tv Discussion on The War That Forged a Nation and Lincolns Last Speech CSPAN June 28, 2015 4:00pm-5:01pm EDT
meeting he would say the meeting was cordial, which is meaningless. and basically means we didn't resort to punching each other in the face. >> right. >> and so that's one i think that you've heard throughout history. >> happy warrior is a familiar one. >> right. >> that was hubert humphrey who described himself as the happy warrior, and now it's kind of seen as, oh, i'm above the political fray. >> right. it actually originated with al smith back in the 1928 campaign when he was the first catholic nominee, and he faced a lot of criticism at the time. >> right. >> it's another way of brushing off reporters when an elected official doesn't want to answer a question, they'll say i'm just a happy warrior. speaker john boehner use .. you hear me? >> yeah. >> yes. >> i believe it was a quote from lyndon johnson and this is particularly -- it had a particular purpose, i think, in -- he said that it was always
fun to accuse his opponent of bestiality because whether or not it was true, he had to defend himself. >> right. >> and so i think there's been a lot, you know there's always been this sort of let's put this out there and see what, you know what dance they have to do to make this, to get out of this. so -- >> yeah. and that was probably said, obviously with him in the pre-internet age. [laughter] where you can put anything out now about anybody. bun of the nice things and hopefully our book is part of this is there is a way of trying to hold politicians accountable and things like fact check and the tampa bay times political practice you can change the accuracy of the statement and i would love to see personally more of those type of things and how politics come and again we hope that our book, by eluding people to the fact they fall back on these well-worn expressions can
contribute to that understanding. i understand how these spread so quickly with the internet but who comes up with them in the first place, already tested somehow by political consultants or did they pop up and they are like that's a great idea i should say that next time? >> in some cases the most prominent examples are changing global warming to climate change in the decade or so more. it can be tax cuts to tax relief >> you use investment revenue resources rather than spend money. that is a democratic favorite. >> after they lost the series by the landslide with macgyver -- mc govern so they start thinking
about these resources etc.. some of them i think i'm out spontaneously just like other these days where one person says it gets followed along but a lot of these elected officials are counseled by a staff to be very careful about what they say. the most prominent figures now barely even answer off-the-cuff questions. elizabeth is a proud favorite of liberals and progressives. reporters can barely get a word in with her and among the reasons that she doesn't want to go off message. >> i was going to add another source is popular culture. a lot of these come from reporters that are again seeing things in the music and entertainment portal into thinking they will try to be hip so they adopt to politics. that would be throwing shade which has become the expression for talking trash about someone that's now found its way into
the politics want. >> any other question? the >> you mentioned in the political culture how much does that factor in if somebody was saying something not everybody can afford, so what is the class dynamic or different political culture how does that affect? >> it is a tricky thing for elected officials because they don't want to sound like they are elitist. they want to be speaking at the level of the american people to use one of the clichés that they thought they would come up with. it is a tricky dynamic. i think often times they find themselves sounding silly if they try to use something from popular culture. also, if -- the most savvy politicians have learned not to
show up at sporting events because they get to when they do that so we try to be careful with that. >> thank you for your time. >> pivots her prize-winning historian james mcpherson and louis the solar are not on book tv. they discuss the legacy of the civil the civil war at politics and prose bookstore in washington, d.c..
>> good evening again. we welcome and celebrate the publication of james mcpherson's the war that forged the nation and the last speech. as i said before, i wanted to do this events because over the years i've been educated and stimulated by reading these two historians and i also got an extra bonus on baseball from the book on the first world series in 1903. but, as one who spend time lobbying the right act of 64 and voting rights act of 65 and all
the voting rights act after that these books come and the work of these authors this isn't their only work as you know. help us understand why the civil war and its causes and its aftermath and matters affecting race and regional conflict within the borders the boundaries between state and national authority was the word that lincoln used and with it a significant of the game changer could the post-civil war and how long it took to have the way of making them real. so we are often a people that have trouble with memory. david reminded us of that when he was here a few weeks ago.
