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tv   H.W. Brands Our First Civil War  CSPAN  April 20, 2022 12:08pm-1:12pm EDT

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>> c-span now is a free mobile app featuring her or unfiltw of what's happening in washington live and on-demand. keep up with today's biggest events with life streams of four proceedings and hearings from the u.s. congress, white house events, the court, campaigns and more from the world of politics all at your fingertips. you could also stay current with the latest episode of "washington journal" and find schedule information for c-span's tv networks in c-span radio plus a variety of compelling podcast. c-span now is available at the apple store and google play. downloaded for free today. c-span now, your front row seat washington anytime anywhere. >> welcome to miami international book fair. it's my pleasure today to introduce to you h.w. brands who is a history professor at the university of texas in austin. hehe has written numerous booksn
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american history that a been received to very great acclaim, and i can tell you personally they are extremely readable and not at all the kinds of things that give history books a bad name. his latest book is "our first civil war: patriots and loyalists in the american revolution." and i am looking forward to discussing this book with him. so thank you so much, and this book is a great read and i have enjoyed it very much, and i thought i knew a lot about american history but i have learned so much. so let's start with just a basic question of, why did you write this book? what did you hope your readers would get out of it and learn from it?
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who probably don't know about the process by which the united states gained its independence from great britain. >> thanks for the introduction, marcia,, thank you for the conversation here. i wrote the book about the american revolution because i wanted to convey a sense of how come first of all, how come look in general, how public it is the american revolution was. you asked what i tell the readers what they don't know or have misconceptions about. it's a very common conception of the american revolution that the americanss rose up and throughot the yoke of imperialism and establish their own independence. the very first approximation of what happened, that's correct enough. in fact, it's very much more complicated than that. in fact, when americans decided they wanted independence from
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britain, it was like somebody americans who decided they wanted independence. there were a lot of americans who didn't want independence at all. i thought the situation was the american colonies was a pretty good one and they thought they found no good reason to risk that for something that might not pan out, and even if it did pat out might not be an improvement over what theyot ha. and this is the part the user gets lost because as i say when you learn about the american revolution probably the first time in elementary school, we learn about george washington and maybe benjamin franklin and a few others, and minutemen and the continental army and redcoats on the other side and bang, bang, bang and eventually the americans when and we get our country which was wholly on the fourth of july. that is true as far as it goes but it doesn't go far enough. because there was indeed this series conflict between those americans who wanted independence and those who did
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not. the ones who wanted independents call themselves patriots. the one to did not want independence were called and called themselves loyalists. and there was the struggle that broke out between those two different parties. in fact, one of the points i make in a book and hope i make effectively is that the fighting in the american revolution was not between americans and british, , not between american soldiers the british soldiers here between americans and this is whyit i gave the book the tie "our first civil war." when we think of the civil war with think of the conflict between northern state in southern states in the 1860s but the american revolution was indeed a civil war within or before or during the revolutionary war. and i wanted to recapture that moment and just remind readers that this is complicated and
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it's important even if you don't remember all the details of the complication but just remember that it is indeed complicated. so that's the principle message i wanted to get across, but in getting the message across i was pleased and had to smile when you said that this book doesn't read like those history books that turn people off. i'm glad to hear you say that, although i have to say that as a teacher of history there are lots of good history books. i do make a point of trying to make history come alive, and i do it in various ways in the different books that i've written. i find myself gravitating toward particular characters. so i tell this story to the lives and experiences of several characters. some of whom were patriots, some of whom were loyalists. i tried to make these individuals come alive and i try
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to convey to the reader my understanding of what prompted them toe do what they did. the george washington, for example, we think of him of course as the commanding general of the continental army and later would become president of the united states. and in the standard telling of the story it was obvious that george washington would become, what should we call them? we willl call them patriots of n american freedom fighter. the british of course called in a rebel and that's the part that i find intriguing because george washington was one of the least likely rebels or revolutionaries you would find. usually people who rebelled, usually people who become revolutionaries are people who were seriously dissatisfied with the status quo. the status quo is the thing that they're challenging, rebelling against, overturning in the revolution.
