Skip to main content

tv   2022 George Washington Book Prize  CSPAN  July 4, 2022 3:15pm-4:26pm EDT

3:15 pm
bringing this book out for cosponsoring this session so you robert . >> follow american history tv on twitter, and youtube or schedule updates to learn about what happened. watch videos and learn more about the people and events that have shaped the american story find us at c-span history. di>>. >> welcome margaret h nichols. [applause] >> i am the 23rd regions of the lady's association and s it's my great pleasure to welcome you this beautiful evening mount vernon the beloved home of george
3:16 pm
washington. washington called mount vernon home for over 45years. more than two thirds of his extraordinary life . the end of washington's life almost meant the end of mount vernon itself as our nation was on the verge of civil war mount vernon was drifting slowly and silently into ruin . when the federal government and state of virginia declined washington's offer to purchase mount vernon from nithe family a woman from south carolina the name of and cunningham took it upon herself to challenge the country to save the home of america's hero and eventual first president reand the rest as they say is history. the founders of the mount vernon lady's association under memily cunningham were remarkable women of imagination. they were alert to opportunity and persistent in their mission . they had a big idea ato
3:17 pm
purchase and rescue the home of the first president and they did just that. today ... [applause] today the mission of the mount vernon lady's association is to preserve mount vernon and educate the world about the life leadership and legacy of george washington continues uninterrupted for 150 64 years. [applause] i would like to take a moment to recognize some members ofthe mount vernon latest association who are here with us tonight . please, please stand when i call your name. gail perry west, region of columbia. [applause] jean cheryl from north carolina. deedee petrie from wisconsin. susan townsend from delaware.
3:18 pm
kate waddell from illinois. and hillary carter west from the district of columbia. [applause] thank you ladies for all you u do. i would also like to introduce some other special guests who are with us this evening . don, chair of the american battlefield trust and trustee of the gilder institute of american history. [applause] the honorable james gilmore, former capacitor to the organization for security and cooperation in europe and the former governor of rvirginia . roxanne gilmore, former first lady of virginia. the honorable thomas deeper,
3:19 pm
former ambassador to see. the honorable elaine right on, state archivist of maryland, where are you. cliff leaks, president and ceo of the colonial williamsburg foundation. andrew o'shaughnessy, vice president of monticello, the saunders director of the robert h smith international center for jefferson studies at the thomas jefferson foundation and the winner of the 2014 washington prize. [applause] tonight we are near toward the george washington price. the price is central to the association's mission encouraging new and
3:20 pm
accessible scholarships around george washington at our nation's founding era. tonight is a very special evening because we are not just celebrating one year of remarkable scholarship on the b nation's founding but three. how lucky we are to have somebody. authors with us tonight. [applause] mount vernon is extraordinarily proud to be part of this important partnership with our good friends at the gilder lehrman institute of american history at washington college warning this coveted price each year. thank you all so much for being here and enjoyyour dinner . thank [applause] >> welcome to the podium doctor michael j sosulski. [applause]
3:21 pm
>> thank you so much andgood evening everyone . i am mike sosulski and i am in the president of washington college and washington college is one of three sponsors of the washington prize. thank you to our friends the gilder learning institute. especially to mount vernon for posting this. one that has been more than three years in the making g. it's pretty great to be able to be back here tonight,isn't it ? [applause] washington college is proud to have been associated with george washington since the year 1782. when the general's are as our trustee, made a generous donation to the founding of the college graciously allowed us to adopt his own name for our institution. the first college fact that was chartered after america's independence our founding was
3:22 pm
a visionary group of patriots and educators we have some other guests with a very special connection to that 18th-century history. seated with me my table right here are members of the london family who are direct descendents of doctor john scott. john scott alongside george washington among our very first donors trustees in 1782 . last year, london's renew that remarkable ancestral legacy by establishing the london's family washington prize scholarship providing financial aid to washington college students with outstanding achievement in history and american sites we are incredibly grateful. these scholarships were created under the leadership of doctor jack london. a long time friend of mount
3:23 pm
vernon washington college who love america's history devoted much of his life to our nation's service who yes. we're very grateful for doctor one. doctor london enjoyed d attending the center almost every year since the prices inception. tragically doctor london passed away after establishing a scholarship. in january 2021. tonight we want to honor his memory and also in his life doctor jennifer london and his children filled, nora, jackson jason and jonathan. we washington college are grateful to you for your tremendous generosity. let's give the london family a well-deserved roundof applause .
