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tv   [untitled]  CSPAN  June 20, 2009 1:30pm-2:00pm EDT

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kennedy's response and obama's response to these issues they face. . . including students, job-seekers and small-business owners. due to the economic downturn and a 25% budget cut in the book budget of free library of philadelphia, we had to stop ordering new books in february, yet we still need to fill our
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shelves for 60,000 philadelphia school children to participate in our summer reading program. i encourage you to join the 10,000 books for children drive by donating funds, purchasing books from our wish list, or buying books from local retailers have and dropping them off at a designated library location. for more information, please visit tonight's guest has been called a genius of storytelling and a restless optimistic are dissatisfied times. book critic of the new yorker and professor of art history at columbia university, simon schama has presented 30 documentary's for the bbc and pbs including an international emmy award winner. mr. schama has won numerous journalism prizes including an award for history and the prize for literature, the national
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academy of arts and letters award and the national book critics circle award. he also loves to cook and we have seen a number of his recipes. his newest work, the american future: a history, looks at the presidential election from a historical perspective debating war, religion, race, and immigration, and the relationship between natural resources and prosperity. mr. schama examines these problems in the context of america's identity. before we bring mr. schama out, we will show you a short clip from his new documentary that shares the same name as his new book. ♪
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>> it was a hard american winter. a tough time for americans. but out there, beneath the ice, something big was stirring. an awakening of the unruly animal, american democracy. this presidential election isn't like other elections. people who live here felt the efforts -- first tremors of the political earthquake. it is not only a war gone bad, but an economy on the skids, and nationwide loss of faith in
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government that ignored the root of the republicans since the dismal aftermath of hurricane katrina. >> i promise you i will lead america in the twenty-first century and make you proud, i will restore your trust and confidence in government. >> that is what folks are saying, help us to believe in the american future again. >> 47! >> 49! >> in iowa, citizens going to the polls. it is odd, in a country obsessed with the news, the epic history is treated as a living, breathing thing. >> we are not recollection of
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this state's, we are the united states of america! we are running to believe again! >> it has never been more apparent than now. is there anyone america who doesn't call this collection historic? a candidate who doesn't reach out to history? i want to explore this haunting of the president by the past, i want to follow america deep into the conflicts of its history to understand what is at stake right now. ♪
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>> ladies and gentlemen, please welcome simon schama. [applause] >> hello. what a pleasure to be at the library of philadelphia. it is sort of redundant. and enslaved library is an oxymoron. tremble before the dewey decimal system. everything that succeeded it. in america, it is fantastic how
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libraries light the flame of insurrection. i remember being very moved by discovering that thomas jefferson, in order forestall his indignation about the tyranny of the exercise by george iii went to local library, and he would be deeply in the debate of the english civil war of the 1840s, cutting off the head of the king, and you imagine him looking at the debate and discourse and the steering parliamentary debates and thinking that could happen in the land of tepid tea, anything could happen in the american library. the library--the free library of philadelphia, i did want in this series to come to philadelphia, partly because one of the programs was called america further which is about religion.
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it was particularly about black african american religion. we have a choice between the spirit of preparation, which means savannah and philadelphia, and somehow savannah queen, the cheese steak, don't ask me why i know that. this project, a would-be and happy to answer questions about how the writing of these forms of kraft, which i believe they are, the book at the television project were born out of desperation and exhilaration. the desperation part is not a sense of the republic of the united states, i spent half of my life going to hell in a handbasket in 2006/2007, they look very much that way.
