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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  April 23, 2011 4:00pm-5:00pm EDT

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george's grandmother, so dorothy bush, the first president bush's mother. and the first president bush's mother said to her, so what do you do? you know, what's your story? and supposedly, laura bush was supposed to have responded, well, i read and i smoke. then there were questions how well did that go down with barbara bush? no one has ever said. i think it's probably fair to characterize it as, maybe -- maybe distant, maybe more cordial. certainly her -- barbara bush's relationship with her grandchildren is very warm. she sees them a lot, you know, still. yes, ma'am. >> i remember that when barbara bush first became first lady,
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some reporter asked her a question involving the name of eleanor roosevelt, you know, or you want to be like her, to which barbara bush replied something like, don't talk to me about eleanor roosevelt. my family -- and i've forgotten the rest of that. but i was kind of wondering what her family had against eleanor roosevelt, although i have my own opinions? ..
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>> if it was difficult for first lady bush to deal with her husband's failures, did she comment about her son, george bush, as president and his successes or failures? >> she said almost nothing for publication. i do know from some things that i've read, that she was very concerned about our involvement in iraq. and had real concerns about us going in and what was going to happen. but beyond that, she really hasn't said very much about this presidency. you all may remember there was that one incident early in his presidency where this is george w. bush was eating a pretzel.
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and he started to choke on it. she said that was payback for him having criticized your cooking. no, she's really not said very much about it. >> yes? >> we've heard a little bit about nancy reagan's circle of friends, but i don't recall hearing anything about barbara bush's circle of friends. >> i think she had a fair number that came to the white house. she was very careful about it and kept it very quiet. she certainly has a group of friends that he's had for a long time. and i'm blanking on the names of one of them in particular. but i, you know, they certainly were not -- they didn't have the glitz and glamour of any of nancy reagan's friends. but she was supported by numerous friends and, of course, the family.
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once again, i thank you very much. it's been my pleasure. [applause] >> you are watching 48 hours on nonfiction authors and books on c-span2's book tv. up next on booktv, harlow unger presents a history of the boston tea party which occurred on december 16, 1773. he reports that the demonstration against the collection of import duties by the british was composed mostly of smugglers and tax evader. mr. unger spoke and took audience questions for about an hour. >> there is nothing so easy as to persuade people that they are
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badly governed. those words were spoken by the brilliant 18th century massachusetts governor, thomas hutchinson. i'll tell you more about him later. let me tell you what else he said, because his words hold true today as much as they did then in 1774. governor hutchinson said that you can take the happiest and most comfortable people and use malicious, rhetorical skills to arose popular discontent with their government, their rulers, everything around them even themselves. this is one of the weaknesses, he said, these are his words. this is one the weaknesses of human nature, of which ambitious politicians make use up to serve their purposes. a year before he uttered those words, a group of boston rebel rousers had convinced americans that they were miserable.
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and quote hutchinson again, those who think they are miserable are so. despite all real evidence to the contrary. now i doubt if there's a single one of today's so-called tea party patriots who knows what the original tea party and tea party movement were about. far from being patriots, those original tea partyers were mostly smugglers. some of them among the wealthiest men in america. merchants, among them, john hancock. yes, the john hancock who's bold significant on the declaration of independence left his name with the word signature. long before he put his john hancock on the declaration of independence, he was arguably among -- ash blue the wealthiest merchant banker in america on top of boston speak with the
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hill and commanding view of the massachusetts landscape and seaskip. far from espousing individual liberty, hancock and his fellow merchants in new england governed their businesses and community with economic ruthlessness that often left their competitors homeless and penniless. like today's tea party movement, the colonial tea party had almost nothing to do with tea. tea was nothing more than a social beverage for wealthy women, men seldom drank it, and it ranked below ale and rum, the beverages that american women consumed most. the tea party movement that sparked the american revolution actually began 20 years earlier in the 1750s and '60s. when new england business leaders like today's tea partyers supported a costly
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government war. but refused to pay higher taxes to cover the cost of that war. the war had started in the early 1750s when over population in the east, especially the northeast, sent british settlers over the appalachian mountains into what was then french territory. new france. france at the time they claimed all of canada, the lands around the great lakes and the lands on either of the ohio and mississippi and mexico. in 1753, the governor sent a young major, named george washington. the governor of virginia sent
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him to fort duquesne that sat on the site of president day pittsburgh, before the steelers started playing football there. washington ordered the french to leave. he returned with troops and attacks. most americans don't know the story, but washington fired the first shot in what became the worlds first true world war. his attack on the french in the western pennsylvania wilderness grew into a global conflict that would last seven years and involve england, france, os -- ah ah -- australia, prust ya. the seven years war changed the map of the world, shifting national borders in europe, africa, india, and elsewhere.