the work of the historians helps us with memory and how we apply it to the present situation. there are no permanent victories. i sat in the supreme court to the data shall be court case was argued and came out depressed and it's why that's why we have to take note of anniversaries. last year was the 50th anniversary of the civil rights act into this year is the 50th anniversary of the act in the 40s that four days that will be an anniversary of brown v. board of education. it's the 150th anniversary of the lincoln assassination and we will hear why that was significant. rather than do the traditional thing of having the eminent historians each talking at us
they are going to have a conversation with each other and then we are going to have a chance to ask questions. let us now welcome james mcpherson and louis to politics and prose. if it not mr. mcpherson's first time commanded wouldn't have been blue's first time if not for the family situations. so welcome. >> thank you. it's wonderful certainly to be here. can everyone here okay? we spent four hours in the car coming down from new jersey so hopefully we haven't spoken about all of the issues come up with one of the things that occurred to me is the subtitle of the book why the civil war still matters. we just finished the civil war
celebrations that's a good question to start with. why does the civil war still matter. >> i think i tried to answer that with the main title of the book the war that forged the nation. usually, subtitles are added to explain what the book is about because the main title doesn't usually do that or it doesn't necessarily do that but in this case i think it is the main title that helps explain the subtitle. the civil war forged the united states as a nation and also forged the beginning of the process that turned us into the nation that we are today. and in order to understand how we got to be the nation that we are today, i think that we need to look very seriously at the civil war and its causes and
consequences. the north went to war to preserve the union. it was much more common to refer to the united states as the union during the first 70, 75 years of history. but the civil war turned the united states into a nation. for the first 75 years of our existence as a country, there were many debates about whether this was a federation of sovereign states that had yielded some of their sovereignty to a national government would have maintained the essential sovereignty or whether the constitution that formed the united states was a compact between the people of all the states of the nation and its government. but remained very much in contest during the antebellum
years but i think the contest was settled by the civil civil war and a recognized natural supremacy and it turned the united states into a nation consisting of all of its people more than a series of semi-us on this states. of course the civil war abolished slavery which had been the bone of contention that have divided the country from the very beginning and brought on the war. and not only resolve the issue of slavery by a law abolishing the institution that was the amendments it defined the entire basis of race relations in ethnic relations in the country over the past 150 years and continues to define those
relationships. another thing that helped to explain why the civil war still matters today is that before 1861, there were two philosophies on what kind of a people, what kind of the country, what kind of a nation a few well this should be top south of the mason dixon line and ohio river but focused on an act of cultural society based on slave labor, a kind of aristocracy of land ownership and wealth that resisted some of the forces in the 19th century towards democratization towards industrialization and north of the potomac, the changes were
rapidly happening in the first half of the 19th century that moved the north in the direction of an entrepreneurial capitalist democratic society. the civil war was a contest between the two visions of what sort of a country that's up to be. and the triumph of the north and the civil war said the country on the course of becoming industrialized. so for all of those reasons i think the civil war continues to matter as a way of trying to understand what kind of a country that we are today. and because abraham lincoln played such a crucial role in this process i would like to ask what sort of a part lincoln played in forging the nation to help explain why the civil war still matters. >> and i was speaking about this
because you mentioned the nation and freedom. think again about the gettysburg address. lincoln used the word nation five times in that incredibly brief address and that speaks to the point about how do you invent the idea of the nation and create a nation where the idea of the states trying him for so long. that comes after january 118 thank you when the issues of the emancipation proclamation that lincoln doesn't stop there and continues to defend the proclamation which provided for the enlistment of the black troops and he continues to move forward in a variety of the different ways including different ways including in the amendments. one of the issues that intrigued me but let me to write a speech visit comes as several days
after and the american people are expecting a victory speech. it's over after four years, 700,000 deaths, and lincoln waits for two days, comes to the youth debate the white house and says i can't talk. at one point there is a band outside of the white house cities is why don't you strike up a song i've always liked that song and now that we have won the war we can say that we recaptured it. but after coming he was offering a conciliatory gesture that would paraphrase the last speech, so he talked about the problem of the reconstruction. now that the war was over how are we going to rebuild this nation and what are the terms on which we are going to rebuild this nation? and again, striking in terms of making lincoln's growth developer to change over time. very common to talk about, but to focus on that and to see it it's in that last speech.
