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tv   Gordon Wood Power and Liberty  CSPAN  July 4, 2022 12:30pm-1:46pm EDT

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on standing, and i can't tell you the answer without crying. he said i had to stand and salute that great man. this is one of the big pictures of the funeral that went viral. >> you can watch the full program at just search presidential morning and tragedy. >> as you know from having been here before in the time before the pandemic we had to begin our shows by reciting together the national constitution center's inspiring congressional mission. say we go. i know some of you remember it by heart. the national constitution center is the only institution in america chartered by congress to increase awareness and understanding of the constitution among the americann people on amo nonpartisan basis. hittable. debbie go. [applause] increasing awareness and understanding of the
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constitution on a nonpartisan basis is exactly what we've been doing all day today on constitution day. we started this morning at 9:30 with the most inspiring naturalization ceremony, live stream for the first time and watching 29 new citizens from -- 3090 countries take the oath was extraordinarily moving. we had an amazing panel with leaders of civic education from saul cohen and lewis today to that of the philadelphia school district, professors robert george and martha jones and hassan jeffreys spread a lot of light during our constitution one-on-one then we had a three judges from the third circuit talk about the cases that they had decided before the supreme court decided them involving school free speech and religious liberty and election cases. and now i have the extraordinary honor of bringing together
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gordon wood and his colleagues to discuss gordon's new book. i'm going too introduce them and then i'm going to ask gordon wood to just put on the table the central argument of this book which i read with rapt -- you know ladies and gentlemen, gordon wood the dean of american historians, all of us have learned from come his pathbreaking work on the ideas at the center of the american founding, and he has distilled a lifetime of wisdom in this new book, which you couldn't debate on constitution dayld than to rd your he's going to be joined in talking about the book by colleagues that i need to put on by constitutional reading glasses in order to get their titles right. i have a go. i'm going to introduce and and and will jump right in. so gordon wood is the university
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professor and professor of history emeritus at brown recipient of the pulitzer prize his books from the creation of the american republic to the american invasion of benjamin franklin, transformed the field and the book will be talking about tonight is "power and liberty." it's so wonderful that he's joined here in person by another towering american historian and great friend of the constitution center edward larson. he holds the chair and law and his universe professor of history at pepperdine, also a recipient of thehe pulitzer prie in history and the author of superb books from the return of george washington to most recently franklin in washington, founding partnership, which we discussed not too long ago on
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the we the people podcast. it was a great discussion. we are joined remotely, i'm so glad to see you, friends, and the monitors are working and you look great. this is our first hybrid program. lucas, you're smiling, so you, emily. i hope you can see us as well as we can see you but it's so great to welcome you here to the constitution center. lucas morel the john boardman professor politics in washington and lee. he is the author of lincoln and liberty, wisdom for the ages, lincoln's effort to finding religions role in government and most recently lincoln and the american founding. he is a frequent guest on our constitution center podcast and programs, and look as always learn from your wonderful life. and emily it is wonderful to welcome you to our table of learning. emily is assistant professor at claremont mckenna college where she teaches about american
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political thought. her forthcoming book is course of affection, constructing constitutional unions, early american history. it will be released in novemberi and emily looks fascinating, can't wait to see and discuss it further. so welcome to all of our great panelists. gordon congratulations on the book. i regret it as a do many things that i read it on kindle and have a right to get the first chapter about the appeal debate starts in 1765 or so, although of course it looks back earlier and talks about the central declaration of the stamp act that is essential to the freedom of the people in the rights of englishmen that no taxes should be imposed on them without consent. what was the imperial debate? >> well, i don't want to tell you the whole debate but it starts over the issue of
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representation. tively know that they cannot allow this parliament 3000 miles away to make decisions of such importance as taxation on them and i have an essay. although franklin throws out the notion while he is in london out of touch with american opinion that maybe we can have some representatives from the colleague, maybe hundreds the way the scots do in the way the scots did in 1707 when they became great britain, when england and scotland great britain. the americans want no part of that notion. they know that they will be swamped, by the british and know whenever susan considers having memberships in the house of
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commons as a solution to the problem. right from the outset in the stanback of congress which meets in reaction to the stanback which is the tax law on all paper products in america they know instinctively the colonial assemblies will be the legislature that will determine taxation. now they have representation of the outside of their own colonial legislatures. only their willing to recognize the supremacy of parliament and the empire. that concession confuses the
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english because the english look at parliament as a sovereign body, and fact is the protector of liberty, is the instrument that they have honored ever since the revolution. it is what curves the crown. they are very confused by the american eyes. how can you be opposed to parliament. the representation, the english say we are not represented, they say yes you are you virtually represented, they use the term virtual which because we have a virtual program going on here. they refuse to accept that notion. even though the english say, we have slipped into the north sea and nonetheless they send two representatives to parliament. the people in manchester and birmingham with 50000 people
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have no representation in parliament and the house of commons but nonetheless they represented because the criteria and the representation is not the electoral process but the consideration of the wealthier of the commons as a whole. americans having had a different experience over there 200 years of colonial history. to avail the electoral process itself becomes the determinant of representation. that has its own consequences. some sense you can probably make an argument that virtual representation and a lot of accounts for the majority rule whereas the notion that you have to vote for someone to represent you really opens up the problem of why should you differ to a
