tv Gordon Wood Power and Liberty CSPAN July 5, 2022 12:30am-1:46am EDT
him why he did this, why he insisted on standing. this is one of the big pictures of the funeral that went viral in the midst of time before the pandemic we have to begin the shows by reciting together the national constitution center's inspiring congressional mission. so here we go. i know that 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 and among the american people on a nonpartisan basis. beautiful. there we go.
>> i will introduce him and then i will ask gordon to put on the table the central arguments of the book because you known. ladies and gentlemen the dean of american historians, all of us have learned from his pathbreaking work of the american founding and he has distilled lifetime of wisdom in his new book which you could not do better on constitution day then to read it. he will be joined and talking about the book.
so gordon would is the university professor emeritus at brown, recipient of the culture price the creation of the american republic the recipient of the pulitzer prize in his book tonight is constitutionalism and the american revolution. itit is so wonderful he is going here and person by another towering american historian edward larson. university professor of history at pepperdine also recipient of pulitzer prize in history's most recent book.
to read it and discuss it further. welcome to our great panelist, congratulations on the book. i read it as i do many things on kindle, i have it right here in the first chapter about the imperial debate starts in 1765 although it looks back earlier and talks about the central declaration in its essential to the freedom of the people in the undoubted rights of englishmen that no taxes should be imploded on them with their consent given personally or by the representatives. what was imperial debate.
>> i don't want to tell you the whole debate but it's over the issue of representation. the congress instinctively 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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. 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 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 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 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. 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 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 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 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 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. 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 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 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 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 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 the view that it was a question of economic self-interest on the part of the framers and that it was a fear of democracy fear of paper money in massachusetts in the chase rebellion that led to the calling of the convention and you say it all comes back to rhode island and rhode island has an epiphany, an example of this rage for paper money that represented the future tell us as much of that story is you can up to the federal convention. >> is a revolution of independent states in the articles of confederation is a treaty among the states is like that you today. virginia to jefferson is my
country. if you think in those terms you can understand the articles it is a treaty which is the basis for the eu. in 1776 nobody in the wildest dreams i mean no one even conceived of a strong national government of a kind that we finally got ten years later. nobody thinks about it and nobody throws it out as a possibility is not in anyone's consciousness. something awful had to happen in those ten years to change people's minds in order for them to create a federal government it ran against all the experience that a distant government that was trying to dictate. why would they create another long distant government. in the theory at the time said
republics have to be small and homogeneous in size they cannot be large. why would they create this national government. you don't want to think of the national government or the articles as an early version of the national government, it is a treaty they throw out the articles and create a new government. much to the shock and amazement of the population. when the 55 guys meet in philadelphia, down the street here but not really representative of the people as a whole. it's a loaded convention and is loaded with nationalists people who call themselves federalist but there really nationalists they want to create a strong national government madison is a
crucial figure because he draws up a paper that helps clarify his own idea and he essentially writes the virginia plan which is the model for the convention and what madison is most upset by is not the weakness of the article everyone accepted their weaknesses and we needed the power to regulate trade by 1786 i would say the bulk of not everybody were in agreement that those two amendments are to be added to the articles. >> what they do is essentially hijacked the reform movement and use as a cover or an excuse to do something much bigger.
