tv Author Discussion on George Washington CSPAN August 17, 2021 3:37pm-4:29pm EDT
meeting people along the way and try to kind of understand where where we as a country. >> neil king on his nearly three and a mile journey, walking from washington dc to new york city sunday at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span q&a you can also find q&a interviews wherever you get your podcast. >> hello everyone and welcome to the 2021 virtual gaithersburg book festival, i'm john your host for this presentation before we get started, a quick to support the authors by purchasing their books from our wonderful bookseller partner politics and prose premier independent bookstores and we have links to purchase in the presentation subscription and given all that we have been through over the last are, it is so important to support local jobs in the local economy.
anyone to extend and thank you to our 2021, peter sponsor, david and michael blair foundation for their generous support. okay let's get started. tonight we have with us to highly acclaimed authors here to discuss the latest books, our first president "george washington," and george washington the political rise of americans founding father back david o.or stewart is a fascinating account that washington became the single most dominant force in the creation of the united states of america. david o. stewart is a best-selling writer of history and historical fiction exploring topics such as the constitutional convention, the gifts of james madison, aaron treason top contractile an impeachment trial of president andrew jackson. he has won the washington running award for best book. the history cry in the society of the cincinnati and the press
award of the national society colonial days of america. george washington's final battle, "george washington's final battle," the epic struggle to build the capitol city in the nation by robert p-letter watson delved into washington's involvement in the establishment of the capitol city and describes how the process nearly tore are young and vulnerable country apart. robert p-letter washington is a professor historian and author with over 400 published books ad hundreds of scholarly articles. he has served as a visiting at many historic sites including presidential libraries, museums and universities and wasn't nbc and for many years. several of his books, has won awards including the nancy titanic, the ghost ship a brooklyn an untold story of the american revolution and america's first crisis. well, david andl robert.
>> that i would start first. the story try to tell it was intriguing to me because i became aware of something a lot of people know is that washington won election as it is life from elected to the armenian president of constitutional convention elected present twice of course. but the kicker was that he was elected unanimously you don't get that. the big deal in the 18 century an unimaginable today. so wanted to try to understand how that happened. what was the magic that he was able to apply to make that happen and the story found was different from maybe the one we all think we know about george washington. it is not an instant success. it was not easy.
his person the planter the second ring. his father died when he was 11 when he was the third son, he didn't get very much in those days. and he didn't. he got shot more assets because it was 11 mother took him over anyway and she was right to that, she had five lucas raises single mom so he goes to work when he is 16, is not had this sort of formal education that his two older brothers had was that he wished he had predict as always embarrassed about his lack of formal education and because the work because he needs the money. that's not how we think of george washington usually. through connections and he got more than next-door neighbors
the fairfax's who owned most of northern virginia and are incredibly powerful, and they foster him and he becomes a burial makeover the heador of te virginia regimen fighting the french and indians on the western frontier. it's a great opportunity it seems but then it turns out to be a terrible opportunity because the indians are wonderful fires hundred fighters and virginians are not freighted and basically three years in the frontier work nothing goes well. ambushes, massacres, he doesn't win anything. and it's really miserable. he is miserable. and he becomes testy. onany manages to alienate basically all his superiors with his british military establishments in the royal governor of virginia gave him the job.
any alienates them honestly. he jumps the chain of command and he goes behind the backs and many resigned his commission, i think he doesn't have a career in the military world. they need help to have. he then decides to reinvent himself as a political figure, esquire in the virginia tradition, he walked into mount vernon, he got set. he marries an extremely wealthy woman. and he sets off on a rare that most people ignore when the right about washington and think about him. he spent 16 years in virginia as a legislature.
