Skip to main content

tv   History Bookshelf Sarah Vowell Lafayette in the Somewhat United States  CSPAN  June 24, 2018 8:10am-9:01am EDT

8:10 am
one that trenches on identity grievance politics, which, of course, is everywhere and has infected everything. >> university of pennsylvania law school professor amy wax on the limits of free expression and united states. tonight on q&a. sarah vowel talks about her book, lafayette in the somewhat united states in which she looks , at the american revolution through the eyes of marquis lafayette. this was recorded at the national book festival at the walter washington convention center in washington, d.c. in 2016. it is about 45 minutes.
8:11 am
>> good afternoon, everyone. is -- my greatr pleasure to welcome all of you to the 2016 national book -- generously sponsored by wells fargo. we at the library of congress are thrilled to be resenting the national book festival for the 16th time. this terrific event would not be possible without the friends we , generouslying us supporting, like wells fargo. we are very appreciative of
8:12 am
that. more important, we would not be here, but for readers like all of you who support the authors, are interested in them and come out in droves. we are extremely excited. [applause] is inspiredfestival by journeys and the idea that a book is a voyage unto itself, taking us to places that we might not be able to see in person, but we can visit by reading about it. it gives us the opportunity to better understand our world and in particular why we are here today celebrating histories and biography, so reading to us is that ideal form of travel and it is really the best way for us to develop and encourage and grow our mind. in addition to the other presentations, we have other
8:13 am
events. will take the opportunity to visit the lower level of the convention center, where we have lots of family activities. we have sponsors, aarp, wells fargo and also have the library of congress pavilion where i encourage you to visit us and learn more about your national library. learn all about the wonderful things that we're doing at the library of congress to make our treasures available to you whether you visit us in person or online. so, we have a great lineup. i don't want to take up too much time. i hope you will welcome our , mr. present her carlos lozada, the associate editor and non- fiction book critic for the washington post. i invite him to introduce our first speaker. thank you very much and enjoy your day. [applause].
8:14 am
>> good afternoon. welcome to the 2016 national book festival. my name is carlos lozada. i review nonfiction for the "washington post", which is a charter sponsor of the festival. thanks again to the library of congress, which has hosted the festival for 16 years as well as festival cochair and many sponsors that make the events possible. i've never met sarah bell personally until right now, but maybe like a lot of you i feel like i have known her forever, whether her work, her delightful books into the side alleys of american history and in the role that most excites my moody six-year-old daughter as the voice and soul of violets from the incredible's. sarah can basically do anything and make it seem effortless and funny and profound all at once. if you have not read her obituary of john ritter and tom landry, you're missing out.
8:15 am
we are here to talk about her book. she has written a history of hawaii, of the puritans, of presidential assassination sites and most recently a book on america's revolutionary bff. the marquis day lafayette. in her 2015 book, lafayette in the somewhat united states. there will be time for question after sarah speaks and c-span is covering that history and biography session, so be on your best behavior. sarah will sign books at 1:30 , so please get one. it is my huge fan boy pleasure to introduce sarah. [applause] >> hello, book lovers, people of c-span. i travelecently that
8:16 am
around the country so much, and i only meet people who read books. i don't know if you've watched the news for the last year or so, but i would like to say that i'm cool with that. [laughter, applause] vision oflittle america that i get from meeting all of you. so i'm feeling contemplative today. if you are watching this on television, we are here in washington, d.c. preciselyin this city half my life ago, 20 three years ago. i'll wait for a second for you to do the math. i know that's not your strong suit or mine. you have other nice qualities. 23 years ago, i arrived in the city on the train from montana.
8:17 am
my parents drove me to shelby, montana. i took the amtrak across north dakota. that took a while. i saw the buildings of luis i wanted to live here one day and did. i want across pennsylvania. i remember the conductor, we were passing the susquehanna river, and he said, get a load of this wonderland. i arrived in d.c. for my smithsonian internship, and i arafathe next day, yasir shook someone's hand -- the library of congress is sponsoring this event. when i was an intern at the , when i had the isbn
8:18 am
-- the archives of american art. that was the main one. italian american art history. i was saying earlier, for me as an author every time i get one , of my books and it comes in the mail the first time the time -- first thing i do is get the catalog number because, as we all know life is short and the library of congress is forever. so, take that, great britain. here thinking about when i was leaving home to come here i realize that is the story that i have been writing all of these years through so many books. it is always the story of the , and that isg home the story of our country.
