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tv   Thomas Hager Electric City  CSPAN  September 7, 2021 1:47pm-2:49pm EDT

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patricia sellers for the kennedy library forum. thank you to the audience for coming and for your wonderful questions. and thank you to the kennedy library for inviting both of us to appear . >> my thanks to you all. you can so much and everybody . >>.
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>> welcome into the hudson library historical societies live event with thomas hayter . sshe's here to discuss his fascinating new book electric city, the lost history of ford and edison's american utopia. i'm kathy jones, one of the adult services librarians at the hudson library and we have quite a few exciting other programs coming up in june and you can register for them at hudson library.org. also i'm excited to say we will be offering live morning meditations, it and yoga classes by esarpaio this summe . those classes will be up on our website this week if you'd like to sign up. a reminder that if you're joining us on zoom tonight you can put your questions in the q and a bottom of the screen and if you're joining us on facebook but your questions in the chat and will get to as many as we have time for. one more thing, the learned
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owl our local independent bookstore is selling copies of tonight's book and there's a link in the chat if you'd like to purchase one but tonight i am delighted to welcome author thomas hayter, publishers weekly calls electric city the book we will be discussing an illuminating portrait of a little-known chapter in american history. mister hager is an award-winning author of numerous books of the history of science and medicine including the alchemy of air, a jewish genius, doomed tie to the scientific discovery that fueled the rise of hitler and 10 drugs: how plants, powders and pills have shaped the history of medicine. he is a courtesy associate director of journalism at the university of oregon so please give a warm virtual welcome to thomas hager. >> iq. it's good to be here and to chat about this book.
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i write mostly about the history of science and medicine and this book is really less about science per se although there's a fair development, development of the electricity industry in thebook. it's more about people . and hang on. i just want to make sure we are on and working here. are we good? great. i've got an error message on myside . it's more about people and about some really what i thought were fascinating people in american history. and how they tried to change thehistory of the united states . the two main characters in the book are henry ford, the auto industrialists, the man who built ford motor company and made for the number one
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selling car in the world in the 1920s. and his buddy and late life friend, thomas edison. thomas edison of course we all know him as the inventor of the electric incandescent lightbulb. that we use h, we don't use electric balls like he invented but not much anymore but he had a tremendous effect on the development of technology in america. it wasn't just delightful. edison also did the photograph. the early versions of the movie camera, movie projector and really changed american life in a dozen ways that are fundamental to who we are as people. he did that through his inventions. he was known as the wizard of menlo park. menlo park in new jersey was where he had his laboratory, where he made his inventions
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and by the time that the setting of this book, this book is set in the years just after world war i and in the early 1920s so the years i'd say five years on either side of 1920 form the part of this book. during that time, edison was already revered elder statesman in america. he was the one of the best love american that with during that time. everybody knew the name of thomas edison. everybody knew what edisonhad done for the united states . and so it was quite a event when edison teamed up with henry ford. and tried to create this project, this enormous project that is the subject of my book. it happened like this. edison and ford knew each
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other and ford was a younger man , one of the first jobs forgot when he was a young man was not in automobiles but in electricity. he worked on electrical dynamos as a young man. one of the first jobs and re-forgot was working at thomas edison's electric company in detroit michigan. ford had grown up in michigan, he was a farmboy that he was a poor farmboy and he hated farm work. he hated the drudgery of farm work and he hated working in outside in all weather. the kind of stuff verse have to do to make a living in this world were things thomas , but henry ford didn't like red henry ford was a smart kid and he had a natural
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aptitude for machinery. and he loved tinkering with machines early machines. this was, he grew up sort of came of age in the 1880s and 1890s and during that period, the steam engines were all the thing. steam engines were huge planking affairs that were used to power factories and out on the farm they had steam engines on wheels that they could roll from farm to farm and fire up to help with the harvest. so you can have an engine brought to your farm. these things were huge. they were like locomotives. they were called load locomotives as a matter of fact because they didn'tneed tracks to run. they were big iron wheels . andthey , the engines themselves were the size of
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railroad locomotives for a little smaller. they would roll from farm to farm and settle down in a field and then they use the steam engine to power a series of belts and pulleys to do the various farm chores that needed to be done for the harvest. these machines, these roadwork locomotives were henry ford's dream machines. he was obsessed with locomotives, with road locomotives. he learned everything he could about how they work and he was a genius at seeing how those fit together so he learned on the farm about machinery and he stuck with machinery and left the farm work behind. he couldn't wait to get eout of his parents farm and into a machine shop in detroit and he ended up working for thomas edison. thomas edison was at the