he spends a decade of which had many public responsibilities including taking care of the corning also spends six years in the fairfax county court. it sounds judicial. partly but it also was administrative. in response ability for figure out the road and running the tobacco warehouses in the next part businesses and isnc always extraordinarily good at administrative executive action work. and in these roles, he creates a new person. if visitors like is a bit of both like all of us he drives to weaknesses bring up that's what it's all about an he does it and
interestingly, he doesn't have a very good voice and he doesn't trust his education to mix it up and debate. so he needs to develop a quiet leadership style there's a wonderful episode that i emphasize that i think the highlights some of his challenge in this house and he brings it down early on the legislation forward pigs in the city of daschle frontier city. the run-through pans him not to fans. they go to the bathroom where they wanted it's and they break into the storage. while pigs. three brings us legislation i could not understand why it was controversial. the pigsd had lobbyists, is confusing and he knows he can't get it approved. in another very smart lawyer
hamilton to seville david and vincent as a bill to protect the water quality in winchester. because of course of their defecating everywhere the going into wells is bad. and very small window into just how gary say at how clueless he wass he needed to warn a lot pride and he does. it takes him a while he doesn't rocket up to the political letter but he creates new persona built on the talent he has. noise looks good is very fussy about his presentation and his clothing. he developed his quiet style
where he made himself a great listener. he would hear people out, he developed a consultant if style i think the time on the court helped him with that. she was young a man in a military leader, he was a bit reckless with god too often. and he developed in the face where he wants to hear from smart people paredes going to make up his own mind but he wants to know what smart people think about things. he has the ability to make good judgments about people, he always has thatt talent. he has an extraordinary energy he gets up at 4:00 o'clock in the morning and h he looks over everything on the plantation and then he goes off and rides and he doesn't rest until three in the afternoon and is basically work for tenlw hours and he is
meal that he worked a few more hours. separately works more. the net energy well directed makes a difference in your life. something that struck me that i was not expecting about him is that it turned out that my interpretation hannah great emotional accessibility, a gift with people. not necessarily in large groups. though he was a tremendous performer. he called the best actor whoever has that presence. but he was referred to by many contemporaries as applicable. son usually how we think about him. the marble man in fact people enjoyed his company.
a french officer described traveling with him in early american said it was his know he was everybody's father and everybody's brother. and that sort of emotional accessibility i think was a key to his leadership style. john adams coded his gift of silence which was the gift john adams did not have. when made a difference and i'm surprised to discover that on several occasions he wept in public and was not embarrassed about it. he had feelings and he showed them. i think that ability mattered as well. so i try to take this understanding that is working towards how he remade himself for the first constant continental congress and the guy
who we recognizes george washington i think he is. then we look at specific episodes and career murray demonstrates the talent he developed and a quick overview and a focus on his seven months in valley forge when the army was at the risk of unraveling, he needed to build congress to make that work.t an effort to replace him as commander-in-chief. there's actually bureaucratic group to get a mount read it and it turned out that he was a pretty good political. he was able to survive it cleanly. and in the transition to peace times, his resignation of the army was a huge moment creates
again reinforces a man that can be trusted and he doesn't bust out into power rated and then in the 1780s and the articles, is washington's reputation and i think talent. weight he brings the country together and the ratification of the constitution. on his president, there are two episodes that i look at especially the policies to stay out of the european floors and in the second which it i'm going to lead to robert because he made a real study of it, ms. establishing a new government and in particular the government which was essential act in creating a nation. we sometimes forget in these times, there was no tradition of the united states for america, the colonies were independent. they didn't think of themselves
as one country and they had to learn. now these things that they had were unifying, the armies are in a war. this new constitution and george washington and he played such a central role. it could not address the slavery issue which was a central part of his life, all of life and it takes him a fair number of years in his life before he appreciates the crime of labor and he does come to appreciate it. he makes an c effort to extract himself from slave ownership. he doesn't everis make that work because he doesn't have enough money to do it it's a complicated story so not going to talk about h here but it's interesting thing is he really want to but he cannot.
where i do my came down to be honest is he never speaks out. he speaks privately and we need to get rid of slavery but never publicly is a huge moral issue for the nation and our greatest leader was silent. and that was a shame. i think that he decided it wasn't going to change anything anyway any made pretty cold calculation but that was too bad. most of us know about his freeing of the slaves that is will which i think mostly as an active a personal atonement, and a political act. anyone at one point, that have this actionth will not be disproving to my maker. he had a lot of guilt which he had earned the slaveowner for many years. so with that, look forward to hearing from robert on the final battle.
