tv Author Discussion on George Washington CSPAN August 18, 2021 5:52am-6:44am EDT
gaithersburg book festival? maryland. you'll larry author discussions on george was, the recovery women, being young and black in america and the god equation, find more information on your program guide or visit booktv.org. the gaithersburg book festival starts now. >> hello everyone and welcome to the 2021 viral gaithersburg book festival. i'm john, your host. before we get started a quick plug to support the author bid purchasing their books from our wonderful book seller partner can polling ticks and prose, one of america's premier independent book stores women have links to purchase in the presentation description. given all we have been through over the past year it's so
important to support local jobs and the local economy. i want to extend a big thank you to the 2021 feature sponsor the david and michael blair family foundation for their generous support. okay, let's get started. tonight we have with us two highly acclaimed authors here to discuss their latest books, both on our first president george washington. george washington, the political rise of america's founding father by david o. stewart is a fascinating account of how 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 snoring constitutional convention, the gifts of james madison, aaron burr's treason trial and the impeachment trial of president andrew johnson. won the washington writing award for best book, the history prize
of the society of the cincinnati, and the prescott award of the national society of colonial dames of america. george washington's final battling, the epic struggle to build a capital city and a nation by robert watson delves into washington's involvement in the establishment of a capitol city and described how the process nearly tore our young and vulnerable country apart. watson is a professor, historian and author with over 40 published books and hundreds of scholarly articles. he has served as a visiting scholar at many historic sites including presidential libraries, museums and universities, and was an analyst for nbc and pbs for many years. several of his books have won awards including the nazi titanic, the ghost ship of brooklyn, an untold store-at the american revolution, and america's first crisis.
welcome david and robert. >> i drew the straw to start first, and it's -- the store i trade to tell was intriguing to me because i became aware of something a lot of people know, which is washington won key elections in his life, elect commander in chief of the army. elected president of the constitutional convention. elected president once, of course, but the kicker is he was elected unanimously, and you don't get that with box stops on -- that was a big deal in the 18th century and it's unimaginable today. so i wanted to try to understand how that happened and what was the magic that he was able to apply and make that happen. and the story i found was different maybe from the one we all think we know about george washington.
he was not an instant success or -- it wasn't easy. he was a third son of a planter of the second rank, not an elite figure in virginia by any means. his father died when he was 11, and when you were the third son you didn't get very much in those days and he didn't. he got some pretty shop worn assets, and -- because he was 11 his mother took them over and she was right to do that. she had five little kids to raise as a single mom. so he goes to work when he is 16. he has not had the sort of formal education his two older brothers had or he wished he had. always embarrassed because hit lack of formal education and goes to work because he needs the money, which is not how we think of george washington usually. but through connections and he
has got -- wonderful next door numbers, in mt. vernon, the fairfax who owned most of north virginia and are incred by powerful the sponsor him and he becomes as a very young age the head of the virginia regimen, fighting the french and indians on the western frontier. and it's a great opportunity. it seemed and then turns out to be a terrible opportunity because the indians are wonderful forest fighters, and virginians are not, and he had basically three years on the frontier where nothing goes well. ambushes, massacres, he doesn't win anything, and it's really miserable. he is miserable, and he becomes testy, and he manages to alienate basically all of his superiors, the british military
establishment and the loyal governor of virginia who gave him the job, and he alienateses the -- he says rotten things to them and jumps the chain of command and goes behind their backs and when he finally resigns his commission, i think they were all delighted to see him leave and he doesn't have a career in the military world he hopes to have. he then decides, i think to re-invent himself, as a political figure, as a squire in the classic virginia tradition, he lucks into mount vernon. plea close relatives have to die for him to get it but he gets its and marries an extremely wealthy woman, a widow, margaret custis, and he sets off on a career that most people ignore when they writes about
