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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  May 31, 2011 1:00am-2:00am EDT

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the density gross. there is the cosmological mall that has been proposed and other things it does not describe yet to. but as a test case where there isn't a singularity singularity, they come out of the string theory. >> i just want to point* out if you take that kind of model seriously, than our current events horizon would be represented by all of the possibilities of the mini world that could have happened over this space now reef we get into our imaginary spaceship angola out much further it is the same set of things now we get the ardor product the freeway wait long enough to
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see what is out there we just sample what is happening in another branch of the universe. now there is another way to wrap that it looks like you balding infinity but you don't have the problem. >> guest: ruutu day fact talking about the radius of a circle which of course, is finite size it is not infinite. see you don't have the problem that we were suffering with earlier on. absolutely. >> our time is up. thank you for the wonderful, lively and mind expanding conversation. [applause]
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[applause] and. >> thank you very much. we get lots of good questions that we will save time for. this is an interesting occasion because this is the
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first time i have been up in front of a naughty is talking about andrew johnson. forgive me if i say jefferson. [laughter] i had to write that i had to do a spell check. because the temptation was great. if somebody told me at any point* i would have written a book about andrew johnson i would tell them they were crazy. he is an interesting person but i have tried to avoid them period every construction. it sounds strange for someone who writes about slavery which is a difficult topic but i find it easier to deal with the 18th century and attitudes about race and slavery to deal
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with reconstructions there is something that is maddening to me. so it was a moment of opportunity. thinking of the 17th and 18th century that have primitive ideas in do know there are things that they don't know, not totally free give them but it is not as irritating to me as when you have photographs. you feel closer to the people of that time period. more than someone of the 17th century art even about the monticellos. >> when i read about the moment of hope, it makes me angry. the moment it makes me angry about what could have
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happened and what did not happen and how close we were to a period of time when you could have done something to begin the process of racial healing and the process of making america one for everyone. johnson and would not be my topic of choice. it is not something out and actually said eight and right. i got a call one morning from arthur slauson jarret, jr. telling me i would be getting a lecture from him. i did. and he asked me to write the biography for the american presidents series. a very nice short concise book about american presidents and get
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people, sometimes to fit this by george applebee's did george washington who was a great scholar. george mcgovern, gary hart, there is a mix of historians and non historians will peak but to put the individuals band. but she asked me to do that and he said output might individual spin on it. i agreed to do it with his arthur ask me and i have great respect for him and we're both on the advisory committee and also because paul was the editor for the series was my editor for the book that i did. to friends you know, how it is when they ask you to do things and i said sure and
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put aside my misgivings. -- misgivings but i wondered if i could curb my feelings of looking at this period of history and i agreed to do that. i have to confess that is long overdue. so that took a lot of time and energy. i am very glad that i did. the first thing is to think about how do i approach this? not what is known but every survey of rankings american presidents, he is near the bottom, near the bottom five. near 1997 i have participated as sometimes a
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look at the results but usually he is in the bottom five. buchanan is usually the worst. this past year when i did not participate for the first time, he was last. the worst president just in time for the book. [laughter] and this year is the worst president. then at that point* did is just splitting hairs to think of the real story. but that is a difficult issues of how deride a book about somebody who is judged the worst of anything? just because they are there were store near the worst doesn't mean they are not important. that is the first
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realization and was proud flat at one period in history and a moment he had a central role to play and hit me that is very important to focus on the life of johnson they affect us even today. of the actresses he made, added to come a leadership style helped to make us who we are professor you have to pay attention to it. history is not just about the people that you like. that you love and love to have dinner with our spend time with, it is about people who did things that were important to help put us on the path to where we are now and he is definitely a person of that so when i made up my mind to do this
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and understood how to approach it, it was relatively easy to sit down to get to work so to eliminate what american and life is like. while johnson the first problem johnson didn't learn to write until he was in the late teens. his wife, he married early and reading and writing were very separate things. many people were she did not think they went together. neither of his parents but there is no record of people saying they were in a letter it.