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and these are usually people with whom the status quo was not very satisfactory. the status quo worked really well for george washington. and so it should be a little bit of a puzzle as to why george washington became a revolutionary. now,er but because we grow up, f course he is the leader of the revolution, it's obvious he's going to become -- it was an obvious at all and that's part of the story at a try to tell here i look at george washington ending and anything franklin. benjamin franklin was another really unlikely revolutionary because franklin, if the status quo work for george washington, it would work even better for benjamin franklin. he had become world-famous within the british empire. george washington was never come well come wasn't a very excitable character. so we didn't get excited about the british empire. benjamin franklin was an enthusiast of the british empire. he thought that british empire
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was greatest thing going, and well he might have because it was within the britishsh empire and under the auspices in which the opportunities the british empire provided that benjamin franklin became, well, the most famous american of his time. if there had never been -- if there's never been an american revolutionary war, it's u entiry possible the world would not a part of george washington. he was a virginia planter and he would've lived his life as aa virginia planter and the would've been that. nor would people of heard of thomas jefferson. if there's a a independence there's nobl declaration, no reason for people know thomas jefferson. peopleer would've heard of management benjamin fake because he was this world-famous scientist. as i said he was an enthusiast of the british empire that he turned against the british empire, and the striking thing about franklin is its fairly, to thinkas of rebellion or revolutn as a young person skiing. the younger generation is always
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revolting against the old generation. they think the old folks didn't get it right. in benjamin franklin's case he was 70 when he became a rebel. and franklin's case allows me to tell an interesting side and a personal side of the same story in his son william franklin was another think i focus on but william franklin remained a loyalist. benjamin franklin became a rebel. william franklin remained the loyalist. thee sun was a more conservative one. the sun was the one who stuck with the status quo. this is what i wrote the book and this is a story i try to tell. >> well, you do it in a really fascinating way. now, conventional american revolution narrative usually begin, or so they are taught in schools and such, as beginning with the signing of the declaration of independence, or more accurately with the battle
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of lexington and concord. but inal your book you take the roots of it back, not only to the french and indian war, but even in the decade before that. and you see the roots of this brewing bifurcation as going back long before the was an actual conflict, whereas as you also point out, for benjamin franklinn well into 1775 he was still hoping for reconciliation with the british empire and that an arrangement could be achieved whereby the united states of what would become the united states, that's an anachronism then, but where the colonies would become partners with the
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british motherland in a world empire. so i found that really,y, really interesting, and i was wondering if you could elaborate on that because i think that's also a very fresh approach. empire so i found that really really interesting and i was wondering if you could elaborate on that ache as i think that's also a very fresh approach. >> so yes i do start the story in lexington and concord in before the french and indian war because what i'm trying to get at is this question of what causes a person to turn their back on the country and take arms against it? how are these rebels created? i don't think that they are born exactly think they become rebels rev period of time and one of the point to make in the book is that all of the individuals i look at the ones that become
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patriots and the ones who remained loyalist were born british subjects and they all thought of themselves as englishmen and englishwomen and for the most part they were proud of this because they looked at the rights they had as englishmen and they had a right to be represented in parliament in the right not to be taxed without their consent and the british freedoms that of being guaranteed over 800 years. so they really thought this was a good deal and they looked around at the people who lived in other countries and other empires in the considered themselves far more privilege than people who lived in france or new france apart at the french empire north america or the spanish. they were proud of being independent so something is going to have to happen to get them to change their mind to say i'm no longer proud to be
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english and to put it another way the people that were born english and the rebels have became americans and the patriots among them became -- but the loyalist didn't become americans and this is kind of a puzzle because it might just be a generational thing and this time changes and context changes they think of themselves differently but in fact benjamin franklin was a proud subject of the british empire and he was the sprouts could be until 70 years of age and all of a sudden he starts thinking of himself as an american. and one as i all of a sudden. income along suddenly but there was this evolution but nonetheless he'd basically claimed a new identity and the same was true with john adams and george washington and all the other patriots where is the loyalist for some reason which i will get into the dawn embraces
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new identity. they still think of themselves as british subjects so this question of who are you and how do you identify, this is crucial and especially crucial in something like this where there's this new country created and this new country requires a new political elite within the political identity but it's also behind all sorts of conflicts and other aspects of history. who are you and how do you identify? would you consider to be your allies and friends and would you consider to be your enemy so there's that aspect and you raise the proposal and this was franklin's fondest dream that the british government and london would have sense enough to recognize that the future of the british empire actually lay in north america or franklin had done some the demographic work in probably america's first demographer studying the growth of population he could see that
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the population of british north america was double every generation. this was a much more rapid approach than what was happening britain so you'll may have to extrapolate a couple of generations before there would be more englishmen and more of britons living in north america than there were in great britain and if the british could see that this was the future of their empire or are they simply called at other countries of the country has the these three parts. at the british could see that then this could be the greatest thing going. franklin reveled in the identity is a britain and he had lots of friends in britain and he spent almost 20 years of his life living in london as an agent for several of the american colonial legislatures and he really liked it. but franklin was born in boston.