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height of his powers in the 1880s and 1890s and 14 and as a young nobody, started working with edison and at a, he was talented of course and ford came to the notice of his superiors and his superiors brought henry ford to a edison company event. kind of a luncheon in which thomas edison was present. the two men met so edison is established and older and rich and famous and ford is no money. the two of them started conversations at this lunch. the young whiz kid is really with machines and the older guy who understands inventions start talking and what they're talking about is an idea that henry ford has for building a new kind of
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automobile engine. ford has been playing around with the idea of power in an automobile with gasoline and he's presenting an improved gasoline engine in the kitchen and in his garage. he's etputting together bits and pieces in his spare time and trying to make this revolutionary new gas engine and edison is fascinated. edison who listens to this young man and thinks he's got something going on. the two of them become friends but it was years later after ford built his engine and put his engine into an automobile that was the most reliable and least expensive automobile the world had ever seen. it's a car he called the model. he invented the model t invented a way to make model
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these that made them m fabulously cheap. it was called the assembly-line factory. the assembly-line factory was a more important i think invention and the model t itself. whereas making the model t cut down costs tremendously and ford pushes his factory together with his automobile, flooded the world with model t's. everybody wanted one. this was a revolutionary revolution in america because up until the time of henry ford automobiles had been tremendously expensive. they were rich people's playthings. they were nluxuries, toys. so what henry ford did was he created an automobile that was tough enough to work on a farm. you could take it on a dirt road and it was easy to fix. everything was very durable, very reliable and so you
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could afford a model t car and suddenly everybody wanted one. between 1910 and 1920 ring that decade, the model t became the first best-selling , just a phenomenal best-selling car worldwide. it was tremendous moneymaker for ford. he owned his own company and all the moneywent to ford . ford by the time 1920 came around was an industrialist on a scale unlike anyone else in the world. he was the richest man in the world and one of the most powerful. that is the setting for the story. tthe older edison, the younger ford, both of them interested in inventions and technology, both of them interested in new ways of powering industry and the book tells the story of how they tried to create a utopian city in the middle of
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america that would incorporate all their best ideas and turn those ideas into a new way of living for americans. so i want to take just a moment and talk about what it was they wanted to change not just about american b technology but about american a society . my book is about an experiment that two great men, very powerful men tried toundertake on a massive scale . >> .. >> ..
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the tennessee river area in northern alabama was one of the core parts of the united states. i guess you know you could use the word backward. it was almost as if that part of united states had gotten lost in the 1700's in many ways and had nodded danced to the 20th century. part of the problem was thehe civil war which ravaged the area and it never really rebuilt fully so it got set back by the sobel war and the people there could bede small farmers who wok to owned farms and much of the farming happen in the hills.
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look the sub imparted tennessee in the northern part of alabama what people make fun of bear as hillbillies was a tough way to make a living. a small farm in the soil wasn't very good and the roads weren't very good and there was no electricity and no health care. people lived in cabins that had big holes in the roof. you have descriptions of people lived in those days in that part of the country and it really is like going backnd to cup o00 years. they wash their clothing in the metal washing pots that they lit a fire under and they had very
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very poor communication with the rest of the world. when henry ford and thomas edison decided to go down there and change everybody's life it wasn't just going into typical 1920s town. it was like j going back to 17 r 1800 announcing to the people in an t area the tennessee river drainage area about the size of england you'd have people in an area that you were going to pull them out of the 1780s and into the 1920s in one fell swoop. it would be like tilting the world'ss biggest dam and using all of the electricity to power industry without using coal. ud is electrical energy and it
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would be very affordable. but you would end event industries instead of burning coal. that was an important step forward because edison and ford built their business around the idea -- they both disliked coal. they thought cole was and polluting and dangerous and unhelpful. they wanted to get away from coal so they were going to build an entire city and this of course was edison. the world's biggest dam the world's largest power using the largest source of electricity with power industries up and down the tennessee river. what they planned was a new kind of city. they want to reshape society around the idea of a new kind of -- and very quickly what
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henry ford had in mind when he was thinking about this experiment in northern alabama he was thinking that the ford factories huge factories for making models in and around detroit. it was in the suburb up to to right. he had built to huge factories and w was in the process of building building the world's biggest factory at the time that he was thinking about this experiment in alabama. he built these factories in the city's and he completely sees the nature of detroit. he was such a small area that they created. these workers were well paid and he really cared about his
