tv Museum of the American Revolution Opens in Philadelphia CSPAN July 4, 2017 10:00am-11:41am EDT
fully understand the complex forces that have increased for example their economic woes. economic insecurities create conditions that are breeding grounds for racial and ethnic tension. the new museum of the american revolution has opened in philadelphia just blocks from independence hall and the liberty bell. the opening ceremony included former vice president joe biden, historian dave mccullough and cokie roberts. this is an hour and 40 minutes. ♪ ♪
ladies and gentlemen, please recognize the color guards from each of the original 13 states as they are introduced in the order in which each state ratified the u.s. constitution and entered the union. delaware, first delaware regiment [ applause ] >> pennsylvania, first troop philadelphia city calvary. [ applause ]
>> new jersey, old barracks museum. [ applause ] >> georgia, sons of the revolution in the state of georgia. [ applause ] >> connecticut, the governor's foot and horse guard. [ applause ] >> massachusetts, 54th massachusetts volunteer regiment. [ applause ] >> maryland, maryland society sons of the american revolution. [ applause ] >> south carolina, south carolina national guard. [ applause ] >> new hampshire, first new hampshire regiment. >> virginia, the virginia color guard.
new york, ninth new york field artillery, veteran core of the artillery of the state of new york. [ applause ] >> north carolina, the over mountain men. [ applause ] >> rhode island, united train of artillery. [ applause ] >> and presenting the flag of the united states, the color guard of the third u.s. infantry regiment known as the old guard. [ applause ] ♪ ♪
♪ by the dawn's early light ♪ what so proudly we hailed ♪ at the twilight's last gleaming ♪ ♪ whose broad stripes and bright stars ♪ ♪ through the perilless fight ♪ over the ramparts we watch ♪ were so gallantly streaming ♪ and the rocket's red glare ♪ the bombs bursting in air ♪ gave proof through the night ♪ that our flag was still there ♪ ♪ oh say does that star spangled
>> please be seated as the colors are retired. please welcome, the president and ceo of the museum of the american revolution, michael quinn. [ applause ] >> thank you so much. our deepest thanks to the color guards of the original 13 states and to the color guard of the third u.s. infantry regiment, the old guard, as well as to the institute of music. what a wonderful start to a very momentous opening. [ applause ] >> this is the third part of our opening celebration. our program began this morning at the tomb of the unknown soldier of the american revolution in washington square where we honored those who sacrificed their lives to create
our nation. our program continued in front of independence hall where we celebrated the future of that nation and the youth who are the legacy of the great ideals founded at that time. and now we are at the museum of the american revolutions. we are celebrating not just the opening of the museum, but the people and the ideas of the revolution and the great landmarks and the history of philadelphia. and we are grateful to the many faith leaders, the students and others who made this day possible. the museum we open today tells the story of the creation of the american nation, how people from all walks of life found a bond in the soaring ideals of equality, freedom, and self-governance had the who consecrated that bond by their courage and sacrifice through eight years of warfare.
that bond is what turned them into the unified people of one nation and has done so for every generation since. this museum celebrates and belongs to the american people. there are many distinguished speakers with us on this joyful day and we will introduce them as they speak. we are grateful for their enthusiasm and their support and we are pleased to welcome many additional special guests. the governor of the common wealth of virginia, the lieutenant governor of north carolina, dan forest, the lieutenant-governor the rhode island, dan mckee, the former governor the of delaware, michael castle, the former governor the new jersey, james florio, maryland, martin o'malley, and the former governor of the pennsylvania and our great city of philadelphia, edwin rendell. thank you for speaking as independence hall.
[ applause ] >> i'm also pleased to recognize congressman kyle wear ritty for join s us and members of the city council of philadelphia, mark skill -- squilla, less ree russe russell. thank you. [ applause ] >> we are joined by our great partner, the superintendent national historical park, cynthia mcleod. it is such a privilege which the architect of this great landmark new building robert a. stern and his associates join us. we're delighted you came. [ applause ] >> and we are also joined by the founder of intech construction who built this museum on time and on budget, will schwartz a new member of the board of the museum of the american revolution.
we have guests from many places and we are -- we are so honored that leaders of museums and cultural institutions from across philadelphia are with us today. you are too numerous to support so raise your hands so that everyone knows you are here. thank you for turning out and joining us and welcoming us as we proudly join your ranks as one of the great cultural institutions of this city. we're also joined by people from many other institutions, but probably no one is -- has come further or is more special to us than ellen chictans and her family from china and japan, the donors who have donated the two wonderful bronze sculptural
panels on the chestnut side of the museum depicting washington crossing the delaware and the declaration of independence. thank you so much. [ applause ] >> there are leaders from many distinguished institutions from across the nation today, and i'm delighted to remembering nieds some of them. steve rockwood, ceo of family search international from salt lake city, utah. louise mooer -- mere from the president of new york historic society. jack dwayne warren executive director of cincinnati. john bray, director of the smithsonian national museum of american history.
anne turner dylan president general of the national society daughters of the american revolution. james vaughan, executive director of the pennsylvania historical and museum commission. stephanie see itbic, director of the smith son known american history, american art museum, robb shink, vice president of george washington's mount vernon. ruth taylor, executive director of the newport historical society, catherine robinson, president and ceo of historic charltz ton foundation. david row sell, the executive director of withina ter museum garden and library. beth hill of for tying of new york, and betty joe of the delaware tribe of indians. [ applause ] >> and now i'd like to introduce the members of the board of directors of the museum of the american revolution. will you raise your hands so everyone knows where you are and that you are here today.