he publicly endorses the suffrage for the first time. it incredible speaking about the meaning of the war and the issues today. john wilkes booth is among those standing in the crowd and he hears lincoln and says that is the last speech but you will ever make any acts. lincoln is the movement and the civil rights and peace killed directly after endorsing and getting the vote because the issue becomes what is going to be the postwar settlement, not only the trying him in the war but the industrial popular state. but how will they be sort of adjusted to this new world of freedom. >> you mentioned the word reconstruction and that is fraught with contested meaning.
one meaning is that we are going to deconstruct the united states after the four years in the war. but how much change is going to happen? one meaning of the reconstruction is that you build after the fire in fire and after damaging a storm in the same way that your house was before. another meaning of the reconstruction is that you completely rebuild on a new pattern, a new foundation. they contest between the two meetings in all sorts of other manifestations that grew out of these contested meetings was at the core of only in the years after 1865, but the war itself. >> that is exactly right and that the debate over the
reconstruction and restoration and the union. he had a vision of when the war ends some point what will the nation look like. and his ideas about that go through the changes into turmoil support of the problem of the reconstruction is how far can you go to reconstruct the states that preceded your assumption is they never left the union. if they never really left the union therefore they are entitled to the rights of the citizens even though they say they are gone that creates a different set of possibilities. charles sumner says what are you kidding me or thaddeus stevens.
but he didn't have no use whatsoever. he referred to all of these theories about the status of the state as a pernicious abstraction after he called them in the last speech. for him, it was very practical. the state have to be re- admitted and he said the practical relation to the union. what is that going to mean for those think the transition from slavery to freedom and that becomes the nexus of the debate and reconstruction. >> one of the things that struck me about the civil war is the irony of the confederate success in the early stages of the war. the greater the confederate success, the greater the ultimate failure in the confederacy is the north had
managed to win the war and if they managed to capture richmond in 1862 coming on top of other union victories in the early months of 1862 the war might have well been over and reconstruction would have been in the union. but the success of 1862 pushed lincoln and the north to the conviction that in order to win the war and reconstruct the union they would have to adopt a much harder policy that would strike against slavery and the resources the south was using. so the greater the confederate success in the early years of the war, the more disastrous. >> that is a paradox. so -- so too once it was over
the general sense of magnanimity of wanting a just and righteous peace came into play. this is the man that six weeks before his last speech spoke up with charity for all. the radical republicans didn't like that. they thought he was too soft. they thought that he didn't have what it would take to put his fist down and make the terms for the readmission and the reunion and reconstruction harsh and vigilant. one radical republican after he wrote in his diary lincoln's assassination is a godsend, he says. and this is a shocking to think about. but they thought ironically that andrew jackson was the guy that would stand up to these radical principles.
