tv Abraham Lincolns Life Legacy Roundtable CSPAN March 30, 2018 5:06pm-5:43pm EDT
on c-span's "q & a." american history tv was recently at ford's theatre in washington, d.c. next a panel featuring the symposium speakers discussing the 16th president's life, career and legacy. this is about 30 minutes. >> good afternoon. those of you who are interested in asking questions, thank you for hanging out this afternoon. we've had a splendid day of thought-provoking solutions. i'm very happy that i brought a lincoln to the land of lee. i'm also board member of the institute. thank you for sticking around today. you allli had a few minutes wit each of the folks up here to ask
questions earlier, but i know there is always a bunch more that you want to ask, which i had asked them this thing. so if you want to ask a question, we've got live mics only on this level. if you're up in the balcony, you'll need to join us down here. but please approach the mike, and because this is being recorded, speak into the mike, and we're interested in questions, not statements that are followed by the question, what did you think about my statement? so the floor is open. we've got 30 minutes, and if nobody shows up, i have a microphone. so i>> will ask questions. we've got our first question. >> for our first speaker, about the monitor. i did see some later pictures of the civil war with monitors with twong cheese boxes on the raft. and what i was wondering about wasee how many of those were there, for one thing, if there were two of them, and how did
they keep from shooting themselves? sooner or later, those tourists are going to turn the wrong direction. >> that is a very good question. there was actually a three-turreted monitor. it was the converted u.s.s. roanoke. what. i will say is that they dd do a lot of testing. >> i would hope. >> even on the original monitor, they would temonitor how far forward they could shoot on the monitors. that was not a problem anymore. there were a few on the waves up in brooklyn where the original was born. really, they were orchestrated. they had speaking tubes that, unlike the original monitor where the speaking tube didn't work, in the later ones they were able to communicate more
effectively. there ate were, in some cases, markings one of the the best two-turreted monitors i've seen, though, was done as a toy in the 1980s, and it was a two-sided pea shooter. just a little delightful thing on wheels. >> do you have any idea when those were manufactured? >> i know the first was it yanaii dabu. i knowow there was one with mor turrets in other countries, but i don't know the name of those. >> there were under 60 at the
time of the war. d i think that maximum was 67. >> mr. starr and our monitor expert here. with respect to lincoln's response to the monitor crisis and also stanton's response as well. >> well, stanton -- did he panic? if he didn't panic, he came close to panicking on that day, as did a lot of other people, because the confederate worship, t -- war ship, the virginia or the merrimac, whatever your preference, had just destroyed half a dozen ships and seemed it
could destroye half a dozen shs every day for the next few years and the union ship would be destroyed. he was also annoyed. he had be he and secretary wells of the navy had never gotten along and the war was falling down. we didn't have a ship down there face to face in hampton roads. it was on the way but it hadn't been there. so he, you know, in his typicale way, took things into his own hands. he decided that it was necessary to close the potomac river which they had just accidentally left with great difficulty reopened to commerce. went down to the navy yard, got on with a ship, went out, dumped rocks to try to close down the potomacc and strengthen the guards. he also took matters into his own hands, cornelius vanderbilt
in new york city and said, name your price to destroy the merrimac. heil and vanderbilt worked together on a ship that became the varndbuilt. sort of a reinpors md. here's the army building a war ship. so the ultimate, far better response was the -- he wasn't going to let wells continue, in his mind, to bum beble constant. >> speaking of gideon wells, one thing people aren't aware of is once the monitor was making its way through brooklyn down to hampton roads, she almost received orders to proceed directly to washington, d.c.e
in fact, there was a dispatch boat that was chasing the to intercept her, to divert her to washington, d.c. because of the an. a sform. that same storm almost sank monica on her way down. when they do arrive in hampton roads, they come to a. they countermandered those and said the best place to represent washington is right here. i don't have any real information on lincoln's exact reaction to the battle other than the fact that i think he was annoyed that stanton was peering out the curtains looking for the merrimac coming up the
potom potomac. the fact of the matter was, she probably wouldn't have made it past the -- >> this is what gid won. >> stage left. >> what did lincoln do about the soldiers? >> a lot of us could talk to that, but they instituted a dra draft. they created a system to require all men between the ages of, i think, 18 and 45 to register, and they were going to enlist them whether they wanted to volunteer or not.
