tv Horatio Batemans Recontruction Engraving CSPAN July 29, 2017 6:00pm-6:46pm EDT
i really appreciate it. had a great time today. thank you. [applause] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2017] >> you are watching american history tv, all weekend, every weekend on c-span3. to join the conversation like us cspanhistory. >> professor brook thomas talked about the imagery and context of horatio bateman's 1867 engraving called "reconstruction." the highly detailed work is a utopian allegory of how federal reconstruction programs will bring about the post-civil war reconciliation between the north and south, including civil rights for freedmen and voting rights for women. this talk was part of a symposium hosted by the u.s. capitol historical society.
ok, i themhomas: from the english department but i am going to for the first time in my life try to analyze a visual image. som out of my realm here, there with me. i'm going to go fast. so i'm going to talk about her ratio bateman's engravings that he did in 1867 called "reconstruction," and allegory for what reconstruction would make possible. you can see it is extremely competent it. it's very complicated. i will get into some of the details and explain. while i am not a visual person i do deal with allegories. what can we learn from this allegory?
as we all know only look at the past, we bring our hindsight. what i wanted to see about reconstruction was how someone and imagined it not knowing how reconstruction would end. in 1867, we have an image of should leadruction to. things were going so fast they would change over in 1868 -- the next year -- he writes a book to try to publicize and explain --t is going on in this john stevens was dead. what did he imagine? that is what he wanted to focus on. that is really important. was he utopian image of what reconstruction should lead to. that is one of the things we will focus on.
one of the debates today by historians is the term reconstruction. refer to just reconstruction as dealing with the southern states? did they need reconstruction or was this a greater reconstruction of the entire nation? we will at least see what bateman thought about that. in addition, we will see why we use the term reconstruction. we could have called it the restoration of the union or the new revolution. people at the time, for instance, in great britain, in their civil war, after the civil od known asad a peri restoration and that was followed by the glorious revolution. in the united states, people decided to call it reconstruction. what is the difference? they were returning it to its original condition.
is not juston restoring storing something. it is changing it, not on a completely new foundation, but in amended foundation. indeed wet term and will find bateman imagines reconstruction as far from revolutionary. we can say this is in part because he is going to see reconstruction from his image is ,rowing out of the basic fundamental principles of the united states. so, he is going to be endorsed by all of the great dead of the united states. we see this when he talks about restoration. he talks about how we need to have restoration of our fraternal affection. this imagines reconciliation and everyone getting behind reconstruction.
we know that not to be true. it didn't happen. but the fact that reconstruction utopianly occur by his ideal of racial equality, looking back on it, reconstruction is an unfinished revolution, but at the time it was important to recognize the people calling it revolutionary happened to be the people who wanted most to just restore the union as it was. that thesaid reconstruction act of 150 years ago was unconstitutional and revolutionary. bateman is saying no, it's not revolutionary. it was the opposite. you can see the top there. those are the figures. they are endorsing reconstruction. what is being reconstructed? it is the middle. notice there are straight
pillars and curved pillars and bateman explains that. this is the dome of the government. those are the state governments and under the articles of confederation alone we had these support -- what did the constitution have? curved pillars that represented the people. the constitution made one nation with the people sovereign, a major change. the foundation of free states prior to the war, they were founded on justice, liberty, and education. people started recognizing -- how do you talk about liberty and slavery in the same breath? it's contradictory. decidedsouthern states
they were only the foundation of slavery. what is reconstruction about? it is about the new foundation -- of justice, liberty, and education and that foundation will create 101 people. that is what he is trying to illustrate. they are the pillars. let's see how he considers this to be the u.s. government. at the top, in the senate, and there is the of the president and the supreme court and then we have the house of representatives. that is the government paying upheld by the structure. reconstruction being brought back into the
nation. if we blow this up a little -- i'm sorry -- we can see it is by racial everett. both blacks and whites are reconstructing the southern nation. he is imagining this in 67. the nation needs a freedmen's bureau. this is the freedmen's bureau, which will help africans americans -- african-americans one state. of that congress had passed the 14th needednt, even though it to be ratified and that leads to civil rights and civil rights, education is so crucial in the schoolyard. african-americans, children, and white together. that is the image of civil rights. it is more than civil rights. universal suffrage.