3:24 pm
we also have with us tonight six recipients of the london family washington prize scholarship and a previously established london's history fellowship and i will name them for you. jamie anderson. ryan corbett. age fast. caitlin is a truck, the current process was worth. get them around the loss. this is how good these students are. i did not haveto ask them to stand . theyknew it was coming . as we gather here for the first time since the four times, we are honoring the winners and finalists for
3:25 pm
s.three consecutive washington prices. among sites guests are to finalists for the 2020 price. richard l for stolen: friday three boys connected to slavery and theirastonishing odyssey . and david had for a crisis of peace: george washington, the new bird conspiracy of the american revolution. rick and david please stand so we can gradually overview. [applause] and now it is my distinct favor to recognize the winner of the 20/20 washington prize. rick atkinson for his book the british are coming: the war for america, lexington in
3:26 pm
1775 to 1777. mister, one of our most claims contemporary chroniclers of war his house winner on surprises in history and injournalism . it is both the first of a planned trilogy like the experience of commanders, and soldiers alike . he can be with us this evening unfortunately but he has recorded some brief videos we will release now. >> and i regret not being with you tonight not. actually outside london working all week and the british national archives on the next volume i hope. a trilogy on the american revolution. next week i'll be in france and chcteau lafayette as well as other places relevant to the french entry into the war on the american side. grateful to have received the
3:27 pm
george washington price. the honor comes not only from an indication of the first commander-in-chief and first president but from the case extremely solid others who received the award previously the slate of finalists in 2020 . thank you to the older lehrman institute in washington college to mount vernon. went to high school five miles north of mount vernon back when washington's worst residents on the plantation r over and watch the place role more compelling and more vital is still in our national sovereignty. i spent my entire professional life writing about war first as journalists and workers then the author of seven nonfiction books and five different american wars .ri console writing british are coming most of that commitment focused on our more recent history.
3:28 pm
spending some time examining our army of the 20th and 21st century it seems fitting to explore the origins. those who created it, or for a those who lead it. even more compelling to me the american revolution speaks directly to us about the most fundamentalquestions . who are we, what do we believe? what were we the people willing to die for? the revolution is one of the greatest stories in western civilization . characters and events and trauma beyond thecapacity of even the greatest novelists . there were four american writers needs an opportunity to write unsentimental meticulous history as a graveyard. the british are coming i want to tell the story of the first couple of years of the revolution from both sides sympathy and rigor to portray king george the third and his ministers and generals as vividly as washington and is.
3:29 pm
the brutality of the war still is astonished as me. artisan belligerence attacks the civil war that anticipated the civil war. the revolution shows us that this should be comforting that our nation was born bickering. disputation is in the national genome and it also shows us othe leaders worthy of our enduring admiration can rise to the occasion with grace and wisdom and grace. and it reminds us that wherever trials beside us today we have overcome greater perils before. existential perils. we've come far in calls to a half centuries in our of diversity, tolerance and sheer scale but to me those forebears, those rebels remain more than we know. i'm so grateful for the file that hington suggests maybe i'm on the
3:30 pm
right track. any rate i intend to keep going. thanks again and have a great evening. >> ladies and gentlemen, please welcome david faster, president and ceo of thedavid letterman institute of american history . >> hello everybody. i hope you're enjoying your meal. it's great to be here for a resumption of the george washington prize which we have valued all these years. i'm jim basker and president of the lehrman institute of americanhistory . [applause] and i just got
3:31 pm
permission from doug bradburn to say a few words about what the institute does because we are trying to be some trains that run on time tonight. but i did want to say that those of you who know us know that we were founded in 1994 by richard gilder lewis lehrman. that our mission is to improve the teaching and learning of american history and civics. especially in k-12 schools but we do other projects as well and i'm proud to say the moment we have now 31,000 schools in our affiliate network across all 50 states and a scattering across about 70 countries around the world . [applause] thank you. we provide all kinds of educational resources. we do a lot of teacher development. we have almost 10,000
3:32 pm
teachers who do professional development programs with us at one point of the year or another. we have 3 and a half million visitors, unique visitors to our website, most of them students and teachers. in fact our us hehistory study guide which students use to prepare for the ap test in american history has more than 1 million unique visitors each year which is striking to us because only 500,000 kidstake the test . maybe some of you are sneaking a look. i think you find it enjoyable . we have a lot of fun and some of you have been with us when we were celebrating that font with the hamilton education program beginning thanks to ron for now who is a former aware of the george washington price and in fact the first of them for his fire fee of hamilton. we were connected through the verandas and producers of hamilton and the rockefeller foundation and for seven years we've been partners.