and that encouraged men who were actuallyd thinking about it to volunteer. >> which followed the confederate christian act which came earlier. >> and there were a lot of people who were already in the military who did not want to go home and be subjected to the draft. these were evolunteers, so the stayed. but in the end, the draft only brought in t about 60,000 or 70,000 men, and some of them were not very good troops because they didn't want to be there. >> that bill is a direct result of the draft. but an indirect result is a lot of guys disappeared. i thin that's why the draft bill was. >> and some who didn't want to be in the army volunteered for
the navy because she thought it was safer. >> stage right. >> through our odd pair of circumstances,se i'm very good friends. we get into conversations about whatf until -- rereconstructio definition, i was wondering if any of you would care to spem lagss. had lincoln been in charge longer than johnson bho didnwho have the samequ cabinet. d >> i am often asked that question and i will give you my standard saanswer. historians do not speculate on what might happen. to follow up on that, having said that -- >> i'll let him get away with that. >> -- had lincoln been in es
charge, he would have been in control. if he would have perhaps compromised some with congress. after all, johnson was no help, he was an obstructionist and he was not lincoln. i think lincoln pretty much well could have been kept there, couldn't it? i wouldn't say it would be easier on the south, but he would have made thit in the sou, emancipation would have sustained in all of that. >> lincoln's. i do think as my -- that lincoln would have gone.
therefore, i think reconstruction would have been much more successful in establishing and. >> well, when i was a sued way backs in the dark ages, it was standard interpretation of the civil war construction that lincoln had proposed a moderate range of economic policies, and that andrew jock son was his kruse fire. then he got crucified by congressan and impeached and al. one of the april 7 surrender,
two daysys later lincoln offers new set of proposals. that is, black suffrage has to be part of the file. as i suggested earlier, he got murdered for suggesting that publicly. he had suggested that earlier to the governor of louisiana, as i mentioned in my talk, but that was in a private letter. so the notion that andrew johnson was only carrying out lincoln's policy only works if you think it was the other one he was trying to pursue. it's monstrously doubtful given the speech he made on april 11. >> yes, hello there. i'm wondering if you can contach on lincoln and his relationships with his siblings or not, and i
know hishe parents moved to indiana, i think, to get away from the slave state of kentucky. but maybe you can just contact on 2that. i've read differing accounts to his first 20 years in kentucky indiana, and how his relationship with blacks s and abolitionists. >> lincoln's parents belonged to a church that ban md, moved to indiana. in termed e because slifry. he wanted to move away from the state of kentucky to i.s he was definitely not an
abolitionist, he said he was non an abolitionist, but his democratic components. he has the same views as abolitionist. he wants to oppose slavery and he opposed slavery expansion, but he's going to allow slavery to remain in the south indefinitely. >> i was just going to say, and it's hard for us s to remember, but in these days the word abolitionist but we had more prison calling a person an abolitionist. very few people would raise
the their. so it's not only lincoln, but am i familiaro but i am not an abolitionist. opposed to slavery, but i am not an abolitionist. >> i think we need to make a difference between slavery and anti-abolitionist. politically speaking, we need to remind ourselves we don't have one form of government, he have state by the american people, i added the lion's share of the. so. he's leaving it alone because he has no power in those areas.
the question is, the front burner question in the 1850s is what power does congress have over slavery. >> importation of slaves and the question of whether slaves shou should. that was a a massive third railn politics politics. what i try to teach my class, one thing you see throughout lincoln's public career is trying to remind the american people the difference between personally laing on or.
as jane oaks put it in his fwoowhich is to say domestic institution of the united testates.it there's my statement. what do you think of it? >> i agree with the statement id terms of what the president constitutionally could do or what congress could w constitutionally do. but there were the garrisonian abolitionists, once again radicals, dissolved the union. dissolving the union means the u.s. army is not going to be able to back up the masters if there is a slavery result. their idea is it's going to be a massive slavery result. garrett smith, who is known as a radical political abolitionist, went by interpretation of the constitution that saidid the constitution does give congress and the president power to abolish slavery.