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workers.er he was very concerned about his workers wages and living standards but he couldn't help the fact that when yous build an huge factor you concentrate people in a small area. they tend to be in rental and in tenements. they built the result of slum living to a great extent and along with that and increasing crime and these were things that henry ford needed. he had this idea in mind that america should be much like the small town in midwest america the farm town that he grew up in. if you brick buildings downtown by the pond. this was the idea of america that he wanted for his workers. he thought this was the best way for people to live. he wanted to create that in northern alabama on a vast scale
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so he wanted to have an enormous industrial center and the city 75 miles long employing many workers. he wanted all of that but he wanted it without any coal pollution without any crime and he wanted his workers to live on small farms. farming would be in their spare time so they could bring in their own crops and work in the electrically powered industry the rest of the time so they e could have the best of both city life and country life. instead of a single huge factory he wanted a string of small factories electrical powered factories up and down the river. and around each of those factories the small holder land
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leases or workers would have tenor -- five or 10 acres to farm and they could afford to do it because he would offer it to people buying the land and he would offer to rent them farm machinery to farm it. when they were done with their crops it would only take a few weeks. they could go to their jobs and improve their land educate their kids and so on. he built its business around a new kind of american life. that is what he and thomason edison tried to create in northern alabama. this tells the story of why they failed. finally the book tells what happens next. the stories move eventually towards the creation of one of the greatest achievements of government in the united states called the tennessee valley
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authority, the tpa which many of you have heard of. this is how the cba started and it started out of this business. eventually ford despite his popularity and despite his name and despite his money eventually ford's plan ran head-on into the u.s. government which also had a claim on the power generation of the tennessee valley. and for five years forward in the u.s.r government fought over who would control this area. this was potentially a private kingdom in northern alabama. would ford get his wish and build the city are with the u.s. government do something else? eventually the government found a way to stop henry ford and
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they built their own version in this new way of living and they called that the tva they grew out of ford's ideas as well. one more thing before we get into q&a. along with everything else it was going on in the early 1920s as ford was trying to make a national place for the government to give him what he wanted so that he could build the city, he wanted control over vast area and he wanted the world's biggest dam. that didn't happen. what did happen was henry ford decided the easiest way for him to get what he wanted might eat it become president. this tells the story of how
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close henry ford came to becoming president of the united states. he was a serious candidate for several years. i've got to admit i'm one of them at a number of observers he thought if anyone had at the time of being the president of the united states. he would run on a platform that incorporated the idea of this electric city that he wanted to build and his vision for america and that's what he wanted to run on. it didn't happen and i tell the story in the book but we came close to having a president in the 1920s who wouldt have been someone who didn't have the day of government experience behind him. he came out of private industry who was accustomed to running a
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one-man boss. he was the boss and he would run the government the same way. he was phenomenally popular with people across the middle america, farmers, workers and factory workers. people who looked upon him as a genius and would have loved the idea of him running the united states. that almost happened and the reason it didn't happen was tied up with the story. so that was the book that i got into and that was the book that resulted in the long story longer and the richer story of the city and i hopeve you get a chance to read it. i'm open for questions if anybody has any. >> okay. let's get started with some
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questionsh then. the first question we have is how do you -- how did you get interested in this piece of american history? >> how did i get interested? >> yes. >> it was sort of an accident. syou had mentioned the previous book that b i'd written called alchemy of -- and one of my early veaux was about the development and this sounds very exciting when i say it like this but the development of a our lizer in the united states and worldwide. it turns out to be much more interesting than that would sound. but i spentns a few years learng about the fertilizer and the book was a gift especially with farmers. so i got invited to talk at a lot of laces around the united states and one of the placesla i
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went to us in alabama. i had neverno been to northern alabama and my life. i had no idea they had led the work on a.g. -- and there was a book in the i 1930s in appalachia and is very poor part of united states. that is what i thought northern alabama was like. my mindset was this is a really poor area still and when i got to northern alabama i landed at the international airport in the town of huntington. i was taken through a small city on the banks of the tennessee river and it's a delightful place with people who were a
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four-star international hotel on the hill and i was blown away. this was a country that was a complete surprise to me. it was very prosperous and very at to date. there are more square miles in alabama than any other part of united states. their space research and international agriculture research. i did my talk and on the way out of town i'm mike getting ready to go back to the airport to fly back home to oregon and the local fellow who was my driver we are in the car headed to the airport and we have a little