[ applause ] >> these are the volunteers who have guided and sustained the multiyear initiative to create the museum. and now it is a very great pleasure to welcome the mayor of the great city of philadelphia, mayor jim kenney. [ applause ] >> good morning, everyone. i can't tell you how proud i am as a native life-long philadelphiian to be standing here in front of this building and in front of all the great dig that dignataries that have come here today. i just personally very much honored. it's fantastic to see so many of you out there helping us open this addition to our city's already thriving historic district.
those looking to find out more about the founding of their country have made philadelphia a priority. the museum will bring those people back while giving those who haven't made yet the trip more incentive to did so. philadelphia is named the heritage city because it served as the backdrop for the formation of our country. this museum will provide greater insight into the sacrifices that were made in order to make the ideas that were first discussed in independence hall a reality. this museum will provide us with a much deeper appreciation of what it means to live free. and i think the most important part of this museum for me as i've gone through it is it acknowledges fully and totally the contributions of other folks who made this country great, african-americans, native americans, women, and all others besides those who signed the declaration of independence. without all of them, this would never have happened and they are finally and fully acknowledged in this space and i think that's wonderful. [ applause ] >> and gerry lenfest, you're a great philadelphiian and a great
american and i'm honored to know you. thank you very much and i'm glad to see you here today. thank you very much, everyone. [ applause ] >> thank you. please welcome the governor of the common wealth of pennsylvania, tom wolf. [ applause ] >> thank you very much. mayor kenney, thank you for your comments. and it's great to be here and i want to welcome all of you who are from out of town to pennsylvania. i just want to point out that the weather is always like this in pennsylvania. again, i want to thank all of our distinguished guests for being here today but i especially want to welcome vice president joe biden. vice president.
[ applause ] >> we are truly honored to have you here today since you began your career you have stood up for the middle class, for working people, for families and the interests of the less fortunate everywhere. your time in the senate and in the white house have made this country better and i just want to welcome you back home to pennsylvania. [ applause ] >> i'm proud to be here to help commemorate the opening of the new museum, this museum of the american revolution that will act as a monument to the lives of those who created this great nation. there is no better home for this museum than in philadelphia, than in pennsylvania, am i right? [ applause ] >> because this museum tells the story of the women and the men
who created this nation right here in philadelphia where this nation began. located with only -- within only a few blocks of the museum are a number of historic treasures that tell the story of how a loose band of cloel colonials toppled a mighty empire for two centuries from independence hall to the site of the liberty bell to the president's house, to congress hall, to the tomb of the unknown revolutionary war soldier, all around us are reminders of the struggle that our founders undertook to create a nation dedicated to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. and now we have a museum solely dedicated for the first time to the lives and the sacrifice of those early americans who for far too long have gone nameless and uncommemorated. those who fought and struggled ultimately won our independence and deserve our respect. only a couple blocks away
emblazoned on the tomb of the unknown soldier of the revolutionary war are the words freedom is a light for which many men and women have died in darkness. this museum will aim to turn the light on and tell the stories for those women and men and for people all over the world who have made this country what it is and who shocked the world 240 years ago by doing the impossible by defeating the mighty empire. i can't think of a more fitting tribute to their memories and i'm glad pennsylvania will play home to this new treasure. i want to thank everyone who made this project a success and i want to thank michael quint who's been up here. can we give a round of applause to michael quint. [ applause ] >> michael will lead this museum to great success right here in philadelphia. thank you all for being here, thank you for helping us celebrate this great moment in american history. thank you. [ applause ]
>> please welcome noted author and two-time recipient of the pulitzer prize, david mccullough. [ applause ] >> what a morning. what a morning to be grateful we are americans. [ applause ] >> what a morning to celebrate our past and what that teaches us about how we should move forward into the days that come. the american revolution still goes on. the american revolution was one of the most important events of
all time and very much of it happened right here in this great story city. it's not easy to understand the past because for one thing no one ever lived in the past. they lived in the present. but it was their present, not ours. and we have to not only understand who they were, what they set out to achieve, how successful they may have been, but we have to understand the time in which they lived. we have to not only understand what they wrote, but what they read. because if we don't understand what they read, we won't understand why they said or wrote what they did.
they were real people. history is human. when in the course of human events, human is the operative word. we can learn more from history than any other subject because it is about the human experience. and we can learn more about our country, our people, our past, our heart and soul as a civilization by knowing more about the american revolution. we can never ever know enough about the american revolution. and the opening of this magnificent museum is not just a moment to celebrate here in philadelphia, but all over our country. this is a moment of national importance and cause to celebrate. [ applause ]
>> one of the easiest, most obvious lessons of history is almost of consequence that has ever been accomplished alone. it's a joint effort. our country is a joint effort. this city is a joint effort. and this marvelous museum is a joint effort. and i think we should pay tribute to all of those who worked for 16 years to make this happen and congratulations and god bless you. [ applause ] >> and no one deserves more credit than gerry lenfest. [ applause ]
>> i think today we should all go away from this ceremony standing taller. because of who we are and what we've believed in, what we stand for, the values we still hold dear to us and this museum will do more to teach the oncoming generations about the importance of the revolution, not just in the military sense, but in a sense of ideas and the human spirit that anything we've ever had. high time we had such a museum as this. [ applause ] >> history isn't just about politics and war. history is about art and music and architecture. architecture. and history's about poetry and about memory through the arts.