he was the one who said during the war treason must be made of course between april of 65 johnson withdrew a complete turnaround but the sense that he didn't have what they thought would be needed to keep the confederacy down turned out to be critical to the years of the reconstruction. >> when he said with malice toward none and charity for all i've always worried about the word charity and all. i think that can have different meanings. usually it is forgiveness for the confederates. let them off easy. but charity for all could also mean the black populations and i think that may have been what lincoln meant with justice and charity for the south, but south consists of two fifths of the
former confederate population. so the charity for all come into the radical republicans may have missed the significance of the phrase. >> of the complexity of course lincoln understood there had to be a path between the relationships of white and black. but no one really knew what that path was. he wrote a letter to nathaniel banks in which he said that whites and blacks must live into a new relationship which is an interesting phrase. this was a society where the bureau that he signed the idea that the national government would play a role in helping people make this transition was in arabic in arabic so they radical ideas in error because of a radical idea so it wasn't clear how the negotiation was
going to take place and how they would live themselves into the relationship into the same time talk about forgiveness. in the second inaugural lincoln quoted judge not that we not be judged and another phrase that drove republicans crazy. didn't they fight to defend slavery? should they not pay a price for what they've done? so all of these issues are there. there seems to be a question that had he lived and this is one of the great counterpart was of course that there would have been that kind of charity for all support that may have made the transition from slavery to freedom more successful than it seems to have been. >> we also need to remember the civil war went on for four years
and what applies as a generalization in 1861 were 1862 may no longer apply. there is a kind of dynamic i was going to say evolution is really almost in but really almost in the category of revolutionary change in the course of the civil war so that lincoln's policy was to try to bring together the states and the people in the union that exists before 1861. but by 1863 at the time of the gettysburg address is talking about a new birth of freedom that country that was lost is now a changed country and can
never be turned back so there was a kind of attempt to turn the clock back by the latter half of the war and even sooner. it's going to be a different country as a consequence of the experience of the war and destruction. it may be creative destruction. >> i mentioned counterfactual thank. we often forget how pivotal the election was. that is the other plaintiff this importance. the word we haven't used yet is democracy.
there were democratic means by which to adjust to somebody that you didn't like being elected into the suspicion wasn't one of them yet he very well might lose that election and where do we see that counterfactual? >> if it had been held on september 1 instead of november november 8 i'm convinced he would have lost. he was convinced every political operative republican and democrat was convinced that doing in was going to lose because lincoln was the commander in chief in the war that appeared to be endless without any chance of winning it in sacrificing the lives of the hundreds of thousands.
because of the stalemate in 1864 it looked like it might go on and never settle for anything but the capture of atlanta september 2 and a subsequent series of the victories in the shenandoah valley turnaround by 180 degrees. it demonstrated nothing succeeds like success. in this case the military success led to political success. but if that hadn't happened the military failure in lincoln's case of course the buck stops with him. >> he was concerned about the vote. the opponent was george mcclellan who did something that the soldiers those of soldiers might like. he kept them out of the war.
they said they will vote as they shoot and the numbers were overwhelmingly. >> it was a radical experiment by the way to the soldiers boat on the referendum on the war. it never happened in history before as far as i am aware that in 1864, most of the northern soldiers -- there were a few cases of the states controlled by the democrats from illinois new jersey hadn't passed the legislation allowing them to vote absentee in the field. we knew they voted 78% for
lincoln even though at the beginning of the war that split probably was close to 50/50 so it was a radicalized experience for many northern soldiers no question about that. one of the issues with the abolition of slavery that was in the central part of the republican platform but it was repudiated by the democrats. so it is a referendum on the state coalition of slavery so it makes a certain congress is going to pass the 15th amendment and say congress says they've been elected back in 1862 but still in session in 1864 and 65 and couldn't pass. you will see what focused on lincoln's efforts to get the 13th amendment passed by the
existing congress without having to wait until the next one. it gets it done in one of the more dramatic aspects of the presence. >> they choose carefully which ones were the referendum and which ones were not so in 1862 in which the party in power almost always loses the seeds came six weeks after the preliminary 1867 lincoln had announced that in 100 days he would be ensured the emancipation proclamation. look at those elections in which the party gets destroyed by the democratic governance and even the seat in his own hometown goes democratic and they say you've charged in the emancipation proclamation that the people have spoken and he says i choose not to interpret the results of the election that way. he says it was a referendum on