not to amend the articles but scrap them entirely and created new government the comes as a shock on september 17, years ago 234 years ago it's announced to the world and most people are shocked and stunned. we thought you guys were meeting to amend the articles and then you come up with a great big powerful nation, it's unbelievable i think if it had been a modern election the new constitutions would've been elected. we finally pass it ultimately
richard henry lee is an opponent he says it's this or nothing and most people don't want nothing to read the thing that they're worried about madison and others are the behavior of the state legislatures madison outlines this in his new essay which is unpublished the unconstitutional between articles and the constitution he writes it out very short you can pull it up on your ipad. the political system of the united states comes down to two things the state legislature will pull reformation, multiplication of legislation and passed in the ten years since the declaration then the entire colonial. the state legislatures which
were large in size quadruple in some cases but the colonial legislatures were very small sometimes 30 and 40 people now they have two or 300 and they're passing all kinds of legislation there annually elected and you have a multiplication in the legislatures and the turnover rate is close to 60%, new people coming in every year and they have their interest to promote the result is an ability of the legislation and am so confused and judges don't know what is the law and to get it straight the next year there's a whole set of laws you ultimately have the injustice of the law mainly his regular paper money and other beneficial walls of
predators. if this is complicated yet to read the book and explain why the dominant people are frightened by inflation and the depreciation of money because they are essentially bankers there's almost no banks the bank of north america created in pennsylvania but most of the states have no banks there lending money to their neighbors that's political call comes back as paper which says i promise to pay in gold and silver but it doesn't appreciate that is what madison is concerned about as a consequence is a veto given to
the congress overall state legislation before it can become law of the kind of the central government get it approved but it's so impractical that you can't imagine an intelligent man clinging to this and yet he did the heads prevailed and said that's crazy can you imagine all the 50 states sending it to washington and deciding should we deal with this or not. so practical that is thrown out and transferred section ten of the constitution which is a series of transition on what the states can do. they can't pass tariffs, they
can't coin money and they can't. paper money is a legal pendant. those are crucial things. madison is dissolution he tells jefferson and that was so central and he has to accept it. don short is how the constitution gets created. >> this is the significance of distillation of a fear of democracy in the range for paper money in the states. we express democracy president trump. >> social media is ultimate
democratic instrument, it is democratized our society in a way that we could never have imagined. an individual, one individual can have an effect through social media with hundreds if not thousands of others. this is a scary process. democracy has its problems and we're experiencing it. madison had his. democracy has that salt to it needed to be controlled and registered. the reason they give so much authority to the courts back then and now we have them is because the court was seen as the most important impressive check on democracy. we don't talk about it in those terms today. we have nine unelected people making decisions that affect us. it's a most undemocratic that
you could ever imagine. the fact that we've allowed it shows beneath the surface we had our own misgivings about democracy, it's carried too far or misused, it's an interesting fact that madison was soaking stern about what we call democracy. >> thank you for putting us up powerfully. i want to ask each of your colleagues' question and then i'll ask you to start, do you agree with the analysis that it was democracy in the central motivating factor for calling the constitution. in what ways do you think it was embodied in the constitution. >> i do think you were talking before without a clear concept as gordon said.
the people who national sovereignty and the people being ultimately sovereign. that is what you get, it's captured in the constitution as we the people which was the idea with the preamble. that becomes a target. yeah patrick henry ratifying in public statements before how dare you say we the people created used to say we the states. >> you miss the states and the states create this. it is the people the whole country.
>> in some way it more or less with the league of friendship which is the treaty as gordon calls it in the articles of confederation created the league of friendship here were 13 sovereign states and legs together. but if you go back to the document i keep hammering on the letter of the states washington says we need a central government that is the final say in everything that is common to all of us. common to all the states which wouldn't be slavery or education. you can think of things that it wouldn't be. it wouldn't be international and interstate commerce he makes that clear. he also says in the circular letters this is indivisible. once you join you can't get out. he said that the circular letter
of 1783. we need a central government, one sure and it's a one-way ranch it. by saying that commerce and many people argue it wasn't just taxation. the certainly everybody would agree even the antifederalists would agree they needed more power to impose a tariff that would affect everybody. that power was agreed to. but then the question was and then i thought madison coming in in washington very clearly said i'm not going unless -- or backward in philadelphia. even though i been named by virginia i'm not going unless i'm confident they have power to make radical decisions. that was the phrase they used
read washington is not a radical man. he made clear any had proposals that he had received and asked the people he trusted most, john j knox, madison of the type of central government that they wanted. the central government had a two house legislature, not a one house like the confederation. the un like everybody sense of representative. the states are paying sovereignty. he says i will only go if it could be a fundamental transformation. madison spent most of the two months before going to philadelphia living at mount vernon. he didn't have other things per he stayed at mount vernon and he worked on these ideas at mount vernon talking with washington. they went in with the pretty
clear idea wasn't just madison washington and franklin the first person who visits when he goes to philadelphia. he said we have to be on the same wavelength with the two most respected people nationally, the other two national heroes we have to work at the same wavelength. >> they came and franklin as you know had met and had a regular weekly meeting and others had come in they had talked about these things. they came prepared and when nobody else showed up on time the pennsylvania delegation and the virginians who were there and at first it was only two and then mason and some others begin to roll in and they find eliza thinking into the virginia plan and not that had anything to do
with madison that because it was offered by the governor of virginia they offered the plan for a national government and if you read the virginia plan doesn't say, isn't clever to say that they turned to federalist. it says national government and this is a national government and that's it they created a national government. they were already thinking it took the whole convention to fully understand. this movement of sovereignty and we the people and they had to bring the wrong people kicking and screaming and they never who voted against it then. i would argue that they cannot pull it off.