3:33 pm
we develop a curriculum that enabled mtitle i school students to do research and the founding era and create their own performance pieces and once they have done that they could come to the theater and see the show. for most of those kids was the only time a government of the inner their lives. we had 200,000 students who enjoy that program when covid shut everything down but we were very lucky. we have begun to prepare an online version of the curriculum and we launched it immediately in the summer of 2020 . the very first year of the online curriculum providing resources now to students in school all across the country . and inviting them to produce these original pieces. 20 of them would be chosen to come to new york and see the show when it reopened which they're doing this spring. in any case that first year we had 400,000 students
3:34 pm
across the country. the hamilton curriculum online with us so the founding era is alive. the scope that we're serving. any of you would like to know more about those programs or mtry to bring them to the schools in your neighborhood please talk to me afterwards because it's what we do my job tonight is to present the 2021 george washington prize winner but before i do that i like to salute first the six other outstanding books that were named finalists for the 2021 prize. one of whom i believe is here. one of the authors for his book aristocratic education the making of the american republic, mark shocked. are you here? these stand. the other finalists could not be here tonight.
3:35 pm
course trends will change everything but they include vincentbrown for tackling the stories of atlantic slave for . peter cousins for to come say and for profit, the shawnee brothers who defied a nation. moderate jefferson for the age of phillips. michael w mcconnell for the president who would not become executive power under the constitution and finally, william g thomas the third for question of freedom m, families who challenged slavery on the nations founding to the civil war. those were the finalists for 2021. but now i turned to the winner. and which is great pleasure for me. the winner of the 2021 george washington prize, chosen by unanimous vote of the price board is mary beth norton for
3:36 pm
her innovative, deeply researched and wonderfully readable 1974: the long year of therevolution . [applause] congratulations. you will hear from professor norton in a moment so i won't go into detail about her book except to say that researchers our whole idea of the revolution at least until the year before the battles oflexington and concorde . in the words of the jury quotes, her book offers to globally rich tapestry of the events and development of that year. 1774 was the first year that americans would be described as loyalists and tories and be persecuted by the patriots
3:37 pm
setting the stage for a civil war that was part of the revolutionary war . the jury went on to say it was the year in which the revolution became inevitable. for both the student of history and the general reader must have this book is a must read as well as a joy to read. i cannot step down and give way to professor norton without spending a couple of minutes paying tribute to her extraordinary and in many ways career. when she and her graduate school in the 1960s opportunities for women were scarce. she was one of only two women in her year. when she finished her doctoral dissertation in 1969 she was awarded the prize from the society of anamerican historians which is awarded each year for the single best dissertation in american history in the country . [applause] yes.
3:38 pm
over the course of the next 50 years mary beth norton from glass ceilings, transform scholarly fields, zafounded led organizations , a sports one prices and taught thousands of college students. she taught at the university level for 50 years, almost all that cornell university where she was the first woman professor in history in 2008 was honored with a teaching price for a record of outstanding undergraduate teaching . her books felt wrong and expand the field of early american three beginning with women of america in 1979 liberty's daughters in 1980. following the 1990s by founding mothers and fathers which were finalists for the pulitzer prize and in 2000 to
3:39 pm
the salem witchcraft crisis in the devils snare which one the english-speaking union rise from the best book in american studies. meanwhile in 1982 she commented american history textbook all of people and a nation which is now also confirm this with mary. his 11 edition still in print or years later. professor norton found the international federation for research and women's history 1985 she was a presidential appointee the national council of the humanities. served as president of the society of american historians another time as president of the american historical association was elected professor of history at cambridge. she has held fellowships from the national endowment for the humanities h, from the guggenheim rockefeller start nations from the huntington library.
3:40 pm
in 1999 she was elected a fellow of the american academy of arts and sciences she has received four honorary degrees over here. so far. as one of her colleagues set for, mary beth norton aris a force of nature. and 2018 after 50 years of scholarly work university teaching she retired officially. but she was not finished. in 2020 she produced the bulk we celebrate. 1774 a: the long year of the revolution. yet another tremendous achievement. it is impossible to do justice to such a career in just a few minutes. i can only say please and gentlemen is truly a privilege to introduce a 21 george washington prize professor mary beth norton.