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he sat up -- what about group boston by the age of 17 or ran away to philadelphia and established himself as a leading year in philadelphia but in his 50's he was sent to england as a representative of pennsylvania assembly and he spent 18 years in london. he thought london was the greatest place going. franklin was one of those who is always looking for the bigger stage and the brighter lights. in fact it almost broke his heart that he found london -- the british were too short-sighted to be able to see the future of the british empire lay in equality between the north american colonies and britain itself and franklin imagined what a great thing this would be and he could not persuade the british that this was their future and because they refused to accept it they. franklin is a mere provincial his whole life.
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this finally was more than franklin could bear but basically he took the position that if these in london cannot see he's going to make franklin sent a modest but he was fully aware of his talents and capabilities and accomplishments. if they are going to treat me this way then they no longer serve my allegiance and there is a moment where you can almost pinpoint the moment i met the privy council but king's closest adviser made to answer for the sins of colonies the most recent of which are in the boston tea party. a mob in boston destroyed millions of dollars in currency of tea. inactive case a massive case of vandalism and it was a thumbing of the american knows that the british government. somebody was that the answer to this and benjamin franklin was
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the one who is the closest at hand. he was criticized up one side and down the other. as those are general was made to stand there and suffer in silence the slanders and everything else and annette to our session i sometimes say he went into that session walked into na -- walked in a -- walked out american for through one of the historical ironies is franklin was striving for an 18th century was what winston churchill embraced and try to re-create in the 20th century who came to be called the special relationship of the anglo-american. churchill would often talk to the anglo-americans and churchill was in the peculiar position because his mother was american and his father was
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british but what the british finally came around in the 20th century including arguably too today was a recognition that a partnership between america and britain was the best thing going and they won two world wars and save democracy in the 1940s so i guess maybe franklin wasn't wrong for 200 years. >> what i found really interesting also in the book was that while members of parliament and the king were not particularly sympathetic to the grievances of the american colonists there was considerable support among ordinary riddance for the position that the colonists had taken and what they were asking for it. i thought that was a really interesting thing that i had never understood before and i'm sure that many people with me now will have not heard of that
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and there was tremendous popular support among the non-governmental elite for the idea of the colonists having their rights they were asking for it. >> this is a reminder again of how complicated history isn't just as the americans were not unified in their opposition to britain the british were not unified in their refusal to grant americans the right the americans or the patriots reclaiming him this underscores the fact that first of all all wars are ultimately political events and they are driven by political motives and the end when politics say they are going to end. when the guns start going off then military forces are very important but war is still a political act and what the americans understood was that the american and i say the american patriots understood
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that they didn't have to destroy the british army. all they really had to do was convince the british electorate that the war in america was no longer worth fighting and in this regard the american revolution was the first not necessarily the first but it early example of a nationalist revolution of the government that would become common in the 19th and 20th centuries and indeed the united states would get on the wrong side in vietnam. so george washington and american leaders understood something that ho chi minh and the leaders of the vietnamese communist understood themselves, you don't have to defeat the foreign occupiers could all you have to do is wear them down to the point where the decision-makers back in that other country britain in the case of the revolution and the united states in the case of the war in vietnam and they say we have had enough we don't think
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it's worth continuing the war that's when you -- in the case of george washington george washington didn't have to win the war could all he had to do was avoid losing because sooner or later the british would say this isn't worth it anymore and in this regard the position of the two sides in the american revolution were not symmetrical because the americans were fighting for their existence and if this didn't work then this thing that they had created in the united states would be destroyed but the loss of the american colonies would by no means be the end of the british colonies. home territory so it is easier for the british to say enough is enough it's over that would have been for the americans because they would have had a would have had up his if they try to and there was a small fact that they identified as traders by the english -- british government
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and in their would have been sanctions. those who if you also talk about how the rivalry between britain and france impacted how not only the american roof revolutionary war was fought the before and how critical french support was to the ultimate victory of the colonists. >> france plays a role large role in this and since you are the french indian war era minders to our viewers and listeners that the french and indian war was not the french against the indians. it was the americans and despite we'll call the americans the british, the anglo-americans and their indian allies against the french and the french indian allies in the reason i mention this is he wasn't simply americans and british fighting for control of north america was