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it leveled thousands of towns and villages in europe. killed or maims more than a million soldiers and civilians and bankrupted a dozen nations, including england and france. now member it started in britain's north american colonies. and the british government and british people naturally thought british subjects in british north america should share the cost of the war with their fellow citizens in britain. in fact, the government had raised property taxes so high in britain that farmers rioted in protest and demanded that americans pay their fair share of the war. so in 1764, the british government extented to the colonies a stamp tax that everyone in britain had been paying for more than o 70 years. it amounted next to nothing for the average citizen. a penny or two for a stamp
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attached to legal documents, publications, and the packages with nonessential products such as paying cards. the hardest tax were on members of three power special interest groups, they had them back then too. these three groups were the merchants, publishers, and lawyers. the merchants had to put a stamp on every purchase order, every bill of sale. publishers had to put a stamp on every newspaper, magazine, and lawyers had to put a stamp on every legal document, deeds, wills and such. two clever politically ambitious bostonnians, james otis jr. and samuel adams jr. they organized mobs of water front workers to protest the
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stamp tax. there were many of these workers left after the end of the seven year war. to win some public support for the protest, they called their activities under the banner of constitutional rights. they blamed that americans had no representation in parliament, and that for parliament to tax them without such representation was a violation of the british constitution. they were under the -- these mobs -- were under the secret pay of the merchant and newspaper publishers. adams and otis sent the mobs to terrorize britain's water front, they attacked tax collectors, bonder their homes, prevented ships from landing, gradually, they closed the water front and closed boston to almost all british ships. adams then wrote to political
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leaders in other coastal cities. he was absolutely filled with a fence of power. and he wanted to gain more. he convinced political leaders in other city to follow suit. he roared riot and gained a national representation as a great revolutionary ruler. merchants stopped importing british goods. within months britain experters absorbed huge financial losses. british trade fell by 50%. the british merchants and experters demanded that parliament repeal the tarp tax in america to restore trade relations. in 1765, they did just that and turned sam adams and james otis into heros in boston and america. just who were the heros? both were from wealthy families,
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and like many sons of wealthy new englanders, they were harvard graduates. well, we all make mistakes. if they had gone to yale, they would have behaved themselves, gone out and gotten decent jobs. [laughter] >> adams was the son of boston's largest brewer. you still see the names, but the current sam adams beer has nothing to do with the original brewery. his father died when sam was 36. until then, he was too lazy, now he had to take control of the brewery. he ran it into bankruptcy. he allowed the family mansion to deteriorate. he married, fathered two children, after the wife's death, the champion of liberty bought himself a slave and raised his children in object
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poverty. friends of his father found him an easy job as a city tax collector to ensure his earning enough to feed his children and his slave. within a short time, his ledgers showed a shortage of 8,000 pounds, representing tax moneys he had either failed to collect or had embezzled. and he was later convicted of embezzlement. as for otis, he was a young lawyer who felt deeply humiliated when the royal governor failed to appoint his father as chief justice of the colony because of a clear conflict of interest. young otis grew irrational, swearing to undermine the government in retaliation. >> i shall set the providence in flame, even if i die in the attempt, he shouted. as the anger festered, he edged towards insanity, wondering into
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a boston tavern to provoke a fight. an officer responded by clubbing him over the head. although he recovered from the physical wound, he drifted in and out of insanity for the rest of his life. at times he's poke his head out of the window and start firing into the park at unseen british enemies. one time he wandered into the state assembly, drew his sword and challenged the prime minister of england to come to boston and fight a duel. eventually friends tied him down in a chair and carried him to the insane asylum. despite his depravity and otis's insanity, the protest stamp act left them in command of a powerful force of thugs in boston. but the repeal of the stamp act