not only male suffrage. it's also women's suffrage. this is what reconstruction was going to bring about. and as i said, it was endorsed by all of the great people, about 200 of them in the nation, all interesting this. this is the figure of peace. figure of peace, of jesus. you can see the figures closest again -- lincoln, washington, andrew jackson. there is madison and john adams. in addition, you have another figure -- you all recognize
that. we know that this is justice because of the blind fold and the scales. justice, liberty, and peace. that gives this the endorsement. foundation --he all men are created equal. a blackve to create navy and a white navy. this is what reconstruction was supposed to bring about. it can answer questions about the greater reconstruction. right next to civil rights we have this where he calls it indian reconstruction. you will notice white and native down so nativeng americans will be part of that.
important his vision of reconstruction was. we can turn to the progress of civilization created by thomas campbell. civilization.f to the the image lifting vanishing native american. unfortunately, and native americans spanish and you see it even closer here with this low up. this is on the stump of a tree. the progress of civilization meant you had to get rid of the former. this is what bateman feels with indian reconstruction, we are not having vanishing native americans, but instead they will
be part of our new nation. it's more than the united states. there is a globe. bateman, there would be a model for the world. the globe. peas, justice, equality for the entire globe. we will be the model for that. what about this notion where these people of the dead are endorsing reconstruction? you see lincoln. you see washington. you see jackson. it's important to remember, they were political rivals, but here, they are coming together. so were jefferson and john adams political rivals, but here, together. that is calhoun, the great
defender of states rights, and , they areut notice almost shaking hands. this is actually going to be bringing people together. so this crucial image then brings us to a question we have heard a lot of people talking about the tragedy of reconstruction -- what was it? one of the best writers on , he says this about the treasury reconstruction. he says the tragedy of reconstruction is rooted in the imperative of healing and the imperative of justice. says, is aion, he noble and essential human impulse. unfortunately, south rick -- reconciliation was bought at the
price of racial justice. endorse racial freedom. that is probably a more utopian vision then out of the racial justice that he has. we can see that -- remember underneath the dome -- there are the people who are still alive. as they say, they could go on forever trying to talk about them. notice under the dome we have people shaking hands and embracing. of course you have to have lee and grants. everyone knows that they are shaking hands at appomattox. newspaperman,,
famous abolitionist, shaking hands with jefferson davis. we have a southern senator who, after calhoun died, became the most famous spokesperson for states rights, shaking hands with engine and wade, a radical republican. benjamin wade, radical republican. so they are going to get together. then we have john breckenridge, john breckenridge who had been the vice president under buchanan and then the democratic party split. there were northern and southerners. recommend was for the south. he represented the south. and he is shaking hands with benjamin butler. benjamin butler one of the most radical of radicals, one of the most hated people in the south. eight and is imagining them all shaking hands and endorsing reconstruction and it's not completely crazy. davis was in prison after the
war, after he was captured. who was the person who sprung for his bond to get him out of prison. horace greeley. this is actually some common ground. what about benjamin wade? born originally and france. this is after the napoleonic era. he was a radical republican in france. he opposed restoration of the monarchy area that is why he had to come to the united states. he was imprisoned for that. what about benjamin wade? he opposed -- he said a standing army is opposed to republican virtues, and therefore west point was closed and he was very worried about a standing army occupied in the south. they will be getting a chance to get the other. what about breckenridge -- when i first saw it, i thought, it's
impossible, it's crazy. it's true. may not knowe this, before the war was a democrat. in 1860 attended the democratic national convention. the first ballot he cast was for jefferson davis. davis dropped out and he continued to support breckenridge all the way through. go, why retrospect, we did that reconciliation fail? answer is that southerners in praise the lost cause rather than equal rights. that's far too simple. it is true, but it is far too simple. slavery andaving anti-slavery people shaking hands. you thought if we can bring them
together, we can have success. more is going on. one is the breakup of the anti-slavery coalition. many became republicans because of the issue of slavery. in the 1864 election, we often talk about reagan being republican. he did not run as a republican. johnson was not a republican. party.n on the union it was an anti-slavery coalition. after the war, many anti-slavery advocates ended up not supporting radical reconstruction. for instance, 1872, greeley, the abolitionist, was running against grant. how do we understand that and get back to bateman? one is to understand liberty. liberty is up there. liberty -- the most famous statement perhaps only go back
to the revolutionary war era is "give me liberty or give me death," right? that was patrick henry. he was a slave owner. liberty they were talking about is not emancipation. the labor they are talking about was independence from a central imperial power. eight men, of course, felt liberty -- bateman of course, felt liberty was emancipation. but not everyone in the united states saw it that way. he saw it as a contradiction, but need -- but people in the south saw different version of liberty. there is liberty. underneath liberty, we see -- what are those figures? independence hall. you guys can recognize that.