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the americans the british and the french in the native americans and the indian tribes they had to decide in the case of the french and indian war which side do we choose? do we choose the british side or the french side and some of us had to do with how they have been treated and the relationships that they had with the british on the one hand and the french on the other hand but it had a lot to do with who they think is going to win the war and who's going to come out of this and which of the forces is going to win three didn't want to choose the side that loses because then you would catch punishment from the side that had one so this sets the scene for all of this and from the perspective of european history the american revolutionary war is simply a sequel to the french and indian war which itself is the sequel to three wars that preceded it during the previous century.
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so from a european perspective the empire britain was fighting the empire of france and there was also an empire spain who was involved in this as well and they were jockeying for position within europe. but in doing so they were jockeying for position in north america so when american patriots like george washington and benjamin franklin and john adams when they decided to be in favor independence thing and knew they would have to fight for it. the british government is not simply going to cave in and walk away so in this fight it would be of great help to have a foreign ally, an ally that had money, that had resources that could provide military support and naval support a particular the fledgling united states had no navy. the british had a good baby but the 90s had no navy so one of the first things the continental congress did upon declaring independence was to prepare to
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send benjamin franklin off to france to try to negotiate a treaty of alliance between this new united states and france. it was a difficult undertaking because while the french wanted revenge against britain for france's defeat in the previous round of fighting at the end of the french and indian war in europe france had been ejected from north america so britain claimed all of canada and spain want up with louisiana and the french were looking to get back at britain for this great americans knew that so they were thinking okay france is going to be inclined to support a automatic. it was something that had to be negotiated and the french had to be persuaded because from the standpoint of france okay taking on britain weaken and the british empire that's a plus so these american revolutionaries
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would support them except the other side that was the mine is was wait these are revolutionaries and they began the revolution by overcoming their king and king louis the 16th is thinking we don't want the french people getting ideas like this so it was a difficult negotiation. benjamin franklin had a lot of persuading to do and it really required a major american battlefield victory to bring the french around because the french wanted to know that the americans were serious and they had a chance to enter the last thing france wanted was to join the side of the americans and have the americans lose and then they would be left taking on britain alone. it just so happened that the french were building the their army and building up their navy and they were quite ready to take on britain again. the timing in america reward just seemed opportune. the last thing the french wanted to have happen was is to side
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with the americans. that would prove that would provoke prove both written that go toward france because of -- before france was ready to do so franklin had to persuade louis the 16th and french officials that the americans were in this for the long term. they would keep fighting until they won independence and in fact franklin and others tried to convince the spanish of the same thing but the spanish word fighting for through the spanish had an alliance with france and through france they indirectly supporting united states but the spanish were more skeptical and in the case of the spanish this brought up something that the french had and that is well okay maybe we will help the americans now but are we creating a monster cliques for the spanish this was a big deal because the spanish were happy to see the written weekend but they didn't
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want this powerful united states because spain had lots of territory in north america and if united states got too strong spain would have to defend this territory against the united states. as they say the basic listen to this as things are complicated and if you are the leader of spain or the leader france you have to figure out how what this is all going. >> you mentioned canada. canada was in an interesting situation in this and i think the american revolution and the french and indian war before it although i should point out it wasn't the french against the indians. you have native americans on both sides but i had occasion to visit an exhibit in washington d.c. the game the war of 1812
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from a canadian perspective. that's a little ahead of the game in this book but certainly the factors that the canadians had a very different respective and in canada it occupied a kind of ground that many of the american colonists would have liked to make apart of the newly independent colonies and from the book it makes it quite clear that americans even had a hard time understanding american patriots and had a hard time understanding why canadians would want to remain part of the british empire rather than join in their independence and we might have some canadian listeners and also the subject is quite interesting so i wondered if you could collaborate.