the fact that the war wasn't going well out on the emancipation proclamation. he says i made a vow to issue it and it remains of course one of the great troubles of the war. in terms of what you're feeling about this that we just went through the congress created in the commission there were many centralized event it seemed 150th went by with things going on but it was much more sort of sporadic. >> it was low-key. congress didn't pass the civil war, national civil war centennial commission or sesquicentennial. my feeling about that is it wasn't as important in terms of the commemoration of observation
as the centennial or the bicentennial. of course talking about the bicentennial's in 2009 was the bicentennial of lincoln's birth and there was a lot that went on then there was a national bicentennial commission. so, my feeling is that the fairly low-key observation of the centennial which centered mostly on the state activities and virginia was most active. i thought that it was appropriate. lots of good books by the authors like my colleague that came up during the period and the result to the good. >> there's been a lot of scholarship and knowledge we expect in the reconstruction and as we think about the period of the reconstruction -- talk about why the civil war still matters in part because we are still moving very much with some of
these issues from the war that that carry through the civil rights movement and carry through to today. any thoughts about what we might see in terms of the scholarship and in terms of free thinking of the reconstruction over the next few years as we continue to have anniversaries to commemorate the 14th amendment and 15th amendment for example of the notable achievements? >> i think that we will have a lot of some scholarships. it's already begun. there will be some serious work and the new view of the reconstruction as a noble if not entirely successful effort to integrate american society and integrate the former slave population as equal citizens in american society will be recognized and other citizens as
a the better citizens as a consequence of our understanding of that process. i don't think that there will be anything like the series of free enactments for example that had been associated in the sesquicentennial. the problem is there are no reconstruction parks. you can go to gettysburg. you can go to shiloh and so on. and all of these parks have an important observation on those anniversaries but you can go to the congress and on the anniversary of the reconstruction act of 1867 but not much is going to have been there. [laughter] >> let me just tell you in two or so minutes we are going to take questions from the audience. so if you would want to begin to line up and ask some questions i
don't really have a last question. for me it always comes back to lincoln. something as you know once you start to study him he becomes more mysterious in some ways rather than less. i've given it a lot of thought of what is it that has this whole hold over the imagination. i wonder if you had been asked that before and any responses and then i will say what i think miami is. >> unquestionably one of the most important aspects of the image of lincoln and his status is the martyrdom. in the moment of victory and triumph he's cut down by an assassin and is elevated into the status of martyr.
he would have been the most soviet president even without the assassination but clearly that creates another dimension that helps to explain the internal and fascination with this remarkable man. >> i think the other side of it for me is captured best by w. e. b. du boise the great civil rights leader, historian, first african-american from harvard. in the 1920s at the time of the dedication he wrote a series that you give thoughts to and he said something that is really striking. it was because he triumphed. the world is full of illegitimate children. the world is full of people who are educated.
it's full of people that are born hating and despising their fellow man. to these i love to say he was one of you and get he became abraham lincoln. and that says a rising up becoming something of that potential in all of us it keeps us coming back time and again. [applause] >> i have to say i'm reminded of something and i just want to tell a story because what you did reminded me of the time of the hearing in the senate judiciary committee on the confirmation of robert bork. three people were testifying. william luxenberg who was an
outstanding historian of the new deal, john hope franklin who many of you have read and have seen here and dan sullivan who was a law professor and what they did rather than talk they had a conversation before the senate judiciary committee along the lines of the constitution and i think that is one of the best ways of us appreciated and learning and i want to start with the first question which as adds it was suggested in your closing comments we feel the deification of lincoln and yet when you wrote about 100 days between september 22 and the emancipation proclamation and you have written so much on how we moved from to a nation there
is leadership as political leadership and it seems part of our culture is anti-political and appreciating lincoln as a political leader seems to be deemphasizing in place of the effect of the martyrdom and the deification and i wonder if you could reflect on that. >> there is no question lincoln was first and foremost a politician. he loved politics, lived and breathed politics and ran for office when he was 22 years will become a 23-years-old coming in illinois he lost the first election and others cut too but he never lost his love of politics and his ability to practice politics. he was a master of the art of the possible. of getting things done through