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he did not become until he was a young man. that poses a problem. he was never very comfortable doing it. at one point he hurt his arm and he would explain that as a reason why he didn't write them as people think he was very self-conscious. most of the life was self-conscious. if you look at the papers favor many letters from johnson to other people that poses a problem for a biographer right there. we don't have his inner voice and other kinds of documents sewage remain the enigma of style to craft some sense of what he is feeling and whom he was. johnson is at a disadvantage because we don't have that
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to the same extent. the letters that we have showing misspellings and fanatics boeing's it is difficult to wrap your mind. >> it is not the typical record not just like jefferson and others. it is not there. because we don't have lots of their letters and we don't have a lot of stories about them. the principal biographer of andrew johnson and his a man who unfortunate paid last year progress hoping to finish the book gannett show it to him but the my job was
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to cover the same multistate of the view of johnson into the pitcher. but people tend to repeat when they do the smaller general biographies and there had to be another approach. so that is where my expertise some of that comes in handy. saudi shia come to 0.focusing on a time where america has to be put back. start off with this material he is very interesting considering where did he come from or go from being illiterate whose parents
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were poor to someone is the highest office in the land? born in north carolina to parents who were illiterate and his father died when he was three and his mother was a seamstress and this is what causes a lot of talk. people suggested that maybe johnson was not the sign of his father. >> i got criticism for fact as well but instead what i mentioned and talk about backlash -- to talk about how class affected the way they viewed andrew johnson from the very beginning. because his mother worked outside of the home and
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worked as a maid, people felt free to say things like that about the family. i doubt if she was a married woman and respectable middle-class woman, if those rumors would be openly spoken about during that time period. from the very beginning, not that he was just four but his family was seen as marginal and a difference from the deserving poor but people who were seen as marginal. the mother remarries and does not approve of their circumstances and it gets so bad she has to apprentice the two children. he was apprenticed to of taylor when he was 10. he has to be there until he was 21 why it would take
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that long, and it didn't. we became very good. and he runs away with his brother there is at an ad and selling kerger reproduced in the book but basically what you would expect people to see like rewards come to capture him and we will pay you back. this is the future president of the united states. this is what happens to him. he runs away. he does not come back. he goes off to get a job as a tailor and becomes very good at his job and then as the older man, he makes suits as a gift. rethink a president who could make suits.
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the gender thing, it doesn't matter because he is a taylor. that was his way to give gaffes has a very so he starts off very slow. also about this was worse. lincoln was a tough act to follow. on those same surveys he is almost mentioned as the best. you go from number one to the worst with one terrible moment half lowered theater. so he suffers by comparison. it is not just he has
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failings but coming after someone who was amazing in good ways and bad that a very towering figure. humble origins seemed to make him, will it strengthen the link and. sometimes hard chips can strengthen people in empathy come addition, but maybe his hard life he thought of it as trash. but when somebody asks me you think that up bring you would make him sympathetic to the black people or the slaves. no. the other side is what that can do is if you look for somebody to look down toll
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on. there has to be someone above you and he took comfort, jaime live in the shotgun shack or may not have very much but i am white and that is better than these people over there. if you want to maintain you have to make sure there is somebody over or under their that you can look down upon. that seems to be the tacked he took in life to the detriment of his own personal demons ended up affecting the course of history of the united states of america. while he is in the tailor shop, he is very smart and listen to two men who would come to the tailor shop to read to the tailor's. think about the engagement you know, people who were in the shop cannot read and a man would come and read and talked about a book of speeches.
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he kept the book, he loved it so much and over the years any time he needed inspiration he goes back to read the book of speeches. at some point* he realizes because he gets into a debate but for believe they watch people argue and it becomes an clear his talent is public speaking and that it also links him to lincoln because he was a good speaker but a different type. he could be enough to be aggressive and people have not seen anything like it. people suggested he may stand for office which he did. very ambitious and a good businessman even though you start off course turning up
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for the right investment to better himself and went into politics to climb to the latter. he was on it. it is interesting thing or comment on american life someone could start off as low as he did to go to where he went. even though i can be hard in the book there is no question he was extraordinary. i think might editor said he has been done with the blind insofar. it is not like somebody says okay, i won't go to the white house. there is something there. people see something and that person and sees it in himself asset says i should go for that position and be
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at the top. he was like that. of the book describes his ascent and how he fashioned himself or tried to after his hero of andrew jackson and comes of age during the jackson era, he is a unionist, . >> there are things that seem very progressive and populous. >> but they are not always popular they were measured for the homestead act giving people away and that they wanted public education and always a champion because they came back on his own life and how propriety was.