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>> basically the 13th colonies that declared independence they wanted to get canada to join as well and all of british north america would be fighting for independence and it seemed as you say quite reasonable to the patriots that the canadians share the british rights and everything else but the canadians didn't see it that way. in the first place a lot of them were -- because canada had been french until fairly recently and so it's not as though they were acutely sensitive on the rights of englishmen because if you are french you don't think about the rights of englishmen. there was a second thing and that was the grievances that the americans claimed against britain were not shared by the canadians and for many of them in fact they thought britain was the better deal than being part
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of france had been. another way of framing versus the loyalist in the 13 colonies. in fact that was going on to in canada except in canada there were some canadians who said we will join this new united states and joined in the freedom but they were outnumbered by the loyalist. we have got what we want so let's keep it and not out of the question that something similar could have happened in one of more i'd will call it the lower 14 british colonies that wasn't out of the question that north carolina could have said you know we don't want to join this independence and it would in all 13 so another way of thinking about it is that actually it wasn't all 14 good one of them stayed british except there was this difference and that is that
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they saw canada is one of their own so they weren't part of the continental congress and the correspondents against the stand back. is roy's in different group and during the revolution the patriots the common army that invades canada to persuade them to join. if it takes an army of invasions to persuade you did harbinger for your cause but it's true that george washington tried to talk and they didn't agree to with me that part of the this relates to interesting questions. canada is an independent country and so if the american revolution ever plays one could imagine this scenario for
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example when i actually in the 13 colonies continue to outnumber the patriots and so maybe there were complaints that they didn't rise to the level of starting a war. so how would american history -- presumably the united states would become independent at some point and that's when canada became independent and for example the british empire and before the united states ended so if the united states had been part of the british empire would american had ended during the war and maybe on the other hand the existence of large numbers in what i'm calling the united states or the british empire would have made it harder to and the british empire so it kind of the counterfactual question but
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in the end, in the end the future what i'll call the united states and canada in the 1770s when the americans declared independence they eventually come back together in the 1860s and canada today is more independent and much more like the united states senate is written so just as there's a separation between the united states and britain and the british came back together in the 20 century the canadians did the same thing in this raises the question did all this happen without the war? what everybody it had the same vision? just look where this is all going but of course that's not what happened.
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>> i found different aspects of in the book and the personalities of some of the that you highlight can be extremely interesting. promises were made to inflate people that if a fox on the loyalist side are they fought on the patriot side they would receive their freedom and they got a lot more complicated than that and many of the promises that were made to the were in fact not honored. i thought that was a really interesting aspect of the book because one reads quite often about how this promise of freedom is granted to the particular in the north and as
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you say many of the were returned to their owners who fought on the british side even though they will were promised their freedom but they were only promise their freedom if the british won the war in the areas where the british dominated so if you could say a few words about the whole issue and complexity of slavery and there was tremendous ambivalence of giving slaves their freedom on upsides of this war. >> slavery is illegal within the british empire and slavery was practiced in all 13 of the american colonies. her to the british government that the promise of freedom
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might weaken the patriot side because it was observed slaves were a workforce and continental for promised freedom to the slaves patriot masters perhaps they could entice those slaves to leave their masters across over to british lines. originally it was a matter of simply -- and this was an enticement to the patriot side. before long the british decided they would put in slate people who left a capacity to put them into the army to augment the british forces. for the people this was an
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opportunity i was also a potential peril because it's a big deal to decide okay i'm going to escape my master and it's worth noting when you left the plantation you have done you often have to turn your back on your family and the world that you knew and basically take a leap of faith. and the british side would have to one that they would keep their promises to you. the hazards that i had to deal is that if you are fighting an british side are trying to escape to the british side and you were captured what would happen to you. slaves were returned to their masters are in some cases they were sold and even less satisfactory situation so
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whether a given person in slate person took up the british offer depended on a whole bunch of different factors and first of all they didn't even know that the offer had been made. and for really obvious reasons they treat masters didn't publicize this british author and secondly there was a question of how far do i have the go to reach the british lines and what usually happened was for slaves on plantations almost none of them took up the british offer because it was too hazardous and too risky to leave or they were to the british lines but when the british approached it became more reasonable and by the way was mostly males.