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candidate you did not vote for. the english have a solution to the problem. americans don't really have a solution. the notion of actual representation which says you must vote for the person if you're going to be represented. it starts with representation but by the late 60s it shifts into a question of sovereignty. the english comeback with this doctrine of sovereignty which runs through the whole revolutionary era and comes back to haunt the federalist later in 1787 in 1788. the doctor sovereignty says it must be in every state one final supreme lawmaking authority. for the english that is parliament. the americans cannot accept that because if they do -- you can't be, as the english catholic tears say you can't be half under parliament sovereignty if
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you accept one iota of parliament authority you must accept all. since the americans have already accepted parliament right to regulate their trade they must be under the authority. if you're outside of parliament authority even in one little respect then you must be totally outside all of the authority, it seems absurd nobody would choose to be outside of the problem is authority. that's how that goes, the americans confronted with the alternative and decided that's her choice were outside the parliament authority completely and by 1774 all the leading intellectuals, jefferson, franklin, wilson often see that they are tied only to the king and they have no recognition
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whatsoever of parliament authority over them. it's not a very accurate portrayal of their experience. but there forced into it by sovereignty. when you come to the declaration of independence these lawyers in the continental congress are screwed shoeless and trying to avoid any mention of parliament in the declaration even though parliament was the source of the stamp off in the towns of duties, parliament is not mentioned except the king george is the source of all. he said they say george you have done this and that and you conspired meaning of parliament. this is the way the argument is legally minded and it comes solely from the crown because we americans have ceased
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recognizing any authority of parliament over us. in a brief summary of that chapter. the. >> is crucial and you introduced us to this idea that the idea of columnists into sovereign teens was solecism and they struggled to relocate sovereignty from parliament to allegiance to the king and eventually you tell us from future chapters to the genius of james wilson and others in the people themselves. and larson help us take the story that gordon would've played out from the imperial debate in the 1760s to the declaration that you describe in your wonderful book with franklin and washington. his own gyrations of where sovereignty is located and
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compromised and say they be taxes are okay if they are important not exports and trying to split the difference but eventually he came around to independence and he like the others decided with the people. how would you tell the story of the transformation. >> certainly build on what gordon has really said. there was a struggle to understand how to draw these lines of virtual representation. they understood the terms of virtual representation in the british were using them and they could say and some did, we are virtually represented just like women are virtually represented and they would use the exact analogy even though they cannot vote. they did in some pamphlets. if everyone is treated the same like manchester, manchester was
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the city of the second or third largest city in england and no representatives of parliament because it did not exist. we are represented like manchester as long as were treated the same. if it's regulatory they could look back and tariffs coming into the empire, english people are paying as well as people in america and therefore you are virtually represented like the people in manchester. but if this attack is solely on the colonies then how can we be virtually represented. they would use this terminology as extreme then as it is today. were slaves were nothing better than slaves. if you can impose a tax just on us, only on us, you're not
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opposing on people in england therefore were not virtually represented for that tax. i agree with gordon absolutely then they carried on to the point that their push to the point to say then were not representing parliament for anything. they're stopping point if you look at the writings of delaney or delaware where the writings of marilyn, wherever he was from in dickinson from here or delaware depending on where he was representing. they could draw the lines but if you pushed him beyond, that's what franklin was trying to draw a line not very successfully i agree with gordon. but then you get to the point, if we are not parliament where is sovereignty.
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you could go way back into the colonial tradition. the original model as a gordon probably knows and you probably know is virginia. i hope i got that right. it was in latin virginia, virginia as the fourth. hope it's the fourth it could've been the fifth. the point was virginia was the first colony and it was equivalent to scotland. it was an independent domain like scotland and that was their motto. virginia makes for that was. and the other was scotland and england and i think the other was wales. the point was we are just under the king and our assembly should be equivalent to parliament. that is the other places they tried to come down. one point is franklin's argument
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and i agree in the british parliament that didn't fly for practical reasons pre-but the argument can be okay we are each equivalent of england just as scotland. just like scotland before the union of 1707 where scotland had its own parliament but under the king or they would often say hanover was directly under the king. the king was a director of hanover and he was a ruler there. let's be like that. and as you're pointing out when they had to transfer sovereignty and they had a very difficult idea of exploiting sovereignty that's gonna be a problem on the constitution. had he split sovereignty between the states and the central government. the only thing if we own them consensually view ourselves as equivalent of scotland before
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1707 or as hanover only the king. the only person we have to break from is the king that's why jefferson wrote the declaration of independence. if you read pamphlets much before this they were all directed against parliament if you read all the other pamphlets by hamilton or jefferson earlier. they were directed toward the parliament. then they don't have the sovereignty problem. but now if they're breaking with the king suddenly who is sovereign because they have a history of each colony/state having sovereignty through its assembly to the king versus the idea if we don't have the king where is sovereignty. it is the sovereignty as washington like this in the
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circular letter to the state, which i view as the most important document between 1782 in 1783 that was most important political document between the independent entry declaration of independence and the constitution. he was pointing to the central government has to have all power over everything that is common to all the colonies of the state. >> if that is the case if the argument of the states is correct and other people who are following that line of thinking. what is sovereign madison is playing with ideas where we can have some joint sovereignty. but they didn't think that way.
