tv The Presidency Dwight D. Eisenhower the West CSPAN December 9, 2017 11:55am-12:41pm EST
enshrined in our constitution and our bill of rights. announcer: watch afterwards sunday night at 9:00 eastern on c-span twos book tv. n2's book tv. >> next, on the presidency, timothy rives explains how dwight d. eisenhower's upbringing and influence influenced his personal code of behavior. the 34th president was born in 1890, the year that the u.s. government declared the american frontier closed. mr. rives is the deputy director and supervisory archivist at the dwight d. eisenhower presidential library at the museum. this is 40 minutes. >> we are pleased to have our own tim rives here. it is our deputy director and supervisory archivist. he is my go-to guy for all information on archives and
records administration related questions. i rely on him greatly. he is here to speak to you today about the western influences on our beloved president dwight d. eisenhower. he is a graduate of wichita state and emporium state. he served in the united states for five years -- thank you for your service. tim is the author of many articles on a variety of subjects. i hope you enjoy our program today. please welcome with me, tim rives. [applause] >> x, everybody.
-- thanks, everybody. great to see such a nice turnout during the middle of the week. really appreciate it. we know the food has a large part in the attraction of these events, not just the wonderful speakers we attract. again thanks to the foundation , and the trust. all this started a couple years ago in 2015 because it was 125th anniversary of his birth. 1890, the year that he was born was the year that the frontier was declared closed. we did a number of programs looking at 125 years. i did one on the influence of the frontier on eisenhower's political thinking, imagination. i will include a little bit of that today. i really want to look at the three influences that developed here in abilene on eisenhower's young man. you can see traces throughout his life, his military career
, and his presidency. as you know we are right at the , matrix, the history of the old west, the legend of the old west, ground beneath this floor. -- floor was used to pasture between 1867 and 1870 one so they could fatten them for market before they were shipped out. just a couple hundred feet to your right, there was the chisholm trail. to your left was the boy hid home of eisenhower. eisenhower really did grow up at a very important center of old west history. from the beginning, he was aware of that history. i read an account by his brother, edgar. this is confirmed by a letter i ke wrote to a friend of his. he began meeting pulp western novels. he would take proceeds from the vegetables he sold from their family garden in order to buy those magazines and books. he mentioned a neighbor in his
autobiography. the home is no longer there. george dudley had at least claimed to have been a marshal under wild bill hickok. i think a lot of people probably made that claim during that time. period. eisenhower knew many people in abilene who lived in those years, and he really was not that far removed. the heyday of the cattle trade was 1967 to 1971. eisenhower was born in 1890. he was not a full generation behind the folks who lived that history, and many will still be here in abilene. not just the location of where he lived, but the places around town really had an influence on i think -- this was working a minute ago. now it does not want to advance
at all. i will keep going in hopes that it will. werehree influences on i his love of western novels and history and movies, a code of behavior that he learned, a code of the west, and the influence of the closing of the american frontier on his policy thinking. i'm going to try this again. in william, will you come up and fiddle with this while i do a song and dance? [laughter] >> but i can go right into the western novels. i mentioned this is something he began reading when he was just a boy. it continued through his army years and is presidency. there was always in attempt to play it down. especially once he became president. presidents have a
narrative very early that marks them -- thank you -- for the rest of their presidency. for eisenhower, the narrative was he is a good guy, a good manager, but all he really wants to do is play golf with his buddies and play bridge. he reads westerns and westerns are not terribly sophisticated. this is in contrast with someone like his successor, john f. kennedy. he was urbain, sophisticated, and jfk did not read westerns, by the way he read spy novels. , a superior literary form to the western. now we can hopefully move on. oh yeah, ike liked westerns. i think reading those westerns, he could relive that history that he witnessed as a boy and relive those conversations that he had with people like george dudley and others he mentioned in his book "at ease." it really did help him relax during world war ii. and the presidency -- in fact, he stressed that in
correspondence with people to say i hear you like to read westerns. he said i do, but it is so i can relax. what i really like his history and biographies. but others did not like the westerns, as i said. there were many letters. unfortunately, we do not have this letter from this particular writer. some of you may recognize him more quickly than others. but it was from hugh hefner, who had just founded a new magazine called ""playboy." he wrote sherman adams, who we as the chiefcribe of staff, and he said instead of having a president to is addicted to westerns, he said what we really need is a president who reads science fiction, as if science-fiction and spy novels are better than westerns. better reading.