8:19 am
i think earlier this year, t-bone burnett said a kid walks away from home with a song and nothing else, and conquers the world. whether it is theodore roosevelt leaving new york city to mourn his wife and mother and head out to north dakota, to be a cow man , and as one of the biographers said he was the only president kareninaread anna while on a three-day search for cattle thieves. or our friend abraham lincoln, who when he left springfield to come here as president and took the train to philadelphia to independence hall and he said that the political sentiments i entertain have been drawn from the sentiments, which were given to the world from this hall and he said that the goal of his presidency was to save the country invented there and he
8:20 am
added ominously, i would rather be assassinated on this spot than surrender it. obviously, the person who did assassinate him is another misfit who left home from baltimore. [laughter] >> and then i have written about new england missionaries who come to hawaii, like so many church folk of the early 19th century who saw the new map from expeditions like that up captain cook and resolved to spread the gospel to all of the places where cook sailors had spread the clap. [laughter] or to their forebears, the new england puritans such as the massachusetts bay colonists who unlike those hippies from tolymouth, were trying
8:21 am
convince the english government that they were not separating from the english and that they were going to america where they would remain as english as beheadings and even wrote a letter to charles the first in 1630, called a humble request in which they said they just wanted to remind the king that we shall be in our poor cottages in the wilderness, whereas in private, john winthrop, their leader, would tell them the opposite. we shall be as a city upon a hill. so, misfits leaving home. my latest misfit leaving home as a french teenager, marquis de lafayette. this book tells the story of him leaving home and his pregnant teenage wife to come to america to throw in with george washington's continental army . so i will read for a bit and , then i will take questions and
8:22 am
i wanted to read the section of america and his early time. then, i will read a little tangent about a heroic book seller to pander to the subject of the proceedings. [laughter] >> 1777, lafayette has absconded to america. he has purchased his own ship to come here. the queen of -- the king of france is trying to keep him home. his wife's family is trying to keep him at home because as i mentioned, she is pregnant. and once he makes it onto the ship he has purchased across the atlantic he starts sending his wife -- writing his wife adria these letters to try to explain why he has abandoned her. and their forthcoming child. i believe i say in the book that while history might be full of great fathers, recorded history
8:23 am
is not where to find them. [laughter] at sea, lafayette unveiled the grandeur of his mission to his wife, audrey, and attempted to include her in it. he wrote: i hope as a favor to me you will become a good american. she is a teenage french aristocrat from one of the most illustrious families in france. she lives in a mansion in paris when she is not living at the mansion in versailles. so asking her to become a good american is sort of baffling. he also wasn't really in a position to ask her any favors. nevertheless, he proclaimed to his wife, the welfare of america is intimately bound up with the happiness of humanity. she is going to become but -- become the deserving and sure refuge of virtue, of honesty, of tolerance, of equality and of a tranquil liberty. to establish such a forthright
8:24 am
dreamland of decency, who would not sign up to shoot a few thousand englishmen as long as mr. bean was not one of them. alas, from my end of history, from our end of history there is a big file cabinet blocking the view of the sweet natured republic lafayette foretold, and it is where the government keep the folders full of indian treaties, the chinese exclusion act, and nsa monitored electronic messages pertinent to national security, which is apparently all of them. including the one in which i asked my mom for advice on how to get a red stain out of couch upholstery. lafayette confided to his wife to offer my services to this intriguing republic. i bring to it only my frankness and my goodwill, no ambition, no self-interest in working for my glory. i work for their happiness.