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left britain stick choking from economic problems. they remained bankrupt with a large army in america to protect without the financial support of the americans. a british chancellor, charles townsend, he was the equivalent of our secretary of treasury, came one the scheme to oppose the argument. he would no longer taxed americans, he would tax the goods. glass, lead, paints, paper, and tea. he reasoned that duties would be less painful for ordinary americans who could avoid paying them by simply using home made substitutes. farmers and their families, 95% of americans lived on farms, farmers and their families already produced most of their own clothes, their own pottery,
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wooden utensils, tools, and many of the other things they needed. the people most effected by import duties were the wealthy. who loved their beautiful british and european furniture and furnishings, their wines and fancy, gourmet food stuff. when the british imposed duties to pay for the war, the duties affected the richest colonials, not the poor or the middle classes. it affected those who were profiting most from the war, the ship owners, the merchants, the bankers. although the townsend act duties did not upset ordinary americans, they infuriated the rich merchants and ship owners who resolved to invade the taxes by smuggling. they didn't decide to smuggle because they were patriots. they decided to smuggle out of greed for profits. and the proof of their motives
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became evident to everyone when the british finally won the war against the french in north america. as british troops combed through the wreckage of french fortifications, they found that most of the french weapons had been smuggled through british naval blockades by the same new england ship owners who had been carrying military supplies to the british army. in other words the british subjects, the merchants were smuggling arms to both sides in the war. to the enemy as well as their own army. to cloak their treason, the smugglers transferred themselves into outspoken patriots, claiming they didn't oppose taxes as long as they had a vote in establishing tax laws. although that reads very well in today history book for children. their argument was nonsense. it was nonsense then, and it's nonsense now. few taxpayers in england had any
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representation in parliament. you couldn't vote if you didn't have -- if you didn't own property. and only one million of the nine million adult males in britain for entitled to vote. now fair or unfair the makeup of parliament didn't alter britain's need for money to pay for the war, or the obligation of every citizen to pay for the war, to pay taxes. the wealthiest of american colonist had profited hansomly from the war without paying for it's costs. when the same merchants began smuggling to evade taxes, the british government felt justified, fully justified in cracking down, still puffed up with pride from the triumph in the stamp act, they coaxed the merchants to sponsor another wave of protests. marching as they had before,
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adam's water front thugs swarmed through boston's streets, burning the homes of opponents and dragging those loyal to the legitimate government to what the thugs called a liberty tree. to be stripped, swabbed in scalding and covered with feathers and subjected to unmentional humiliations. adams is urging similar mobs formed in other cities. when british trooped marchs into boston, adams and the merchants retaliated by organizing a nationwide boycott of all british imports again. within a year, experts fell by 50% and as they had during the stamp act crisis, the british merchants forced parliament to repeal the townsend act to restore trade with america. unfortunately, parliament acted too slowly to avoid the boston
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massacre. the president's troops in boston streets had incensed the population that unruly elements turned the ripe code soldiers into targets first of insults, then snowballs, then stones, and other missiles. the troop of red coats finally retaliated and fired their rifles into a threatening mob one night, killing five civilians, all of them who turned out to be sam adam's thugs from the water front. nonetheless, it threatened to become a citywide riot and to recent a real civil war there, governor thomas hutchinson immediately ordered the officer and the soldiers involved in the incident jailed and brought to trial for murder. defending them were none other than the respected american lawyers, joe, quincy, and john adams. cousin of sam. near quincy or adams torres.
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they were all local farmers. and they voted unanimously to acquit the officer and four of the soldiers. they found the other two soldiers guilty of justifiable manslaughter, a little bit more than a misdemeanor. just as important though, the trial exposed the role of sam adams and james otis in siting the mob. and boston citizens decided they had enough of this. enough violence and enough sam adams and voted otis back to the assign asylum. the army command felt the same way. the troops had come to america to fight the enemies, not the enemies themselves, who were their own countryman. the army pulled out of boston and peace returned to boston and the rest of the colonies.