washington and think about him. he spends self-years the virginia house as a legislator, the clonal legislature. he spends a decade on the parish vest triwhich had men responsibilities including taking care of poor and he also spent six years on the fairfax county court which sounds judicial but is partly -- was partly but also was administrative. it had responsibilities for figuring out the roads, the back of warehouses for the expert business and washington is extraordinarily good at administrative work, executive action. and in these roles, he creates a new person as near as i can seem he tries to build on his strengths and not his weaknesses and that's what growing up is
all about and he does it in an interesting way. he is -- hayes not a very good voice. doesn't trust his education to mix it up in debate and needs to develop a quiet leadership style and there's a wonderful episode i emphasize which i think highlights his challenge. early on he brings legislation forward to end the run offering pigs in the city of winchester, frontier city, and if you have pigs rubbing through town, not in pens, you're not in a civilized place. they go to the bathroom where they want and it's ugly and they break into your storage. it's lousy. so, he brings this legislation which really i could not understand why it was controversial. did the pigs have lobbyists? i find its confusing but he
knows this. he can't get its through, and another legislator, very smart lawyer named pendleton, takes over the bill and reinvented it as a bill to protect the water quality and winchester -- because when you're defer indicating everybody its goes into the wells and it's bad. and it sales through, and it's just a very small window into just how, if i dare say, how clueless he was. he needed to learn a lot. and he does. it takes him a while. he doesn't rocket to the top of the political ladder, but he combine he creates a new persona built on talents he has. always the tallest go any room. always look goods, very fussy about his presentation, his clothing.
he developed this quiet style where he -- he made himself a great listener. and he would hear people out. he was developing consultative style. the time on the court helped. that. as young man, military leader he was been reckless, going with his gust too often, and -- his gut too often and develops an approach where he wants to hear from smart people. going to make up his own mind but wants to know what smart people think about something. he has the ability to make true judgments about people. he's always got that talent. and he has extraordinary energy. he gets up at 4:00 in the morning. he looks over everything on the plantation and then he goes off and he rides for -- he doesn't rest until 3:00 in the
afternoon. he is basically worked for ten hours. he has a meal and then works a few more hours, and then he has supper and sometimes works more. and that sort of energy well-directed makes us a huge difference in your life. something that struck me that i wasn't expecting about him is it turned out he -- by my interpretation he had a great emotional accessibility, to just -- a gift with people. not necessarily in a large group, although he was a tremendous performer, john adams called him the best actor we have ever had as president. but he was referred to by many contemporaries as apple -- cease this bust and the marble man,
but in fact people enjoyed his company. there was a french officer who described traveling through early america with him, and he said it was as though he was everybody's father and brother. and that sort of emotional accessibility was a key to his leadership style. john adams called it the gift of silence which is gift john adams didn't have but it made a difference, and i was surprised to discover that on several occasions he wept in book and was not brasessed -- embarrassed and showed it and i tried to take this understanding i was working towards of howl he made -- remade himself from the
first constant anyone tall congress in 1774. george washington is the guy we reek nice as george washington and i think he is. and then look at specific episodes in his mature career where he demonstrates the political tall lenz he developed and -- talent he developed and a quick overshoe i focus on seven months at valley forge, the army was a bit risk of unraveling. he needed to build bridges to congress, make that work. needed to repel an effort to replace him as commander in chief. actually a bureaucratic maneuver to get him out, and it turned out that he was a pretty good -- pretty good at political knife fight and was able to survive that cleanly. the second period i look at is the transition to peace time.