3:41 pm
>> thank you for that lovely introduction. it's been fun sitting next to you this evening. i am deeply honored to be one that george washington prize for 2021 for my book 1774: the long year of revolution i warmly othe gilder lehrman institute, the lady's association of mount vernon and washingtoncollege for this award . i my title has mystified some
3:42 pm
readers. in employing the phrase the long year i was alluding to historians convention of writing about the long 18th century to refer to a period of time that does not overlap exactly with such formal dates as 1700 to 1800. that is often the long 18th century is set to begin in 1688 or outhereabouts and two and in 1815 with the defeat of napoleon at waterloo. for me for my book 1774 begins in mid december. 1773, more or less. if you read it you'll see it kind of starts in october 1773 but really mid december 1773 and eight and 18 1775. it ends with gauges orders of the troops to go to concorde
3:43 pm
to get the guns and other supplies stashed their fits neatly with my spredecessor, winner of the george washington prize . my basic idea implemented in the book was to focus intensively on developments from the mainland colonies in the period immediately preceding the outbreak of war . surprisingly enough, few academic or popular writers par who have studied the revolution ever highlighted the importance of these same 16 months even though such an emphasis might appear obvious to someone not familiar with ownership of the revolution but almost all earlier authors have instead dressed ve the roots of the conflict either long-standing disagreements between the colonies and great britain dating back decades or discord that developed after the close of the seven years war in 1763.
3:44 pm
they are all known how the story ended. that is with the independence of the 13 colonies and they have sought to explain that result by seeking its origins . sometimes the in the early decades of the 18th century. thus regardless of when these other books start their narrative or how the accounts are constructed other authors have consistently published the viewpoint ofleaders of the revolution .ge they establish their actions and ideas to the near-total exclusion of anyone else or any other topics . only in my book therefore onyour readers discover the arguments that colonists had among themselves over for example support for or criticism of the destruction of the east india company's t in boston harbor we would never know today americans ri argue over whether it was a
3:45 pm
good idea to throw the tea in the harbor is appropriate to point out here that george washington himself was one of many critics of boston's actions even though he supported the town after parliament passed the punitive act closing the board so that she was paid for and then there followed the debate over whether or how to pay for the tea something no one reads about today is to try to convince parliament to remove the sanctions on boston by paying for the tea. maybe you should get everybody inmassachusetts to pay for the teeth. everyone in the colonies to contribute to pay for the . we never hear about that today was often talked about in 1774. the issue roils brought four months in 1774 was finally not decided in the negative until late in the fall of 1774. after some have contended
3:46 pm
that an offer to compensate the company could be used as a bargaining chip for other measures the colonies wanted to get rid of i. again, nobody ever talked about that except for me. i also discuss the debate over whether there should be continental progress . did you know there was an issue? it was. then what that body should do once it was convened that they do not appear in other books so i give place was not just to radical politics, many of them tnew englanders but also to the many moderate conservatives the middle colonies as well as radical moderate conservative southerners. men and some women are absent from most narratives of this key period, so much so that no context is established for the. even when such a person is mentioned din the standard narrative and passing that
3:47 pm
person seems to come literally out of nowhere . my very different of these months have led some commentators to accuse me of preventing a loyalist view of the revolution . it's true as i explained in my introduction my dissertation which one that is prize was on the loyalist exile who fled to england during the war. was that education at first convinced me that the events of the year 1974 about the usual pdied in the american populace between loyalists and revolutionaries. it was not until i did this but t that i realized the word loyalist was not used until 1774 until you have a revolutionary situation the word loyalist is meaningless as it applies to everybody. so when loyalist people started to use the term about themselves it tells us about what's going on.
3:48 pm
so rather than actually adopting a loyalist fuse i simply tried to give them equals other writers have denied them. also to give attention to moderates pennsylvania's joseph rees who wrote long letters to lord dartmouth the american secretary attempting to persuade him that his assumptions about the colonies were incorrect. i was astonished wwhen i found these letters from joseph three. in the book accordingly aim to present the arguments and dialogues of the years long 1974 usually look as though i didn't know how the story came out because of course no one in 1774 new what would happen next. i thought the story to life she never should not be know the outcome either very pleased with the chapters of t the george washington prize agreement by not tuition the narrative offers new insight
3:49 pm
into that one year 1774. thanks very much for this award. >>. >> please do a warm welcome to doctor bradford, president and ceo of george washington university. [applause] >> okay. so good evening everyone. there were number there's a number of. what's exciting extends so far this is for welcome back to mount vernon for the george washington prize. all right.