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ultimately i think they go into the constitutional convention with this puzzle and that's where roger sherman is saying we gotta keep the state sovereign or wilson thinking no and that's why he's pushing for the people, pushing on the people and direct election. we have to have the central government sovereign that's a funny thing floating around. we are ultimately once we break from the king, who is the dependent washington makes the argument. we were granted independence under the peace treaty with england we were granted independence as 13 mutual states we were granted independence as a whole union. in contrast as the declaration of independence a plausible argument from some states did that each state was declaring independent limit corporate
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fashion in each state had to separately deal with it, who is independent and who is it the united states is the united states a single or plural when it comes down to, that's an issue that continues beyond the constitution but it's an issue of where the sovereignty lies that no longer lies with the king. >> perfectly phrased lucas, you written so powerfully about lincoln and the founders in lincoln quoted james wilson for the proposition that is the procession unconstitutional, we the people made the union and made the consent have we the people as a whole to alter it. is it fair to say that wilson rockway country and entry for redefining sovereignty and placing it in we the people of the united states and how would
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you rate his contribution to american constitutional history james wilson was the legal mind at the constitutional convention. his lectures are still read to this day. and they were not clear that he ever read the federalist papers, i don't think he. lincoln argued in his first inaugural, he only drank granted, he only grants the idea of having to be in agreement they could enter particular state to leave the union in order to show to believe in the
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states by a state-by-state level and he didn't have a right to succeed, lincoln understood were the source that madison authority to sovereignty lies of the people not with any government, government has borrowed towers and delegated to authority on the federal level lincoln was trying to reinforce the conviction that they are they true masters of the government and not the other way around he thought the session is anarchy and demented. you cannot participate in an election and then what they were doing and all their events if you participate in the liability depends on the good winners and
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good losers and just as republicans are good losers all of the democrats need to be good losers 1860 exhibit a in terms of excuse to. my sense of lincoln's understanding and drawing from the founders the legacy of the founders is his understanding that true sovereignty lies with the people everyone has a natural right and can only be told what to do if he gets his consent to cover for calvin hudson question of establishing government, astounding as well as offer to principal, we the people owned and operated by the it's the way that we remind our rulers every now and then that they have delegated authority. >> thank you very much for the.
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emily and their forthcoming book you argue there were three conceptions of attachment at the time of the founding a political attachment had attila tehran inattentive venturi all three sound very interesting. i think relative to the question sovereignty tell us what these are and how they relate to sovereignty. >> i think the connection to sovereignty if the people are ultimately sovereign with the institutions to survive people have to buy into them and most people's are foreign loving the constitution are willing to support the institutions of government. the founders recognized they would have to be an ongoing effort to attach people to the institution into the constitution said they would be legitimate. the people of sovereignty could
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be transferring to those institutions. what i argue, three different ways that future statesmen might go about trying to upkeep attachments or keep people connected to the constitution. the cultural is turning the constitution and the institution into a part of our shared cultural heritage and through a version of nationalism that would make us all feel as though the constitution is something that we inherited, something that we are a part of ourselves and approach that people are very invested in things that they have a hand in making. if you can allow people to participate in the processes of political decision-making not just allowing them to vote but to have a say in the outcome of
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elections and the outcome of the policymaking process, they will be more inclined to see the benefits of those institutions and feel like the policies that they create are things that they had a hand in and makes it feel more real to them. utilitarian is the idea that people feel more attached and more willing to support a government that seems to do good things for them. the more the government can serve the public interest and make clear that they're serving the public interest and claim credit for what they're doing more likely they can legitimize institutions and uphold them so they can survive challenges in the pushback but the civil war made prominent. >> wonderful. so powerful and so great that you cite wilson as support for the theory in all three of those theories have supporters among
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different people. gordon, my only regret i don't think we'll be able to go chapter by chapter. your discussion has provoked -- >> i want to clarify something on sovereignty. there's a little confusion. when we talk about the subroutine up you were not how it all derived from the people, all on both sides believe that there's nobody to believe in the divine right of kings. the english believed that the king derived from the people. that's not what the americans mean by placing sovereignty which is a lawmaking authority the ultimate lawmaking authority lies with the people. we were doubt -- disallowed for the recall election in california. the ultimate in the middle of
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the person's term recalling or attempting to recall an elected official. the ultimate lawmaking authority by sovereignty and that is not the notion of power being derived which is a conventional wisdom. that needs to be clarified. >> crucially important it remains in the people. >> your next chapter is on the state constitution and the crisis of the 1780s. take us up to the federal constitution. which you discuss the debates over national power and slavery in among the many fresh and arresting learnings from your chapters about the constitution you reject