his resignation with the army is a huge moment, creates again -- reinforces the notion he is man that can be trusts and dust lust after power and in the. of period of drift in 1780s, the arms of con federation, it is washington's reputation and i think talents that end up bringing the country together in the constitutional convention and ratification of the constitution. as president there's two episodes i look at especially the first is neutrality policy to stay out of european wars. the second which i am going to leave to robert because he has made a real study of it, is establishing the new government and in particular its seat of government which was a central act in creating a nation. sometimes forget, in these times, there was no tradition of
the united states of america. the colonies were independent. they didn't think of themselves as one country and they had to learn. the only things they had that were unifying were the army during the war, this new constitution, and george washington. and he played this to such a central role, and i couldn't not address his labor issue which was the central part of his life, all his life. it takes him a fair number of years in his life before he appreciates the crime of labor. her comes to appreciate it and makes an effort to extract himself from slave ownership. he doesn't ever make that work because he doesn't have enough money to do it. it's click it story and i won't -- complicated story. it's not going to quell on it here. her wants to but he can't.
and where i do mark him down to be honest is he never speaks out. he speaks privately. we need to get rid of slavery. but never publicly, and this is a huge moral issue for the nation and our greatest leader was silent. and that was a shame. i think he decided he wasn't going to change anything anyway he made a cold political calculation that was too bad. most of us know about his free offering his slaves in his will, which i see mostly as an act of personal atonement, not a political act. he wrote at one point, i hope this action will not be displacing to my maker. -- difference pleasing to my maker. hes a load of guild which he winds as a slave owner for many years. so, with that, i look forward to
hearing from robert on the final battle. >> david, thank you. i am impressed, i agree with everything you said, and just for the audience, some of the award david has won, for his wright books are among the moe prestigious in our field. david i always like to ask authors what they learned now or how they changed their image of the subject. you said that you were a little surprised about washington's emotional accessibility as was i. could you perhaps expand on that and one of the things i've always said when i tackle a subject, i often times like them less once i get to know them more with a few exceptions 0 liming washington and lincoln and truman. how did your view of washington -- did it evolve or like him more or less and if you could expand on that idea, ice emotional accessibilities being surprising to you. >> a lot of it is his moments of
loss. basically most people in -- we know in life dial, all eight of his siblings died before he did. and he writes plainly, directly, how much it hurts, and i dade book on james madison that is nothing like that. and aaron burr, god knows, never wrote about it or said anything but washington, again, is not ashamed of it and one episode in particular involved with his stepdaughter, who do got epilepsy and dies at the age of 15 am a family dinner and he writes a moving alert about to an in-law and he does something which is he's gets a lot of plans for the next three months
and cancelings them all, and he stays at mount vernon and he stayed with martha, and he and martha arrived together and they had never done that. what was a tremendous horseman and a great rider and grate athlete and he probably couldn't keep up with him and he would get impatient and just wasn't the best. but in this time period, he stayed with her and rode with her and it's not heroic. it's not more than you would hope anybody would do. but he did it. and it was a picture of the real man that meant something to him. >> that's an important insight as i think one of your contributions -- one of you're many is peeling back the layers of the onion and trying to get at the real washington which you said at the outset and i share your views, comps across through the generations as just this
statue so i've always felt he what's hardest to know of all the founders but stories like that provide us with an invaluable insight. ask you another question, i like to ask authors. can you tell the audience and myself a little bit about your writing -- your approach to writing, your approach to research. do you have certain room in the house or a certain time, certain number of words per day? i always like to ask authors that. >> i do as much as i can. whatever needs to be done that day i do. i like to work. my wife adjusted after 50 years, and i don't have a target for -- to produce -- -- i have a hole and i need fill it. i don't know what happened. so, it is just -- as you know
all the book you have written, it's -- there's so much to do and so much to know. it takes a lot of strength in figuring out what comes next. >> any big challenges during the research process? in a way there's so much out there on washington that it would seem to be eyeast project then because there's so much on washington to find some new nuggets and insightses as you he done and flesh out the person and -- rather than this caricature of this existing narrative. any challenges during your research? >> it's upit's such a big life and that's why i focus on the five episodes. this took five years. just too much. you have 87 lines of published papers. you have been through a lot of them. and it's great but you can lose