8:25 am
disregarding the inherent contradictions of proclaiming his lack of ambition and self interest in the same sentence he reveals that obtaining glory was one of his two stated goals. he was an only child. [laughter] the phrase, coming as a friend, glows on the page because it turned out to be the truth. it's appropriate to deem lafayette for the casual cruelty with which he abandoned his family, rolled the eyes a bit at his retro quest for fame or envy his outlandish optimism, but none of that negates the fact he turned out to be the best friend america ever had and i'm not only referring to his youthful derring-do on battlefields up and down the eastern seaboard, i'm also referring to any number of his kindness is later on in assisting thomas jefferson, the united states minister to france in the 1780's in opening up
8:26 am
french markets to american goods. lafayette's lobbying procured nantucket whalers the contract to supply the whale oil that lit the streetlights of paris. because of lafayette, the city of lights glowed by new england's boiled blubber and to say thanks for getting them all the gig, nantucket rallied its milk cows to send him a giant wheel of cheese. [laughter] what is gratitude. that's so american, let's send the cheese to france. finally, after his two-month voyage on his ship, the victory, which he called floating on this dreary plain, they came ashore in charleston, around midnight
8:27 am
, june 13, 1777. waking up the households of major benjamin huger of the south carolina militia. and that's where they stayed and lafayette wrote later, i retired to rest that night rejoicing that i had at last attained the haven of my dream. he went on to gush the next morning was beautiful work -- was beautiful. everything around me was new to me. the room, the bed draped in delicate mosquito curtains, the black asserted to came to me -- black servants who came to me quietly to asked my command, the strange new beauty of the landscape outside my window, the luxury and vegetation all combined to produce a magical effect. in other words, it was a buggy swamp chock full of slaves. lafayette was in love. he and his men basically start
8:28 am
out and carriages, then by the they were walking to becamelphia to what independence hall, to announce, you know, here i am. he expected a warm welcome. recalled,, lafayette was peculiarly unfavorable to strangers. i don't really to that at all. the americans were displeased with the pretensions and disgusted with the conduct of many frenchmen. consequently he wrote the congress finally adopted the plan of not listening to any stranger. so when lafayette and his friends called the statehouse, one man shooed them away , snarling, it seems french officers have a great fancy to enter our service without being invited.
8:29 am
most of them, including lafayette, had been invited by american agents in france hence the throngs of irks some frenchmen who have been washed ashore for months expecting to be welcomed with rank and riches. also i should mention europe is uncharacteristically at peace and so all of these european officers, especially frenchmen, come over in droves wanting a job. and washington, who was always in need of men, wasn't excited about these particular men because he said they have no attachment nor ties to the country and he bemoans their ignorance of our language and he pointed out that american officers would be disgusted if foreigners were put over their heads. so that is what happened before lafayette arrived. this other french guy, a french wari am, you know a bigwig --'m
8:30 am
paraphrasing, a bigwig at louis xvi's court and i'm the greatest renowned authority on artillery in france, and what he was was a wine merchant's son who had maybe seen a few canons, but he shows up and said i deserve to be your artillery chief. so, it turns out that replacing the continental army's beloved chief artillery officer henry knox was not as easy and arbitrary as bewitched casting a second darren because henry knox was the revolution. born in boston in 1759 to irish immigrants, knox dropped out of school to support his mother and siblings after his father's death.
8:31 am
apprenticing at a bookbinder, and he eventually opened his own bookstore, the london bookstores. and after the course of action of 1774, this was really hard on pretty much all the colonists, but especially its merchants and especially knox as a bookseller. they closed the port and he could not get any of the books he was selling from england, and you know the colonists were , boycotting stuff from england anyway. so those acts, the intolerant acts, they were supposed to serve as a warning to all of the other colonies and meant to slap massachusetts into submission, but what happened was it further radicalized an already radicalized massachusetts, and rallied the other colonies to come to its material and political aid. so, henry knox, meanwhile, he royal governor's
8:32 am