.nd then it is harder to see that is the bunker hill monument . that of course goes back to the revolutionary era and, indeed, hall, thece declaration of independence, and ,ith the bunker hill monument hall was called the cradle of liberty. abolitionist gave speeches there. for many, liberty meant independence. let's go back. look at justice. you all knew justice right away.
did you know that was liberty? this is what we think of today as liberty. none of the iconography there. what is that? cap.s the liberty what is the liberty cap? when a roman times, slave was emancipated, the slave was given a cap. so in emancipation, you see there liberty with the liberty cap. the liberty bowl. very much that liberty cap is crucial iconography.
cap there. but what do we have on top of the capital? on top of the capitol? right, right. it is freedom triumphant, which also is liberty armed. when this was first proposed and --was proposed in the 1850's notice what is on me arm there -- the liberty cap. the person who had veto power on top of the congress was jefferson davis, secretary of war. this is actually what we get.
knew this was highly publicized. one figure he gives is the and that is absolutely crucial for him. for bateman, emancipation follows the devotion to liberty. what is the alternative to bateman's vision of justice and liberty? -- liberty in the was now going to be threatened by military rule, which was necessary in the south into much concentration of power
in the national government. yes, liberty in emancipation, allwe cannot lose and have of that concentration with states rights and have the powers taken away from them -- and certainly not military rule. there is also the question of liberty as emancipation versus liberty as economic freedom. for instance, another great statement was "no taxation without representation." what does liberty actually mean? many different meanings of liberty. this was the republican party in a dilemma, in crisis. -- the republican party famous lawyer, novelist -- loyal republican, he said, are we the party of people's rights or the party of dimes in dollars? bateman said we can be both. if we go back, bateman's view is much more hamiltonian, which is
the republican party, then jeffersonian, which is the democratic party. the book published, he has to have some advertising. biographies ofis the 200 great men, we have advertising. they are fascinating to look at. it is something that jefferson would have been in favor of. we have the singer sewing machine. that is a good ad. good industry, and so forth. more revealing, who is next to lincoln? you can see this. he finds the absolute patron. floated more u.s. bonds
to support the war effort than anyone else. he was absolutely patriotic. the bankers were part of this. when you get to vanderbilt, it seems like he is one of the 200 men. we can see this -- we can see vanderbilt with the great railroads tycoon. this was part of the vision of a greater reconstruction. 1960 7 -- 1867 to 1869, the transcontinental railroad is finished, and talking about one nation, it united the nation. it is bringing things together. of railroads were going to be part of progress. they were, but this was a very
utopian vision. one of the problems with reconstruction was all of the that had to do with railroads. there was the panic of 1873. , they imaginede all of this could be together for the new united states. we could see this in the where this isa, less about racial issues, but more about economic issues. [indiscernible] , a wonderful progressive democrat, but he said reconstruction was not protecting the northeast and businesses acting as the republican party controlled the
nation very that's exactly true, but it is still there. notice with bateman's view, you could have them together. maybe there is some contradiction coming up here about what were some of the goals coming on. to thes goes back then talk about the tragedy preconstruction. the tragedy of reconstruction, is rooted inepeat, this american paradox. the imperative of healing and the imperative of justice could not cohabit the same house. what i am trying to suggest is there is not just one imperative of justice in our nation. liberty and justice can relate to one another in multiple ways. liberty emancipation? or did liberty's emancipation liberty of contract,
which is an economic issue? one thing that we are getting back onn -- as we look reconstruction, which sense of liberty and justice has priority? the nation has not yet answered that question. they have to explain why it makes perfect sense today to call let me give you one final image, from bateman about how evolution is sparked by the debate. this is from his book. what is next to thaddeus stevens it is an advertisement for the new journal, put out by susan b anthony called the revolution. for, awhat it is calling national party of the new .merica, part of reconstruction educating suffrage, not universal suffrage, but
educated. eight hour labor issue. practical education, part of the image. coldwater, that is temperance. paul could not subscribe. an american system of finance. think, tol be, as i just conclude, when we look back -- sorry, if we look back at statements engraving retrospectively, one thing i want to raise is the possibility that we think of reconstruction as prompting an ongoing, and still unresolved debate over how the legacy of slavery could imaginesw the nation' the relationship between liberty, justice, and peace. thank you. [applause]
someone is lining up for a question. lineup if you have a question. >> could you tell us a little more about bateman. was this engraving widely distributed? thomas: i wish anymore about bateman. -- knew more about him. i looked come i tracked down, there might be people, again, help me, i am not a historian, i read allegory. if people know, please help. i could not find, as i looked and looked, i did find -- i would love this to happen. there is someone named nicholas bateman. he was from new jersey and moved to illinois. he was a friend of lincoln. he became the horse man of illinois. he could be bateman's father. i don't know if it is true.