we have a broadway show right now "hamilton." we have the work of john trumble. we have the architecture of that marvelous period and of now, bob stern's work right here. this is a major work of architecture. [ applause ] >> this is april 19th, 2017. here's a poem from april 19th, 1837. 180 years ago written by ralph waldo emerson. by the road bridge that arched the flood, there flagged april's breeze unfurled. here once the embattled farmer stood and fired the shot heard round the world.
the foe long since in silence slept, alike the conquerer silent sleeps. in time and ruin bridge has swept down the dark stream which seaward creeps. on this green bank by this soft stream we set today a votive stone that memory may there deed redeem, like our sires, sons are gone. spirit that made those heroes dear and die to leave their children free, bid time and nature gently spare, the shaft we raise to thee. spirit, spirit and perseverance. george washington once said to me it's one of the most powerful
messages ever to all of us. perseverance and spirit. perseverance and spirit have done wonders in all ages. [ applause ] >> please welcome oneida nation representative and ceo of indian nation enterprises, ray halbritter. >> thank you for that kind introduction. it's truly an honor to follow one of america's greatest historians. i bring you greetings of peace from oneida indian nation and our people began gatherings and
have since time memorial with a thanksgiving address with these thoughts that we all come together in peace as one and we give thanks to what we have and our minds become as one. native members have traveled here to be part of this special day know that prayer well. we are so fortunate that together we could be here to celebrate the grand opening of such an important museum, one that recognizes the oneida's significant role in the establishment of the united states of america. today say day of gratitude. the oneida nation is proud that our ancestors will be memorialized in the museum of the american revolution. we are thankful that such great american leaders like mayor kenney, governor wolf, former vice president joe biden are here with us today. gerry lenfest your determination and contributions kept the vision of the museum revolution in motion and for that we are forever thankful. at a time when we experience so much political -- it is gratifying to see leaders in
organizations from all walks of life come together to honor our nation's founding. just as the thanksgiving prayer seds, this is also a day that gives my people great peace of mind because is it is the culmination of years of work to preserve, honor, and enshrine our historic role in the founding of this country. never forget the phrase we often hear about history. the phrase implores us to preserve our heritage and also reminds us that without effort our pasts can be erased from our memories. few know this better than native americans. and we are proud to be taking steps to make sure our role in this nation founding is remembered. and that the stories of our history are told and retold for generations to come. with today's opening of the national museum of the american revolution, we are rescuing the history of this country's birth and native americans role in it from the dark abyss of the memory chasm. as a proud supporter of this wonderful new facility, the united nations -- initiative because we believe that it is a
critical facet of both preserving the history of the united states and honoring indigenous people's formative role in building this great country of ours. today, many americans have no knowledge of native american's role in the revolution but now they have a chance to hear the rich and compelling story of how our people reached across cultural lines and worked together with the founders and the unified fight for freedom. the history of my ancestors pivotal coalition with those fighting british tyranny began well before the founds came to the aid of the revolution. before the french it was the united people who became george washington's first allies at great sacrifice to us. it was the oneidas who took up arms in such their colonial neighbors early on considered by many hornz to be the bloodiest battle of the revolution. that battle cemented the longstanding friendship between the oneidas and the colonies and it made the oneidas the first allies of this country.
our blood was mingle a -- blood, our bones were mixed with the bones of the patriots. to be sure, it is troubling that this history has often been omitted from america's founding story, but those omissions on onliundonly underscore the significance of this new facility and the moral imperative of the museum's mission. the museum makes sure that we are not sa coming to reduction ifl and not oversimplifying the beginnings of america. it guarantees that the details are preserved and that all the stories of sacrificed are passed on to future generations as our grandmother's and grand fathers have admonished us to do so. preserving and teaching the true founding story of america is not an exercise in self-congratulations. it makes sure that in an increasingly diverse history accurately reflects the diversity of its foundational story. this is particularly important for people of color who too often are victims of historical revisionism, distortion and omission. native-american heritage for
example has too often been fictionalized or all together omitted in ways that are both factually inaccurate and deeply destructive. making sure we preserve that multicultural story is not a radical or dangerous idea. more than two centuries after my ancestors fought side by side with general george washington, our ancestors deserve their place in our collective memory about this country's founding. while their bodies died for our future we now ensure that their memories will not. in evekting this museum reare also protecting the longevity of the revolution's core ideals for -- to come. two centuries after the war, those notions remain as revolutionary as ever and an inspiration to the world. when my ancestors joined with the colonnists they were
standing for these immutable ideals just as our country still stands in defense of those today. from the many one, in native american thanksgiving prayer, we have that similar verse, we bring our minds together as one and in the spirit of that prayer, let us give thanks today for this museum and its work protecting the ideals of america and it's founding story. we're doing our part to make sure that the spirit of the american revolution endures and that the diverse roots of america's founding are inshrined for posterity. [ applause ]
>> please welcome colonel john bircher, a recipient of the purple heart for combat service in vietnam and presenting the military order of the purple heart. [ applause ] >> thank you. it's such a great honor to be able to be here today. i want to thank general jumper and mike, the -- mike quinn and especially vice president joe biden, what an honor it was to meet you today, mr. vice president. we miss you. [ applause ] >> i can see a show of hands how many of you in the audience are veterans?