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the desperation was born of extreme frustration in the simplicity inflicted on inscription of the united states by many of my friends and opinion in europe and britain in particular which i was very close, the bbc. among those simplicity's, cowboy politics. the coastal positions, preferably in a bar and flying over the rest. it would be a long time before you find a bbc stringer in duluth. it is more fitting. some of the simplistic cowboy politics, american militarism, religion gets up my nose when it is described as evangelical right, and intensely important
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and noble part of american history, i speak as someone, rather -- jefferson, by the way, how many of you think of jefferson as an easy question? there will be an exam. i hope they told you that before they let you out. how many of you think jefferson believed jesus was the son of god? you are so clever. i gave you that so you could all feel good about yourself. he wrote on a platform, betsy, a bottle of burgundy, john adams, john adams, was his own lee atwater. what was his slogan in the election of 1800, it feels like just yesterday. what was the most damning slogan against jefferson?
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come on,s. who said god bless? you get half a bottle. it was the elections, adams ran on god or jefferson, or no god. jefferson did believe -- she was not a materialist, he was equally -- it was observed, the virgin birth, give me a break already. he denied any possible rationale. religion is a complicated process in the united states. above all, religion has been instrumental in the african-american community. both from the noble period of the antebellum slave churches through the right movement. you can't possibly think of the civil-rights movement having
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been affected without preaching and teaching around the corner. barack obama's involvement with the church, more generally, it wasn't surprising to me although it may have been unpalatable to my little friends to find that barack obama wants to continue george bush's policy of faith based initiatives, is in keeping with his sense, that is not necessarily a reactionary move. to cut a long story short, the desperation parts, trying to write a book that would explore stories with you, with the american public, but also try to educate out of these simplicity's. the biggest interest is they are in europe, a dispassionate way, as one of my friends said, the
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long, dark years of dubya, there are no medieval knights in north dakota. we call it harley-davidson riders. history doesn't play a part in the formation of contracts. one of the cleverest things, of the most misleading things to describe the united states, the united states of amnesia. the impression that history doesn't matter to the american people is derived by the mind numbing phenomenon of social
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studies textbooks. can we, philadelphia, famous for firebrand causes, tonight in this room, at this moment, launched a campaign to abolish the dreaded word social studies? yes! [applause] we are going to call it history! history is about flesh and blood, memory. beach blockbusters are another door stopper in the life of benjamin franklin. john adams, alexander hamilton, americans live and brief history. it is the supreme court to interpret the wish of the founding fathers every day. it is in fashion to make the constitution that living, breathing, organic thing, work.
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or the closest to the british -- who tried to educate his own countrymen in britain on the vitality of the enduring vitality, the precise difficulty that is always open to discussion, debate and interpretation of the constitution and sometimes when one listens to the historian in chief in the white house who can barely make a speech without invoking, somewhat mournfully, washington staring glumly at the ice fields when crossing the delaware at the inaugural speech, quite a moment for the folks, as freezing as we all were on that great story of the day. you sometimes have the impression that obama is getting supply from a crack cabinet. thomas jefferson and alexander
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hamilton and abraham lincoln would compulsively identify. the founding fathers debated what america was to become. the possibilities of america. america was founded as an act of separation from the misdemeanors and errors of the miserable old world, it would be a new thing in the world, a place in which you could become an american irrespective of fraud or origin port nation or class, simply by virtue of subscribing to the great democratic ideal of freedom, unless you were black, something that is now at last, that disingenuous hypocrisy has been exercised. there's a sense in which history matters in america.
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out of the crushing tyranny, the social studies curriculum text book. part ii of our campaign, there are subscription envelops, we all just abolished social studies, we are moving on to abolish a textbook, i hope no one from mcgraw-hill is here, you are out of a job. this sense, past and present, i said, rashly, when obama was beginning campaign, and not doing very well, long before the iowa caucus which you had just seen. the person who would win the election. commanded the best story, the narrative tells the american
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people why the american people need to be given back a sense of their story. the mother infected him -- benjamin franklin would have liked this kind of hippie who's said -- she said wonderfully, it is no picnic for me. how many of you read dreams for my father? so fantastic, doesn't feel -- he wasn't a bad politician when he wrote it. the house of law review.