daughter, lucy flager, great name, and he had joined a local militia of boston grenadier's, and then shots were fired in lexington and concord in 1775, so knox leaves his failing bookstore in the hands of his brother, throws in with the militia. then when washington is appointed the new commander-in-chief of the continental army, and he shows up, and he is telling the soldiers we should have no more sectional rivalries. we are all one country when privately he is writing to his crony back in virginia, these people are stupid, especially the massachusetts men. you know, it's still a work in progress. but then -- and at that time, you know, boston was under siege. the british had occupied the peninsula of boston, and their navy controlled the harbor and
8:33 am
they were resupplied the city with provision ship down from canada. these are the maps i am drawing in my mind. i just assume you can see them. so the patriots with -- the patriots had been surrounded, but they, to break this stalemate, they needed weapons and then they got the good news that ethan allen and benedict arnold and their people had captured fort ticonderoga where there were all of this artillery, canons and mortars and howitzers, you know, 300 miles away. and henry knox, the bookseller, he is like i think at this point 26, he goes up to washington and said how about i go get all of them weapons? [laughter] sarah: 300 miles away. washington is like yeah, sure, go ahead bookstore owner. , [laughter]
8:34 am
sarah: and he and he did it. , he and his brother, henry knox and his brother, set off for new york in november, i think it was, and by january they returned with 43 canons, 43 -- 14 mortars and two howitzers dragged across frozen rivers and over the snowy mountains by .xen on custom sleds this is the derivation of that old yankee proverb that if you can sell a book, you can move 60 tons of weaponry, 300 miles in winter. [laughter] and then, you know like washington like has all of this artillery on the hill and the british wake up and see all of these cannons pointing down at them, and they promptly hightail it to canada. and that's how henry knox became the chief artillery officer of the continental army. he got the actual cannon -- he
8:35 am
actually got the artillery, and then he trained and recruited all of the other artillery officers, so everybody liked him and thought he was doing a pretty good job, and so when this french guy shows up and said i'm your new artillery chief, there was a big flip out amongst the men and officers of the continental army. and so that is sort of the, you know, that is the environment that lafayette walked into. luckily the french guy had the decency to -- he and his force were crossing the delaware river and he drowned. the horse lived. [laughter] sarah: so everything was fine and then -- it is a win-win. [laughter] sarah: so that's what lafayette walked into. the thing is -- the reason that the colonists, especially their leadership, the congress and
8:36 am
washington and his highest ranking officers, are in this weird position with the french and these french noblemen, lafayette included is all they want to because they basically want what any self-respecting terrorist wants. they want to become a state-sponsored terrorist, and they are just waiting for the king of france to give them money ,and guns, and support, and his army, and is navy, and -- his navy, and that's how they won the war eventually. so, they take lafayette on because then franklin sends this letter, like -- again, i paraphrasing -- this kid is a am big deal, be nice to him. i haven't finished shaking down the french government, and so they make lafayette a major general. that's what he's called. he's basically a glorified intern. [laughter] sarah: until he proves himself, and then you know, so finally he
8:37 am
gets his commission, and a few days later he meets george washington, and you know, washington was 6'4" tall, and he historically makes a big impression on lafayette. lafayette was so starstruck when he meets washington, he wrote, "it was impossible to mistake for a moment his majestic figure and deportment, nor was he less distinguished by the noble affability of his manner, which -- his manner", which is a sweet memory, but it does get on my nerves how he needed tall people to make a good first impression. [laughter] sarah: unfortunately, because of a scheduling mishap we can't be at kareem abdul-jabbar's presentation next door, so i i am just going to go out on a limb and say everyone loves kareem abdul jabbar. [laughter] sarah: i do love kareem
8:38 am
abdul-jabbar. [laughter] sarah: so anyway, he he joins , up. washington, he slowly grows on washington because he is so gung ho. washington, the whole war, all of his men are deserting in droves, and here is this kid, this french kid who is like put me in, coach. [laughter] sarah: and when washington you know says okay, you can join my military family, which was lingo of the day to basically -- washington is saying you can become one of my minions like the way alexander hamilton was described as a member of washington's military family, but remember lafayette is a -- he was an orphan, and when washington said family he meant chummy minyan, but what lafayette heard was son. then you know hijinks ensue.