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on the part of the framers. perhaps that really it was a fear of democracy, in particular a fear of paper money in massachusetts and shays rebellion led to the calling of the convention and your superb catalog. you say it all goes back to rhode island and rhode island is a quickening or example of this race for paper money represented the future that they were trying to fight against. tell us as much of that story as you can taking us up to the federal convention >> in the revolution of 15 independent states you start on with that in the articles of confederation is a treaty among the states . it's likethe eu today . virginia, to jefferson is my country so if you take it in can e terms you
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understand the articles of confederation. it's a treaty just like the treaty of lisbon which isthe basis for the eu . something had happened. in 1776 nobody in his wildest dreams and i mean no one even conceived of a strong national government of the dtime we finally got 10 years later. nobody thinks about. nobody even imagines it. nobody throws it out as a possibility . it's not in anyone's consciousness so something awful had to happen in those 10 years to change a lot of people's minds in order for them to create this federal government. ran against all their experience. they had this distant government in england was trying to dictate to them. why would they create another long distant government. and all of the eateries of the times, montesquieu being the most important said it would probably after the small and a genius inside.
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they can't be large so why would they create this national government and it's not, you don't want the national government or the articles as an early version of the national government. as they say it's a treaty so they go out the articles and create this entirely new government. much to be i think shock and amazement of the bulk of the population. when they 55 guys meet in philadelphia here, down the street here, they are not really representative of the people as a whole. it's all loaded convention. and it's loaded with nationalists. people that. >> truly call themselves federalists but they really are nationalists. they want to create a strong national government . madison's a crucial figure because he draws up a working paper that helps him clarify
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his own ideas and he essentially writes the virginia plan which is the model for the convention. and what madison is most upset by is not the weaknesses of the articles. everyone except accepted there were weaknesses in the articles. we need a the power to regulate trade and by the 1786, i would say that double if not everyone in the political nation including later on on working agreement that those two amendments ought to be added to the articles. what madison and his colleagues do is nationalists . is essentially hijacked that reform rule. and use it as a cover to if you will excuse to do something much bigger. not to amend the articles but
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describe them entirely and create this and it comes as a shock for on this day september 17 how many years he's going to build? >> it's 234 244 years ago it's announced to the world for the american world and to the world and most people are shocked and stunned. this is not what we bargained for. we thought you guys were e leaving to amend the articles and all of a sudden you come up with this great big powerful nation. this government. it's just unbelievable. and i think if there'd been a fair kind of modern election, the new constitution would have been defeated but it's given the politics of it in each state the ratifying conventions finally pass. ultimately i think because it's either this as richard henry lee was an opponent
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says it's either this or nothing. most people don't want nothing. the thing that they're worried about, madison and others are the behavior of the state legislatures. with their passing of medicine outlines this in his little essay which is unpublished which i think is the most important document, constitutional document between the articles and the constitution. he writes it out. it's very short. you can call it up there on your ipad. writes the political system of the united states comes down to three things. legislatures have a proliferation, multiplication of legislation. lost more laws passed in the 10 years declaration says madison and the entire colonial period. the state legislatures which have been large in size but
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quadruple in some cases because the colonial and small sometimes 30 or 40 c people now suddenly they have two or 300. and there passing all kinds of legislation. their annual elected which is an innovation outside of new l england so you have a multiplication of usability. the legislatures it's the turnover rate in sthis election is close to 60 percent so you have new people coming in every year and they allhave their interests to promote . the result is mutability meaning the changeability of thelegislation . the laws so confused the judges don't know what's the law and the next year there's a whole new set of laws so you have done mutability, the multiplicity and ultimately the injustice of the laws. namely he's thinking of paper money and other debtor beneficial laws that are hurting credits. and this is too complicated
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to explain, you have to read thebook to explain why many of the gentry , the dominant people are frightened by inflation and the depreciation of money because they are essentially bankers. there are almost no banks. there's a bank created, a bank of north america created in pennsylvania. they don't have any, most of the states have no banks. individuals after that these banks a, their lending money out to their neighbors. that's how they got political clout. and this money is coming back to them. they landed gold and silver comes back with this paper which says i promise to pay in gold and silver but it depreciates. so that's what madison is concernedabout. as a consequence, the central element in his virginia plan is the veto . given to the congress overall
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state legislation . before the state deal could become law will have to come to the central government and getapproved . the thing is so impractical which you can't imagine an intelligent man like medicine pleased with this and yet he did. weiser has prevailed and said that's just crazy. can you imagine if it stayed in the constitution? although states would be sending all their bills washington. there would be hearings to decide should we veto this bill or not veto it. it's impractical and it gets thrown out and transformed into article1, section 10 of the constitution which is a series of prohibitions on what the states can do . they can't pass tariffs. they can't coin money. they can't print paper money as legal tender. those are crucial things.