westerns became a bit of a political liability. i am not sure how well you will be able to read it. the letter on the left is from the western writers of america, an organization that is still around. they wanted to raise the level of westerns. they reformed in 1953, when eisenhower took office. they wanted western writers to unite in terms of advocating better payment for themselves, and they even lobbied eisenhower for changes to a tax code that would have helped freelance writers. but it was clear from the beginning that some of the correspondence we have that they did want to use eisenhower, as a well-known lover of westerns, to their advantage. 1953, herote him in had not been in office very long. every year, they publish a compilation of short stories, and they wanted to dedicate their very first volume to dwight d. eisenhower, our kindest critic.
first of all, i do not know why they bothered to ask. i do not know if you need someone's permission to dedicate a book to them, but out of courtesy they wrote to the white house. eisenhower's secretary and knowledge -- acknowledged that usually come anytime they got letters like this, they were afraid it might look like a commercial endorsement. the blanket answer was no. but she said because of his interest of western stories, do you think the president would have any interest in this? and jim haggerty, the press wouldary, said no he not, because our enemies, our critics would use this against him. you can find letter after letter from the white house for someone -- where someone wants him to comment on his affection for western novels. the white house said no, back off because this could be used against us. here is an example of a letter to a citizen who read an article
somewhere that ike only read westerns, and shouldn't the president be reading something more important than a book about a guy on a horse? this letter also comes from sherman adams, eisenhower's special assistant. they said, this is based on some kind of facetious remarks that eisenhower made. what he really likes his -- is classical history and serious books on public policy. from the time he was a boy, classical history was his favorite. he is really the head of the field and how quickly he can grasp the new subject. so throughout that presidency, the white house had to push back on that image that he was a simpleminded western reader. personally, i feel so much of that is not just based on a bias towards that popular genre. there was a bias for many years against any western writing in general, no matter the quality. there were other well-known writers of the west that is the
, western united states, nothing good literary wise comes out of there. here you can see on this real level to eisenhower and his staff. but as he admitted, he had a friend named doug black. he was the president of the doubleday books and he would eventually publish his memoirs. they also published more westerns. douglas black sent boxes of westerns to ike regularly. eisenhower said thank you, and said i know, i have this habit of reading westerns continuously. one reason i like doing these programs so much is that we what we do here as a research library and archives. we have records in october of 1955, he was in colorado and had a heart attack and was hospitalized for a time. at fitzsimmons army hospital. during that time, he read 46 westerns in less than three weeks.