[ applause ] >> wow. i'm here today on behalf of a special group of veterans, the 1.7 million men and women who have either given their lives or have been wounded in combat serving to protect the freedoms that we've all come to take so much for granted. i can tell you that the cost of freedom is not free. it's paid for in the blood of the sons and daughters, our mothers, fathers, sisters, and especially the spouses. general george washington at the end of the revolutionary war wanted to do something to recognize the fidelity and bravery of the common soldier, not officers, but rather the ncos and privates who served in the continental army. and so he created on the 7th of august, 1782, the very first
declaration in the continental army called the badge of merit. it was a simple piece of purple cloth inscribed with the world merit on it. at first we thought there were only about four people who received it but our research in the archives has now shown that we know of at least 27 men who received the badge of merit. but after the revolutionary war, it went into disuse and in 1932 then chief of staff of the army general macarthur wanted to do something to recognize the 200th birthday of george washington. and so he brought the badge of merit out of retirement and recreated it as the medal that i wear today. it's the same purple heart and on the back has the words for military merit.
but on the face has the likeness of george washington to recognize all that he did in founding the country. as i mentioned, there have been 1.7 million recipients of the purple heart medal. every single veteran has served in sacrificed something, some gave all but all gave some. and so it's an honor for me to be able to be here on behalf of those purple heart recipients who have sacrificed their lives protecting the freedoms that we all enjoy today. thank you so much. [ applause ]
>> philadelphia, how are you today? [ applause ] >> yeah. i can't tell you what a great day it is to celebrate the birth of our country every day is a great day to celebrate american history. it's alive here in philly, it's everywhere. and it is my honor to be here for the opening of this gem in your city and in our country the museum of the american revolution. it's fantastic. [ applause ] >> yeah.
long time coming. this next song is particularly relevant because of an exhibit inside this museum. as an actor, especially in a period play, you're always imagining your surroundings, what was it like, what did it sound like? were there doors? were there lights? so many little things. and i can't tell you how many hours i've spent imagining washington's command tent. it's inside this building. that tent, seeing it in person, it was so moving. it gave of this next song new meaning for me. it takes place on the eve of the battle of yorktown, roughly 1781. david mccullough can correct me if i get anything wrong. and general washington was giving hamilton his first command and some sage advice. washington had the forethought to know that the actions they were taking were going to reverberate through history for hundreds if not thousands of years.
he gave sage advice to hamilton about how to use this power. and i have to say that there may be no greater moment for me than to get to perform this song in front of our vice president who embodies the ideals that george washington spoke about and i want to thank you for your service mr. joe biden. thank you, sir. [ applause ] >> this next song is called "history has its eyes on you". ♪ i was younger than you are now when i was given my first command ♪
♪ i led my train into a massacre, i witnessed their deaths firsthand ♪ ♪ i made every mistake, i felt the shame rise in me ♪ ♪ and even now i lie awake, knowing history has eyes ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ his tor -- history has its eyes ♪ ♪ let me tell you what i wish i know when i was young and dream of glory, have no control who lives who dies who tells your story ♪
and in particular, alexander hamilton walked these streets. his buildings for the treasury office were right there. that's the first bank, and our next song, yeah, let's hear it for the first bank of america. we have a lot now. but our next song details how that bank got its charter. hamilton was obsessed as treasury secretary with getting a deck plan passed and paying for all the debt they incurred with the war, and the seven democrat republicans were dead set that he would not pass it. and he had to -- do something he didn't really enjoy, but to make some trades to see what he could get done. never before i think has a song made passing a debt plan sexy and danceable, so it's got that going for it. it also happens to be the -- the platform and the impetus for aaron burr to jump into a political life.
he was laying back at that time, and when he saw the kind of power that -- he wanted in. helping me, we have playing the role of hamilton, gracious and taylor. this song is called the room where it happens. ♪ mr. secretary ♪ ♪ did you hear the news about good old general mercy ♪ ♪ no snow the mercer legacy is secure ♪ sure ♪ to do is die ♪ that's a lot less work ♪ you ought to give it a try. now how you going to get your debt plan through ♪ ♪ i guess i'm going to have to finally listen to you ♪ ♪ really ♪ talk less ♪ smile more ♪ do whatever it takes to get my
plan on the congress floor ♪ ♪ now madison and jefferson are merciless ♪ ♪ hate the sin of the sinner ♪ hamilton ♪ i'm sorry burr i got to go ♪ what ♪ decisions are happening over dinner ♪ ♪ immigrant walk into a room diametrically opposed ♪ ♪ compromise pg opening doors that were previously closed ♪ ♪ the immigrant emerged to financial power a system he could shape however he wants ♪ ♪ the virginians emerge with the nation's capital and here's the resistance ♪ ♪ no one else was in the room where it happened ♪ ♪ where where it happened ♪ room where it happened ♪ no one else was in the room where it happened ♪ ♪ no one really knows how the game is played ♪ ♪ the art of the trade ♪ how the decisions get made ♪ we suft just assume that it happens ♪ ♪ but no one else is in the room
where it happens ♪ alexander went to washington's doorstep one day ♪ ♪ thom of thomas clay ♪ i have nowhere else to turn ♪ and basically begged me to join ♪ ♪ i said i hate you but let's hear what he has to say ♪ ♪ and i raised a meeting are i raised the venue and the seating ♪ ♪ no one else was in the room where it happened ♪ ♪ the room where it happened ♪ the room where with it happened ♪ ♪ no one else was in the room where it happened ♪ ♪ the room where it happened ♪ we just assumed that it happens ♪ ♪ but no one else is in the room where it happens ♪
♪ mean while madison is grappling with the fact that not every issue can be settled with committee ♪ ♪ meanwhile ♪ congress is fighting over to where to put the capital, it isn't pretty ♪ ♪ then jefferson approaches with the dinner and madison responds with virginian insight ♪ ♪ maybe we could solve one problem with another and win the victory for the sounl southerners in other words, a quid pro quo ♪ ♪ wouldn't you like to work a little closer to home ♪ ♪ actually i would ♪ i propose the potomac ♪ and you'll provide the voets ♪ let's go ♪ no one else was in the room where it happens ♪ ♪ the the room where it happens ♪ ♪ no one elts was in the room where it haps happened ♪ ♪ no one elts was in the room where it happened ♪ ♪ my guys got to trust but we never really know what got discussed ♪ ♪ no one else was in the room when it happened ♪ ♪ and no one else was notice room where it happened ♪
♪ alexander hamilton ♪ what did he say to you to get you to sell your city down the river ♪ ♪ alexander hamilton ♪ or did you know even then it doesn't matter where you put the u.s. capital ♪ ♪ because we'll have the banks we're in the same spot ♪ ♪ you brought more than you gave ♪ ♪ and i wanted what i got. when you got skin in the game you stay in the game, but you hate for it, you get nothing if you wait for it, wait for it, wait for it, wait. to god help me, i want something that's going to outlive me. ♪ i wanna be in the room where it happens, in the room where it happens ♪ i wanna be in the room where it happens, the room where it i, i wanna be in the room where i, i, i wanna be in the room oh, oh, oh, i wanna be, i gotta be, i got to be, i got to be in the room, in that big old room ♪ hold your nose and close your
we want to be -- ♪ don't get to say what to trade away ♪ we dream about the starz ♪ what we dream in the dark for the >> in the room where it happens, i got to be in the room where it happens. i got to be -- i got to be oh, i got to be in the room where it happens. i got to be, i got to be, i got i wanna be in the room where it happens ♪ >> click boom. >> thank you so much. guys? one time, let's hear it for the students of cappa in philly.