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madison is still disillusioned. he comes out and tells jefferson i've lost my deal. my negative of all the state laws. this thing will work. this was so central to my vision and he has to accept it. that is in short how the constitution is created. >> listen to the significance of gordon woods distillation that really was this fear of democracy and mob violence and the rage for paper money in the states fighting in shays rebellion. >> we've experienced democracy with presidenttrump . social media is the ultimate democratic instrument. it is democratized our society in a way that we could never have imagined. and individuals, one individual can have an effect
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by linking up to social media with hundreds if not thousands of others. this is a scary process. democracy has its problems but we are experiencing it and madison had his. democracy has that kind of side to it and this will need to be controlled and registered. the reason they give so much of the ready to the courts back then and now we have them in states is because the court was seen as the most important impressive chapter on democracy. we don't talk about it in those terms today. but we have nine unelected people making decisions about the, that affect us. it's the most undemocratic process you could ever imagine. and the fact that we allowed it shows that i think the
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need that we have our own misgivings about democracy. if it's carried too far or misused. so i think it's an interesting fact that madison was so concerned what we would call democracy. >> so clear clearly and powerfully. this question pgordon woods analysis that there was this sphere of democracy that was the central motivating factor for calling the constitution and in what way do you agree that this sphere was bonded in the constitution when they created it? >> i do think they went into philadelphia without a clear concept as gordon said that the people of. and the people being
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ultimately sovereign. after the people which was the idea of this soaring preamble. that becomes the target so you have thpatrick henry in the virginia ratifying convention also the public statements before saying how dare you say we the people created. you should say we the states. and the virginia plan had that. that the states create this. it isn't the people of the whole country. it's a creation of the states but as long as is a creation of the states and again this is wilson thinking that in some way more or less it comes back to wthis league of friendship which is the
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treaty as gordon calls it or the league of friendship as they call it that the articles of confederation created a league of friendship that deals with 13 sovereign states linked together. and, but if you go back to the document i keep hammering on, the circular letter of the state washington says we need a central government that is s the final say in every thing that is common to all of us. common to all the states which wouldn't be slavery. which wouldn't be education. you can think of things it would be but it would be internationaland interstate commerce . and he also says in the circular letters heis indivisible. once you join, you can't get out. he says that in the circular letter to the state of 1783. we need a central government which you can't leave.
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once you're in, it's a one-way ratchet. by saying commerce is going to move and many people argue wasn't just taxation. certainly everyone would agree the central government even anti-federalist would agree central government needed more power to impose its well that wouldaffect everybody . and so that more power was agreed to dbut then the question was and i do think people thought coming in i think madison thought coming in, washington area clearly said i'm not going unless i'm ... i'm not going to that convention even though i've been picked up by virginia to go, i'm not going unless i'm confident they have the power to make radical decisions. was the phrase he used. well, washington is not a radical man.
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he made clear and he had proposed in that he had received, he asked the people he trusted most. john j knox, madison at all send him drafts of the type of central bank they wanted. the central government always had a two house legislature, not the one house like the articles ofconfederation which is like a un . the un is like everybody sends a representative. they recall will. they're not by any state and the states retain sovereignty. he saidi will only go if it can be a fundamental transformation . and madison spent most of the two months before going to philadelphia living not for he didn't have a white thing. he stated not for and work on these ideas not for . and so they went in with a pretty clear idea. wasn't just madison, washington agreed to it .
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the first person he visits when he comes to philadelphia is franklin because he says we've got a bead on the same wavelength the customer the two most respected people nationally. the other two national heroes . we got to be working on the same wavelength. they came and wilson was a fellow thinker. franklin as you know at our regular weekly meeting in his house with wilson and others had come and they had talked about these things. so they came prepared so when nobody else showed up on time that philadelphia, pennsylvania delegation and virginians were there and at first it was only first it was only washington and madison but then they they and others begin to roll in and they finalize madison's taking into the virginia plan which is called the virginia plan now because they were ending it with madison but because it was offered by ithe governor of virginia.
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they offer really the plan for a national government and if you read the virginia plan it doesn't say gordon was very clever to say that he turned the terms of federalist but when they offered the virginia plan said national governments. this is a national government ovthat's what they did create. and so they were already thinking. they hadn't flexed it all out. the whole convention for them to fully understand but this movement in sovereignty and all we the people and where it would all come from, they had to bring along people like roger sherman kicking and screaming and they never could bring along others who voted against it then could never have brought along patrick henry. i would argue they could never have pulled it off going one step further than boarded.