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extra time. he knew i was interested in fertilizer history so he took me out -- we had time to take off on our route and we went down the road and what remained of an old fertilizer factory. that's what he wanted to show me. it was out in the middle of a field of what had to be this gigantic factory. that wasas impressive to me and how did this sendup in northern alabama? a wall what was more interesting is what happened next. the driver because we had a couple of extra minutes drove me a little ways away to another field in alabama and we drove
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out into this field and the field was actually a network of trees that had been laid out like city streets with curbs and fire hydrant old-time fire hydrant and street signs which were never built. they were never finished. this was the city called ford city. it was a city that had been planted and had never been completed. here i am, almost like being in egypt looking art ruins in the desert. it was the combination of the ford series in the remains of his huge factory that made the wonder what happened here. i went to henry ford and i
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started learning about ford and that was the rest of the book. as writers do you sometimes call it the thread. >> a very interesting story. stephen ake here's another question. what similarities if any d.c. between the young henry ford in today's elon musk or mark zuckerberg? >> that's a good question. we thank heightened-technology is a new thing but it's really not. ford in edison were the -- of technology of their time. all ofof these men -- zuckerberi
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will leave aside. he was at technological innovator and zuckerberg i know less about but let's say elon musk. elon musk has an imagination and he's into electric cars and space travel and hyperloop technology and all kinds of stuff. he reminds me very much of henry ford and thomas edison. these people found success in one technological field. it change lives for a lot of americans. their restless minds with the success they have had they moved on and did more. and elon musk is always testing the boundaries and the last of this innovation.
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henry ford after his success with the model t and the plant really wanted to stretch himself out into this role and i think that is a factor to that happens to people who become highly successful in business and industry and they begin to think that their ideas because it worked for them in one area of industry their ideas would probably be better for everybody. so they take their successes and apply it to lurch or larger groups. that was certainly true of henry ford. henry ford wanted to take what he saw as common sense ideas about what was good for people and he wanted to apply that to essentially his own private
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situation but it didn't happen. it would have been interesting to see if it had happened it would have been an interesting experiment because if they had gotten what he wanted we would have had a united states that the verlander the control of one industrialist. it would have been similar to have an a 75-mile long factory that would include 1 million people and dominate an area of the heartland of the united states. that combination is something that didn't happen. the government didn't allow to happen and it would have been interesting to see what would n have happened. not that elon musk going to mars is the same thing. >> wshe's said you mentioned fod
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becoming president. do you think he would have been a good president and do you think he would have made this whole plan happen had he been elected? >> yes and had he been elected he would have made it happen. i have no doubt. the only thing standing in his way and the only reason it didn't happen was that a small group p of concerned senators ad the senate of the u.s. congress a small group of senators got together to solve a problem. henry ford was a very smart guy and he did a very good job of creatingob -- the president swoe warren g. harding and calvin coolidge. harden was a pro-business
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republican candidate. he and henry ford went camping together and they were friendly and as long as warren harding was president everything was going forwards we and then warren hardy died suddenly when he was in office. he passed away a while is probably a stroke or heart disease and calvin coolidge his vice president became president at the time. calvin coolidge was much -- and that created a a problem. calvin coolidge didn't follow through. instead it are both senators and u.s. senate formed an opposition group and they were the people who wanted government control and set a private control. and what turned out to be a
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series of more than a dozen dams on the river and eventually ford's image turned into more than ae dozen. it was an enormous project. david wanted to be owned by henry ford so they formed an opposition group by one of my favorite people. everybody should know the name of george norris and old senator from a nowhere state in nebraska and no offense to the people and the press -- the fresca but he is a heroic figure easy maverick never let anyone tell him what to think called lies and falsehoods where he saw them. didn't matter which political
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party you were in and it didn't matter how powerful you were. if he thought you were lying he would tell you and he led the opposition to ford. however if he hadn't been there and his friends if they hadn't been there there's a chance for it would have gotten what he wanted. and the presidential election -- after harding death. ford considered running. ford' calculus was if he gone to the white house he could make his name on the tennessee river and make his utopian city happen. he could circumvent the congress to the extent that he needed to get the votes they needed. if he was president he would
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have the leverage to pull to make it happen so i think that you would have the president if he had run seriously and the reason he didn't run was because he made a deal with calvin coolidge, a backroom deal and i present the evidence in the book. henry ford and calvin coolidge the world's richest man got together at the white house and hashed out a deal and henry said he wouldn't run for president out that they calvin coolidge could run and calvin coolidge was going to push for ford's control. it was a slippery deal and it was controversial and there's evidence that happened but what