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the troubles bean britain and her colonist should have ended then and there with everyone living under the union jack. expect. expect for one tiny irritant that remained with the motherland. in repealing the townsend duties, a small group of angry parol -- parliamentarians decided they need to retain a symbol to tax all british subjects with or without their consent. although parliament had yielded to all of the demands of the americans, it's majority felt it had to retain at least one the townsend duties as a symbol of its authority. so it retained the smallest, most innocuous one, the one or tea. wow.
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what a colossal calculation. as i said before, tea was nothing more than a womans social americans. few americans drank even a cup of tea a day. the tax on tea was anything glib, about one tenth of a penny for a nine penny cup. as thomas hutchinson put it, a small spark was flamed and it would destroy a great empire and spark the rise of another from it's ashes. as you may have guess, even the small tea tax cut into the profits of america's largest tea importers. they resumed smugglers. british customs officialed tightened the enforcement.
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after the british seized one of john hancock's ships for nonpayment of duties, he reopened the cash draw to sam adams, they sent the thugs to vandalize and destroy the shops and homes of anyone who sold or drank imported tea from britain, or even reported by someone as having drunk some tea. so if your neighborhood hated you, he's just call knob over and say he's drinking british tea. and the house would be burned down. the tea boycott was spread to other new england port cities and down the atlantic coast to new york, philadelphia, charleston, it was the original tea party movement. it wasn't patriotic, and it wasn't pretty or glorious. the climax on thursday, december 16, 1773, just before christmas with the legendary boston tea
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party. and the dumping of about $1 million worth of british tea. the people who dumped them amounted to about six or seven dozen, no one exactly how many. it was dark. many disguised themselves as indians. ironically, the white colonist who willingly slaughtered any american indian, they disguised themselves as indians. they said indians were a symbol of freedom, regardless of the phony symbolism, the participants in the boston tea party unleased a social upheaval that they would not be able to control. it unleased a reign on boston and on each other. mobs dumps and burned tea ships in new york, philadelphia,
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charleston, boston staged a second tea party a few months after the first one. the mobs booked no dissent. they burned the homes of anyone they suspected of favoring british rule and sent an imitation of the inquisition coach to the doors of citizens who dared voice support for their church, their king, their country, and their legitimate established government. the squeaky wooden tip cart arrived at dawn, it's driver breaking down doors and dragging shrieking victims from their beds for transport to the liberty tree. a mob always awaited them to strip them, tar and feather them, and hang them with a rope around their waste. there was no fight for liberty or independence. this was a civil war between
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british subjects over the extent of state authority and the rights of the individual. and independence did not end that conflict. the colonial tea party and those who supported them were essentially libertarians who had built businesses, carved out farms from the wilderness on their own, without government help, and they were not about to share profits of their labor with any government or any government tax collectors. and independents did not change matters. almost immediately after britain recognized our independence, farmers across the nation in massachusetts, new england, maryland, virginia, began rioting against government taxation. this time, taxation by their own elected governments in each state. it was the same conflict between the collective rights of the state, the authority of the state, versus the rights of the
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individual. : >> answered some of these questions. and calmed things down a bit. they erupted again into all-out civil war in the mid 19th century when many americans felt the federal government had usurped state and local powers. slavery was central to the civil war, but northerners tend to
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oversimplify the nature of that conflict. even americans who opposed slavery in the north as well as the south and supported emancipation recognized that the emancipation proclamation with all its good intentions also represented government confiscation of property. it's horrible to think of human beings as property, but they were. and the civil war didn't end that conflict. it flared up again during the civil rights movement in the 20th century when the federal government, essentially, usurped authority over education. and again during the vietnam war when the executive usurped authority to lead the nation to war. and the debate continues today with the emergence of a mood earn tea party -- of a modern tea party movement that is trying to halt and even reverse expanding government intrusion into our daily lives. the problem that tea partiers today face is that what one man
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defines as government intrusion, another man defines as an essential subsidy for the national economy. i'm sure that farmers, if you ask a farmer today or a highway engineer or an oil man, the definition of a boondoggle they're not going to saying a churl subsidies -- agricultural subsidy, the oil industry or subsidies for highway construction. we can only hope that the growing tea party movement today doesn't divide the nation and produce the conflict it did in the 18th century. at the time massachusetts' chief justice, peter oliver, described the horrors produced by the colonial tea party movement in his memoirs. the tarring and feathering and riots reigned uncontrolled.