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gordon said it was 55 people who were truly representative . i think if it hadn't been in secret, if this thing, if what they were coming up with had been made public tand the newspapers and adthey were reporting people like patrick henry who was chosen as a delegate to virginia didn't come becausehe thought it was a waste of time , he claimed it was he smelled around. i think that was later. he didn'tsmell a rat was the problem .it would have shown up. all these other people would have come and the whole thing would have been derailed which is what gordon was suggesting and i'm just underscoring what he say really we were talking about and wilson more than as much as anyone but i do think madison and washington and governor morris and others and franklin were right on board with thinking along these lines . we're going to have a lnational government here that was the shift of sovereignty that was enormous.
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that's why patrick henry would so clearly come back and say how dare you say we the people? we should say we the states. and that shift means certainly there were concessions to the states giving equal representation to the senate but the key change and this was governor morris the key change from the articles of confederation is a sentence not like the articles of confederation because the articles, each delegate yes, each state got one vote but their delegates were recallable will not by the people but by the state legislature. that's where it's different than the ones you're talking about california. they're using the governor is recallable by the people but if you have an in his opening speech roger sherman made a major point. the reason why the articles work is those delegates are recallable will by the states
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meaning the state legislature. they were goingto have any of that . the waste they set it up was the center, sure each state gets to they give some power to the states but they're not recallable will . they have fix your terms and governor morris says they will become creatures of the nation because they're going to live in this new national capital with six year terms and by that time on recallable by the states they won't really representthe state . they'll represent themselves. >> lucas, you quote lincoln at springfield warning of mob violence and the same when reason rather than passion prevails then democracy is threatened. he's channeling madison's fears of shays rebellion although he's responding to violence against appellation is newspaper editors and
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african-americans were being murdered through terrorism . to what degree, do you agree with gordon's analysis that it was best year of mob violence and democracy that led to the constitution and does the lincoln experience suggests it was mob action in particular rather than democracy ingeneral that made the founders afraid ? >> i hope i'm not just a question of semantics but i would phrase it differently . i think democracy in fact was not a word that lincoln used very often at all but that doesn't mean it was against democracy. that is definition of democracy, one of the few times he mentions that word but i would phrase it differently . it's not so much that lincoln was afraid of democracy per se or direct rule by the american people. what he feared is something the founders strove to
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establish which iswhat we call the rule of law .al and that ultimately derives from the principle of consent and that what we're trying to do with consent is not simply reflect the direct will of the american people. with consent and ultimately i would say constitutionalism we are trying to create space or people to live according to informed consent if you will.we want to make space. we want to give time for a reason to prevail over the passion . we want if you want to use the word ydemocracy we want democracy to be deliberative. that's why you have a constitution. that's why you have representation. i was going to try to add quickly on the senate and in terms of why the constitutional convention was called, on the senate there are 2 senators. they do not have to act as a block under the unitedstates d
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constitution . they are voting their own judgment as to what the best interest of their state is in light of the collective good of the united states so that was a huge difference from the articles of confederation where the delegation had to vote as a block so it wasn't just that they were recallable, they had to vote, the state to speak with one voice under the constitution they are not constitutionally bound. to speak with one voice. it is up to each of the two senators to decide and of course overtime they are voted on at the same time. they are appointed by the state legislature. we have staggered elections so what you're seeing is actual mechanisms in the new constitution to promote deliberation . to make consent not simply self-determination, not simply a mirror of the people but as madison put it in federalist 10 to refine and enlarge the public view. that is to do the best good
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on behalf of the people and that meant you had to create space and time for consent to work that out.i would say that yes, she's rebellion had something clearly to do with the constitutional convention ultimately in 1787 but it's interesting you bring up washington. washington did have an idea of the united states as a country. that wasn't a gleam in his eye long before it was in most american's eyes. and i would say that the need professor lawson brought this up. the need for a stronger central government, or a national government, that was clear that washington would have nothing to do with the convention if he didn't think there was a reasonable chance for the central government to be equipped with power. perhaps the most mundane but most pivotal change made at the constitutional convention which makes it not like as
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you were calling it a league of friendship at the articles you were. was it congress was actually now having the power to pass laws. they did not have authority under the articles of confederation. the states if you work will interpose themselves between their citizens and the authority ofthe articles of confederation congress . under the proposed constitution the guests ssone of the biggest changes is now you actually have a national government that circumvents the states if you will. the states are involved. we did mention the senate but now you have us asking not on state legislature but acting directly upon the american people themselves who are represented in the house of representatives proportionally and express through their pre-existing political organizations to the states so the fact that the united states constitution is equipped to pass actual laws, that's a