>> for a while. but then he changed his mind. all right. stage he left, -- stage left. to burn rich mord or kill or captour the cabinet. i i'm, to the extent they burned these orders,. i think i'm the one to write at least recently about all of this. dahlgren was the sign of the well-known admiral, so he was a person whom stanton knew and lincoln knew slightly, and so i come down that it's quite possible that he had kind of face to face discussions with
stanton and lincoln that weren't in the official orders but may well be in the so-called doaul d gr -- dahlgren papers. after the dahlgren raid, the confederates believes that they could retard the legislation.th if the government had any role in booth and the supporters, they did so because of the dahlgren raid. they viewed this as declaring up w war.r. >> the young woman just reminded me of something i've always wondered about. the union navy had a higher percentage of african-american sailors, 15% than the euunion ay
did soldiers. we now know that george washington's continental army was 3%s african-american. there was the whole regimen of rhode island i black troops by daniel's cousin. the navy, while it's more liberal during the war, after the war it bans them. did they look to precedenc of the war by independence, and then why did the navy completely separate itself after the war? >> that's a very good question. i'm not sure i have an answer for that. if anyone else wants to take it. >> i have a piece of an answer, which is the blacks had been serving in the navy, i don't know --r starting when, but the were a w passive part of the na whenck the civil war started. the black role in the navy was used as an argument as to why blacks should be allowed to
become soldiers, and during the war they do become soldiers. but it's not surprising, in a way, that the percentages were lower in the army than in the navy, because in a way the navy started a step ahead of the army at the outset of the civil war. the piece after the war, i don't know the answer to as to why the navy becomes a lily white institution after roosevelt. >> there was a quota before the war in relation to the navy, and it was not 11%, it was 4%. there were no commissioned officers in theo navy of color. there were people like robert smalls and others who were eventually taken in either navy reserve and others. in terms of the army itself, the accepted figures of commissioned officers in relation to that. a lot of them stayed in the army
rather than stayed in the navy. plus you always had the merchant marine, which even more than the navy, was integrated and there were officers of color s in ter of that.ar plus you always have the fourth factor s which stanton gave in . people of color were state militias which that had to be overturned in addition to having recruitment in the united states. i think someone asked about numbers and the draft.k the draft was done for two reasons. it was done to encourage enlistme enlistment, but black troops started to count toward state quotas. so that was anotherst inducemen for free man of color, particularly in the north, to enlist after 1863. so there were a lot of different factors going on, too, so i thought i would clarify that. >> the ohio governor, union
republican supporter, changed his mind about black enlistment was it would count towards ohio's quota. >> one thing that's missing from the film "glory" is the fact that massachusetts's 54th was highly composed of men from ohio who were not able to enlist because the governor would not allowly it. >> this is funny, you almost took my entire question but it's very closely related. my question, who had the most influence on lincoln in terms of accepting the idea that recruiting the black soldiers from various state regiments or otherwise was, you know, a practical idea for winning the civil war? when did he come to that realization even though he clearly wasn't an abolitionist. lincoln obviously came to the conclusion that, yes, this is a great idea. i'm going to put maybe 250,000
troops in the field. that could be the final element that might win the war. >> i don't think there is any way to measure just when that decision was made. we know when it was officially announced was with the final emancipation proclamation, and it's hard to know -- at least from my research -- who could be pointed to as the person who was most persuasive. but i'me willing to defer to m colleagues. >> i have a vague memory that it was generals, officers in the field who took the initiative. and this was before -- and lincoln told a couple of them they shouldn't do it, but it starts the ball rolling, i think., >> let me add a footnote to that. when the generals in the field start doing it -- walter, you can talk to this better than i -- but my recollection is they said, go ahead and do it but don'tth tell us.