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the liberty of the press was restrained by the very men who had been ha looing for liberty. those printers who were inclined to support government were threatened, their presses destroyed, and all this uproar arose from the selfish designs of the merchants. mock patriots who disguised their private views by mouthing it for liberty. but who were willing to sacrifice everything for money. the turmoil of the colonial tea party movement stripped tens of thousands of americans of their dignity, their homes, their properties and their birthrights. in the name of liberty and independence. nearly 100,000 americans left the lands of their forefathers forever in what was history's largest exodus of americans from america. and untold thousands who refused to leave their native land fled
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westward into the dangerous wilderness to start life anew under new identities. among those forced to flee to england and be buried in foreign soil was the last royal governor of massachusetts, thomas hutchinson, whose forebearers arrived in america in 1634 and included the great religious leader, ann hutchinson. he adored this country. it belonged to him as much as it did to sam adams, more so. he had served this country and its government and it wars. sam adams had never done that. before hutchinson died, he wrote these words: i am sometimes tempted to endeavor to forget that i am an american and to turn my views from my native -- to turn my views to what remains of life in the england. but my passion for my native
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country returns, and though i know not how to reason upon it, i feel a fondness to lay my bones in my native american soil. justice peter oliver, also from an old american family, also fled to england and lies buried there. george washington and other respected american leaders across the country condemned the boston tea partiers as vandals, and they might well have ended in jails and faded into obscurity had the british government not responded so rashly and so violently by sending troops back to boston. by quartering troops in private homes of loyalists as well as rebels, the british military command seemed to declare war against all americans, and that provoked almost the entire massachusetts citizenry into open rebellion.
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lexington followed with americans discovering the importance of the individual's right to bear arms. then came bunker hill, and that was followed by a declaration of independence by the massachusetts legislature. virginia followed suit after patrick henry's stirring call for liberty or death, and a declaration or war against britain. his call echoed across the continent and roused so many americans that on july 4, 1776, all 13 states declared independence from britain. and who were those original tea partiers? who were the men on those ships? who set off this explosion that sparked a revolution and helped bring down one 'em poi and -- empire and create another? who boarded those ships and dumped the tea in boston harbor? sam adams, hancock, at the time
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they swore never to reveal each other's names to prevent their arrest for treason and immediate death on the gallows. well, their names remained secret for decades after the tea party, but they're now listed in my new book. i believe the list will surprise you. one irony of the tea party, however, is that none of those who dumped tea into boston harbor rose to prominence in the government of the nation that emerged from the revolution, and that's because the kind of men who lead revolutions and destroy governments, the rogues in france, the sam adams' in america seldom have the qualities needed to organize and build a new government or nation. they never nurture. their instincts are to destroy, to kill. and a second irony of the revolution that the tea party
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sparked is that instead of eliminating taxation, it increased it 10,000 fold. suddenly, local governments had to pay for the cost of defense, law enforcement, postal services and all the other government services that the british government had paid for before independence. instead of paying a small, single duty on tea, massachusetts imposed huge duties on every product that passed through it ports and collected it. apart from the cost of the tea that was lost in the tea party, that was dumped overboard, the boston tea party was undoubtedly the most costly tea party in world history. thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen. [applause] i'll be happy to answer your questions. thank you. thank you very much. be happy to answer any questions, and the gentleman there will have a microphone for
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you to with be heard across the nation. and across the world. >> where did tar and feathering originate? >> what does -- >> where did it originate, in europe or the colonies? tar and feathering? >> oh, tar and feathering. oh, it originated here as far as i know. it was not a custom in england. yes, sir. >> harlow, was there any organized support in the colonies, any of the states, what you would call loyalists? >> organized support for? >> what you might call loyalists supporting the -- >> oh, yes. oh, across the nation at least one-third of the population were absolutely loyal subjects of britain.