yourself in it. so you have to at some point said, okay, i'm going write. >> i nosema authors don't mind saying it, others like to keep it secret. do you have another book planned or can you let us know what is coming up next? >> well, it's something completely different. i have three novels i have actually written about -- inspired by my previous stories, my mother is month them and the first one comes out in november, scheduled to, and it's about essentially them coming to america, to start -- in the 18th century on the maine coast, bunch of germans come over and -- and then the civil war and we work through volume three, and i had to do them as fiction because my mother was such an unrely unreliable
narrator, she told great stories and we always knew they probably weren't entirely true so it became fiction thank you for asking. >> perhaps the rest that's where you get for story telling and your passion to make sure it's right. >> you need both. >> no question. thanks, david. that's a tough act to follow. i'll say that the idea behind my book, george washington's final battle, which is you heard john say at the outset and you heard david, it's a story about georgia washington building a capital city and doing so, really forging a nation, a lounge fledgling republic. we all know our capitol city. we love the tree lines mall, the smithsonians and i love all the monumentses and touching
memorials to the fallen and ma psychiatrist ick building but few people know the story behind the capital city. why it is leak indicate weed it is these, sign and, a czech tour and all the political twists and turn chases heck of a story so i wanted to tell that. the second reason i wrote the book ties no david's work here and that was i've always seen washington as the least accessible of all the framers, owl the great founders. he has come across to us as more monuments than man, myth more than flesh and blood and i heards beaut them canceling the image gauges because weed in to breathemer life into washington and in particular -- again here i overlatch with david and agree complete live with the argument. i've always seen washington as more plated political than we see the anywhere tv or the pop culture depiction of him. washington has political
talents. washington could re-invent himself politically. and n.o.w. i wouldn't pit washington as a political chest mastser like an abraham lincoln or an arm twister like lbj or wasn't the gifforded orator of perhaps an fdr or jfk but washingtons a a still of schools and instinct on reading people and had charisma. always the biggest guy in the man. physically large match. by today's partan, answer to its, a great horseman, real presence and that raw charisma and he knew and that knew he was not that well-educatessed or articulate so he wills and the was a politician. there's a story in the book of a boats on a -- vote on a key issue and they were four votes sly in the senate and the senate
was smaller. this is 40 votes. so they were four votes sly and washington sad madison ands to call for a revote and people were scratching the head. we need time to work on this, they were four votes shy. they call for an immediate revolts and the interim washington visits four standard flipped all four of them. we don't leave the details but one can only imagine somebody sitting in their office and the door opens and filling up the doorwell is george washington, who said i'm going to need you to do something for me. and i'll be darn if they didn't. that's an example. the other aspect of washington, whichles david alluded to, i've always seen washington life as a quest for self-improvement. he was aware of weaknesses and did reinvented himself into making himself quite an amazing leader and more introspective than people realize.
i agree more emotional and more accessible a little less standoffish than usually depicted. but two aspects i wanted to flesh out. one washington is creative and innovative. during the revolution incarcerate war head did not to the what he does, didn't hey the class quickly tear training was which was probably good thing. generals are always fighting the last war they learned about, washington was making its when he was going around, like my grandmother throwing spa getty on the wall to see what sticks. had to be very innovative and creative. as the first president you see this again and again with david's book. so, there is no template. we created -- at the framers creates an altogether new form of government. they went beyond what the roman senate had done. far beyond what the classache grill police philosophers
contemplatedded. so washington didn't have a template. through is a every, a and inaction, everything the said and didn't say he was forging an office and forging a nation so he didn't know what he was doing. he had to be creative and fill in the blanks and i seek this as the farmer george washington. washington was a very innovative farmer. he had aqua farming, fish farming. trying to grow things that shouldn't grow in the poor soil of the virginia region or off the potomac. washington was very innovative and creative. ordering new farming technology and books on seed and everything from architecture to farming. he would order through his london merchant and always trying to improve himself and i think the ultimate view of washington's passion his vision and creativity. more of a investigation center his political talents comes
together in forging a capital city, threat where you see him put his political stock. puts it on the table and he use his gifts. he is a visionary and looking at a brand new form of a capitol and so on. so the backdrop of the story of the capital you can seat it after the war. ... that is where you see him put his political stock. he puts it on the table. he uses his gifts. he is a visionary and looking at a brand-new form of a capitol and so on. the backdrop for the story for the capitol really you can see it after the war. we won the war, now what? i found headlines of course in newspapers and stories people and writers said things like have we really fought for this?