>> singing about history. mr. vice-president, honored guests and supporters, and especially the young people here today, i have a message. history has its eyes on you. it's true that as general washington said in the song, that you have no control over who tells your story. but it's important that history and that of the other heroins and heroes of the revolution be told and of course that's what we're celebrating here today. you know, there are many stories of bravery on the battle field, in the eight long years of the american revolution. but there are many other stories of people not in combat but in support of the cause, the cause of the idea that became america. take martha washington. she would brave bad roads.
she was a prime hostage target. she had the brave diseases and discomforts of cold and poor rations to join the troops at camp not just the awful runner of valley forge but every winter of the long war. and she did it despite her very strong desire to stay home and tend to her mount vernon. but she did it because the general, as she called him, begged her to come. as my friend david has written that how important it was that george washington kept the army together. but he needed martha to do that. and he understood that she and her cadre of officers' wives were essential to troop morale as they came and cooked for the soldiers and prayed with the soldiers and nursed the soldiers and put on big entertainment for
them to keep them going through the long winters. it was a good thing that martha was around because george could sometimes be a little indiscreet. he danced for three hours with a young woman. morale was particularly hard in the year 1780. the british were winning on the battlefield, taking american cities, the french had not yet shown up. something had to be done for the soldiers. and one woman perhaps at the urging of martha washington decided she was the one to do it. esther reid understood that even as a woman in the 18th century, a woman with no political powers and no legal power, married women could not own property. the jewelry on their bodies belonged to their husbands. that when you got skin in the
game, you stay in the game but when you don't get a win unless you play in the game. so they penned the sentiments of an american woman. it was printed in newspapers up and down the coast. she called on the women of the country to make sacrifices for the army which defend our lives, our possessions, our liberties. now esther reid had only been an american woman for ten years shechlt came here married to joseph reid who by 1780 was the president -- or the governor of pennsylvania. you might like him called governor -- president, governor. you know tshgsz a nice title. and it was a hard adjustment. she wrote home to england saying i can not say that america is agreeable but soon she became an absolutely ardent patriot, arguing for independence as early as october of 1775. when war came and her husband
joined george washington's forces, esther and her four little children found themselves refugees running from place to place to escape the british. her former countryman, think of it, and disease was rampant. small pox claimed one of her babies. but she soon had another and then came home just long enough. just thinking about just getting through the day in the 18th century was very hard. she was not wore kbrried about herself shechlt was worried about the troops. she became publicly active in a way that a good citizen should. she organized the ladies association of pennsylvania where she was elected the leader. and then put together teams of women to go door to door around philadelphia and the suburbs, and to collect money for the troops. and the publicity about it
spurred women in other states to act as well. as the first lady of pennsylvania, she wrote to all the other first ladies in the states and asked them to start fund-raising drives for the troops as well. in fact, the only extant letter of martha jefferson we have because thomas jefferson burned all her letters, for which i could kill him again. [ laughter ] >> but the only one we have is her letter as the first lady of virginia asking the women of virginia to go to their rural churches and donate money for the troops so that they may have an opportunity of proving that they also participate in this virtuous feelings. in just a couple of weeks the women raised -- the women in philadelphia raised $300,000 and expected more from the other states to come in. it was almost equal to what robert morris had painstakingly raised to capitalize this bank. so, then she had a fight with general washington about how to
spend the money. he wanted it first, she wanted to do something more special for the troops. he was the general. after a series of intense letters, he won and shirts were made. and after that she was just shy of her 34th birthday, but disentry came raging through philadelphia and she succumbed to it. the council and the assembly adjourned for her funeral because she was such a noted personage. the business of the ladies association was taken up by sara frankly beige, and the women did what the general asked and made shirts, 2200 of them in one place for the troops. but just to show that it was something special from the women of america, every woman sewed her own name in the shirt so the
soldier knew there was a woman who cared about him, a citizen who cared about him, out there, grateful for the work that he was doing. and it tied them over, it kept them going until the battle field victory started to come in and the french finally arrived. they no longer criticized esther reid. if she stayed home and worried about her children and privately voiced her concerns about the troops, but that's not what she did. she decided to make a difference, to engage not only herself, but many other women in the effort to make a difference. she put skin in the game for her country, a country that would deprive her of political and legal rights. it's what joe biden has been doing for his entire adult life despite personal disasters and political disappointments, he stayed in the room where it happens, and he knows that
that's the room. [ applause ] that's the way you win at the game. that's the way you make a difference for your country. and that's what you young people are called upon to do as citizens of this great republic that our forefathers and mothers fought for on the battle field and in the public square over the centuries. it's my hope that this beautiful new museum helps inspire you to become those active involved citizens in this very great country because history has his eyes on you. [ applause ] >> announcer: please welcome vincent brown, the charles warren professor of history at harvard university.