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and in the debate over independence in the continental congress only days before the actual declaration of independence, john dickenson of philadelphia authored the olive branch petition to the king pledging our loyalty, american loyalty to the king, love of the king, love of being british subjects. and simply asking for him to control the parliament and let us raise our own taxes and keep parliament out of our business. had he accepted the olive branch petition, we'd probably have become a member of the british commonwealth. so there was tremendous amount of loyalty, and even loyalist forces, there was a major battle that's off not mentioned -- often not mentioned, and i don't know whether this is prejudice or what, but a major battle at
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moor's creek, north carolina, not far from wilmington. a british fleet was going to land soldiers at wilmington, and a loyalist army had formed inland and was marching towards the coast to join up with the british regulars. a force were rebels, but what we call patriots intercepted them and massacred them at moor's creek which is, there was a blind gulch where the rebels were waiting for them and wiped them out. and so without the loyalist support, the british troops couldn't land, and that kept the south free of british control for a few years until they landed at charleston. yes, sir. >> mr. you messaged -- yes, sir. >> you mentioned the boston tea party spread south into other cities. it almost sounds as though there
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were a network of people who were, had the same thought or being inspired one way or another or were working together. i never thought of the boston tea party as being that, but is that really -- >> yes. sam adams set up -- because there was no other form of communication in those days -- set up a series of committees of correspondence or instigated the formation of committees of correspondence in every major city in the country. and they started communicating with each other, and that's how word was passed. that's how we eventually decided on a continental congress for all of these committee members to meet in philadelphia and discuss independence. yes, ma'am. >> wasn't the tea party at greenwich, new jersey -- >> i'm sorry, i can't hear you. >> the tea party at greenwich,
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new jersey, wasn't that, didn't that happen before the boston tea party? >> which tea party? >> the one at greenwich, new jersey? >> no, afterwards. >> afterwards? >> yeah. that was another tea party. i didn't mention they dumped a tea ship at greenwich, new jersey, which most people have never heard of, and i must admit i never heard of it until i did research on this book. [laughter] but it's on the delaware river opposite philadelphia. yes, ma'am. >> could you talk about what sources you used for writing the book? are they new up withs or re-- new ones or reinterpretations? >> well, nothing is new, and the sources are almost endless, about the equivalent of three of those shelves over there. obviously, the diaries and writings of john adams, the writings of john adams are, i think, seven volumes and the
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diaries are four volumes. the writings of sam adams, the writings of thomas hutchinson. all these people were prolific writers, kept diaries and kept all correspondence. so it's a rich pool of research. yes, sir. >> all of this information you've disclosed, why was it dormant for so long? >> well, it's not dormant, it's there in bits and pieces. and the problem with american history, i think i can generalize all american history, but certainty the history -- certainly the history of the colonial and revolutionary war and postrevolutionary war era is that it's very complex. and as my son, when my son was
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about 14, he came home from school and said, you know something, dad? american history, all they do is talk. european history's a lot of action, but all they do is talk. well, he's right. and the talk is very complex on very, very complex issues that philosophers and political and just lay philosophers have been debating for many, many, many years. this involved enormously important con concepts that had implications for the entire world. the divine right of kings, the divine right of aristocrats. slavery itself. the rights of the individual. this was the age of enlightenment, and our revolution culminated the age of enlightenment in which these philosophers and authors and thinkers in the western world were debating the rights of the