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the thing that obama has, rough moment in american history. what he will have to preside over is it may not have the kind of terror and pain of a high street bank about to close its doors, but in the long term it will be a transition in america from henry lucid's grandiose idea of the omnipotent american history, someone who understands tough realities in the world, for example, that we can't go on squandering away natural resources, we understand america is becoming increasingly colored multi-cultural place in a way in which franklin, i was astonished to find franklin paranoid about the threat of the german threat.
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he was so obsessed with the excellence of the scottish-irish, the less composition -- the less english composition of the american people, and they fought germans were not ready to take upon themselves the citizenship. he was more worried about the swedes, which he described as tiny. who was looking at? the great sense of rhythm. i have no idea. barack obama has a sense of america's place and he needs to give us that sense of, is possible to remain an america and limits is not really an american word, it is a word we brush up against with a sense of unbecoming friction. jimmy carter was a wonderful president in some ways but he was absolutely hopeless at that.
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he didn't want to bring together american ingenuity and resourcefulness in the sense of sustained patriotic energy. he wanted to make a field sinful, a mischievous man, had a point when after listening to one of jimmy carter's 7 like her ranks on television, he said until last night i hadn't realized that god was a member of president carter's cabinet. there is a sense that the reason the title of the book is slightly skewed, the american future, "the american future: a history," at some schools, it was said to be a no-no to historians to project back from the present moment issues from the past, because of the way barack obama was, the historical stories he likes to tell, in
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american public culture, the first time i realized this was when i was young. in cambridge, i was having to teach. tuesday morning in 1967, i thought peter at villard in the morning and adlai stevenson in the afternoon. i was haunted by what they would have made of each other. they would not have gone for adlai stevenson. leaning out of the window, sweet old ladies came through in cambridge, and one said to the other, don't you just love history? it is so old. i appreciated this. it is old and young. this sort of cross fertilization
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in the present moment -- what one might do in those films, we are about to start shooting. there are follow-up films. if you don't find some of those words on that particular occasion, i very much doubt they will. before doing that, i worked for harold, this rather glorious days. a very reasonable roll. i work for at the occasional
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magazine, sometimes not. in a way, a good journalist in the first draft of history. i was lucky in life. goodness, how time flies. stand up and be counted. how long do i have? that sounds alarming. your life will expire in 3 minutes. two:59. eight:15. this skinny kid with the curly
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hair? there are 2 kind of history you can do. both of them in the light of history, going all the way back. in the nineteenth history, that gloaming -- a great one in oxford. there is no irony intended. it was thought of the contamination of history. a slightly egregious example, like the author of the water babies. since i have been shown charles
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dickens's desk upstairs. in the french revolution, he gets in his wheel barrow around the corner. this was a kind of bulger contamination. this kind of monck locked himself in the archives. then tuned in to the mysterious 5 that came out of the rose, historian's job, the objective presentation of archival material. editing was scholarship, interpretation was in the position of your subjective views between you and the surviving evidence of the past.
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the english historical review was the institutional expression on that view. now a different view survived in a funny way. that says there is no history without personal interpretation. history is not the record of every one. having completed something like that. history is, above all, ordering what does not count. i am feeling big for a second.
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he describes himself as a historian. what does that mean? what does the literature from the greek meaning? it doesn't mean -- it doesn't really mean story. the record -- it means inquiry. from the very first sentence, he turned -- with some disparity counted on. i rather love him for that. a wonderful way of describing
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him. he was writing the history of the war but in the greek version you begin with a big question. why did it happen? it is to that question that you deliver your ordering system and significant evidence. given that you cannot escape in the writing of history, personal, subjective interpretation, there's a kind of fantasy about history writing itself, the imagined purity of the archive. those who are historical interpreters carried on but they were always kind of distastefully regarded in universities but i was lucky. i had to teach with jack plumb his spend a lot of time in america, american heritage, some of the older among you may remember is beautiful writing. and he taught me that you were not really a historian unless you wrote for the public as well as academi


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