[laughter] >> i will show you the records in a minute. the last couple years of his life in late 1967 to 1969, his staff noted the titles of 206 westerns that he read. i like to poke a little fun at him and his staff. he might have read histories and biographies, but we do not have any list like this. you would evenhy keep such meticulous records, but i am thankful they did. this is from october 1955. i know you cannot read it. on the left is a cover sheet. bob scholes was an army general and an aide to eisenhower from 1947 until his death. he is writing one of the enlisted man on the staff. -- we need to ship the onesk, but only
that do not have a read a check, because those are the ones i he has not -- read. the ones that are not checked at up to 46. he would have read about 64 books during the three weeks. he was really reading westerns at a rapid rate. i really enjoyed this because correspondence, especially anne whitman, his secretary. when she would write someone a thank you note about the westerns, she would say what they would help him relieve his mind from. so we know during the berlin crisis in 1969, he was reading "the bushwhackers" by max brand. during a boring meeting and canada, he read another one. peter phil is not an actual person. he is what is called a house name. as him.ters would write it is the powder valley or powder river series. there are still writers writing
as peter phil. you can see when he met with khrushchev at an important meeting at can't david -- camp 1959, he goesin to afghanistan, he takes a book by lp homes. to relieve himself from the tedium, for deception like cliff deception byrt cliff ferrell. i'm trying to assemble as many of these as i can to correlate events and books because it is fun to see what he was reading when. favorite authors, we know this because of that great record from 1967 to 1969 of the 206 books you read during that time -- that he read during that time period. he graded the authors. his favorite is haycock's, who is not as well-known today. he wrote books that became well-known movies like "the wild
bunch." the sam peckinpah movie, and he wrote a short story called "the last stage to lawrenceburg." it became a very well known it iscalled stagecoach, what made john wayne a star. so he was of that caliber. he was considered the best of the writers in that genre, among the best of the western writers. and so eisenhower really had good taste in westerns no matter what other people thought about them. we have louis l'amour. frank o'rourke, peter dawson. l'amour is still in print. if you go to the western section in a barnes and noble, it is 80% his books. he has sold something like 330 million books. ronald reagan was a huge louis l'amour fan. in fact, he gave him the presidential medal of read on. that is how much he thought about him area -- about him.
max brand is this is one, interesting. he rates zane grove as no. at least for the books that he read at that time. who knows what actually drove these decisions, but apparently he told his staff these were the authors these are just a he likes. few book covers. you probably cannot even see that first one. that is "the wild bunch." books, they are in our holdings and we scanned the covers of the bunch of his actual books. i liked that one. "the smiling desperado" by max brand. " -- luke short was another favorite of eisenhower's, he also has a good reputation among writers, and "renegade guns," is interesting because it takes us into what he liked in a western and what he did not like. what he liked, his staff said, were books that included abilene and kansas.
what he really disliked were criticisms of the frontier army. this comes from a letter he wrote to the then president of the western writers association, a guy named tommy thompson who later produced a television show called "bonanza." after eisenhower became an honorary member of the western writers association after he left the white house, the certificate says it is for his reading of westerns, not his writing. given "renegade guns" wrote to complain about it to and his friend, saying you can probably read that the frontier army was a necessary force. all the people i knew in abilene said you needed the frontier army there as a counselor and someone to maintain order. but my favorite is that if there were any romantic subplots in the novel, he would drop it on the spot.
he said even in the history books, no goo . no mushy stuff for eisenhower. thought we would have a number of talk was is just for fun throughout this presentation. as i am sure most of you know, eisenhower was a very good athlete. he gained the attention of the national press when he was playing at west point during his sophomore year and got tackled in a game and that was the last thing he ever played. for a while, it threatened his commission. he could have been allowed to finish west point, but he would not have gone on to military service. you would think that would really bother him, but as he records again in that wonderful " at ease," this was his reaction. he said it is all right for me because i have always read about the argentine, where they have gauchos. maybe i will go down there and see the place and stay for two or three years. i thought it was interesting that his first reaction was i
will go to this place that was like the wild west. if this army thing does not work out. he is writing this from 50 years removed or more. man, orision as a young at least those plans. again, i would like to show off a little gem from the 26 million pages of documents we have. some of you probably recognize wild bill hickok. drawing, at a pencil nice letter was written to the president, i know you are from ckok wasld bill hil from, and here is a picture i drew of him. this goes back to the code that he carried. it is interesting. eisenhower had speechwriters. they would usually discuss what they want to talk about, and the writers would take it over and there was all kinds of back-and-forth. with eisenhower, there was probably more back-and-forth than usual. they would revise until the last minute.