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seachange in terms of how the american people were governing themselves previously through the article. >> thank you for that crucial series of distinctions between mirroring of the people and reflection that enlarged and refined their views and that distinction between ordinary lawmaking and constitutional lawmaking is one you brought out so well which he elucidates in his discussion of jefferson the other founders understanding of the rise of conventions as bodies that would reflect the slow and the literate sense of the people and is crucial to the american constitution. emily, the founders thought that virtue was necessary for the republic to survive and they defined virtue as a personal and political act. personally citizens had to use their powers of reason to
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master their unreasonable passions like anger, jealousy and fear. and politically they needed to do that so they could choose wise representatives and deliberate for them to serve the common good rather than self-interest and partisanship . sounds kind of rarefied nowadays in light of the some of the changes gordon flagged including social media and political parties. is the founder's notion of virtue as critical to constitutionalism still relevant? >> i think it's still relevant. i would say the founders view of virtue or at least the federalist view of virtue is different than the pure civic virtue that many political theorists before the founders thought of. so we see the anti-federalists and the debate over the ratification really pushing for the need for virtue, the need for the
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constitution to cultivate virtue and its citizens and what the federalists have i think is a bit more faith at the institutions of government could do more of the work to get us the good laws that we needed. you can rely on the individual citizens virtue to get good laws that they're able to maintain or avoid the anarchy that they were trying to avoid. you can rely on citizens virtue to get those good laws t and the federalists thought there were ways we could design institutions to help that process so the institutions could encourage good lawmaking. it could encourage that kind of virtue and its citizens. you're not fully dependent on the citizens to produce it themselves. the problem is that you have to then maintain this relationship between the institutions and the public. if the institutions are going
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to encourage virtue, if they're going to sort of cultivate a sense among the citizens at the role of law is worth upholding the common good is worth pursuing in that relationship has to be cultivated. it has to be tended to and i'm not sure that we've done. there was this sense that what the federalists had done is create institutions that would work in perpetuity. that the constitution could ask stand on it's on grounds once it had been ratified and we lost sight i think of the work has to be done to make sure that the citizenry understands the constitution, uphold the constitution and is committed to it. that sort of cultivation of something like virtue or at least it's constitutionalism among the people is something we don't do very much anymore . and some of the smallest way we don't teach civic education anymore in america very much in other ways we draw attention to things other than sort of the
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cultivation of virtues that might beimportant to uphold . >> absolutely. you so powerfully put notebook federalist notion of institutions doing some of the work and the crucial importance of teaching the constitution for the cultivation of virtueand that's what we're doing a tonight . that's what the national constitution center was nd created to do and that's what we're doing every day and i am thrilled to share i just got the numbers 25,000 people tuned in today to watch our constitution day program so we're making headway in the cultivation of this knowledge . the one thing we do the constitution center programs is and on time and we are going to end in about 10 minutes. gordon, this is a chance for you to put the rest of the book on the table and there's
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so much in the chapters on the federal constitution, on slavery and the emergence of the judiciary. so much that's surprising in your discussion of slavery including the prevalence of indentured white servants which changed the way the founding generations thought about enslavement and the brief moments when it looked like even for genia and other southern states were going to eradicate it and bring the transformation of the virginia judiciary from a review of only when the people themselves would have been mobilized to find an act unconstitutional work regularization. and then so this incredible chapter about the divergence of the private sphere and then you say it all goes back toand looks forward to rhode island's . what time you can to fill in the rest of the arguments. >> we talk about the founders but syou have to understand that for most people in america in the antebellum which is the.
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going up to the civil war the founders were not the people we refer to. not the revolutionary leaders, not james madison, not george washington. there founders were john winthrop, william bradford. william and. johnson it. that is the 17th century founders. and when i crossed his prehistory he had 10 volumes on the colonial period. he got the colonial period was the founding ofamerica . it's almost, in fact in 1820 at the constitutional convention innew york they were revising the constitution . martin van buren who becomes i think the first american politician as a president. he did nothing. he never had anygreat speech . he never wona battle . never negotiated a retreat. he was the most astute
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politician seen. you organize the new york party and prominence. in that he says if these guys back there, washington and jefferson. he says forget about them. there are aristocrats. they have nothing to do with usdemocrats the course was one of the great arguments of the anti-federalist . the whole system is aristocratic. is creating a government which will the fuel will benefit at the expense of the many. so martin van buren just dismisses them. it's almost single-handedly it's lincoln who makes the founders the founders we talk about. he's the one who says that men are the group that created the declaration of independence . that document makes the blood of the blood and flesh of the flesh of all of these
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immigrants that have come to aamerica we are the founders. the blood and flesh of the flesh of the people who grew up that document and the other documents by implication including the constitution are what hold us together as a people. that's lincoln's great contribution and he really brings the founders into prominence. there's a book about this. if you are interested, wesley frank craven came out about 1950 or so. he was the president of the early american history at princeton and gets neglected. i don't know why because it's so important to realize that the founders they believed in or not the founders we believe in and it's lincoln that created this. i think that point is not in my book but it needs to be mentioned. >> give us one more burst of learning from your book.