the system and i think you are quite right that often gets lost in our look who rose from log cabin to president and preeminently he was a politician and he wouldn't understand that in the pejorative sense the way that we often do now. he would understand the way in which you govern and the way in which you get things done and make progress you leave through political institutions which he could play like it was a piano. >> he said about his ambition was a engine we don't see since
he was a politician and ambitious and he knew how to play the game. >> both of you commented about the second inaugural and the last speech. i realize he obviously didn't have a chance to fight in allah biography, but didn't he just discuss any of these things? are we left with his word or or do we have informal dialogue that he had where he actually talks about what he meant for charity, what he meant about charity and what he meant about the other terms that we don't know? >> she was -- league and frequently didn't explain what he meant because he wanted people to place their own interpretation on what was sometimes intentionally
ambiguous but in other respects we do have affirmations of what lincoln really meant. at the private secretary who became very close to him kept a diary and recorded recorded the number of different conversations private conversations that he burdened himself. so in some areas we could have other kind of testimonies about what he was really up to and what he really meant and what he was trying to get done. >> i will see to quick things. there are some cases we can see his writing of the census about the thought process. in the end can we see what he was thinking that the most elegant incredible work and the other thing about not being too clear about things that connects the historic killing in the
famous stories response to the questions he told the story and people would walk away scratching their head. it's about two guys trying to cross the river. they walk away and said what the president say x. i don't know, something of a river. [laughter] >> lincoln grew up reading the bible and reading aesop's fables. those are parables. >> sometimes the meaning is obscure. you can deconstruct it in many cases and figure out what he was driving at. >> i am kind of surprised after world war ii very much as you describe the civil war changed
the nation and things got better. as i lived as an adult but always surprises me is how much of the civil war is on result. we moved from jersey situation to the de facto situation but a lot of things haven't changed even as somebody like from the second part is that it's all over and it's perfectly obvious that it's not all over. it happened in the 20s with the birth of a nation so i'm surprised things have changed. they haven't changed as much as i thought they had. >> history is a story the story of two steps forward and one step back. maybe three steps forward, two steps back. we were talking earlier about the reconstruction period. they voted in southern states and formed a majority. a lot of them were elected to
higher office. the lieutenant governor and so on. the courts enforced the 14th and 15th amendments for several years but then there was a reaction. we can look forward to the 1960s and 1970s a great deal of progress but there's the one step backwards again set history isn't necessarily a straight line there are ups and downs and fluctuations and that's what the story is all about but the civil war and reconstruction which i think always have to be considered as part of a unit. a major punctuation point in progress, and it's also the second reconstruction another
major penetration point in the civil rights and we will continue to see that happen. >> liberty is small and i used that to the epigraph in my last book. think of martin luther martin luther king who spoke of the arc of the universe. he said it's wrong but it is at times like these to see the progress and the growth suggesting it is important to acknowledge that there has been incredible change over time and it moves in different directions >> thank you both and most of all for telling the truth. i do want to applaud the united states park service for all of its work during the commemoration of the system
tenniel. i've been all over this country to the various events and in fact you are the one that more folks did that kicked off in virginia and thank you so much for telling the governor that yes indeed slavery was everything about the civil war. and he had -- seeking to apologize and i know that you and other historians were responsible for that. i returned from charleston south carolina and they were for the ending of the civil war because that's where the shot was fired, and it was an outstanding day of learning and growing and developing. and i think that for the very first time, the truth has come out about the meaning of the civil war and how indeed shaped the nation and i think you forgot and i do so also because i am a descendent of people who are enslaved on both sides in
virginia. and i., too too and am glad president lincoln signed the emancipation proclamation and saw the 13th amendment gets through congress before he transitioned. but more importantly, i think that because of the inability of people to face the truth and live with what is true the historians had been teaching us this is why we are experiencing exactly what the previous questioner said that it continues to reverberate and i'm curious as to what politician in recent times since then that you think most emulate and carry he was a very astute politician. that is the first question. [laughter] >> i will stop after that one.