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the ones most likely to leave were of military age and they didn't have families yet to there were all sorts of calculations and some of them did take up the offer. one man watched as the british armory -- army was getting closer and closer and when they finally came close and this is critical it might require a broadening of our prospective but not every slave economic turn it to the took the opportunity so in the case of ping he said he was very well treated tie over on the whole he
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was relatively okay given the alternatives but there were a couple of occasions of mistreatment and there were a couple of occasions when he said it might get worse. he went to the british line and he went along with the british army and he suffered the various casualties of war. finally he was recaptured but then he got away again and he finally wound up in new york state. this is an important point and maybe a reminder even during the best times of the patriot cause there was a stronghold of loyalist him because people who lived in new york city had close commercial ties with england and
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they didn't want to break those and also because it was relatively easy for the british navy and british ships to occupy your city which was the strategic spot. they had heard through the grape vine that the british army more precisely british negotiators in paris negotiating the treaty they were going to abandon the farms and make the slaves independent. in fact some of the slaves took up the british offer and boston was evacuated where tens of
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thousands so boston was a loyalist. many fled the united states at the end of the war and this is an interesting chapter. it's kind of like you guys when at the end of the war and all is well. but no one in fact i was thinking about this when we watched the end of the war in afghanistan and as american forces were leaving people who have assisted american forces were doing their best to get out of afghanistan because they knew they would be subject to reprisal. that's exactly the situation so that's the situation of former
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slaves oren said they needed to get out of there. the british to back that i'm not going to say as many as they could but many of the former slaves and boston came one off to canada and found his way to sierra leone or at africa. so that's a straightforward story because boston king can make a move out of his own self-interest and they look at the other american slave who is a patriot master a man named jeffrey brace who is the slave of the patriot master and he didn't opt to fight on behalf of the patriots that his master went to fight in this master
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still had control of him so he went to fight on behalf of while he understood the irony of this he's fighting on the side that's going to deny me freedom in the future and that side one but two jeffrey brace his surprise and pleasure at the end of the war his master decided you've done such a good job during the war, here's your freedom so it turned out okay for him but this question of the loyalist evacuation is this huge deal but it's utterly forgotten in american history. >> i find this really really fascinating here. another thing i think that is misrepresented and culture we have visions of the continental army troops wearing these nice blue uniforms and holding fights and playing yankee doodle and things like that. your book makes it quite evident that much of the war was fought
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by state militias and informal militia groups which had a hard time feeding and funding the militias fighting on the patriot side and i found it very very interesting, the emphasis he put on that war is expensive. when you have soldiers you have to feed them and when you feed them you need to be able to get the food somewhere and the very vivid descriptions you provide from the letters from washington for example where one side let's say the loyalist side will e. in an area in the patriots come in and they take away all the cattle and the food to feed their soldiers and then the other side comes into another village and yet the troops were often starving. so i wonder if you could elaborate on these very vivid
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descriptions you give about the difficulty of feeding and clothing and housing troops for the number of years that the revolutionary war went on and how expensive it was. >> the logistical problems of supporting the continental army were enormous, especially for those times. because this was an overwhelmingly agrarian society, that is, america in those days,, and it didn't have railroads. it hardly had roads, as a relatively few places where people gather in large numbers where american cities were modest in size but they had been there for as long time, and so the networks of supply had developed to feed philadelphia and feed new york. it's not a a coincidence thaty were located on the water.