robert: david thank you and i'm impressed and i agree with everything you said and just for the audience, some of the words the is one, for his writing among the more prestigious in our field. david if i may, how is like to as the office with a large view of the changed the image of the subject you said you were little bit surprised about washington's emotional accessibility hasn't was i. can you expand on that in one of the things that i've always said was when i tackled subject i often time likes unless the few exceptions like washington and lincoln and truman i like more mymy hand into your view of washington, dutysi volvo or enjy them more or less and he could expand on that idea, emotional accessibility being surprising to you. david: a lot of it was his moments of loss, most people who
were important in his life. all of the other siblings died onbefore him. and his stepchildren and he writes directly about how much it hurts. and i did a book on james madison and others never wrote about it or said anything about it. but washington, again, is not ashamed of it rated but the one episode in particular involved his stepdaughter. who had epilepsy as a young girl died at the j age of 15. and it's hard any rights moving letter about it to one of his in-laws. and then he does something that i hadn't noticed anybody else pick up on which was he got a lot of plans for next three months and he canceled them all.
he stayed at mount vernon and he sees with martha and martha ride together and they had never done that. washington was a tremendous horsemanan a great writer and athlete. and think you probably couldn't keep up t with him and he would get a little impatient and just wasn't the best. but in this time period, he stayed with her any road with her and some heroic. if not more than you would hope that anybody would do but he did it read and was a picture of the real man. and it meant something to me. sue and that is an important insight is i think that one of your contributions, one of your many of thised feeling that the layers of the onion and get at the real washington which as you at the outset, nature reviews he comesys said this, across through generations as this document. so voice felt it was the hardest
to know of all of the founders of the stories like that provide us with an invaluable insight pretty you can ask another question david, i would also like to ask the authors, usually audience myself a little bit about your writing in your pressure writing and research. you have as certain room in the house or a certain time. do you have a certain down a number of work today. i always like to ask others that. it. david: i do as much as i can, whatever needs to be a done the day, i do. i like to work, after 50 years. and i don't have a target of words to produce because it contained. i realize sometimes there are holes and i need to fill it and i don't know what happened. so it is just as you know, of all of the books you have
written, there's so much to do and so much to know. and it a lot of scrambling around and figuring out what comes next. robert: in a big challenges in your research process, and whether so much out there on washington that it would seem to be an easy project within together so much out there on washington to really find some new nuggets and sizes you have done and really flesh out the person rather than the character surege of the existing narrative that we often have predict any challenges in your research. david: is just such a big life and that's way focused on the five episodes of his career because i'd work on it for five years and it was you know like i have 87 drawings and favors and been through a lot of them. it's great that you can lose yourself in it so at some point you gotta say okay, that's
enough. robert: i know that some authors don't mind is saying it in others like to keep it secret but do have another book planned for you personally or can you let us know what's going up next. david: is something completely different, and three novels that i'd actually written on stories, my mother's family read the first one will come out in november. and it is about coming through america and in the 18th century and a bunch of germans come over and sprinkle in with the anglos and the civil war and world war ii is falling three. i had to do an illustration because my mother was such an unreliable memory, she just told great stories always knew they
were probably not entirely true. [laughter] so became fiction writing thank you for asking. suet perhaps is where you get get your gift for storytelling but your fact person. david: for thank you rated sue and that's a tough act to follow party now say that the idea behind my book, "george washington's final battle," which is you have heard, john sy the outset and you heard david elude to, story about george washington building the capitol city and in doing so, really foa nation, this young republic writing i got the idea into respectable one precisely do what david just had my first off, we all of our capitol city, we love the true mall and the world-class smithsonian's, with love all of the monuments and the memorials to our heroes in the fallen the majestic government buildingre displayed the few people know the story behind the a capitol city.
my was located where it was in the design the architecture. and of course all these political twists and turns behind it which is a heckuva story. so wanted to tell that in the second reason why a of the book is i t think a lot of david's wk here and there was that i've always seen washington as the least accessible of all of the framers, all the great counters rated he hast come across to us more money met the man. more math than flesh and blood and i particularly like the story david shared about him canceling a lot of his engagements over three months because that's what i think a tt we need to do brief more life into washington and in particular, and again here of overlapped with david but i completely agree that i've always seen him as more political and we often times see the narrative for the pop culture and the depiction of him in washington have political talent as david said pretty he could reinvent himself politically.