[ applause ] >> thank you all for coming out today. it's a real incredible honor to be here. this museum has been a long time coming. it's startling to think we're only now dedicating a museum to the american revolution, but perhaps that's a good thing. too often museums are where history goes to die. people can be forgiven for thinking that anyway. yet history is commemorated and revered with complex events shrouded in sacred legends. legends are powerful. they can promote people to heroism, loyalty to a cause, high ideals and encouraged to carry them out. but they can be brittle, bent too sharply, challenged with too much contrary evidence and snap
and we're weaker for it. the history of revolution is and should be a living history. as alive in the aspirations of the present as it was in the dreams and deeds of the past. this kind of history is messy and contradictory. tragic and ironic as often as it is heroic. it also has the virtue of being closer to the truth. so, i'm grateful, deeply grateful to the curators of this exhibit for having the courage to tell that truth, to show us not only a proud story of national origin, but a multifaceted account of how one might have experienced a time of such turmoil, the dangers presented, the hope it offered, the uncertain outcomes of agonizing decisions. while there are momentous events to commemorate and men to revere according to custom, in this museum, american people are on
display and from the perspective of people, history is a predicament rather than a sequence of singular events to be glorified, memorialized and made sacred. this is a living exhibit, a rendering of the fraught and vex vexing nature of revolutionary times. from george washington's tent, we can imagine the tension he must have felt when making life and death decisions that would reverberate across the continent and indeed the world. when we see the shackles used to enslave and restrain a childlike perhaps those used to restrain washington's own slaves, we are reminded the nation did not stand for freedom for all, it would come to hold the largest slave population in the history of the world, and yet the revolution continued to inspire. we can turn our attention even if own briefly to harry washington. he escaped from mt. vernon and joined the british army where he found liberation from bondage, migrated to nova scotia and sierra lee own. 1800, he joined another
rebellion against the british in that african colony, and though it failed, he embodied an american spirit of revolution as certainly as george. 75 years after the declaration of independence, the great abolitionist frederick douglas famously asked, what to the slave is the 4th of july? his answer, an inspiration to overthrow the tierney of his day. to side with the right against the wrong, with the weak against the strong, with the oppressed against the oppressor, he said. here lies the merit of those revolutionaries and those that followed. like douglas, most americans are not content with origin stories. we have past struggles as our guide. when we see the american revolution in its own historical presence, we look not only on
the grandeur of long dead heroes, but men and women of all sorts, the losses as well as victories and the determination to turn those losses into lessons that would keep them fighting on. americans can be true to that path by recommitting ourselves for the time to come. taking this history as an inspiration, to make the united states the country we dream and need it to be. i for one feel very fortunate that this museum is alive right now to show a way. [ applause ] >> announcer: please welcome the chairman of the museum of the american revolution and the 17th chief of staff of the united states air force, general
john p. jumper. [ applause ] >> mr. vice-president, distinguished guests, gerry, marguerite and your family, the museum of the american revolution honors the courage, the sacrifice, the toil, and the blood of a generation who dared to fight the war for independence. they did so in a quest to found a nation dedicated to those self-evident values and truths that all people are created equal, and the conviction that citizens of our nation can and should govern themselves. now 242 years after the first shot was fired at concord, the museum will begin its work as an institution that preserves the stories and inspires generations of young people to embrace the
meaning of those truths. but as a museum, even as a new museum, we have our own story and our own heroes whose courage, toil and sacrifice made today possible. it is both my pleasure and my duty to thank and recognize them. first, our predecessor, the valley forge historical society founded by the reverend herbert burke and sustained by many dedicated and selfless people throughout the 20th century. thanks to them, we can present an unparalleled collection of artifacts presented in our museum. to the national park service, which gave up ownership of this land within the independence national historical park so that we could serve the millions who come here every year. to mr. robert stern who designed this landmark building and the skilled and trades men and workers in this city who built it. our highest thanks goes to our staff and to their families led by mike quin who would transform our organization into a full-grown institution, who has
overseen the construction, who received the remarkable exhibit program and assembled film makers, digital programmers and artists to bring this all to life for us. none of this would have been possible without the financial resources generously given by more than 11,000 donors, 11,000 donors, remarkable. [ applause ] not only from philadelphia, but from every state in the union. you will see the names of these major donors chiselled on the stone inside the wall here, inside the entrance of the museum. our deepest thanks go to each and every one of them. but today we reserve our lofty est admiration and deepest respect for the one man most responsible for bringing us to this place on this day, and that is gerry lenfest. [ applause ]
>> he is here with his wife marguerite and his family. gerry became the founding chairman in 2005, and although relinquishing that official position last december, he will forever remain that singular selfless power able to elevate the human spirit and inspire human endeavor. and to deliver this enduring tribute honoring the nation's struggle for independence. gerry, it is a privilege to follow you as chairman and it is a privilege to recognize you fok your selfless dedication and inspiring leadership. ladies and gentlemen, gerry lenfest. [ applause ] >> gerry just asked me to make a few comments on his behalf.