>> it is an impossible question to answer. what i will say, what is problematic to me about the politics in general is how doctrinaire and regicide positions have become. the thing is if he changed his mind he worked with both sides of the aisle. the split between andrew jackson and the radical republicans have caused the reconstruction i don't think ever would have happened. it didn't happen between the radical republicans. that is the kind of political flexibility and understanding and perhaps many other politicians exhibited that it is difficult to find both politicians who don't seem to burrow into the particular sort of rigid position and are willing to understand that
politics requires this kind of compromise. >> it is a tribute to the united states cover trips and i hope you would encourage other people to be there. >> thank you very much. >> i am a member of the group of dc, which is having a symposium this saturday at the new york avenue presbyterian church on the legacy of lincoln and the civil war. my question goes back to the last weeks of his life. and the meeting that he had with grant and sherman and the admiral and admiral, and later after he was assassinated sherman says i will allow the confederate government of north carolina to remain in power and he later said i thought i was doing what lincoln said i should
do. what do you think about the interpretation and what he was talking about when he met with his genitals in those last days. >> i think that i understand where he was coming from because that's what i was saying about lincoln and jim crow. there is a very bizarre moment in those last days before he hears about this where he is having a discussion about allowing the virginia legislature to come back into retail. nobody knows how to proceed. that's the point. of course in the aftermath of the assassination, sherman's agreement is immediately kept. keep in mind what lincoln wants into the reason he gave the last
speech is that he made sure during the war but the most successful of which was in louisiana and that's why the speech was devoted to louisiana committee had voted, they adopted a new state constitution, they had elected representatives, he wanted to get the states back in as quickly as possible. in that sense. once lincoln is assassinated, the idea of the conditions of which the state are completely shifted and changed. and come december, the congress is going to reject all of those that had been elected and be given a process of reconstruction. one last point, the congress goes out of session in arch, regardless. one of the reasons he did gives this speech is how the
reconstruction should take place and that of course was meant to be. >> my question, sherman misinterpreted what was said. earlier they sent a dispatch to grant after they had approached him about maybe the generals came together hammering out the terms of peace. basic make no political agreements, making him agreements with the enemy unless it is for the surrender of the army. he never got that memo. granted it of course. that was the term for johnson after the rejection of the original. but sherman misunderstood the conversations that they had.
to think they could negotiate a political terms not just military. if they got the dispatch that lincoln had i think sherman wouldn't have ever done what he did because it was a political agreement as well as military and that was a no-no. >> i have a question speaking about sherman, was there any feasible political viability outside? obviously they felt that and johnson's mouth off about how he was going to break down the planter class. had lincoln ever spoke any word on that possibility?
>> there have been conversations between the radicals in congress over the confiscation. you can confiscate the property as a punishment for treason but you cannot prevent the children from inhibiting the property ended up as a roadblock to the confiscation of land and the redistribution of land and the corruption of blood. you get rid of the opposition by taking away the land and disinherit in all of their errors. but that can't be done under the american constitution and was a powerful roadblock to the confiscation of land. >> that comes back to the question of the price.
at the same time as a recognition of the importance of land us in terms of settling to do that, yes but not to the point of the confiscation redistribution. >> i was wondering if you could give a brief take on the mythology of the cause that seems to persist in the south and do you see it as a form of commemoration or something that's more damaging to the troops that we have learned from the civil war. >> you raised a complicated issue, one that we probably could spend a long time on and don't have a long time to spend on. i don't think it is necessarily
>> that becomes a problem. it becomes a problem when alexander stephens gave a speech calling america post-civil war. so it's not just about symbols such as the confederate flag it's also about your understanding of ultimately what the war was or wasn't about that continues to play out in a variety of different ways. >> my real question is on the 1903 world series but it's not germane here. [laughter] two counterfactual questions. each if mcclellan had won that election, he would not have taken office til march 4, 1865, when the war was virtually over. do