one of his assistants wrote 30 for this talkech before the anti-defamation league in 1953, and at the last said no, that is ok, i will just speak. that is fairly early in his presidency and mccarthy was becoming a huge issue. joseph mccarthy as a senator from wisconsin, trying to find communist influence in government and communists in the government. eisenhower thought he is really ruining any sensible way we had communists in government. it was becoming more and more of a political liability because he was in his own party and was on the side of the republican party eisenhower had the most problems with. but he did not to talk about his opponents by name. he takes this opportunity for a nationally televised speech in front of the anti-defamation
league. in fact, lucille ball and desi arnaz were there, jackie robinson, it was a very big event. aboutates this story of while he was a boy, he lived in abilene, and the code of where if you had a disagreement with someone, you met them face-to-face. there was no character association. he said the bullet had to be in front. you could not sneak up on someone and surprise them the way that joe mccarthy obviously was. this was a lesson he took from abilene, he said. i found some other evidence of that. again another wonderful item , from our holdings. this is a message from george c marshall to eisenhower. the allied expeditionary force, of which i was a supreme commander. you can see formerly classified, top secret. down in the second paragraph, this is at a time in the war where the relationship with russia, which had never been warm and fuzzy, was now becoming cold and prickly. the cold war was beginning to
start. marshall says you have to deal with stalin by using main street abilene style. was fromnder if this conversations he had had with eisenhower about the code of the west or abilene code, or from knowing ike was from that part of the country, he used it. but i think it is interesting that it shows up in his military career as well is that speech that he wrote. but i had my doubts, and one reason i had my doubts was because in that speech, when he said if you do not know wild bill hickok, you should read your westerns more, not your history. some historians still dispute if there was an unwritten code of the west that people really followed. i thought well, maybe ike was just for membrane this because he had read so many westerns, but then i found a clipping from the abilene chronicle, 1871, from the time that wild bill
hickok was marshaled. there was a gunfight on 1st street. it started. one man apparently drew his revolver and the other guy said wait, that is not fair. i have not drawn mine yet. you need to re-holster. when he did so, the other guy put out his gun and shot him. they shot each other a couple of times and nobody died, but the paper editorializes what a heard that man was, and refers to a code of honor that you play fairly, and do not sneak up on someone like that and shoot them from behind or to -- trick them somehow into holster and their weapon. so in abilene when hickok was , here, they were talking about this code of honor, this code of the west. , -- o him one for westerne got it from fiction. that leads us to another. how was wild bill hickok killed? anybody?
it violates the code of the west. he was shot in the back of the head at a poker game in 1876. there were elements to do not want a lawman anywhere near the game or any other activities going on at deadwood. so they encouraged mccall to assassinate hickok. they said he would be acquitted, which he was in his first trial, but then the u.s. attorneys got a hold of him, and he was eventually convicted and hanged. the judge said why did you not shoot him from the front? he said because i did not want to commit suicide. so he violated the code of the west and went up and shot bill hickok from behind. another quiz. i really like this one. it is reported to have been his favorite western movie. there are a lot of them. this was the second movie he
watched after he moved into the white house area it was "high noon," which is a great movie, if you have never seen it. the movie is 90 minutes. there is a famous song, which whitman said ike would walk around the white house whistling. he really got a kick out of it. more items from our holdings -- it is 1955 and he is at home recuperating. he gets a letter from dimitri, who wrote "do not forsake me, oh my darling." a russian immigrant wrote this cowboy song. he had a special recording made for ike in a number of different languages -- i do not know if you can read those or not. australianow how differs from english, but there
is an australian version of "do not forsake me." theink this takes us to third influence, although maybe poker, because we will say that for another program because he learned poker in abilene as well. at the closing of the frontier, in 1890, that was the same year the census bureau declared the frontier was gone. it really had to do -- it was the census bureau making that proclamation because it had to do with density of population. the west is so populated now that you cannot really speak of their being any more of a frontier. in a couple of years, there was a famous essay in circulation called the significance of the frontier in american history, from frederick jackson turner. he said the end of the frontier is not just this era of land, it is the end of the first era of american history. the frontier was truly responsible for all of these
american traits of individualism and self-reliance. it had created a rough democracy where if you could somehow scratch your living out of the west, that gave you economic independence, which gave new political independence. what are we going to do now that the basis for all of those freedoms is no longer there? there was a lot of debate of where we would go as a country since the frontier was gone. you would also your a lot about the idea of a safety valve and that the west was a safety valve. if you had a lot of immigrants coming, they could go west. as they used to say go west, , young man. if there was a recession in the four -- if there was a recession four -- or if there was a recession in the east, factory workers could go to the west. it was a safety net and safety valve. it was a social safety net. so again, they were very concerned about the consequences. it was psychological as much as anything. it is also interesting to note that one of the first films that thomas edison did had a western aspect to it.