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individual, what they call the natural rights of the individual. were all men born with equal rights? as opposed to the divine rights of kings. so these were very, very complicated issues. and to condense all of this thought into a history book this thick that an adolescent has to get through in 26 weeks or whatever the length of the school year is, it's impossible. it's impossible. so the authors of american history and especially the texts that most americans grow up studying have to condense it and make it really simplistic. yes, sir. >> have you started another project that you could -- have you started another project that you can relate to us now what you're writing, your next book, sir? >> yeah. bring on these other books. [laughter]
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my next book, actually, my next book is going to have a very, very small readership. it's about the french playright who was also a brilliant inventer, brilliant thinker, brilliant spy and a great libertarian. and he organized, he convinced the french king that by surreptitiously supporting the american revolution, the french could undermine and weaken their traditional enemy, britain, who had beaten the pants off of them in the seven years' war. and he was responsible for organizing the dummy corporations that in france that shipped surreptitiously shipped obsolete french arms -- they weren't obsolete over here, but they were obsolete in france -- shipped them over here surreptitiously to the american rebels and, indeed, he was
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responsible for the surprise victory at saratoga. the arms had arrived in portsmouth just in time, they were carried overland and he was about to beat us and suddenly this flow of arms came, and we were able to turn the war around. the book is called "the improbable patriot." but that, my next book directly on this period will come out in about a year, and it's called the seven pillars of power, and it's how george washington took this vague, vaguely-defined office, the presidency, and turned it into what many now call the imperial presidency. and he did this on his own. a lot of people credit hamilton, but it was he. it was george washington. yes, sir. >> you mentioned the name john hancock in connection with the boston tea party. john hancock, i take it, was the
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leading merchant perhaps in the colonies. what was his part in the boston tea party? >> well, he was, he wanted no part of it. [laughter] he wanted to continue smuggling and making money. he was, arguably, the wealthiest merchant banker in america. there was no hard currency in this hemisphere at the time. so merchants often, everything was on barter. and merchants, large merchants like hancock would provide seed or tools to, say, a farmer or a smaller merchant against, for example, the farmer's crop in the spring. futures. and that's why they were called merchant bankers, because they were lending money, and they were doing -- they were fulfilling the role of a modern banker as well as the modern merchant. and he was the largest. his uncle had built the business, and the house of hancock was the largest merchant
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bank in america. now suddenly these rioters are all over the place, and they're threatening any merchant who does business with england. and he tried to straddle the road for as long as he could, but as the mobs became more and more powerful and began burning down the mansions, they burned down the mansion of thomas hutchinson. thomas hutchinson's father was a merchant banker. and it was one of the most beautiful homes in this america designed by indigo jones with a magnificent top, and the rioters burned that house down from top to bottom. one of the rioters in his diary described how it fell to the ground.
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but they destroyed manuscripts that went back to america's founding. hutchinson was i wouldn't call him an amateur historian, after all, he was a governor, a brilliantly educated man with advanced degrees in history, and he wrote -- and this is still available -- a three-volume history of massachusetts from its very beginnings. but the documents to support that history, original manuscripts from the time, the early landings in massachusetts were all destroyed by these rioters. hancock didn't want that to happen to himself. and he tried to make peace with sam adams and sat on the fence as long as he could, and finally he had to join. he had to give money to support adams and become -- he decided it will be more advantageous for him to try to take control of
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the rebel movement, which he eventually did. and when massachusetts declared independence, he was elected first governor of massachusetts. that put him in control of the massachusetts independence movement. and forced sam adams into the background. sam adams went to the constitutional convention and was there for two, i think, two, possibly three terms. but never again was a figure of importance in either national or massachusetts history. he became governor of massachusetts. he was vice governor during hancock's last term at the beginning of the 19th century. hancock died, he exceeded to the governorship. he was elected for one term, and then he died.