although it took many years for the museum of the american revolution to be brought to this nation, it is finally here, and we would like to thank all of those who contributed to its being. way to go, gerry. [ applause ] >> thank you, marguerite. thank you, gerry. >> well, it's now my duty to introduce our keynote speaker, former vice-president joe biden. >> i'm not sure what more i can say. you heard so much praise of him all absolutely true. but i do want to add that he is actually a son of pennsylvania, born in scranton. but at an early age his family undertook that hazardous
crossing of the delaware river. to settle in wilmington. there mr. biden successfully ran for and won a seat in the u.s. senate in 1972, becoming one of the youngest senators in american history, and that was just the beginning of a career of one of our nation's great public servants. he won election to the senate six terms and he was elected vice-president twice. ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the 47th vice-president of the united states of america, [cheering and applauding] >> thank you very much. ♪ >> thank you. thank you very, very much. you know, those of us who serve
in public office for sometime are accustomed to say it's an honor to be here. but this is truly an honor to be invited to participate today, and to follow such distinguished speakers. and i mean that sincerely. thank you. governor, it's a pleasure to see you again, and mr. mayor. thank you for the passport into philadelphia. and to all the distinguished guests. i was contemplating when i was flattered to be asked to, quote, keynote, and it will not be a long keynote. i was contemplating what i should talk about.
and i thought about what i think is the fundamental question. what is this museum intended to stand for? is it for our founders who lived the revolution, who gave their lives for the revolution? what were they attempting to do? what did they stand for? i think it's important that we answer that question because it's as relevant today as it was then. to paraphrase emerson's poem, what did the people hear when they heard that shot heard round the world? what was it that they heard? what was this experiment about? was it just about independence, a revolution for independence? i think it was about an idea, how to give life to a renaissance idea that a country
could actually be governed by its people, all of its people, its wealthy people, its poor people, its people who could read, who couldn't read, educated, uneducated. the revolutionary notion of the consent of the governed. it seems to me that ultimately why they say america was an idea, the idea that people could govern themselves, not a monarchy, not a governmental system that conferred power on the elite or the military or only the educated. an idea that ordinary people could do extraordinary things
given half a chance. it truly was a revolutionary idea, an idea that both startled, at the same time gave hope to the rest of the world. it's an american idea that i still think gives hope to the rest of the world. i have traveled almost every country in the world. in the last 40 years i've met every major world leader, without exception. why do they look at us the way they do? why are we still the most respected nation in the world? with all our faults and all the
mistakes we've made? our principals, our founders, it seems to me, it's been referenced already, again, what was a revolutionary idea, including the french revolution. we hold these truths self-evident. we hold these truths self-evident. there was nothing self-evident about that assertion when it was made. it says on the wall, all men are created equal, endowed by the creator.
we initially asserted that our rights do not come from a government. they come from the mere fact we're children of god. we exist, therefore, we have these rights. we need not ask anyone for any of the rights we possess. this new republic went on -- would not be defined by a single race or religion, but by those enalienable rights that to our founders were self-evident, and they thought self-executed.
but it took 13 years to give those asserted rights, 13 years to put these ideas into a document of governance, the constitution, the constitution that made our institutions the guarantor, not the deliverer of, but the guarantor of these enalienable rights. it was the vehicle that we constructed here in this city that would enshrine the principles we said we believed in. and unlike any other nation in the world -- and that is no hyperbole in that statement. like any other nation in the world, the united states is
uniquely a product of our political institutions. you cannot define an american by race, religion, ethnicity. you can only define an american by an intuitive commitment to the notion that all men are created equal, endowed by the creator, and guaranteed by that constitution. our constitution and our adherence to its principles are the reason why we remain the most respected, emulated, revered nation in the world, notwithstanding what you hear today from some others. we lead --
[ applause ] i was criticized, most times totally justifiable criticism -- [ laughter ] about 12 years ago when i said in a major speech that we lead the world not by the example of our power, but by the power of our example. that is not hyperbole. [ applause ] we lead the world by the power of our example.
there is nothing guaranteed about our democracy, though. nothing guaranteed about self-governance. there is no guarantee that we'll remain the greatest example of freedom and liberty and equality in the history of the world. no guarantee at all. we have to remind ourselves why we have been able to accomplish so much. how did we earn that respect? and how can we maintain it? just as the generation of revolutionaries before us did, just like every generation that's followed and will follow. but if you excuse the contemporary comment, the only way this nation can be governed with the consent of the people is we arrive at a consensus that requires a consensus.
it requires compromise. it requires reaching out. it requires sometimes overlooking. someone once said the truly wise parent, i would argue wise government, knows what to overlook as well as what to look at. politics today is pulling us apart at the seams. it's gotten worse. our politics has become too negative, too nasty, too petty, to personal. partisans are not looked at as opponents, but as enemies. we no longer just question the
judgment of our opponents. we spend more time questioning their motive, a very presumptuous thing to do. cokie has heard me say i learned a lesson early on as a young senator. i did not want to go to the senate because of an accident that occurred after i was elected, and a man named mike mansfield, a man who has more integrity in his little finger than most people have in his whole body, came to me and said, you owe it to your deceased wife and child to be sworn in 117, i think he said 12 had ever been sworn in. come stay six months. so, the day i was supposed to be sworn in, as mike cassel knows, i didn't show up, i stayed at the hospital. so he sent the secretary to the
hospital to swear me in. when i went down, i got an assignment. i thought every freshman senator got an assignment. once a week i'd show up and the majority of the leaders' office to report on the assignment i was given. it took me about three months to figure out all he was doing, god love him, as my mother would say, he was taking my pulse to see how i was doing. one day in the end of may following the tradition i had, which was to walk through those doors, double doors down in the well of the senate to check when the last vote would be so i knew which amtrak train i could take to get home to see my sons. and jesse helms, one of my mentors, teddy kennedy for the precursor for the americans with disabilities act.