8:39 am
[laughter] sarah: so, i guess i will take some questions if you have them. there are these microphones set up here. yeah, let's get cracking. [laughter] >> hi, i was wondering when i read the book if you have seen the show hamilton and what you thought of the portrayal of lafayette? sarah: if you didn't hear that, the question was about hamilton. [laughter] [applause] have i seen hamilton and what do i think of the portrayal of lafayette? i have seen hamilton. i obviously love hamilton, even though there is so much hamilton in hamilton. and you know who would love the isayette in hamilton lafayette who was just a
8:40 am
publicity whore, and the fact that he is, you know, comes off so charming, and chivalrous, and such a good dancer with such wonderful hair. [laughter] sarah: lafayette was already going bald at 19. you know, the last time i saw it, there was an empty seat in front of me, and for some reason i just kept picturing lafayette in it. and he was, he would just have been swooning the whole time. it's interesting, though, like one thing about the show, especially because of the casting and the -- this wasn't your question, but i have been thinking about it later, lately, because people have some qualms about the founding fathers, especially the ones who owned other people, and there are some people lately who want to disregard all of their accomplishments, and i can understand that, but one way you
8:41 am
get past that is make washington black, which i am definitely doing next time. [laughter] sarah: such a good idea. we should have done that -- that should have been our original testing, -- casting washington , should have been black. yes. >> in today's i guess mass recording that goes on, everybody's lives is so archived, how do you think that will affect our look at today's events as a historian? how do you think that will change? sarah: everybody's lives today are so archived? >> right, just like with television, social media, everything is out there, and like very intimate thoughts are posted for everyone to see. how do you think that would affect your job as a historian looking back? or how would it change? sarah: i mean, i guess the nsa is archiving a lot of stuff, right?
8:42 am
i mean, my bread and butter in a lot of these books is letters, you know, like letters on paper that you have to put on white gloves to look at. i think if things are being saved, then that is good. and one thing about that i think will be of use to future historians things that are for , better or worse people nowadays are pretty forthcoming about everything. you know? like sometimes it's really hard to figure out like what washington was thinking. i mean, his wife burned up almost all of their letters upon his death, and they are a little cagey, and tactful, and they leave out private things because those are private. i guess one advantage of this world we live in, how people are documenting every omelette and aspect of their day. i'm guessing.
8:43 am
i'm not on social media, but i hear the jokes about it. i guess that would be helpful especially if you were some kind of social historian, where your job was to figure out what people ate. all you would have to go is like look at all these food blogs and , twitter, and everything, and you can see, you know, like oh, people like goat cheese. i don't know. [laughter] sarah: but i think because communication is so constant, there is maybe less of that grandeur, you know. if i -- george washington was painfully aware that everything he was doing was basically especially as president that he was inventing the presidency, so he wrote these letters with such care to -- he was writing to the person, writing to us, to prosperity and i don't really do that when i am e-mailing my
8:44 am
friend sherm. i think like with the letters because they were more formal, but also you have the best of these people, and maybe we are not always at our best in our electronic communication. i'm not. yes. >> hi, sarah. i'm with the american friends of lafayette. we are 400 strong. sarah: oh, you people. [laughter] >> yeah, thank you for bringing our hero to the forefront. i appreciate you very much. sarah: that's why i did it. [laughter] sarah: i would have done it for free. [laughter] >> we bought your book. so he sometimes -- lafayette is criticized for being -- doing things for the glory of it, not for the why, the reason, the purest reasons, but back in the 18th century, was that such a bad thing, doing it just for the glory? sarah: just for the glory? no, i don't think so. i mean, if we are going to condemn all historical figures who, you know accomplished their
8:45 am
, accomplishments because what they wanted was glory, that wipes out everyone, maybe mother teresa, but she got a lot of press too. [laughter] sarah: i mean, if you are doing good things i don't really care what your motives are that much. i mean, there is something about lafayette. he is such a boy. you know, i mean, he is 19 and, i mean, it is kind of bad form to abandon your pregnant teenage wife. >> there is that. sarah: so i cannot overlook those things. but i mean his glory, that was part of, this quest for glory was part of what fueled his accomplishments, and one of the reasons he was so valuable to washington and the american cause was that he was so gung ho, he was so brave. he, you know, didn't care about his own personal safety. when he was wounded at the battle of brandywine, he was supposed to be recuperating, but he, you know, gets up, wraps his
8:46 am