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so you could bring in shiploads of stuff. well, when an army goes to war all of a sudden you've got 10,000 people, 15,000 people. and it is worth bearing in mind that the numbers of soldiers engaged in the campaigns in the revolutionary war were very small by comparison with wars that we think of in world war i or world war ii or korea, iraq and afghanistan. so washington, his army was typically between ten and 15,000 men, it still that is ten and 15,000 men that have to be fed and they are in a location that is not a necessarily, definitely necessarily not on important crossroads and it's not set up to bring in all the things that they need. so as you point out what the often have to do is simply go scrounge on the countryside. now, because they were farmers theyn knew how to get a cow, ty
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knew how to slaughter the cow and carve it up and cook it and all this other stuff but still that met that whoever owned that cow is now out of a cow. and that particular farmer is not, he's probably not going to be very happy with the group that stole his cow. and, in fact, one of the things that washington had to way and, of course, so did general howe, the leader of the british side is, how do you feed your forces without utterly alienating the people that you are taking the food from? now, the british had an advantage you because they control the water and they could bring in food staffs from britain, the west indies and a way that the patriots could not. george washington and the continental army could not. the continental army had to live offad the land. and so washington, for example, in the winter at valley forge, this is when the uniforms such
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as theyco were of the soldiers were falling off them and they were getting frostbitten feet and they were low on food. he has to weigh okay, i've got to give thehe soldier some starving, but on the other hand, i can't starve the farmers in the surrounding area by depriving them of what they need to live. so it was a really difficult balancing act. in theer same vein, washington became extremely frustrated with the continental congress because the continental congress was supposed to be providing the wherewithal to fight this war. but the continental congress was operating -- well, it was an operating under anything under 1781, and that's the year by the way the battlee of georgetown, but i mentioned they operated under thee articles of federatn but the continental congress had no authority. they could not compel virginia and pennsylvania and new york to pay up to deliver so many head
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of cattle or so much of this and so much of that. they could request, but very often the state refused to honor their request. and so ao great amount of geore washington's time was spent writing letters pleading with congress, pleading with governors of the states, you've got to send us food. you have to send it uniforms. you have to send the supplies or the army will fall apart. .. with governors of the states, you've got to send us food. you have to send this uniforms and supplies our army will fall apart or it just as i said earlier where the british ultimately have the option of saying enough is enough, we are going home in fact so did washington independence is fine but i can't let my family die and they take absence without leave and they go awol and
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washington had to figure out how do i hold the army together against this? there were times washington found himself having to shoot soldiers for desertion but it's not as if they were deserting to join the british, they were deserting to feed their family so it was a difficult situation for everybody. >> i could tell that that by the end of the war so many people on both sides, both the loyalists and on the patriots side had lost so much in terms of their homes, in terms of their farms, in tterms of their resources and obviously the winners took all and had very little sympathy for example for loyalists who lost everything so i wonder if we could talk about the postwar relations
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between the patriots and loyalists and effect left between them was eventually healed or whether it took new forms within american society that would leave a legacy behind that maybe we are still dealing with today. >> i'm going to ask you a question by looking at two examples of what happened to 2 loyalists. joseph brant was the leader of the mohawk tribe of indians, of the iroquois confederacy and he was a talented young man. people had seen him from the time he was younger and he became a leader of the mohawk just about the time the troubles between american colonies and the british government where developing and it looked as though the mohawks and the larger iroquois would have to make their choice. do you side with the americans or side with the
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british just as this decision, patriot or loyalist split the ranks of alcohol than the anglo-americans, split the ranks of the native americans, of the indian tribes and some of the iroquois confederacy, joseph brant believed the future lay with the british and this was partly because he had close family and friendship ties to british officials who had actually forged good relationships with mohawk nations but also because brant believed that if the americans gained their independence then they would be able to turn their vengeance upon k the indians. grant recognized that the best thing for the iroquois would be for the americans to
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remain a part of the british empire because the british had been protecting the indians against american separatists and one of the triggers of the revolutionary war was a approximation by the british government in 1763 saying that you no longer can legally settle across thecrest of the appellation mountains . because you're constantly getting into squabbles with the indians so no more western settlement and brant said that's a good thing for us and he wanted to keep that. so he sided with the british. the british wound up losing and brant and his people were driven into exile and they took refuge in canada where the british government, t british government of canada set aside land for them. and they thrived reasonably well. but t grant went on to greater things . leaders of the american patriots, george washington in particular didn't hold