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happened was george -- got ahold of the scandal and he found out about it and he blasted it all over the media. once it became a public scandal calvin coolidge backed off. henry ford by then had said he wasn't going to run for president. he backed out of running for president prematurely and he never got his project. had he been president he would have been a president unlike any president we have ever had. he would have been an autocrat. he would have been unable to deal effectively with groups like congress or the press or anyone else. he would have just wanted his own way. it would have been a very interesting four years. for didn't really want to be president. he knew that he was lucky to have the job he had as a one-man
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band. he won -- we ran an enormous of profitable company and he could tell them what he wanted to tell them. he didn't have to work nights so he wasn't till to be a politician. he knew it and especially his wife claire. his wife was dead set against henry ford being president she was a very powerful figure in his life. when she told him she didn't want to be president at happen. >> he's mentioned about the press and he wrote in his book that ford was a publicity genius. it sounds like that contradicts what you just said. >> i said he wouldn't be able to work with the press if he were president and as a private citizen and as an industrialist
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he obtained a large public relations into ford motor company and it grew over the years. it was very powerful. so in addition to everything else he had the most positive media coverage it could imagine. everybody knew what henry ford was doing and yet he was this folksy guy who had a sixth-grade education and his nickname at the time was uncle henry. he was like a member of your family. he spoke plainly and didn't try to obfuscate. he was an enemy of wall street and bankers which most workers in america were at the time as well and americans loved him. that was due in great part to the fact that he will was
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working for them and it grew over time to include essentially a private police force that would investigate his enemy as well. the point is he knew how to work with the press on that level and did not know either work with the press as a public servant. he'd never been a public servant and that is a different role. you could argue the point but in any case it's a basic difference between politics. henry ford was highly successful in one field and to be fair journalists journalist at the time and newspaper reporters and wire reporters at the time always gave henry ford a break.
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they public interest features and what they wore to an event and they focused on that. they knew that they could sell papers. it was important to the media too. had he become president there would havee been an automatic opposition and there would be a tax on ford. an oar is -- another story that's told in the book is a week before in addition to this folksy manner and persona he was a vicious anti-semite and he did terrific damage i think by using this public relations arm to attack jewish citizensns around
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the world in the united states. he blames, well it was a form of anti-semitism. that w was a week point that he had as well so not every group in america was behind him. farmers are behind him and the midwest and the south were very much behind ford's plan. the east and west coast were not he was a popular figure in politics and i think it would have been very difficult for him. >> we have another question here. did the alabama plant city have any relationship to port lan via in brazil and can you comparing compact desk and parent contrast these? >> fordlandia was the book that came out in an attempt to make
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the rubber empire in south america and brazil so thank you for bringing that up. fordlandia is a great look and i think fordlandia happened a little later. after ford was blocked from doing his utopian city after his plan with edison fell through and the government stepped in he looks for other ways to use that same energy and one of the projects was fordlandia. i think had the tennessee river tragic happen i don't think fordlandia would have so it was another attempt to create a huge project. that was a scale that ford liked to play out. he'd did enormous projects. irony is and i think the
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irony is that the end result of all of this planning is probably best exemplified by the part that it built in dearborn, michigan. decided to do and what he put a lot of energy into late in his life after the events of the story that i tell he put enormous energy into creating the kind of america that he wanted as a sort of a theme park. i recommend that you visit the ford museum in dearborn. huge facility that has every car that ford ever made and that number of machines and tremendous american success
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story henry ford and the american ford museum. then there's a third component which is a theme park. and it is an idea that caught towards fancy later on in life to create the kind of america that he felt was a true america. so he would die the birthplaces of famous americans like the building where he was born in the house where he grew up. he moved it from the farm in michigan to this park and he set it down and created a little farmer around it. he moved it to dearborn and he said it in this park i think nathaniel hawthorne's birthplaces there and the wright brothers shop where they sold
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bicycles. he would collect the buildings the way that other people collect whatever people collect. he created this fabulous wonderful place where you can see american architecture change and laid out and parts of it, there's a central part of it which is sort of like henry ford's theme of america. it has a white brick house with its people and a pond in beautiful houses just laid out. it's remarkable to me that he went from building a 75-mile working city to building this
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charming but unusual theme park. if you are ever up in those parts. >> we are too far from michigan here. when mark questioned from the patrons. do you have any knowledge or information of a adversarialfo relationship henry ford had with john rockefeller and if so please share the story. >> i didn't study rockefeller at all. i had looked at john rockefeller and other projects. a study rockefeller from that standpoint are the only overlap that i came across to this book between ford and rockefeller had to do with the germans and it's