it is like as soon as the west was gone, there was nostalgia for it. west was gone, there were fears about where we go next? so frederick jackson turner and others associated with the progressive movement in the early 19th century. they said the new basis to guarantee our political independence, economic independence, and some sort of safety valve would be an administrative state in expanding government. you see things like direct election of senators, a lot of political reforms, and instead of the safety valve of land, you would have some kind of social safety net, social security or welfare. however you would like to describe it. that was a direct result of that land disappearing. fdr, in particular. we also said the frontier had been a natural regulator for not just unemployment, but also business. when you have infinite square miles of land, he did not matter if you cleared forest within
sight or if you strip mined every mountain range. there was always more, you could always keep moving west, it was inexhaustible. once they realized it was finite, they knew you had to take some kind of measures so that people can reasonably use these resources. so you saw more and more regulations for what had once been a natural regulation. general hugh johnson was beheaded the national recovery administration. one of the early new deal agencies. he was a friend of eisenhower's. in his diary, eisenhower said he admired johnson the most of all new deal leaders, and the nra program as the most effective. and this national recovery administration that was designed was the political replacement of the frontier. you see that intersection between the old west part of the frontier and what was happening politically. republicans were very excited, even though eisenhower never really was that close to the more conservative wing of his party. the old guard -- but the
republicans, when he was elected, had a house, senate and , white house for the first time in 20 years area they thought this is great because we can roll back all these new deal programs that we dislike so much. so during his presidency, eisenhower had a good friend -- maybe not a good friend -- but a friend, a general who spent most of world war ii in a japanese prisoner of war camp. -- chenowithwith had known each other in panama in the early 1920's. they used out all these fine heated debates. it started up again when he took office. his friend was against any kind of federal welfare at all. eisenhower in this paragraph describes to his friend why he is in favor of it, and he cites that there is no more free land and untouched natural resources. since these are no longer here, the government has to play that role. that is why eisenhower tells his friend that he expanded social security to include another 10 million people.
so the again -- so again, there is an interesting connection between him and the old west and how that expresses itself politically. oh yes, you don't have pop quizzes without a final. we have another question. i am sure a lot of you know the answer to this. when eisenhower launched the d-day invasion and the night of june 5, went and talks to the men of the 115th airborne division. there was really nothing he could do until the first reports started coming back, saying how that initial party invasion was going. his aide recorded in his diary, he went back and found ike propped up in his bed reading a western. he stuck his head in the tent, and ike looked at him, lit a cigarette and went back to reading his western. there was nothing else he could do during that time. again, he was relying on that western to help relieve his mind in this time of tremendous stress.