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he wanted a better shot for those who were not privileged. for the homestead act, but when reconstructions came and there was a time to give land reform that republicans wanted land reform to give for an enslaved people to give them land to give them the independence that johnson and others understood was needed. that is what way and men to. if you don't work for people you can grow your own food and subsist on your own plot and not the golden. he did not want that for that so there was a reese's part that inhibited his thoughts about how this might be expanded to include everybody in america. he makes his political run to think of himself as a champion of the common man
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and. he. >> because of his support, and the southern grantees it did not like the adm of giving for white people in and. they thought, it is not the term but it is like welfare. wide you give these people and below market rate? why don't they work for it to? the from a big gain ever arguments for their. but lincoln gets on the ticket because he decides he
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plans to signal to this out there is a future and a symbolic gesture of unity to pick from the border state and then tennessee and moved as a young man to put this together to say even though the south isn't participating but saying i am willing to have a feather on the ticket and one of the days we can get back together again. he ends up on the ticket and it the vice president gave no clout. there he is as a vice president they started out in a letter it up and tell manhood and became vice president of the united states. people hated that. but you read these kinds of things and i have managed to feel sorry for him, but then
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at the inauguration, and he is drunk. he comes to the inauguration, actually it was kind of fun to write. he had been ill. and then they thought whiskey was a cure for everything. [laughter] and he drank too much whiskey so there was a spectacle and it would have been amazing lowered cable-tv. [laughter] people said we told you, of those kind of people have been let into those types of positions. people said you should dump him and they said he is not a drunk. he will be fine. of course, he was killed not long after that and and
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people are they were traumatized but they may have been happy but not really celebrating because they were in no position to gloat to about something even if someone were inclined. it was a traumatic time period. there is johnson who have strives to the occasion. then actually lincoln's death does right two. >> with that is hour. >> there is a fourth term honeymoon period until there and to reconstruction. this is the part that they say i try to avoid all of it.
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but then they began to realize that he will not have any support whatsoever for the notion of black political life or any after the civil war. he only grudgingly accepted abolition. he was a slaveholder himself. not a large scale but he did have slaves had was a supporter and adamant about black inferiority. he said we should try to raise them up and raise ourselves even further so that the distance of learning is always the same. that was his plan. and said this is white man's government. >> when somebody says that out loud.
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>> black boots and then you realize that is what it was about. his vision of the south coming back into the union did not encompass anything about changing black people status beyond taking them out of legal slavery. that is where the battle was joined between him and the republicans and eventually read one person who started out lamenting that when people write about johnson they only seem to care are be in and construction? >> we had bad grand plan with the button during this
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time period, there is problems in mexico but of this but with those republican congress wanted to do transform the south and believed the south had not really seceded. his view is secession was so we guilt facial legal and because it was too cold they never left domino considered states of america. that did not exist. because once the war was over if you bring everybody back then, rewinding tape except the slavery part.
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4 million people have been freed at this point*. what do you do with them? people realized what called for something but he said no. the constitution for anything york attempting to do, he very much was a proponent and saw himself as the guardian but. >> of things that he liked were constitutional and things he did that were unconstitutional. the constitution clearly says congress has the right to set rules and anything having to do with the district of columbia. when congress gives black
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people the right to go to then he vetoes to say it is unconstitutional. this isn't even and interpretations you get us sense of what that means. if i like it is constitutional and if i don't it is not. he thought he was in the right but the republicans thought something has to change. you cannot just have people wandering around. i don't know what he thought. but he doesn't mean that surprises people. remember he hated the southern plantation owners and wanted to punish them as he thought they led the south into more. there is a strange notion that the large scale planters and slaves we're in a conspiracy against the poor white people. he blamed them for the war.
