. we've learned our lesson, let's fix it. so the 12th amendment comes
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along to straighten out the way of electing a president. but you look back to these early days and they're managing to find out what doesn't work which isn't much and find out that most of that constitution does, and so we're able to today look at that room that's much smaller than the senate today but the senators who sat here, pretty much do the same things as the senators in washington today. american artifacts continues with a tour of the whitney plantation shavery museum in indiana.
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each week we take you to museums andph[z historic place today we visit whitney plantation to learn about the history of slavery in america. >> my name is ashley rogers. i'm the director of museum operations at the whitney plantation and we are beginning our tour today in a historic friedmann's church which was build 1870 by people who lived on the opposite side of the river in pallina, louisiana. this was donated by the descendants of the original founders of that congregation. they bought the land in 1870, two parcells of land for the express purpose of building a house of worship. in the sale document they named their structure the anti -- they named their an gre gacongregati
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antiyolk congregation. this was a significant church for newly freed slaves on the east bank of the river and so it's really important in talking about the lives of people who saw freedom at the end of the war. so we like to start here in this building so we can see what happened to people, some of the things that they cared about after freedom came. >> the whitney plantation is the only plantation in the state of louisiana that is exclusively dedicated to telling the stories of enslaved people and so this land that we're on right now is -- was historically known as habitation hi dell and our owner purchased the property about 15 years ago and began restoring it, restoring the original structures that were here and
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also moving in buildings like this one. and so we had to kind of build in -- build some things here, restore existing buildings and bring in historic structures, all of these things help us tell the story of slavery. so when this -- when john comings bought the property in 1999 we did not have any original slave cabins. they had all been torn down for some 20 years and so we had to move in those from elsewhere in louisiana. this structure, like i said, just kind of helps us round out that story of enslavement till after the civil war and we have some other buildings that were here at one time and we have rebuilt. >> we have a collection of statues created by an ohio artist and he built these -- put together these statues for us to represent people who were enslaved at the end of slavery and then later gave their testimony to works progress administration? 1930s. we use the narratives of slaves
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taken in the 1930s throughout our interpretation on this site. and so these give life to who they were. taking the narratives of formerly enslaved people, they were talking to people in their 80s, 90s or 100s who when they were slaves had just been childr children. at the highest end maybe 15 when freedom came but most of them were under the age of 10. and this is to remind us who those voices are coming from. those people were talking about their experiences in slavery as children and often times recalling the things that happened to their parents or their grandparents. this plantation was initially founded in 1752. it was founded by a german immigrant. he came in the company of john law with his family -- they
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sailed from france and came here. when he founded this plantation finance much smaller and he grew rice and indigoprincipally as the main cash crops and indigowas the significant cash crop here in the 18th century. he and his children continued until the late 18th century, beginning of the 19 century. in 1795 the first crop of sugar in louisiana. we're in a strange climate zone so it couldn't really -- nobody had been really to take it the full way before that. so in 1795 with the help of somebody from haiti who had come over after the revolution, he granulated a crop and all of the planters followed suit after that. sugar could make a whole lot
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more money than indigo could. and so right around the same time that that first sugar crop was being granulated, indigo was not really a viable crop anymore. so this plantation transitioned at some point after that by about 1805. it was planted in sugar and it remains planted in sugar till today. sugar is still a huge industry in south louisiana and all around us our historic cane fields still planted in cane that is still sent off to the domino sugar refineries. so three generations in this plantation. over the course of the 100 plus years that they owned this land, there were many successful generations of people who were
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enslaved here and so the population would have shifted over time with market forces. the highest number that we ever have recorded at one single time of enslaved people in this land is 101, but we believe that that's a little low. we think there were perhaps as many as 200 people enslaved at the highest point. we have record of people that we've found, 357 over the course of that 100 plus years, but there are going to be a lot of people missing from that. so where we will really start introducing that population is on our first memorial where we're going to begin in some memorials where we've built to people enslaved in louisiana and enslaved on this land. >> this is a wall of honor and on this memorial we have recorded the names and some basic information about 354 individuals that we have been able to find who were enslaved on this land.
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this memorial is -- it moves through time roughly chronologically so in the earlier -- on this side we have people who were born in the 18th century, but we're missing the entire first generation of enslaved people here. we don't know anyone -- we don't know anyone's name who was enslaved here from the very beginning in 1752. all of these people were born after the founding of this plantation. so there's some example of people that we're already missing. this information comes mostly from sale documents. people's names were not always recorded when they were enslaved. so if you look at things like the census records, it will just include a tally of how many men and how many women but i won't tell you any names so we have to look for those names in sale documents, in the city of new orleans, there was a notary involved and so we go to the notary archives to find sales and purchases.
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and all of the information that we have here, this biographic cal information is related to selling. so where someone came from, how old they were, whether they came with children, the jobs that they knew how to do, these were all things that would affect their price at sale. louisiana had different laws than other states and territories in the united states. so in -- in louisiana for a very long time it was illegal to sell children away from parents under the code that was beforeóírwñ py and later it was actually before the age of ten and so you see things like this. here's agatha and these are people being sold together in a lot. so we have basic information here and there's really not a lot that this information can tell us, but we're able to tease out just a little

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