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another story but one i haven't fully researched and i'm not really ready to talk about it other than a broad outline. henry ford made his money off of ford and john d rockefeller earned his money from people who bought the car. around the time of world war i it looked like the world was running out of oil. there was great worry that the world was going to run dry of oil. r if there was no more oil rockefeller wouldn't make any money and ford would make any money. at the same time just afterworld were one the germans who had defeated in the war, they came
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up with a plan to make synthetic oil. they were going to perfect a method and which is very difficult technologically and to take cool from german coalmines and turn it into automobile fuel or they could turn it into airplane fuel. so they make gasoline for cars out of coal. there was plenty of coal around the world and that project with synthetic oil was very interesting both to rockefeller and two ford and the records are difficult and i think a lot of records have been destroyed or
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lost or are not available to the public. essentially it would have been a collaboration between two of the biggest businesses in the united states in the biggestt came the goal industries in the world and in germany theren was a group called ig barbin ford and standard oil did have and there's some evidence that they did collaborate in between the two in developing this new industry. there was exchange intellectual property back and forth. the problemem was came to powern the early 1930s and ig barbin became a industrial firm and he
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thought what they were doing became very problematic for a numbernd of reasons and there's some evidence that it continued into the era as well. so i wish i could figure it up and i don't know if anybody ever will put a big most of the records are away from the public view. however that overlap did occur. other than that i do believe rockefeller. >> we have one last question from a patron. for those of us who may not know much about the tba how much of the electric city was developed by the government and what was involved in industry? >> a good question. edison brought, edison i believe
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helped ford with his ideas a favor to a friend once the going got rough it started stiffening its opposition. some of edison's thinking came under attack and he was an old man at that time so he pretty much dropped out before the government finally took over controler of the project. so edison wasn't much of a figure. the question is whether the tba do with edison's idea and it raises questions about the relationship between public and private projects in the united states. this was a large-scale project that involved a lot of people and in the central part of the united states in northern alabama and the tennessee area
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and actually raise concerns about public control over public resources. one of the resources was the importance of the river itself. it gets into interstate commerce and flood control and irrigation all of these came into play because the government did want to give henry ford controlin of the whole river. he would have control over how the river was developed weather was for private good or public good. that question still resonates today and is still argued about today. who is left in charge? is his vision effective or his government concerned about getting real value out of public
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resources. jethose arguments were being looked at hundreds of years ago under this project. ford after his deal with calvin coolidge would drop out and the government took over. he designed the tba this huge government project that went into effect when franklin delano roosevelt became president. the depression hit the south worse than other parts of the country. it was already an area that economically troubled and the depression was crushing the people in the south. that's why they were attracted
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to ford's idea. what happened was the government came in and finish the dam but they finished it in a different way. it wasn't just electric power although that was part of it and they weren't concerned about flood control although was devastating. they were concerned with irrigation and they were concerned with public access to the lakes the built-up line the dam and what they wanted to do was what fdr wanted to do in his new deal for america he wanted to create jobs for america and do a benefited all of c america. the dam's got built in the lakes are established. there is more coastline right now in these lakes in northern alabama than there is in the
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states. it just goes on and on and it's beautiful. the project got finished and the electric power began to flow and industries began to come in. they were industries that were not -- that required a lot of electric power. the area did revive and when you go down there now it's a wonderful area. it's just a lovely area. it has caught up with the rest of united states and yes there are real questions about if henry ford might not have been a better choice and i agree with the dynamics of that is very complex. would ford have been worse off click the tba is seen as an enormous success story and in
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fact i make a argument that it would have been almost as good as henry ford and his vision as well. there is no easy answer there. the tba was wonderful. the. tba was for generations. so anyway we end up with a very difficult question. >> i think it's time for us to wrap it up tonight. i want to say if you want to look for this is thomas hager's what we have been talking about tonight and i want to thank you thomas and thanks for being here with us and thanks to everyone who joined us tonight. we hope to see you all again
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soon in our next author talk. >> i'm so pleased to have with us this evening spencer mcbride author of tonight's book "joseph smith for president" in conversation with him is the tee harry williams professor of american history at lsu and the author of the best-selling book white trash, nancy isenberg. welcome both of you. i'm so excited to have you

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