we don't have a functioning government. the articles of confederation from 1781 to get ratified it's one branch of government. we kick the british out when they took the positions and the money people and the lawyers and the educated. what did we have left? we cannot pay her veterans cannot field a standing army could not back our debts to europe are currency was worth the states were bickering now what? some ways it was probably easier to win a war for the ability to govern than to actually govern where the rubber meets the road with the new challenge. go back to mount vernon. but his work was not yet done. so in that vacuum after the war washington emerges based
on his letters and letters from others washington identified a series of problems. one of them was this the revolutionary war starts in 1775. does not end until 1783 per with the whole way through the war without a permanent seat of government. we create a brand-new nation without a permanent seat of government but that's no way to start a mission or a country we did not have a capitol. we had over 30 cities under consideration of one point or a another to harrisburg and lancaster to williamsburg. there were a number of cities under consideration one was a parochialism. everyone wanted their city or state and not another one. and so pennsylvania would conspire against new york and newark would conspire against pennsylvania. annapolis conspired against baltimore baltimore disk file against annapolis.
the economy was in ruins. people know if you got the capitol you get the government moving in the military moving in congress moving in. that meant an economic windfall of a boarding houses and restaurants in economic activity. so everybody wanted the capitol. ben franklin at one point said maybe we did multiple capitals maybe we need revolving capitol for there is root joke about their trojan horse alluding to how unpopular congress was the joke was meg who should build a trojan course, but congress and a belly and sneak it into a city at night and let them do the business, load up and sneak out to the next city we could not get a capitol. so enter george washington. hampton vice for problems is that remarkable to me it
should've been ben franklin. it should have been john adams, thomas jefferson we had some remarkable renaissance men. well educated well-traveled, extraordinary intellects. it was not then that identified these problems and came up with the solution was a one man among them who is not well-traveled well educated. one trip abroad spent in barbados. the ability to think outside the box. here for the proms a focus on in the book. number one the government was not going to endure. as soon as the revolutionary war was ending and the headquarters in newburgh along the hudson in new york that newburgh conspiracy as david noted and fleshes out in his book their efforts to remove washington. washington's realizing in june
of 1783 there's a mutiny in philadelphia. drunks support out of pubs in philly and they surround the building we now know as independence hall paid sort of like the insurrection on january 6 threating to grab people in civil disobedience and civil insurrection but this scares the hell out of washington. he realizes this government may not endure. what we do about the government question the second problem is factions and sectionalism. see the formations of the federalist between the hamiltonian's the jeffersonians and we are already seeing this rift in washington of course is displeased and worried about that and today in our politics we see the inevitability of all about. the third problem we identify as we have no credibility in
the eyes of europe. we are a cultural backwater. we aren't upstart. we are a republican era of monarchs. wearing deerskin and raccoon hats. not too far off the mark in some places. how do we conduct your treaties how do we have alliances? how do we deal with your pulley cannot repay them we don't have any credibility that's the third problem in the fourth problem also alluded to of an american identity or spirit of nationalism and a good sense. not the excessive sense we see in some cases but if you were to ask thomas jefferson about his country or his nation he would say virginia. we were to ask ben franklin hits a left my massachusetts from pennsylvania. so we did not have united states describing capitol s the states. you find it letters that say
these plural united states instead of capitol u, noun, singular the united states. that is the fourth problem. how does washington address all these problems? a capitol city a grander romanesque inspired by rome. the city for the ages. that helps bring it together. if it's too far in the south, too far in the north one half of the faction is not happy. how do you view the people with a sense of national identity the federal tells a couple brick buildings you don't prove you have a glorious romanesque p-uppercase-letter the capitol city as they stated in the constitution a 10-mile square. this is 100 miles everybody. is about paris and london to shame. the government will not endure.