now i wouldn't put washington as a political chessmaster like and abraham ligon or an arm twister like in lbj the savior clearly was it did as fdr or jfk but nonetheless, washington had political skills and i agree with david, he also could read ipeople they also had charisma and was well aware of it and was always the biggest guy in the room. an physically large man and he was an athlete, aed great horsen and a real presence and that raw charisma and he knew it and he also knew he was not that will educator and an educated or not that articulate so incredible sums up and plays the role of the cards that he was given it. but he was a politician and there's a story that i flesh on the book. about vote on the key issue in their work for sign in the senate and of course it was like 40 votes shy in the senate or
something so therefore votes shy in washington asked madison and others to call for a revote rated people kind of scratching their heads and they said we need time to work on this there were four votes shy the call for an immediate revote in the interim washington visits senators and flipped all four of senators. and we don't have the details behind it but one can only imagine somebody sitting in the office the door opens and filling out the door wells george washington is an employee need you to do something for me. and i'llll be darned if they did it. so that's an example of the other aspect of washington is i've always seen washington and the quest for self improvement. he was or whatever his weaknesses he worked to reinvent himself and making himself quite an amazing leader. his more introspective than i think people realize more emotionally accessible and standoffish tube depicted the
two aspects of that that i wanted to flesh out, when he was creative and innovative. during the revolutionary war, he didn't know where he was going, he did not have the classic military training which ended up probably a good thing in the critique and now the generals were always fighting glassware that the informed about in the training. and he wassp like my grandpa the through spaghetti in the wall. see what sticks. banana be very innovative and creative as the first president, you see this again. with david's book and so, there is no template. we created the framers created an altogether new form of government and they went to beyond with the roman senate had done, they went far beyond the classic philosophers that even contemplated in what lincoln would later call for the people. it's a washington did have a
template, is through his every action and inaction into everything that he said and didn't say pretty he was forging an office in the nation so again didn't know what he was doing. he could fill in the blanks. then we see this as the farmer george washington. washington was a very innovative farmer. he did fish farming and he was trying to grow things that shouldn't grow and the poor soil the virginia region are off the potomac in washington was very innovative and creative and is ordering new farming technology and seated everything from the architecture to farming, he would order it from his london merchant denny was always trying to improve himself and i think that the ultimate view of washington's passion and his vision and creativity, more visionary in his political talents and all comes together in forging a capitol city building a capitol city in this
receipt him, his political stock. puts on the table. he uses his gifts, he is a visionary and looking at awa brand-new form of a capitol. so the backdrop to the story the capitol really you can i see it after the war. and now what we want it and know what greatness headlines in newspapers and stories and in the writer said things like how we really thought for this. we don't have a functioning government. you have articles of confederation which went from 772-1781 to even get ratified rated one branch of government, is holy and.. effective. and the british we think the british out but when they left they took the positions and their money and their lawyers and the educated. when we have left, we could not pay our ventures. we could not be the standing army are paid back are asked to europe and the states were
bickering. now what. some some wayss it was probably easier to win a war with the ability to govern than to actually govern predict where the rubber meets the road with a new challenge. in washington had said that he thought for a retirement under his beloved and go back to mount vernon but his work was not yet done so in that vacuum after the war, washington emerges and based on his letters and letters from others, you can see that washington identified as a series of basic problems. in one of them was that the revolutionary war started in 1775, and doesn't end until 1783. we were the whole way through the war without a permanent c2 government. we created a brand-new nation without a permanent seat of government. that's no way to start a nation are a country. we didn't have a capitol predict there were over 30 cities under consideration of one point or another from albany new york city, to baltimore annapolis to
paris and in harrisburg into you know williamsburg. there were a number of cities under consideration and one of the problems that washington saw was creole fuel is in. everybody wanted their city or state and not another one. so new york would conspire against pennsylvania vice aet versa not been against baltimore and t against annapolis one of e reasons was economics predict the british had blockaded the seaboard the economy was in berlin and so people know that if you got the capitol, you would get the government meddling in the military moving in the congress moving in and that meant an economic windfall. from boarding houses and restaurants in economic activities. so everybody wanted the capitol. there is even a joke at one point, maybe we need multiple capitals or maybe revolving capitol and there was a funny joke about the trojan horse, it alluded to how unpopular
congress was. the joke among the members of congress was maybe weni should build a trojan horse and for congress in the belly and sneak it into a city at night. [laughter] and load a backup and then sneak out to the next city. so we can get a capitol so interest george washington he really identifies four problems. this is what is so remarkable to me. it should meant and franklin. it should have been john adams or thomas jefferson. we had some remarkable renaissance men. well educated well traveled an extraordinary intellectual but it wasn't then that identified these are problems and came up with a solution it was a one man among them who was not well-traveled or well educated in one trip abroad and he spent a few daysar in barbados as a teenager. so it was washington i think it was a he hated it content creativity and thehe ability to think outside of the box.