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grants belligerence against him or at least not for too long because grant turned out to be a very astute diplomat as well as a military leader. and he recognized that okay, the american side won the war, were going to have to make our peace with the americans and do the best we can and washington recognized we're going to have to deal with that you require confederacy which was the equivalent of sort of the nato of the american wnative american people and grant became a favorite of george washington when washington was president. he was treatedwith great respect . when he traveled home to new york city he was celebrated and everybody turned out. everybody wanted to go to dinner with joseph grant call that a happy ending to the story where all loyalist forges a good relationship with the winning side, with
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the patriots side.a sad story is williamfranklin . he split with his father over this question who are you going to be loyal to? and benjamin franklin says my loyalty is to my new country william franklin says my loyalty is to my existing country. william franklinheld onto his decision . he was the governor of new jersey . the newly appointed governor of new jersey held onto that position as long as he could but when things change he was driven by force from his office and arrested. and he was held in custody or many months. he became ill and eventually he was exchanged n in a prisoner swap and wasallowed to go to new york city . which as i said earlier was a hotbed of loyalists and and from there he organized a loyalist militia. they actually engaged in guerrilla warfare against patriots forces across the hudson river. he became, he criticized the
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british government towards the end of the war for not fighting hard enough for giving up too soon. we think of the last battle of the revolutionary war as the battle of yorktown in 1781 and it was. cornwallis had to surrender. the british could have kept fighting but they decided along the lines we spoke of earlier that it's just not worth it. the government came in and said were going to change things and end the war. william franklin was very disappointed. indeed he was greatly dismayed with the british. i rest my life for you and now you're pulling out. his feeling was i'm sure ken to the feeling of many of the afghans were shocked when the americans said we're pulling out so william franklin went to england ndand nobody wanted to talk. this is sort of a bit like
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the reception given to some american vietnam vets after the war where you lost the war, nobody wants to talk to you and this is the same thing with william franklin. he received a pension from the british government but he hoped for one thing of all. he knew he could bereconciled with americans generally . he hoped he could be reconciled with his father om because the political split and led to an estrangement between william and his father benjamin franklin and at the end of the war after the war was over and benjamin franklin who had been in paris negotiating with the french government returns to the united states he stops in southern england and william franklin meets in their and william franklin holds up the hand of reconciliation to his father, let by god be by god's. let us be family again and
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benjamin franklin would have nothing to do with it . benjamin franklin felt really wounded by the ifact that his son had not cited within against the british government. and they parted, never to see each other again. this was a case that's almost hard to explain with benjamin franklin because he had friends in england but he felt away from during the war after the war was over, the war is over, let's kiss and make up but he couldn't do it with his own son. >> that was very sad. i think our time is just about . was there anything that i should have asked you about the work that i didn't? >> know, you've done wonderful questions and if viewers are still curious they should buy the book, read the book. >> i highly recommend it.
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thank you so much. appreciate the opportunity to talk to you about it . >> thank you. >> weekends are an intellectual feast. every saturday american history tv documents american stories and on sunday tv brings you the latest in nonfiction books and authors. funding for c-span2 comes from these television companies and more including media, >> the world changed in an instant but media, was ready. internet traffic soared and we never slowed down. schools and businesses with virtual and we powered a new reality because media, we are built to keep you ahead . >> media, supports c-span2 as a public service. at least six presidents recorded conversations in office. your many of those
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conversations on our new podcast presidential recordings. >> season one focuses on the presidency of lyndon johnson. you'll hear aboutthe civil rights act, 1964 presidential campaign, goal of tonkin incident, march on selma and the war in vietnam. not everyone knew they were being recorded . >> certainly johnson's secretaries new because they were tasked with transcribing many of those conversations. in fact they were the ones who made sure the conversations were taped as johnson would signal to them through an open door to his office and there's. >> you'll also hear blunt talk. >> jim. >> yes sir. >> i want to report of the number of people assigned to kennedy the day he died and number assigned to me now and is mine are not blessed and blessed. >>. if i can't ever go to the bathroom i won't go. i promise i won't


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