3:50 pm
now, this place exists because the number of ways association saved it from disappearing. they took action about something they believed in that was of great value to our nation. we're all thankful for it. now, in doing so they saved for us connection to something like george washington helped launch. something he called the great experiment inhuman's . the birth of american democracy. there you go. that guy. now, george washington understood the simple fact that the challenge, really a problem ofself-governance . as he noted in his farewell address, in proportion as this is forced opinion, it is
3:51 pm
essential opinion should be. let's think about that. and proportion to the spot gives a is essential opinion should be enlightened. what is the opposite of enlightened? darkness, told us and tonight is all about enlightenment. that's this. behind the force of this tremendous prize. us are producing work that will make a lasting and positive i. on the education of our people really like to do stories have been told well. the health of articles are hethe strength of our democrac . that's the work we're doing this tonight. so thank you all for being here to support it. yes, i like this guy.
3:52 pm
why shouldn't our historians get as much on circumstanceas our celebrities ? go. come on. the we celebrate them like the stars they are.our mission here at not for is to preserve place. to educate and inspire i know the mission isas important as ever . around the world people are fighting for the kind of freedom a lotof us have taken for granted . in our own nation b& as in, in lawrence stands in for thoughtful discourse and lack of understanding of our history which is prevalent everywhere. is our ability to pass on this precious inheritance. and that i think is a critical problem agree purpose that we're all here together to share in. i'm happy to say we are writing in this age. we come out and. we are the birthplace of
3:53 pm
historic preservation in america. we are getting close to nearly 100 million visitors since 1860 four stoltz we had visitors and i'm happy to say they are coming back. the neighbors are complaining about the bossesagain that's good news format for . we got to museums with award-winning exhibits we got the team historic structures on the 18th and 19th century all working mill and distillery. always see his celebrated as the spirit of the commonwealth of virginia you have asked. come visit us. the name is george washington's right whiskey. unbelievable. we have presidential library with a study on scholarship george washington, all sorts of programs, pictures and
3:54 pm
symposiums all year round 170 research fellows. thousands of teachers come through there. our leadership program teachesleadership corporate military groups . we could leadership now more than ever.r. and we can learn from george washington's example. now, our reach is broader than even the people who can come here, social media channels, due to. .4 million unique visitors mount and last year. sorry jim, it's bigger than your number. nevertheless we're all in the same game mount in the past decade welcomed 62 million people consumed over 158 million pages since its inception n of our digital encyclopedia. 13.4 million people have access to 1.2 million taken
3:55 pm
our virtual tour to say our social media page continues to grow so we're working hard to do that work and inspire people to educate people. do any of it without the race supporters of so many of you in this room thank you once again afor all that great support t. i would like to say we love our partners in this prize i want to particularly call out mister lou lehrman this evening. who has been an inspiration to me and a great supporter of mount vernon. he himself is a wonderful solid c. frederick douglass, george washington fis an inspiration to all ofus . i want us to all extend our thoughts and prayers out to him and his family. ambassadors at the gilbert lehrman institute. they created something from
3:56 pm
nothing which is one of the powerhouses of american history in this country. without this country would be worse she. iq let's all get a round of applause for lou. [applause] so without further as you know let's get to the main and with that but to invite my friends up here. let's invite regions make single, director adam part and director of the george washington leadership institute join me on the stage. we're going to celebrate the finalists for 2022 pounds the glory at this year's washington prize so please join me on thestage . [applause] >>.
3:57 pm
>> it falls to me to present the first of the finalists for 2022 george washington prize that is protecting the union n: national and state authority in the u.s. constitution by max eglin. mister edwin gives readers the new framework thinking about the founder's priorities for our constitution with specific intentions on the division of power, between federal and state his arguments emphasize constitution as a document found 13 sovereign states to ask as a unit from the global stage rather than as a document to define a new nation orexpand the role of
3:58 pm
the federal . edwin focuses on scholarship to interpret the constitution arguing while the document changes the structure of national governments did not change the purpose of the unit which remains political organization design manage the relation between and iosay someone between states and foreign powers on your. at least well-written uraccessible at times but the period and its historical moments rather than accepting the ideas of nation national cr identity. how we view this artist is important to how you are history of the documents the role of government today. [applause] >> i'm from washington college thanks for all of you for coming.