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they were trying to keep them down. first talking about punishing but then realizing my greater enemy is not the southern aristocrats with those in the north that want to change the south. not only does the try to thwart the radical republicans and help to put back into power those the very people we called traders who wanted to punish those that people had to swear to dispensing with a
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lot of those put them back into power. and then two mph him which remains a drastic remedy and to try to remove the president from office. he survived a conviction in the senate by one vote to the people felt he only had one more year to go with his term and he would be out in a way. also the person who would have been taken over was a while the radical and what would come after him he
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actually made some deals about that and escaped conviction by one boat he keeps vetoing bills but his real plan was then the north and south to try to bring the country back. he needed groups of the most conservative where they lived to band together and he leaves office and the fed democrats at this time not like now because they have slipped, they did not trust
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him, he goes back to tennessee to plot his vindication. here runs for office and his unsuccessful at first but then returns to the senate and sees this as a vindication they he was right to all along and is there only for a few months and then dies of a stroke. it is an amazing story of a person who grew '04 ever be close to us in a significant way because we did not have his voice. how many of those? we don't have the statements
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from him and a few anecdotes about him from family the johnson homestead has a web site but not to a lot of material about the person who was one of the most effect 70 petty even though he was judged as a working president. thurgood marshall and one of his opinions, said a if america had done what it was supposed to during this time period, he talks about the reconstruction period as a point* of lost opportunity. i street you cannot blame 1%
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for all of a good or all of the bad the people and times of crisis, they don't look to the supreme court for the congress probe the president is the energy and he exercises leadership and what he exhibited during this time period is not enough, he did not want everything all by himself but made it much more difficult and that is the real tragedy of the presidency. that is why more people should know about andrew johnson because i do believe he makes us who we are today. think about the difference
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in well for the production from former slaves that had had laid end. the difference between owning your own property and renting it from someone else. because people say we got something good by the 14th amendment because he was recalcitrant about all of the laws congress was passing the civil-rights bill and force them to passing the 14th amendment which is good but think about all of the losses if he had not opposed land reform and he set us back and is that black people back tremendously this the to say they want to preserve
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the country as a white man the government and would do that for the longest period of time. he was seen as many as a good president. out of columbia, two ambien johnson as a hero who help to stave off negro rule in the south. that historical school existed into the 20th century. they set the record straight. pliancy did that other people began to take a look at week reconstructions. if you see. goes, and a bare feet in these of the most educated
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people and talented people who were in the offices really propped up andrew johnson. after wpp do boys and others people began to take a look at reconstructions to understand he was more of a problem and a solution. i have to say it took me a long time and it is difficult to read about someone that you could be responsible for a lot of bad things that happen but you try to have enough detachment to present the good points with the bad points. i hope i managed to do that.
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but i do think i make strongly the case that we cannot ignore a he was there into important eighth time period because we could explain by who we are by looking at his life for the kinds of things he did with reconstructions. that trajectory is the big story but with that i would like to take questions. [applause] and it is different that
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500,000 people died the south was decimated. this is not life during wartime. this is hyperbole it has not gone anywhere.
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these people, they fought one another those are serious life-and-death issues. they are using the rhetoric but not to my mind as serious has the time period those people are in but it is rhetoric and a slogan. not that people don't have those slid to deny concerns but talking about life-and-death search of the in the south, you read eric boehner and talking about some of the things going on. >> he talked about going to a village in texas seen 28 bodies hanging from trees
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men and women and children and rivers of bodies floating down. blacks. after the war is over when the people turned on the blacks to reassert their control. they were playing for keeps back then. it does not compare even though they may think it does. >> thank you for coming and for your excellent talk. could you talk about education? i never understood why the radical republicans did not push more resources into providing education for the free slaves? >> they did through the freedman's bureau. there are many stories
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people, little kids standing next to grown people. but those schools were attacked. and there was enough of a backlash. they did not want the blacks in the schools but in the field. higher education bill university started by general howard and they tried to do that but they were not in the control. certainly wants the military leaves, education becomes even more sketchy during that time period. they tried but there was a lot of violent opposition. >> when did johnson for use them? >> they become free after
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the war has been a key may have read a couple. >> would you think of john sens argument? >> clinton said that. that secession was illegal and he said that because it secession is illegal, then the president exercises his power under the power to quell rebellions broke out if he it is legal and they left, then you could say they are territories and congress moves territories. it is political separation
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of powers, a political argument but linkdin died so we don't know. or what he really thought but he said that was the attraction. johnson took it very much to heart and was very bitter role minded on that. what i think is that buy she did said that the government. it is hard to pretend they were not real. what they had was and real and they should have been governed as territories and keep the military rule over more than they did. i understand the argument but practically and realistically they set up their own government and
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stopped participating and went away for a time period. >> with the base of support support, after all from the southern diehards but then for the abolitionist? >> before, you made while he is president? he did not have that much support. he is president because lank and gets killed. at this point* he wants to make of base by being but he tried to buy to them up to not punish them the way he said originally and wanted to build the party and was
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not successful. months and is then paid a form and that is why they could not get to i nomination surge in me after the impeachment but did not have very much support. spent most of the presidency trying to build that by getting favor with the southerners and sometimes appearing we knew but it did not work. trying to be all things to all people until he manages to get back to the senate he was a good politician to a degree but once he got into office he was out of his league.