so here are four problems, number one theht government was not - as soon as the revolutionary war was ending in march of 1783, at the headquarters in newburgh, along the hudson in new york, there's a mutiny, a conspiracy and as david had noted and flushes in his book, efforts to remove washington. and he's realizing just as they were ready to cease victory were going to snatch them from the jaws of victory and then in june of 1783, there's mutiny in philadelphia. a group of unpaid veterans, they pull out of pubs in philly and they surround the building and that we know as know as if it is also like the insurrection on january 6. threatening to grab people in civil insurrection. this scares the heck out of washington, he realizes the government may not endure. sessa first one what we do do about the government and the second problem is factions and sectionalism. were already saying north and
the south rent andew were alreay sing the formation of the federalist and anti- federalist and affections between the atoms in the hamiltons and the jeffersonians in the madisonian said were all when already sing this rift washington of course was displeased and worried about that had of course in her politics today we can see the inevitability of all of that in the third problem we identify is with window credibility in the eyes of europe. there i cultural backwater. were an k upstart, a republicann an era monarchs. and of course, the image of americans of people running around with reckon hats and deerskin, none too far off the market in some places presumably fcontact treason alliances and how do we deal with europe when we can't repay them and we don't have any credibility in the fourth problem which gave david also alluded to as we don't have a spirit against an american
identity if you will or a spirit of nationalism and a good sense. nothing excessive since that we see in some cases. if you would ask thomas jefferson about his country or his nation, say virginia, you are asked ben franklin he would say massachusetts for pennsylvania. so wee didn't have, the united states describing, the states brady find letters this a these pleural the united states instead of capitol u, his noun, singular, the united states so that is the fourth problem. how does washington address all these problems, the capitol city. a grand and glorious romanesque inspired by rome, a city for the ages, located halfway between the north and the south and helps bring it together. his two for the south, to find the north, one half is not happy. so how do you in view of people, the sense of national identity
if you have a small sort of federal town with buildings, you don't. have a beautiful romanesque capitol, the capitol city, as stated in the constitution, something that david has written about, 10 miles square. this is 100 miles everybody, this will put paris and london to shame. this is quiteta an ambitious undertaking. the government want to endure. woke with the view it with legitimacy and strength he could endure. in place we have two visions for the capitol and one is led by jefferson and southerners and kind of a federal town as they call it, just a few acres, single-story brick buildings, separated by fields and forests and think of the architecture of politics. where the politics of architecture. if the federal government is just a couple of small buildings, and the states are supreme. there's not a challenge of the
institution of slavery. give a great and glorious rome on the potomac, and then you know the federal government could be viewed is found that could change the equation so washington really challenges this fellow southerners and the jeffersonian model and envisioning this brand-new incredible capitol city. now furthermore, i think one of the biggest surprises for me and all of this is that you don't think of washington as a deep thinker or philosophically person any often time was not. he learned his life lessons and surveying and fighting the indians and what was in the wilderness. washington realizes that a brand-new hereto for the unknown system of government. were going to create a brand-new capitol. in the going to grow up together. in the capitol city will
influence the development of this new nation and callous place which i thank you so just an extraordinary way of thinking about it in again i'm surprised that it was washington and not you know, the ben franklin or ngjohn adams. so they would grow up together and shape the development effort in washington plays a critical role in all of this read he helped select the site from where the capitol will be from a self interest perspective, and happens to be near land in mount vernon and it happens to be near his beloved potomac it was even something of a joke. i found countless letters, some of the other founders teased and said that he had potomac fever, he was obsessed the potomac. wish to his t credit, it canoed and surveyed and charted in all of that in a new date and for new and hele loved it and watchg and even sort of naïvely sort of once alludes to the potomac as