3:59 pm
not. i've been with this price since its inception and it means a great deal to the year this year feel particularly not just because you're coming back for the first time but i find myself thinking of a photograph i have hundreds of photographs that shows my father and my grandfather standing together just two yards from where we are outside campaign 1937. my grandfather was from what is now ukraine in the first year of the century. it came as a 21-year-old was silent when he earned enough money to be his family vacation place they came like so many families it was here at mount vernon they truly are my father's six years old in 1937. these his grandfather is a proud. " my apartment meant that my grandfather, my grandfather
4:00 pm
the son of the immigrants and what it meant to him he will. thank you. and with that is my great honor r i present the second was for the 2020 washington prize julius wrote what else how dicey, untold story military family the women 'behind the words from the print from this lively antiaging author tells the story of a remarkable was named has been unfairly assisted with ineptitude and failure. lavelle taps into the largely unread letters of the aristocratic rsparallels who distort richard and william place rules and written struggles the american colonies. lavelle daisies the roots of the houses were key players not to us in leadership
4:01 pm
positions. his plan just to the wars you try to salvage the family's reputation as the leader x the women's pharmacies development in politics and diplomacy including memorable chess games with and. these pages to enter a template world aristocratic and power injury. if you have guessed is most likely to be on that>> movie . >> my name is justice. director of the george washingtoninstitute presidential library street .
4:02 pm
it is my distinct pleasure to present the third book of tonight finalists. jeffrey h akers eisenhardt, the story of james otis merciless work. this is a line or two siblings were often overlooked in the revolutionary war author jeffrey h packer shows that intellectuals is the love for each other work together to further the cause of a politician jesus junior challenged the search and seizure must inspire later on this annual's rallies against the stand his career was cut short by physical and mental mfrom his sister on this for the medical as historian through here in the patriot press influencing public through anti- observations on the constitution was to make
4:03 pm
a decision passage of the bill of rights usually shows mercy otis warren was able to influence that is the confines of her rollerskates also shows mine by this training people who cared mightily . >> is my turn. for finalists falsely. is washington the founding father question of slavery by bruce rex to. grounded primary sources this book walks readers through washington's education and experimentation and culture over his lifetime education can cheaply wish influences
4:04 pm
that eventually resulted in not apartments transition from tobacco to friends as well as utilization of the practice of crops. using washington's phone records ragsdale shows the impact of the role community on farm and also shows profits washington wanted from his beloved farms not be generated by using only sleep-wake . washington cares about his legacy is placed in history. in his will he freed his slaves upon writes in his tradition for the emancipation of people washington for his reputation from his identification within like aspects of the improvements on both sides of the. a nation principal state of opposition to slavery no plan might have encouraged other planters and their reliance
4:05 pm
on slave labor. ragsdale made first. of the evolution of washington by asideas on the subject of his will as first farmer. washington, mister ragsdale where are? [applause] >> the last finalist for the 2022 washington prize, the video stores george washington the political allies ofamerica's founding father . his new biography focuses on washington's life as a politician team the people and circumstances that she can. david stewart brings to the narrators story scholars i40 the customer writes the middle-aged washington was almost unrecognizable compared to the military
4:06 pm
officer of two decades before . regeorge shows us how inexperienced group to become a general president t who so ably led his country into war. to fix the darker side of washington's power. past writers have sometimes portrayed washington as a reluctant leader . stewart spoke to thinks an ambitious and tsavvy politician, a person prospectus and the delta craftstatesmanship has gone unrecognized . and that's it. [applause] >> and the winner is. , the winner of the 2022 george washington prize is
4:07 pm
bruce a ragsdale for washington at the plow, the founding father and the presence of slavery. [applause] >> excellent. [applause]
4:08 pm
>> thank you to all of you. this board is one of the great honors of my time. especially thanks to the heads of the three organizations adam goodhart, kim basinger, don bradford and i think the region for presenting me this for and everything mount vernon has done to help. writing this book was by far the most rewarding project of my career. and i'm profoundly grateful to receive this recognition of my work. i'm all the more gratified to accept this war are at mount vernon which has been such an important part of my professional life for a long time. and when what i think was the first george washington symposium in 1996 i was invited to present a paper on the needs and opportunities for research related to washington business affairs
4:09 pm
and i suggested then that it would great be a great potential value in a book on washington and agricultural improvement but unfortunately no one took me advice on that . and the topic was still there waiting for me with the fellowship of the washington library gave me the opportunity to initiate this project and for a very long career working in public history. i began this project convinced that the narrative of washington's life as an innovative farmer which spanned over four decades was the most important untold story about one of the most familiar of the founding fathers. i did not anticipate what i now think our some of the most blinding revelations in this book but i am certain as i still am that any full understanding of washington ec depends on an appreciation of fahis decided preference for his life as a farmer.