leg in a blanket, and rides back to the front. i mean, it kind of reminds you of what lincoln said about grant as like for washington he needed , him. he fought. so, all of that glory whoring had a very very practical outcome. you know it wasn't just that he , wanted the glory, and he certainly loved it, and when he came back as an old man in 1824, i mean, he just loved, it was a love fest for over a year of people talking about how much they loved him and so happy he was back. so yeah, he wanted glory, but he you know, as they say in , hamilton, immigrants, they get things done. [laughter] sarah: he got things done. his glory was based on achievement, based on spilled blood and sweat and the old college try. it wasn't like getting glory for , i don't know -- what do people
8:47 am
get glory for now? it has to do with twitter, i think. [laughter] sarah: not that that isn't an accomplishment, but you know what i mean. >> yes i do. , thank you very much. >> hi. sarah: hey there. >> you have written a lot about the historical folk heroes and also american rogues, and it seems like you tend to enjoy the life of the rogues more. sarah: the life of the what? >> the rogue. the rogue. going out on their own. >> history's bad boy or girl. i was wondering if you had a favorite. sarah: favorite about anyone i've written about? i mean, i do write about the misfits. i have this soft spot for a lot of them even unlikable ones maybe especially the unlikable
8:48 am
ones. i was i subscribed to the , digital "washington post" and i'm sure if you do, you have woken up to an e-mail from them as you do every morning that has said the headline was is she likable? i'm not sure who they were talking about. [laughter] sarah: but in my opinion, likable can be overrated and one of my favorite people to write about was roger williams who was a puritan theologian. likable already, right? [laughter] sarah: and he comes to boston to the massachusetts bay colony, and they offer him the job of being the minister in boston, which as puritan jobs go, that's the one you want, and he turned them down because basically he found them not puritanical enough, and they kicked him out of massachusetts, basically because they just wanted him to calm down about religion. the puritans wanted him to calm down about religion. [laughter]
8:49 am
sarah: and he is just this annoying person who is constantly haranguing them. and so they boot him out, and another misfit leaving home, he goes to rhode island, and founds rhode island and for a lot of non-hippie-dippie reasons basically establishes freedom of religion in rhode island. not because he thinks everyone's beliefs are valid, but because he believes pretty much everyone except for his wife is going to hell for what they believe, and maybe that should be punishment enough. and so everyone -- so rhode island becomes this sebastian of misfits, jews, baptists, quakers, you know, like roger williams. he thought the quakers had the right to live there. he spent -- one time he spent three days debating them to the extent that i think they wanted
8:50 am
to kill themselves, but meanwhile, you know back home in , massachusetts, quakers are actual being hanged on boston common. so, he is a very weird, unlikable, annoying person, but i found him sometimes hard to like, but easy to love. you know. so people can do great things , and maybe you don't want to have lunch with them. [laughter] [applause] sarah: yes, yeah? >> i love that reading the books for the history, and that i love the side trips you take like places like bruce springsteen's home and what you learned in all you delve into, and i was wondering if you are like writing people like lafayette and winthrop, do you know what their theme song would be? like do you get that in your mind? sarah: what their theme song
8:51 am
would be. >> if you could give them a theme song. sarah: i don't know about that, but generally the books has -- have theme songs for me. like, this one for some reason i always wanted to put on pete seeger's version of oh, shenandoah. it like just adheres to that passage i read, what lafayette thinks america is going to be like. there is something in the way he sees that song. that's the country they were trying to build. that is the one i would like to live in. when i was writing about the puritans, i had songs i would three always put on because they were leaving home, and they had these ideals, and one of them was the-- what was it, the mormon tabernacle choir's version of bound for the promised land. you know, there was chuck
8:52 am
berry's promised land and springsteen's promised land because it was all about, what they were doing was all about promise and the future. and it had this kind of biblical overtone. yeah. yes. >> hello. i love the dirt of history especially george washington. sarah: the dirt? is that what you said? >> yes. the dirt of history. george washington was a man of necessity. he was overall a marginal general. his men hated him. so, what influence did lafayette have on him? sarah: what influence did lafayette have on washington? >> yes. without lafayette, the battle of yorktown is a whole another story. sarah: i mean, i think -- for one thing lafayette just bucked up washington for most of the war. washington was about to get fired and sometimes for cause. lafayette was always on his side
8:53 am
know thesever, you , conspiracies arose to get rid of washington, lafayette was the one saying like, these people are idiots. you are one for the ages, so there is that. i think it was keeping washington going, and like washington keeping going was kind of the key to that war. like just his endurance, putting up with it, sticking it out, and so i think there was that influence. and also lafayette was a pretty fervent abolitionist. fervent abolitionist. he could have influenced washington's decision to have some of his own slaves -- washington to have some of his own slaves freed upon his death. there is thought about that, but i would say mostly it was moral support. i don't know if you have a friend like that who, whatever, when you are down, they are the ones who bucks you up, and i think that is who lafayette was for washington. i only have time for one question because someone else is coming in here next.