he was talking about it's not government's obligation to care, deal with the handicap, et cetera. so i walked in and sat down before my meeting, and i guess i looked angry. and he said, what's the matter, joe? he spoke in clipped terms -- tone. and i said, that jesse helms and i went on to basically say he had no social redeeming value. i didn't understand how he could do what he was doing. he looked at me and said, joe, what would you tell me if i told you that jesse helms was reading the raleigh observer in their hometown of raleigh, north carolina and there was an advertisement for a young man with steel braces up to his hips with steel crutches saying, all i want for christmas is for someone to love me, what would you say if i told you they went and adopted that child? i said, i'd feel foolish. he said, well, they did, joe.
he said, i learned a long time ago everyone sent here was sent because their state found something good about them. it's your job to look for that. it's always appropriate to question a man or woman's judgment, but never their motive because you don't motive because you don't know it. ladies and gentlemen, all we do today is seem to question motive. we need to focus on the things that unite us. focus on what our founders understood, that there is nothing beyond our capability, beyond our capacity, nothing. focus on the model that was referenced by a previous speaker, out of one, many. that's who we are. we're no different. we're so different, but so similar.
in our aspirations. we have the cruisable, the constitution in which to make those aspirations sane. when we act as one america, we always do well. no matter who is in charge. rich, poor, middle class, black, white, asian, hispanic, gay, transgender. could have been generations of those who have only come recently. one america. even when it's not easy, which most of the time it's not. even with xenophobic attitudes, we have always eventually
stepped forward. we have always overcome. whether it's martin o'malley who i consider a great friend who was an incredible governor, he heard me say this before when he asked me to speak at fort mchenry's 200th anniversary. i think we're the only country in the world with an anthem, a national anthem that ends with a question. i don't think there is any other. i may be mistaken. i don't think there is any other anthem in the world that ends with a question. does that star spangled banner yet wave? that question and its implicit aspiration has echoed through every single perilous moment in
america and has helped us endure over the past two centuries. was it still waving 200 years ago at fort mchenry? was it waving 250 years ago when dawn's early light ripped apart by a civil war? was it waving down the beaches of normandie, in the mines of korea and the julian assange lz of vietnam, the streets of fallujah, the valley in afghanistan, was it still waving? was it waving over america when an american stood on the moon? our first responders to ground zero? was it waving when a weary president at gettysburg or a preacher with a dream at the lincoln memorial, does it waive over every embassy, every forward position, every ship, every man, every woman in the service of america? every firehouse, ballpark, town
and city in this great nation, in the front porches of my house and many of yours, waiting for their return. to state the obvious, thus far the resounding answer is yes. and it will now and forever wave but only if we hold on to it. because it's not the flag that we're waving. it's what lives within us. is it in our heart? do we really understand and mean what this museum is about to celebrate? in the heart of every american is the very idea of america. they don't even know it to articulate it that way. ask the average person when you leave here, go to lunch on the
street corner, why do you have the right to do a, b, c or d? they'll tell you, because the constitution says i can. and they have never even ever read the constitution. folks, it's important, not monument, but reminder we have to fight every day to remind ourselves how we got to where we are. and don't ever think that there is ever anything self-executing about democracy. in this museum, in every movement of every child that's going to walk through this door,
in the hand of a parent and believes that he or she can do anything. why? because we're american. why? because we hold these truths self-evident. why? because it's all about the consent of the governed. that's what makes us different. that's what makes us special. and that's why it's such an incredible honor to be able to stand here for the opening of this museum before so many of my fellow americans. god bless you all, and may god protect our troops. thank you.
thank you, vice president biden. now, will you please join me, general jumper and gerry and margaret for the ribbon cutting to opt doors to the museum of the american people to people from around the american revolution to people around the world. the philadelphia boys choir will perform america the beautiful while we cut the ribbon and take the official photograph. so please be patient a little. and thank you all for coming. ♪ america
the mee seechl the american revolution in philadelphia. the museum's president and ceo michael quinn and collections and exhibitions vice president scott stephenson will introduce artifacts and exhibits throughout the museum. hear stories about the american revolution and can you participate in the live prom with your phone calls and tweets. watch "american history tv" live from the museum of the american revolution thursday starting at 7:00 p.m. eastern on c-span3. >> c-span, where history unfolds daily. in 1979, c-span was created as a public service by america's cable television companies. it is brought to you today by your cable or satellite provider. >> join american history tv here on c-span3.
this thursday, july 6th, for a-program from the new museum of the american revolution in philadelphia. it opened in april. we'll be joined by top museum staff to learn about their artifacts and exhibits and they'll field your questions on the american revolution. next, a behind the scenes preview of the mee seuseum reco in 2015 when the building was under construction and the artifacts were in storage. >> when descendents of george washington's family put up for sale the tent that housed him in every campaign of the revolution, it was acquired by a minister in the valley forger are a and that launched the century of collecting. it also launched the idea of a museum to tell the entire story of the revolution. the collection of the museum are incomparable. they really have no fear, we have objects related to washington wch