again, just to wrap this up, those influences again -- that great love of popular culture continues through those years post president, where he was allowed to receive his honorary membership with the western writers, for being such a good reader of westerns. the abilene code was genuine. and of course, these interesting views on the frontier. this is something i really started thinking about, and there are probably more of these influences on ike. from thesomeone western part of the united states, but how if fueled his imagination. we have one final image, to show you how captivated he was by the old west -- that is the first inaugural parade in 1953, he is being lassoed by monte montana. he was not thrilled about and i'm sure the secret service was not either. that may have been one reason why he tried to play down the
western interest of president eisenhower. that is it for my part. i will be happy to take any questions. please use the microphones, since the program is being recorded today. i welcome any questions about ike and the west and any other eisenhower questions. if i cannot answer, we have other staff members that can. thank you. [applause] >> considering that most people ranked the virginian very highly, did he reject it because the virginian had a thing for the schoolmarm? >> we know that he read it. it is on one of the list of books he read. that rate is a really good point. western novels really show up after the frontier disappears. in many ways, they kind of reaffirm those values that are associated with the frontier. some critics, some students of western novels see them as a reaction to the closing of the frontier as well. again, there was a big
psychological element to that. so the virginian is the prototypical western and did include a love interest. it clearly did not make his list of favorite authors. maybe that has something to do with it. yes sir? >> did he ever wear western boots? >> the question is did he ever wear western boots? we know some of his boots -- i do not think you wore them regularly. what he did wear as well as president johnson, president truman, he had a hat called a stetson open road. it is like a short rim cowboy hat. you will see many pictures of him wearing that hat. i do not know if he considered himself a cowboy. again, his naval aide harry butcher records and his diary that ike told him he had been a cow puncher, a farmhand and a
semi-professional baseball player. as well as a mechanic at a creamery. so at least he still has that identification with the west. the wearing of western apparel was fairly modest. >> did he have favorite western tv programs? >> did he have a favorite western tv program? that is another good point. in the 1950's, 17 of the top 25 nielsen programs were westerns and of the top 10 programs were seven westerns. the popular culture of the 1950's was dominated by the western. the only one i heard him talk about, at least in what i have seen in his correspondence, is "bonanza." he thought the characters were truest to the west, which is an interesting comment because it was changing in the 1960's. as in a lot of literature and movies, antiheroes were becoming more popular and westerns.
dustin hoffman, little big man, things like that. eisenhower did like the more traditional depictions of the west. he liked "bonanza" because of that. >> forces were still used in the calvary. was he, himself, a competent horseman? >> well, he was at west point. they were all trained in the calvary. one thing that aggravated his knee injury from when he was injured playing football were what they called monkey drills. going off and on the horse. he was told he could never be in the calvary because of that injury. of course, he had horses here, he had a horse in panama called blackie, whom he adored. it is interesting the number of pages he devotes to blackie in that book. and he also had horses in retirement, and raised at his
retirement home in gettysburg angus cattle. so he was still a bit of a westerner and a stockman throughout his life. >> how are you doing, folks? just kind of a note here, the last two or three years, i've been on a quest to see as many presidential museums as i can. this is the fourth one for me. i usually read and not a biography beforehand. the best way is to try not to do it in one day. i realize now, stay at least a night. but i just read this biography by jean edward smith? maybe it prompts this question, maybe it is too daring of a question. i wondered if mamie also liked westerns? >> are you trying to set me up? [laughter] >> i have seen a record of that, there are pictures of her on horseback in world war ii, but nothing in the record about her taste in literature. sir? >> >> what did his parents do?
were they ranchers, farmers, businessmen? >> the family arrived in 1878. they were largely south of here in hope, kansas. there was a short time in denison, texas where he was born, where his father was a self-imposed exile after his general store had failed in hope. i mean, the family had a number cultural background, -- agricultural background, but ike's father did not want to be a farmer. he went to college for a year in compton, kansas where he met ike's mother, ida. that was really unusual for the time. he's studying lascaux subjects, he studied engineering. he worked at bell springs creamery. he was an engineer and had taken a correspondence course to learn how to be an engineer. he worked with the pension fund. the co brown company. ike's mother was a homemaker.