if we view the government with legitimacy and strength that could endure. you basically have two visions for the capitol. one is led by jefferson and southerners in kind of a slave owning a vision. jefferson's federal town as he called it a few acres. single-story brick buildings separated by fields and woods and forests. think of the architecture of politics or the politics of architecture. at the federal government is just a couple small brick building the states are supreme. there is not a challenge with the institution of slavery. give a great and glorious rome on the potomac then the federal government has power that could change the equation. so washington really challenges his fellow southerners in the jeffersonian model in envisioning this brand-new incredible capitol city. furthermore washington is
cognizant of he learned his life lesson serving and fighting indians in what was then the wilderness, washington realizes seat we have a brand-new unknown system of government. we are going to create a brand-new capitol and they are going to grow up together. and that capitol city will influence the development of this new nation in countless ways paid which i think is just an extraordinary way of thinking about it. and again i'm surprised it was washington and not a ben franklin or john adams to the other founders i quite enjoy. so they would grow up together and shape the development of it. washington plays a critical role in all of this.
he helped select the site for where the b-uppercase-letter habits being your land he owns in mount vernon he had potomac fever he had canoed and surveyed and charted, he knew it and loved it. washington was naïvely at once alludes to the potomac is greater than the thames or the rhine or the danube. tigris and euphrates. it is the potomac pretty got a forgive him that is not well-traveled. place the capitol next to a river which is the hudson and other rivers were in the equation. he's going to forge a brand-new capitol. washington helped select the
site. he surveys a lot of it. washington picks the architects. we knew through his service with the revolutionary war he was also a mason that helped. but he was classically trained in paris and most importantly shared washington's vision of a glorious capitol for the ages. channeling rome and inspired by paris. the grand boulevards intersect with our public squares each be filled with memorials and monuments. glorious marvelous looking buildings. he shared his exaggerated view of the capitol. picks the architect for the billing that sedate the white house. another immigrant from washington's part of the effort for the scottish stone nations beautiful embellishments on the building.
he even plays a role in selling the plot of the link. i'm trying to raise funding for this. so from beginning to end washington is intimately involved in this. i think the idea and i grew david david, during his presidency one of the great things washington did was he had his eyes on the ball of creating a nation. and part of that was creating a capitol. you could really say the last ten years of his life he was darn near obsessed at the idea of a p-uppercase-letter he visited the site. he hires the federal commissioners to oversee the city he demands regular updates and reports. he states intimately involved in it. let me just say one more thing i'll bring this to a close then. the dealmaking of course everybody has heard -- like the scene hamilton the musical right? my 20-year-old son is named for alexander hamilton. which he now tells all of his friends and is very proud he
did not like his name before like there's anybody under the age of 30 things hamilton is the bomb. i always remind my colleagues and fellow historians i was on the hamilton bandwagon 20 some years ago when my son was being born. i've always said it's easy to love hamilton but it's hard to like him. he was very complicated as they all were. john adams i love jefferson and could be an acquired taste madisons a complicated guy they all were quite frankly. then frankly foremost among them. the dinner party on june 20, 1790 as they wrapping the musical the room where it happened. he of two factions jeffersonian faction in the hamiltonian faction the less government the more government. the south, the north just to make it simplistic enough i
digress. the problem for jefferson whenever he and hamilton butted heads hamilton typically carried the day. why? because of washington. washington was more aligned with hamilton adams and the federalists. but washington saw hamilton as more of his sunbird hamilton seeing washington as a father figure he really never had. and hamilton is washington's right-hand man is a say in the musical. washington would side with hamilton including on neutrality which david flushes out in this book. as opposed to jefferson's involvement on the hands of france and that issue. so in june 19, the day before jefferson is waiting outside of washington's office --'s house but here's a great commotion. washington has a fight both washington had tempers. part of legendary stoicism and can be contributed to lifelong effort should say to control his temper and present himself