4:10 pm
he thought farming was activity best suited to his disposition. he said it was far more rewarding than anystring of military conquest that he ever made . and it also is a sign of his life in which he found it much easier to see the personal side of washington. that he reveals himself in a way that he didn't in his very guarded public life as president. and perhaps most importantly it is only in a comprehensive study of washington as a farmer that we can fully stress is changing attitudes towards the institution of slavery and also his relationship with many of the nearly 600 slave individuals who labored under his control over the course of his lifetime. asbut it was never just a private b7 senterprise for washington and it was not the
4:11 pm
pastime it had sometimes been dismissed as by historians in the past . and it was instead i think one more way in which washington tried to direct tgrowth in the nation that he had done so much to create. and he was very focused on how the nation would emerge from old empire. how it would deal with dramatic changesbrought by the revolutionary war . and many of those had to do with the specific grams of the army. he was convinced the transition to wheat could open up new markets outside the empire and that it also would provide a common commercial interest with the united states. he promoted crops which would unlock the agricultural potential. that was going to be one of the most important sources and influence of the new united states.
4:12 pm
and his unique emphasis on stewardship of the land and his emphasis on fertility of the soils in which he was almost two centuries ahead of his time was not just about increasing productivity of the crops he planted in his fields but was also a way he felt he could promote political stability by encouraging a more gradual sovereignty ofwestern land . washington was at the forefront of those who wanted to adopt a cultivation dsthat completely transformed british agricultural in the medical middle decades of the 18th century and in what turned out to be one of the most enjoyable research of this project i bdecided to learn about that the way washington learned about it which is by reading british agricultural treatises gathered in his library. i have an enormous advantage in doing this because i was
4:13 pm
mount vernon's inaugural fellow of the george achievements program and was able to spend two months going through the records mostly ironically of king george the third who read the exact same things washington red and had just as ambitious program of agricultural improvement and who also consulted with the same agricultural leaders in scotland with whom washington correspondent. this perspective was invaluable in helping make sense of what turned out to be one of the most surprising lines of the research. when those washington was interested in agriculture but the surprise is that he became more committed to the british model of agriculture and more contemptuous of aamerican farming in the years after independence from great britain. and his influential reddish correspondence really became his most important confidant.
4:14 pm
they expected washington to make a major contribution to a shared product of agricultural improvement which they thought and he thought would help to establish peaceful ties to the two nations . at the same time washington also takes the expectations ni of abolitionists who hoped to extend the revolutionary principle e of individual liberty to several hundred thousand blacks remained enslaved inthe united states . washington's greatest contribution to the success of the republic ncome in his civic leadership even more than what he contributed as a military leader. he proposed washington's first project following the revolutionary war would be to join him as an experiment to educating slave laborers to support themselves as free and efficient members but lafayette was only the first in the succession of t
4:15 pm
abolitionists from france and great britain who appealed to washington, convinced that his support for their cause and his emancipation of the enslaved people that he controlled would instill an increased support for the abolition of slaveholders. abolition authored a few regarding comments of how his qualified support for gradual abolition and what became the most surprising finding of my research i found that far from transitioning away from enslaved neighbor he had considered doing the revolutionary war washington after 1785 would become more explicitly reliance on and slave labor to carry out the massive task of reinventing mount vernon as a kind of british estate. but in those years he did change the management of insulated labor in principle and practice and tried to make some amendments to eliminate the most brutal
4:16 pm
aspects of the institution of slavery. and in one regard most notably he developed a highly original system of accounting for labor he hoped would make this provision more rational and humane and eliminate any kind of physical punishment. he ultimately failed in that effort after seven or eight years. slavery could not be improved or ameliorated in the language of the time and washington resolved to emancipate enslaved people not in direct response to the repeal of abolitionists but rather in his recognition that the ideal of rural life and agricultural boundaries that attracted him to the british culture of improvement would always
4:17 pm
remain in conflict with a system of labor that rested on coercion and of denial to essential liberties but again it was only in his plan for yet another reorganization that washington indicated his intention to liberate a certain species of property to emancipate the enslaved people that he controlled and he would do it by reinventing and his plan was to lease the individual farms to experience british farmers who would carry on his agricultural innovations without and slave labor. it was an improbable scene in washington, never found suitable rental income that he considered a prerequisite for free and enslaved by the plan which i think has been laid out in his book and a plan to which he devoted an enormous amount of thought is best survived and how washington thought a large for jeanette state like his own might prosper without slavery. emancipation of course would instead come through
4:18 pm
washington's will in which he guaranteed freedom for the more than 120 individuals but in the absence of any principle states the example of washington did little to resolve the contradiction of slavery and freedom that remains the most difficult challenge to understanding the legacy. the narrative of a lifetime of farming offers a far richer and unexpected portrait of washington from this eventual reckoning with slavery to his most visionary hopes for commercial prosperity in a new nation and i hope this book has demonstrated that farming is essential to ngunderstanding the expectations for the nation he had dope done so much to create. thank you so much.