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and so he ended up with not very many friends at all. >> do you think he was a tragic figure? >> i think he was a tragedy for the country. [laughter] a tragic figure? i cannot find anything about him does not seem to have a visible sense of humor. i would think he is a tragic figure. [laughter] you think of a hero somebody who has a grand persona and brought down but i do think he is tragic because he
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wanted desperately to rise and he did and if this an amazing story you can read until 19 years old than president? that is a great and tenacity that served him well why he was able to stay committed at sacrifice. he could have been killed. he stood fast but i don't know how much self awareness he had. that is why i hesitate. tragic figures, you have evidence they have some awareness of the tragedy but i think he died thinking he was vindicated doing the right thing so certain way he of was upset about the
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loss was successful because he was. he did say the region from being transformed. not until 1965. he could tout himself as a success for a very long period of time. but if he had been a real statesmen, he could have been a great president. and if he made the right choices it is very telling at one point, in his early career there was a proposal to bring the railroad to eastern tennessee. even though his constituents wanted it he opposed the railroad because if you
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brought to the railroad people get to where they are going so quickly that you do not need the tavern. son not to put them out of business you cannot have the railroad. that makes sense and a way except towns sprang up along their routes when he leaves tennessee he walks. he walks 70 miles and talk about dodging mountain lions. you have a sense of all lack of vision. [laughter] and if you don't know where you are deficient it is hard to think of a tragic figure because he was successful and actually did stave off
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the transformation of the south for many, many decades. i don't think he would count himself that way. >> he would also walk 14 miles to go to a lecture. [laughter] >> and thus no. >> talk about his family when he was young. tell us more about his family life as he becomes an adult. >> his wife helped him and taught him to read and of white. we don't know much about her. she was an invalid for many years and did not accompany him to the white house. his daughter served as the first lady and someone who
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seemed consumed by work. out giving speeches all the time and running for office and watching and planning and you don't get a sense of his family life with three sons and a daughter and one of the sons ended up committing suicide. that was a great tragedy in his life. but one of the enslaved women that he owned there was talk he had children but she has and that her children are raised being moved -- biracial.
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as somebody who talks about his racial views and other articles do as well. here is a young girl and it is important to mention that with of possibility added of deference to her and out of concern you should paint the picture of burroughs and the time period because he could have been but i don't think when you talk about a person who was a slave owner you have to talk about all of the aspects of that it is not a sense in the comparison to jefferson going back and forth between fathers and daughters and grandchildren and people commented, up one thing
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people did say is he liked children quite a bit one of the people who was enslaved said he would bounce black children on his me. when dad is interesting and he was able to be childlike but you do not get a sense of being warm and funny% of the rise -- funny% of the rise. >> you may not want to answer or respond but have you ever speculated as to whether a different kind of
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johnson and could have succeeded too fast they rearrange the offense of the last half of the 19th century? >> yes. i think he could have. a different kind of jobs and would not have to go along with everything. one of the things that he did do is that his recalcitrant k paid and comfort to southerners. and people said we would have accepted anything in the immediate aftermath of the war any terms but he gave us hope of the white man government so we knew to hold out so the role that


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