so hamilton comes out and jefferson wrote he never seen hamilton so dejected is going to move quickly. invites hamilton to dinner at the next night he's going to get him while they have a rift he bites his right-hand man madison with the great intellects. they have to resolve a couple of prescient issues just to among them. one to be the location of the capitol. the other will be the question of the debt as they called it federal debt assumption. so where should the b-uppercase-letter? no hamilton was it in the north and at one point new york. jefferson is southerners one in the south. star near nonnegotiable previous south could walk. more and their beloved virginia leaving adams and others to joke only in
virginia are all geese swans, right? to jefferson and madison surprised it seems that, no we don't have a lot of sources for this, we have secondary sources. jefferson would later write and imagine a reimagined he might later admit he'd realize hamilton duped him it was the worst moment of his political life because he did not like hamilton. what hamilton news washington was already eyeing up the edge of the potomac. now the question of debt south virginia did not want to contribute toward the debt assumption some head cover their debts a lot of the fighting of the war the cost of the world born by the northern states in pennsylvania new york and massachusetts were in a pickle to pay back their debts. jefferson and madison do not
want this to back death are not going to contribute. by them not contribute to the federal government would have to assume their debts and who wanted that? hamilton. hamilton was a treasury secretary makes him with the most powerful people in the government. the federal government assumes we need a bank we need a currency we need strong treasury everything hamilton wanted an federal debt assumptions of hamilton pretty much glazed jefferson and a brilliant madison like a guitar and gets all that he wants but later there be another interesting exchange jefferson pursuing his idea of a federal town one story brick building jefferson proposes a design contest how democratic is this the public submits the designs for jefferson proposes i will serve on the committee that picks the design effect i will chair. he picks his own design basically which is probably
submitted anonymously. but what he doesn't realize is when he takes at the hamilton and washington, washington pretty much says nope were going with mine. bring it to a close washington has many extraordinary legacies as david noted winning all those important elections at the local level to two terms to stepping down both as a general and as president really creating some remarkable customs. part of his greatness is not what he did but what he didn't do in that respect. i think it what he did do was forge this capitol city. and for the life of me if washington was not in the equation we don't have that strong grand and glorious capitol. the questions of the problems i discussed earlier about whether or not that government would long endure i think would be rethought. would be wholly different. of course there was consideration as to what we should name the capitol city.
everyone knew, when the ideas was washington opelousas. now i am just nerdy enough to say it's scary but part of me things it's funny and interesting. thankfully they dropped the opelousas. [laughter] washington does not live to see his beloved capitol he dies on 1799 for the capitol city finally opens on november 1, 1800 a year later with john adams moves in. is not the city we know today everybody paid a couple of buildings fields of mud because they cut everything down. adams was disgusted by abigail even more so 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. one interesting story fleshed out in the book is one of the folks who helped surveyed set it up was benjamin banneker a
former slave and self-taught astronomer. her work with andrew ellicott is kind of poetic. adams was disgusted by the side of slaves building the city. only six rooms the white house were finished. the roof leaked. there's no place for abigail to hang her laundry, to get running water in the building or raked of fresh plaster. every night and all day there is a hammering and sawing of construction produce not the city it was. but adams recognize, adams did not play hardly roll it any of this capitol city debate which is odd because john adams was intimately involved in every decision for years and the founding of this country. but not in the capitol. but he doesn't recognize washington's external revision. and he does recognize that he is a front row seat to history. as he moves in and he writes a letter containing sort of a poetic verse.
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