4:19 pm
[applause] >> well-done. >> congratulations bruce and congratulations to all our finalists. extraordinary work. we will have books for sale for everyone who would like one and the authors, i would invite you to work your way over there . they close the evening to sign these books as they're sold. and let's finish this evening off with a bang. i want to welcome to the stage miss hillary carter west. [applause] >> good evening. first of all thank you, vethank you to all of you whohave been here tonight . congratulations to our winners . our finalists. it's really been a wonderful
4:20 pm
teevening . i am hillary carter west, district of columbia and as i said and many of you know our tradition is to conclude our evening with and 18th-century celebratory tests. the two important ingredients for this to make it very successful are a tall glass and plenty of enthusiasm. so audience participation is key. i say all that to say that when i get to a toast as prompted by me i hope you will raise your glass and respond with a resounding and cheerful celebratory huzzah. with that, no need to say.
4:21 pm
born in the age of reason george washington was part of a generation that can access information with greater ease than ever before. in books, almanacs, pamphlets, lectures, sermons and newspapers. these works introduced innovative ideals, political philosophy and modern science. washington follow these conversationseagerly . always reading to bebetter himself and in doing so understanding that the foundation of a healthy democracy and engaged citizenry was based on a literate society. he corresponded with authors and friends in america and europe. exchanging ideas that set the ongoing agricultural and political revolution ofhis day . more importantly he committed himself to educating the next generation. supported public academy,
4:22 pm
colleges and universities throughout the new nation. by the end of his life he had come to see the advancement of knowledge as a national priority. tonight we honor those who have dedicated their lives to learning and contributing. there is no better place to celebrate that success been here. the home of america's founding father andgreatest citizen . ladies and gentlemen t, please raise your glass to george washington. had hit. >>. [crowd] huzzah! >>.
4:23 pm
>> recently on american history tv matthew pearl talked about the kidnapping of daniel boone's 13-year-old daughter and tensions between settlers and native americans on the 1776 western frontier. here's a portion of the program. >> there were many many distortions of the original events . and so i don't want to spend my real estate on again explaining to the reader what those distortions were but theirfascinating . why is this being distorted in this way. so part of the story is the rescue of jeremiah and her friends and in one distortion , there is the narrative that on the way home from being rescued, jemima and bessie and fanny the other two young women get married to their best rescuer. they stop and all get married . >> it's clearly there's kind of a subtext of kind of
4:24 pm
censoring the sort of male role in their lives and that the first thing that has to happen is that they're paired off with the heroes when in fact they had all kinds of agency in really interesting ways and that was part of what my what i thought my responsibility was in a story like this which is so often told as at the time or after from that gaze of the kind of male storyteller. what i thought my job was in part was okay, how can i find what the young women were thinking? how can i find the tribal individuals, the warriors who were involved in this. what were their motivations, what were they grappling with . so that attempt to restore all the perspectives that in
4:25 pm
this case came together and reallyinteresting ways with this event and this kind of chain reaction . >> wants the rest of this program online by visiting c-span. >>. >> good evening. my name is kevin garfield and on behalf of george washington's mount vernon, the organization of rescued mount vernon in the 1860s and continue to protect and preserve it today i want to welcome you to this conversation about washington's farewell address . december 19, 1796 george washington announced to the world he would not seek the presidency. his letter to friends and citizens offered some of the most wrote thoughtful even


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on