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but he never again had any importance in american politics or state politics. >> [inaudible] >> we have time for one more question from -- wait for the microphone, please. >> what was the relationship between sam and john adams? >> well, obviously, they knew each other at the continental congress. they both served in the continental congresses, so they knew each other there. but john adams was a staunch conservative, and adams was this fiery radical. when sam adams got to the continental congress, most of the congress -- they weren't calling them congressmen -- most of the delegates there gradually isolated him and the other radicals, and they had little to do in the, in the continental congresses at the beginning of the war or during the war. and, indeed, sam adams, he couldn't organize his own
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business and his own home. he had no place in the continental congress, and john hancock was elected president of the continental -- first president was peyton randolph from virginia. he got sick in about three or four months. and john hancock became the first effective president of the congress. and when the articles of confederation were signed, he remained president of the congress and, ergo, the first president of the united states in fact, if not in title. and he was brilliant administrator. one would have to be to run the kind of business he did. he was a brilliant administrator. and helped washington win the war. he really had a very difficult time trying to organize the purchase of arms and material because congress had no right to
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tax, had no powers to tax. so hancock had to send emissaries to europe to get loans, and he was very successful doing it. well, thank you again, ladies and gentlemen. [applause] >> and for more information, visit the author's web site, >> back to education because you pointed out the u.s. used to be at the top or near the top, and now we're at, what, 31 oecd countries or something like that? we're down around 20. but we spend per pupil more than any country either than switzerland. >> that's right. >> we're just not allocating resources very intelligently. what's wrong with our education system? >> >> so this is exactly the point. it's not about quantity of money, it's about the quality of education that's being delivered. and i have to say having spent a lot of time reading up about the
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american education system, but also listening to experts who focus on the education system it really reminds me a lot of the aid sector, the aid industry, especially aid to africa. and two things in particular. one, people are being rewarded for poor performance. you know, it's quite clear that if american education funds are going down and you have these last in-first out types of policies getting rid of teachers even regardless of performance but because they came in -- to me there seems to be some dislocation there. the other thing is that we are as a society, essentially, being held hostage by vested interests. you know, the trade unions, teachers' unions specifically. i think it's rather problematic that we are sacrificing our children's education and the education performance and their ability to compete internationally and, therefore, the ability for america to compete in the interest of teachers' unions. there's nothing, you know, inherently wrong with that, but i think there's something particularly sort of wrong with
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an idea that we as a society can see that education plans are going down, but we are not penalizing for lack of delivery. >> will is the problem structural though? we talked about how the u.s. has higher corporate tax rates than europe, which surprises people. but also in europe you find a lot more school choice. in sweden, a huge school choice nationwide, the netherlands, even germany has a lot of school choice. we only have a few tiny little programs in a few cities and states. is that the solution? do we need a competitive model that puts parents in charge over teachers? >> i think you absolutely need parents much more involved, and the question becomes what can we do to make parents more involved in insuring this slide doesn't happen? i'm not too sure about whether it really boils down to this idea of more choice or less choice because if you look at the education performance across europe, they, too, are seeing a backslide. you know, certainly on these oecd standards relative to the
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rest of the world. if it really were about choice, then you wouldn't have expected them to be with the united states sliding, sliding down. i mean, i think one of the things i do talk about in my work, you know, that possibly could be worth thinking about is this idea of conventional transfers. very popular in mexico and brazil and also being rolled out as a pilot program by mayor bloomberg in new york is the idea of paying people to do the right thing. so your child goes to school 98% of the time, good attendance record, you get $100. you get immunized, your child gets immunized for a particular disease, you get $100. there's discussion now in europe about whether or not people should start getting paid o so their children go to study mathematics or science, things that the united states and european countries need to continue to remain competitive. i mean, obviously, this is not what we expect of society. do we really need to start paying people to do the right thing? but these are, you know, giving where the societies are,
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everything to me seems to be on the table, and i think this is a fascinating idea of transfers as one plausible solution to the problem that we're seeing now. >> could some of the problem whether we're talking about education or any of these other areas simply be the fact that once countries become rich, they get lazy? [laughter] >> well, i hope not. well, and i actually don't subscribe to that at all. sing pore last year was the fastest-growing economy on the planet. it had about 15% in gdp growth. that is really mind-boggling for a country that is really close to western standard, in fact, about western standard of living. we shouldn't really expect to see those levels of economic growth or rates of economic growth if we believe what you just said. so i don't think it's that at all. the reason i wrote my book is because i really believe perhaps a lot of americans don't really understand what the problems are in this economy. i mean, you see a lot on the television and in the press about big deficits and massive debts,


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