greater than bigger areas. all of the tigris and it's a potomac. you got it forgiving that it was not well-traveled. we knew we needed to place the capitol next to a river which was why the hudson and other rivers were in the equation. so is going it forge a brand-new capitol and help select a site in washington surveys a lot of it washington picks the architects. he picked small, the finest french architect in an engineer any new through his service going to revolutionary war and it was amazing and that helped. but they thought itt he was classically trained parents and he also shared washington's vision of the glorious capitol for the ages. channeling rome and inspired by paris. the grand intersects with the public squares and each would be filled with memorials andnd monuments and darius marble ask
hugging buildings. so we shared washington's exaggerated view of the capitol. washington picks the architect that's going to be the white house james from ireland in washington is part of the effort to get the scottish stonemasons, to come in and provide these beautiful embellishments on the building. and so washington plays a role even plays a role in selling lots of land and trying to raise funding for this. so from beginning to end washington is intimately involved in this and i think the idea and agree with david, during his presidency, one of the great is that washington did was that he had his eyes on the ball creating a nation and part of that was creating the capitol you can really say the last ten years of his life was darn near obsessed with the idea of a capitol and he visited the site
any hires federal commissioners who oversee the city any demands regular updates from the parts. he stays intimately involved in it. and let me just take one more thing and i'll bring this to a close. the dealmaking of courses everybody has heard and seen phamilton in the musical right which i loved. my 20 -year-old son is actually named from alexander hamilton when tino now tells all of his friends david very proud of. he didn't like his name before but now he does. anybody under the energy of 30 thinks that hamilton is the bomb. i always remind my colleagues mike hello historians that i was one of hamilton's bandwagon 20 some years ago when my son was being born. but although i've always said to love hamilton but it's hard to like him, he was very complicated as they all work. john adams i love that he was like jefferson, he could be an acquired taste. medicine is an interesting guy
to complicated guide many ways and our grade ben franklin for the most part, so the better parting on june 20th of 1790, and as they say in the musical, the room where it happened. so we have two factions, they jefferson hamilton. the less government, the more government and the south and the north just to make it simple for sticking up backrest with the problems for jefferson was never that he had hamilton butted heads, hamilton primus carried but there is washington. washington was more ideologically aligned it then hamilton adams and in that fact that that most for it washington saw him as far as son and hamilton saw him as a father figure. and he never really had. and as a sin musical the right have met. and he was hard with hamilton including which david talked about in this book. the poster jefferson's un of franceon behalf that issue.
jefferson is waiting outside onto 19th of washington's home at his. house, he hears this great commotion and they have a fight and they both had volcanic tempers. part of washington's legendary stoicism is can be contributed to may be a lifelong passion effort iar should say to control his temper and present himself in another way. self-improvement to talk about and david talked about. it's of hamilton comes out of jefferson wrote that he never saw him this weight so jefferson's going to move quickly. so we invite hamilton to dinner the next night and is going to getting while they have a rift in a team up invites his right-hand man medicine, the great intellects so jefferson and madison against hamilton. and they have to resolve a couple of pressing issues, to among them. one would be the location ofho e
capitol and the other one would be the question as the federal assumption. torsion b-uppercase-letter. no hamilton months it at the north one point new york and jefferson and southerners wanted it in the south. and the south could walk if they don't get it in the south and of course jefferson and madison wanted in the relevant virginia and leading others to joke that only in virginia, all the salons. so to jefferson and madison's surprise, it seems and we don't have a lot of sources for this, we have secondary sources, the jefferson would later write and imagine reimagined version of this meeting trying to put himself in a favorable light, he would later admit that when he realized hamilton, is the worst moment of his political life because he didn't like hamilton and hamilton agrees that the capitol goes to virginia in the south and jefferson and madison couldn't believe it.