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>> i think on the slavery thing we have to understand it's a central issue of assessing us now. we have to understand two things one or more than two things that one, they are all that slavery was on its last leg. maybe people in south carolina and georgia didn't think that any virginians to certainly the northerners to read that slavery was dying. in virginia a thought so too. washington had more slaves than he knew what to do with. and tobacco was no longer being grown because they exhaust the soil. they're turning to wheat. wheat does not require great labor. they're renting out their slaves. people like washington are renting out their slaves in north at the idea of renting out the slaves, that's just one step towards wage labor so slavery is somehow on its last legs. it's dying away and i can
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give you dozens and dozens of quotations from many figures saying in 30 years, 40 years there will be no slavery in america now, they couldn't have been more wrong. it was one of the main illusions they lived with. they had a lot of illusions but don't get cocky, we have a lot of illusions too. we just don't know what they are. somehistorians will tell us 200 years from now they think that ? they thought that slavery was dying. genius were ready to abolish it. the college of william and mary, the trustees. the board of visitors, wealthy slaveholders in 1791 they get an honorary degree to granville sharp. was granville sharp? the leading british abolitionist at the time . that's the kind of question you want to ask a graduate student . why would the college of william and mary trustees are
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all slaveholders, why would they give an honorary degree to an abolitionist? this undercuts the 1619 project right out from under that. that's the kind of issue that should provoke a lot of graduate students into thinking freshly about these issues. anyway, they did have to accommodate the deep south. for genia and some of the virginians, washington and jefferson both of themselves was little states not southern. the south is south carolina. georgia. and they want slaves. and their compromises made in the convention compromises that are more easily made because they think slavery is going to die. now as i say they couldn't have been more wrong but you have to account for that. but there are compromises.
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and onthe south of course want slaves to be counted fully for representation and the north says no, not at all. so they reach a compromise to . 3/5 which becomes a source of southern strength, political strength so it allows the south to dominate the government throughout the whole antebellum period. then the fugitive slaves. so there are provisions in the constitution to some garrisons are seen to turn the document into adocument of hell . but lemadison and others are crucial at keeping the word slave out of the constitution . but this document is supposed to last forever hopefully. and we don't want to change it with even the word slavery
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it. so there's no recognition of property in the end asmadison puts it in the constitution . they see the future as being the end of slavery. now, they have no realization there would be more slaves at the end of the revolution than there were at the beginning even though the north abolishes slavery. that's another important thing . these are the first slaveholding states in the history of the world that have legal slavery that abolishes it. the groups that abolished slavery, the american states in the north abolished slavery. they don't have the number of slaves that the south has. they have 50,000, maybe where there are hundreds of thousands in the south. and easy for them to do it
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but nonetheless they did it. and the way before any other place abolishes slavery. that should be emphasized. there is the expectation that this would spread. this is part of the enlightenmentprogram . they have a whole series of reforms each state from virginia northward, they're going to redo the criminal system. do away with inheritance loss . they're going to have a nteducational systems. they're going to abolish the anglican church and they're going to abolish slavery. now, they don't always succeed in those things. they didn't in virginia with this public education but they did abolish the church of england and create a separation of church and state. and jefferson tries to abolish slavery. he puts forth a bill and gets defeated but they don't wipe
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jefferson out. he becomes still a major figure in the states and a lot of people are thinking about getting rid ofslavery . what changes things is the rebellion in haiti. that's scares the jesus out of the southerners and from that moment on there's a reaction and by the early 19th century, the southerners are scared to death slave rebellion all hope of reforming thesouth is gone . >> thank you so much for that. you say at the beginning of the book it will give comfort to partisans of no size as history never does and the complexity of the story is radical in its freshness and it spreads so much like
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friends, it's 7:45. my one job at the constitution center justice roberts is to end the shows on time so we're going to give gordon would last word we will continue this conversation . all of our phenomenal panelists are great friends at the center will continue this conversation on constitution 101 and throughout the year and for now please join me in thanking all of them for shedding such light on constitution day. thank you very much. [applause] >> recently on american history tvs presidency series first ladies from lady bird johnson to melanie and trump talked about the role of the first lady, their time in the white house and the issues important to them. here's a portion of a program featuring betty for. >> in a few weeks i will complete my chemotherapy
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treatment. and that's will be another milestone for me. since that first year, i have not talked much about the difference of my experience with cancer. at that time my mastectomy and the discussion about it i was really pleased to see it because it prompted a large number of women to go and get checkups in their local communities. it may my recuperation easier because i knew that i was helping others. i made this progress report to help cheer up those who have just had an operation for cancer and to encourage them to keep up their good spirits.
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part of the battle against cancer is to find the fear that accompanies the disease. >> learn more about first ladies online at ri >> good afternoon and welcome to today's session of the washington history seminar. historical perspectives on international and national affairs. this afternoon we're focusing on our recent book by robert parkinsonentitled 13 clocks , how race united the colonies admit the declaration of independence published earlier this year by the institute of early american history and culture and university of northcarolina press . joining us our derek spires of cornell university and rosemary of george mason university. artisan from the george


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