she taught the boys -- without any daughters to help -- she taught the boys to do things around the house like cooking and cleaning, which they otherwise would not have learned. ike really enjoyed that, especially the cooking part, and remained an avid cook. he liked cooking outside in preparing big meals were his friends. a lot of people in that time period, the united states was transitioning from an agriculture economy to a more industrialized one. you can see in that transition that eisenhower's family is leaving the farm and moving to a small city like abilene is part of that greater transformation. and if there is anything else? here is another one. >> is there any evidence of him reading the dime novels that were famous during the western time? >> you know what, i think he alludes to that. in 1967, a friend of his centum sends him a wild bill hickok
dime novel. he replies, i must have read this back in abilene as a boy. and because of the cost, you could buy some of those for a nickel, and with the little bit of money that he had at the time, that was probably more likely the kind of thing he was buying. i am sure his reading did start with those very sensationalized accounts of the west. that hereferenced later did like those that were more historically minded, that were at least plausible and took place in a real location. max brand's books do not. they were in this mythical west, and eisenhower preferred real locations with more plausible plots that some of the writers might present. well, i think that will do it. thanks again. [applause]
>> you are watching american history tv, 48 hours of american history every weekend on c-span3. forow us on twitter information on our schedule and to keep up with the latest history news. back toe time i came the district or shortly thereafter, both of my uncles were sent to prison. they were convicted -- one of them was convicted of sexual assault and the other was armed robbery. for the part of my childhood that i can remember, it was my mother, my two sisters -- or two sisters, my grandmother, and my cousins on the house on 13th street. >> sunday night on c-span q&a, tiffany wright, senior associate at the law offices of wilmer
hale, talks about growing up in washington dc and her time as a clerk for supreme court justice sonja sotomayor. is very small. if you are a viable candidate, you went to a great school, you have impressive people willing to speak up for you in the way of recommendation letters. of a veryfor one small number of judges that worked for the court, and for a person of culler or african american or let you know to get into that pool, there are so many obstacles to that -- it becomes a real problem. , because thert prospect of a diverse walkways important. i feel like i saw something that because of my life experience that somebody else did not the. >> q&a, sunday night at 8:00 eastern on c-span.
>> this weekend on american history tv, yale university historian joanne freeman talks about her lifelong interest in the founding father alexander hamilton, and what she discovered in her research of his letters and writings. here is a preview. >> what was fascinating to me is that it was a real person to me on those pages. those are the things a person wrote over the course of a lifetime. as you would hear this evening, some of them are formal writings and reports, some of them are figures,o political some of them are two friends. some of them are informal memos. sometimes it is the things that do not seem official or formal that are the most interesting. reading those papers really did give me a sense of who he was as but as scott suggested, it has been about 35 or 40 years that i have been studying hamilton. knewof that time, nobody
who he was. no one had ever heard of hamilton. play,st, in light of the invited toting give lectures in different places. i would, computer and i said well, i have a lifetime of giving lectures about alexander hamilton. all of these lectures are premised on the idea that no one knows who he is. they all start with there is this guy, you have never heard of this guy before, but let me he isn who he is because significant in the early republic. this is a different universe now, so rather than wandering around telling people that you need to hear about this guy, i spent a lot of time saying he is not as great as you think he is. [laughter] >> watch the entire program tonight at 7 p.m. eastern. american history tv, only on c-span3. >> american history tv, panhandle
plains historical museum curator s discuss the origin of the american cowboy. he talks about the common myths and misconceptions caused by the iconic cowboy image from hollywood movies and dime novels. the kansas city public library hosted this hour-long event. , it is great to have everyone here tonight. it is a great crowd. like a festive, like atmosphere. i am glad. we have a great presentation for you tonight. my name is steve weaver, i work at the public affairs department here in the library. it will be my honor to introduce a guy i have gotten to know and really come to admire a lot here in the past few months, working with him. some of you may already have been through our new exhibit, open just under two weeks ago on the second floor in the map