>> i think this was true of louisiana where there was a general that wanted to use black troops. and at first ben butler, of all men, shut him down.e and then butler began to realizr that, you know, we're unable to defend new orleans without more troops, and the war department is not giving them to us. so, therefore, we'll give a signalan that they can bring lit that they can recruit these black troops, so they started recruiting them. >> i would say, coming back to the question of r responsibilit that even after the final emancipation proclamation calls for black troops, i think in lincoln's mind, it's still them proving themselves at places like fordes gibson. i think at that point, they've
realized what a force this can d be. you could credit the black troops themselves well. >> i do know that right after the fourth of july in 1862 after illinois governor yates soeb erd up a little bit, he wrote a letter to the president. harsher measures and to recruit all loyal men pm many. and i think the governor of massachusetts and some other governors would have chimed in to this and that would have added to his decision. >> we have time for one more question. >> not torc cut your own throat but asso historians of civil wa whatom research would you
personally like somebody else tn do, something you're really wishing was written but hasn't been written yet. >> i have one. >> well, this morning we heard a long discussion of the cabinet crisis which is based on the f ess enton papers which are in a loned library up in maine. i would love it if someone would go to maine and really mine that and create sort of the f ess endon letters version of the civil war. because i'veta done it kind of little bit for r it would be a tremendous resource i'll have a variety of other.rt >> currently i'm interested in what happened immediately after
war, and that's all the mess left in waterways. particularly in hampton roads you've got to do the research. i would love it if someone would delve into the army corps of engineers papers at the national archives. they did a comprehensive survey of all the cleanup after the war. >> a couple of lincoln-focused projects i would like to see done, first of all, identifying what lincoln wrote anonymously for illinoiss newspapers. i made a stab at it informally in the green monster, but it needs to be done more systemically and it's a project i hope to get to in the near future. another one which i hope to get the near future is to compile what lincoln said
according toth civil war g newspapers. because there's an awful lot of information from within civil war newspapers and washington correspondents reporting what lincoln said. i used a lot of that in the green monster but it needs to be systemically done and compiled in a way similar to what don and june farrenbached. it would be an electronic version so you could have lots and lots of footnotes to discuss why there is more plausible than that and the like. if i live long enough, i'm goino to get those done. >> michael, how about a new history of the civil war from the 1850s through the early reconstruction period? >> absolutely. a new history of illinois.on and this is the bicentennial of illinois's statehood. i'm on the faculty board of the
illinois university press. i am amazed there is not a new history of illinois since it was last done. i agree, that should be done. >> all right, that concludes this session and m we've got a presentation, i think, by mr. professor alan gelso that's next, if i'm not mistaken. thank you so much. stick around. tonight american history tv is in prime time. the abraham lincoln institute and ford's theatre society hosted a symposium on abraham lincoln's life, career and legacy.
including a discussion about president lincoln and his relations with his cabinet and congress in 1862. that's from university of new hampshire professor will harris. american history tv in prime time begins on 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span 3. this sunday, on "1968 america in turmoil." civil rights and race relations. senior lecturer kathleen cleaver and peniel joseph, author of "dark days bright nights" from dark power to barack obama. and of stokely, a life. watch "1968 america in turmoil" live sunday at 8:30 a.m. eastern on c-span's american journal, and on american history tv on
c-span 3. for nearly 20 years, "in depth" on booktv has featured the nation's best known n non-fiction writers. this session we're featuring fiction writers for our in depth fiction edition. join us with walter mosley. his most famous book is "down the river unto the sea." the next one was "devil in a blue dress" which was turned into a movie, and "gone fishin'." our fiction edition with walter mosley from noon to 3:00 p.m. eastern on booktv on c-span2. sunday night on q & a, high school students around the
country were in washington, d.c. for the annual united states senate youth program. we met with them at the historic mayflower hotel where they shared their thoughts about government and politics. >> i'm really passionate about daca. it's not fair that 170,000 men, women and children's lives lie in the balance because we could not find a solution. >> the notion that we're the only country in the world not in the paris climate accords is a travesty. every other country has taken time to address it, and we have not kept up with other countries. >> we are the richest nation in the world, yet we have citizens going bankrupt trying to cover basic health care costs, and i think that is an outrage and that we should be ashamed. >> sunday night at 8:00 eastern on c-span's "q & a."
monday on "landmark cases," griswold v. connecticut. planned parenthood challenged the connecticut law banning the use of birth control. they ruled the statute to be unconstitutional and established a right for privacy that's still gathering today. helen alvare, a law professor at george mason university and antonin scalia law school, and rachel rebouche, associate dean for research. we have sources on our website for background, a landmark katsz book, a link to landmark cases and "interactive instituticonst"
american history tv was recently in ford's theatre. next, walter stahr, author of "stanton." he talks about the role stanton played after lincoln's assassination. this is about 50 minutes. welcome back to our final speaker of the afternoon. for those of you who celebrate, happy st. patrick's day today. i'm