i would have to get back into the archive, get some grants and go find out. if you have some money. right now i don't know. i have looked around. historians have used this if -- image before. i cannot find anything. it is a work in progress. about the wide distribution, it was widely distributed, in the north. in new york, he had this coming out. the fact he has a whole book trying to publicize it. you have all of these important people hoping to advertise. it was much more, i would say, there were a lot of people who are really enthusiastic about it. they doesn't mean the whole nation was. obviously we would have a different country. tell me if you can find something about bateman. i will give you my you know. -- my email. yourt to detract from analysis of allegory, was there a key to tell you what these things meant? brook thomas: it is an bateman's
book. he says a, this -- that is this. as literary critics, we always know as dh lawrence said, trust the tail. i am trying to bring some things out, but indeed, he guided me. >> i have something exciting. you have a task. that independence hall is not independence hall. i don't know what it is, right? it might be really interesting for you, maybe he had -- maybe the typographer, whatever, they would be interesting. brook thomas: to be quite honest, that could be his mistake. readuld be mine, trying to where he has that a and b and so forth. does anyone recognize what that hall is? with the railroad? >> yes. [indiscernible]
brook thomas: everything here is united states. i mean here. he does not tension that. -- mention that. this would be helpful. nor do i. this is helpful. >> one last thing -- as you move ahead, the first thing that came to my head was extending this sphere.thie how a league of minorities pulled together through a new vision of union, where working to his allegory. brook thomas: that is very good. thank you. all of the help i can get. >> it is striking, the number of themes that pop up today with regards to the reconstruction discussion. suffrageof educated obviously played out in the last election. [laughter]
collect your thoughts. brook thomas: you said it, not me. >> i want your comment, you talk about this as the unresolved revolution. some the stark nature of of the opposites of these things, how would you pose some of the key issues, perhaps over racial reconstruction? how do we decide there is a legitimate other side to the discussion today? your deep thoughts would be appreciated. brook thomas: the more i look at reconstruction and the issues that it raise and bring to the foreground, one, we look at slavery and everyone in the country knows about slavery which occurred, and we should, and we need to pay attention. at the same time, people can say, we got rid of slavery, at least a large part. reconstruction leaves us with a
nagging reminder that we did not do a good job. i think that it one reason why when eric left, i was saying people didn't know about the construction, it was probably a willed lack of knowledge on the nation's part. the more i look at it, i see this raising some deep contradictions on our political ideals. on liberty, and equality. sumner said in a great speech, are we a nation? he said france has a quality. england has liberty. our task is to bring them together. i am not sure if the nation has ever learned how to fully bring the notion of liberty, especially when it eels with economic liberty as well together with the quality. i think we are living in those contradictions. but as i am talking about an ongoing debate. we will probably never completely resolve it. we will always debate it. one question will be, which side we come back more on? it is still with us.
>> i almost hate to asking question -- ask a question. the portraiton of where he shows the various opposites coming together, there are a lot of political opposites. does he, and his notes talk about the fact that he was also comparing in some instances, slave owners with people who did not own slaves? does the reference that in the notes? brook thomas: i think he is very self conscious about it. there are all sorts of things about this met, i think he is very self conscious. he had lincoln and washington. washington was a slaveholder. you had madison, monroe. >> and jackson and adams. brook thomas: exactly. he is aware of -- he is imagining that we can bring this together as a nation.
that is what was so utopian about it. there are all sorts of other things. some of the people up there -- columbus is up there. joan of arc, i think the only female is up there. john milton. it is a really fascinating view of one man's view of the country. >> i thank you for that talk, it was interesting. for -- rananton red for president, he did not say much, but he did say, let us have peace. that was the watchword for his campaign. by that he meant bring the sections together. bring the races together and so forth and so on. rosencrantz, who had been in the war thought it would be a good lee might robert e. say about the prospects for the union in the election and so forth.
so he met with lee and some other generals at white sulfur springs, convinced them to write a letter. lee, who signed the letter and was sort of the lead voice said yes, we are all for union again. we are all for bringing the country together again. what we don't want is black rule. i think that is what you are up against. encourage southerners who said, it is not going to happen. was one who:lee talked about the restoration of the union, not the reconstruction. this whole question of peace is to be crucial for the next talk. we are going to talk about what it meant to have peace in the military occupation of the same time. i think maybe it is time for us to take a break. thank you. [applause] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2017] >> interested in american
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