8:54 am
you, you two, which one of you thinks has the better question? [laughter] sarah: he says you have the better question, and that makes me want to hear his question, but you can ask me a question after. i just have to physically remove myself from this podium. ok yes? , >> you talked about lafayette coming back to america in 1824, could you tell a little bit about the reason why almost every city in america at that time name something after lafayette? what impact did he have on america that did that? sarah: yes, in fact, great question to end on. i made the right choice. [laughter] sarah: thank you. yes, when lafayette came back in 1824 and 1825, that 13 month victory lap around the country where he went to all of the states, that is the origin for how all of these states and not states, but cities and counties
8:55 am
and warships, and horses, and babies, and streets, and parks got named after lafayette. and i think, speaking in washington, dc, it is worth remembering that the most meaningful of any of these, no offense to lafayette ronald hubbard, is lafayette park across from the white house because this is kind of our capital of protest. this is where we the people go to yell at our president. i mean, i was kidding about lafayette being an only child, but one of the most only at says, we wille forget the context, but lafayette said i did not hesitate to be disagreeable to preserve my independence. and so i think lafayette park or lafayette square because it is also called embodies that spirit and even though we beat ourselves up in this country for how much bickering there is and
8:56 am
how we cannot get along, i think it, that is annoying and is alsosuming, but it the source of our greatness, and the fact that we have this place across the street from our head of government's house where people, as george hw bush said, would like beat those damn drums while i was trying to have dinner, i think this is something that we as a people and you and your city should be enormously proud of. and i think the fact that it is named after lafayette, i think, i think that would probably be to him his greatest honor. and i think it is too. good night. [applause]. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2018] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit]
8:57 am
announcer 1: you are watching "american history tv," 48 hours of american history every weekend on c-span3. follow us on twitter @ cspanhistory to keep up with our schedule and the latest history news. announcer 2: "american history tv" is on c-span3 every weekend featuring museum tours, archival films and programs on the presidency, the civil war and more. here is a clip from a recent program. >> what makes it worse is that we shall notn is, say presidential, not by the standards of the 19th century. it could be added he is extremely unpresidential.
8:58 am
why in fact would you be afraid to have him in control of the army? what would you think of saying a president of the united states who accused leading members of the congress of being guilty of treason, accused the congress of planning to annihilate, exterminate 8 million people in the south? what would you think of a president who has suffered more than andrew johnson? what would you think of a man who compared himself to jesus christ? what would you say of amanda said congress has no right to pass legislation because it was no quan course -- a body hanging on the edge of government pretending to be a congress of the united states? would you like to trust the army to someone like that? would you feel safe with someone like that? most republicans did not. that is one reason why in 1867 they tried to protect the
8:59 am
secretary of war. they tried to protect edwin stanton against this would be king, this caesar who would gladly annihilate his enemies and execute. announcer 2: you can watch this and other american history programs on our website where all of our video is archived. that is live now to gettysburg, pennsylvania for our second day of live coverage from the gettysburg college civil war institute annual conference. we will be here throughout the day with talks by scholars and authors. topics include the memoirs of s grant, edwin -- abraham lincoln and his relationship with his commanding generals. up first jonathan landing, a new york historical society postdoctoral fellow on desertion among u.s. colored troops.
9:00 am
this is live coverage on "american history tv" on c-span3. >> the 2018 and 2019 postdoctoral fellow at the new york historical society and the new school and assistant professor at weber state university. he received his phd from brown university in may 2018 and spent the past year teaching at to the lou college as the 2017, 2018 exchange equity hello. dr. landing is the recipient of the william holmes award and the two boys wells award -- dubois wells award. his current project examines the desertion, mutiny and court-martial trials of former slaves serving in the union army . looking at african-american soldiers who found military service offensive to their vi


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on