and it washington was already eyeing up the edge of the potomac in the south and virginia did not want to contribute towards some southern states that cover the debts and a lot of fighting of the war and across the world were born but that northern state. pennsylvania new york and massachusetts on the pickle to try to pay back their debts. so jefferson and madison, the south and they're not going to contribute and help with the didn't realize is a buy them or not contributing, federal government would have to assume the debts and who wanted that, hamilton. he was a treasury secretary makes him one of the most powerful people in the government. the federal government assumes that debt, and the bank and we need to currency and treasuring all of the things i hamilton wanted in the federal debt. so hamilton pretty much place e jefferson in the brilliant madison like a guitar and gets all that w he wants rated later
that would be another interesting exchange brady jemison pursuing his idea of a little simple talcum the one-story brick buildings and jefferson proposes that we have design contest and how democratic is this, and jefferson proposes that all serve on the committee in fact i will cherish. [laughter] and he picks hisfe own design basically which was probably submitted anonymously predict what he doesn't realize is when picks it, hamilton washington says nope, were goingen with mie ratedee so or bring to a close y saying that i think that washington has many extraordinary legacies as david noted and winning all of those importing elections even at the local level and presiding at the constitution of convention and in 17872 terms and stepping down both his general and is present really creating some remarkable customs. part of the greatness is not what he did but what he did not
do in that respect i think what he did do this gorgeous capitol city and for the life of me, washington was not in the wages that we don't have, that strong credit glorious capitol and the questions of the problems that i discussed earlier about whether that government would long and do our i think it can be rethought. whom he totally different and wf course consideration that's what we should name the capitol city. everybody knew, one of the ideas was washington wallace. i'm a just nerdy enough to say that that scary before me thinks is funny and interesting and out thankfully not. [laughter] and washington does not live to see his beloved p-uppercase-letter dies in 1799 in the capitol city finally opens on november 1st 1800 a year later when john adams moves in his got the city that we know
today everybody, couple of buildings and fields of mud is t everything down. adams was disgusted by an abaco even more by the presence of slaves building our city which is quite ironic because we did not have the money, we would have to rely on slave labor. and one interesting a story that if i shot in the book is some of the folks that helpas survey and set up was benjamin a former slave and extraordinary self taught engineer architectct astronomerer surveyor who worked with andrew ellicott in washington at one point surveying the city and think that's kind of poetic. but adams was disgusted by the side of slaves normally six the white house refinish the roof leaked and is no place for abigail to hanker laundry and get water in the building rate of fresh plaster. all night and all day long come there is hammering and sawing of construction rated so as not the
city that it was but adams recognized, he didn't play hardly any role in this, which is odd. because john adams was intimately involved in virtually every decision for years in the founding of this country. been on the capitol but he does recognize washington's extraordinary vision a does recognize these a front row seat to history as he moves in and he writes a letter containing sort of a poetic verse pretty writes a letter to abigail who did not travel with him. he kind of cryptically says the building is in a situation inhabited basically. knowing that abigail didn't like what she found but she comes down. but the we now know as the white house, he writes a prayer which at the end of that was engraved in the mantle of one of the fireplaces says that i pray that evan bristow the best blessings msupon his house and to all who will hereafter inhabited. none but wise and honorable man
and who will serve under this roof. and thathi today is in the white house and think that is part of the great vision of george washington and his extraordinary efforts in h his political and vision and his creativity and just getting this capitol city founded and built which ensures the survival of our republic. so thank you for that and i would like to think david and it's an honor to be on with him and to be a part of this wonderful book festival and thank you everyone. >> sunday cspan series january 6, views from the house continues, two more members of congress shared stories of what they saw heard and experienced the day including pennsylvania democratic susan wilde, who recounts what happened during those early moments on the house floor read. >> nicely don't remember how long we were in a situation between the time he barricaded the door the time get out. they told me it somewhere like 20 minutes.
it could've been two hours, he could've been five minutes but had no sense of time whatsoever. but i remember when i got off the phone with my kids that i felt my heart was pounding out of my chest and i felt actually was very worried that i was having a heart attack, never had one but i do have my father had heart attacks and with the family so it's actually kind of worried about demise very worried about that. and it must've put my hand up to my chest because that photograph of me that was taken shows me lying on the back of my hand up to my chest and i don't remember lying on my back read but i do remember jason taking my hand and stroking it kind of comforting him me and telling me that i was going to be okay. and i was perplexed that he was reassuring me because i didn't realize that i was showing how upset it was. >> this week you will also hear her massachusetts