>> i think if it hadn't been in secret, if what they were coming up with made public in the newspapers that were reporting it you were chosen a delegate to virginia it didn't come because he thought it was a waste of time he claims because he could smell the rat, a he didn't show up all these other people would've come in the whole thing would've been debris of which gordon was suggesting and i'm underscoring what i'm saying. really what i'm talking about as much as anyone. madison and washington and morrison others and franklin were right on board with these lines, work and have a national
government. that was a shift of sovereignty that was enormous and that's why patrick henry can so clearly come back and say how dare you say we the people. we should say we the states. certainly there were concessions in the states like the senate giving equal representation to the senate. >> the key change from the articles of confederation, the senate is not like the articles of confederation. each delegate each state got one boat but the delegates were recallable, not by the people but the state legislature. that's when it's different when you talk about the when the california they recalled by the people but if you had in the opening speech roger sherman made a major point. the reason why the article
federation works, those delegates are recallable by the state meaning the state legislature they weren't going to have any of that. the way that they set up is the senator ensures each state gets to but they're not recallable at will. they have six year terms and governor morris said they will become creatures of the nation because they're gonna live in the new national capital with six-year terms and by that time and recallable by the state they will not really represent the state, they will represent themselves. >> lucas you quote lincoln at springfield morning of mob violence and saying passion prevails rather than reason and democracy is threatened. he is channeling madison spheres although he's responding to
violence against newspaper editors and african-americans are being with the fear of mob violence and democracy and it was mob section in particular rather than democracy in general made the founders afraid and reflect on the constitution? >> i hope i'm not. and differently as democracy i was not aware that lincoln used very often. that does not mean he was against democracy as they would not be, that the definition of democracy one of the few times you mention that word. i would say this is different something that lincoln is afraid of of democracy per se directly
by the american people and what you heard is something that the founders strive to try to establish what we call the rule of law. that ultimately drives from the principle of consent. that's what were trying to do with consent is not simply reflect the role of the american people but consent ultimately the constitutionalism. we are trying to create space for people to live to an informed consent. we want to make space and give time for reason to prevail over the passion if you want to use the word democracy we wanted to be delivered if that's what you have a constitution. that's why you representation. i was going to try to act quickly on the senate and why the constitutional convention. on the senate we have to remember there are two senators.
they do not have to act as a block under the united states constitution their voting by their own judgment as to what the best interest of their state is of the collective good of the united states. that's a huge difference from the articles of confederation where the delegation had devote. it wasn't that they were recallable. they had to vote, the states had to speak with one voice under the united states constitution. they are not constitutionally bound to speak with one voice. it is up to each of the two senators to decide and overtime they are not voted on at the same time. they are appointed by the state legislature at the same time. what you're seeing is actual mechanisms in the new constitution to promote deliberation to make consent, not simply self-determination, not the mere of the people but as madison put it to enlarge the
public view. that is to do the best good on behalf of the people into create space and time for consent to work that out. i would say that shay's rebellion clearly with the constitution convention of 1787 but if you bring up washington, washington did have an idea of the united states asking country, that was not in his eyes long before it was in most american i. i would say the need and he brought this up, the need for a stronger central government, a stronger national government, that was clear, 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 pivotal change made at the constitutional convention which makes it not a league of friendship as articles of confederation. have the power to pass laws. they did not have the authority under the articles of confederation. the state if you will interpose themselves between their citizens and the authority of the articles of confederation congress. under the proposed constitution one of the biggest changes is one of the most fundamental is now you actually have a national government that circumvents the states if you will, the state are involved we did mention the senate but now you have not upon state legislatures for acting directly upon the american people themselves who are represented in the house of representatives and express through their pre-existing political organization through the states.
the fact that the united states is equipped to pass actual laws, that is how the american people governing themselves previously under the article. >> thank you so much for the crucial distinction that you are making between the mirroring of the people and a reflection that's enlarged and refined in their views that distinction between ordinary lawmaking and constitutional law making is one that you brought out so well that elucidates a powerfully in the discussion of jefferson and the rise of convention embodies that would reflect the slow and deliberate sense of the people it is crucial to american constitutionalism. the founders that virtue for the republic survive they thought as a personal and political act.
citizens had to use their powers of reason to master the unreasonable passion like anger, jealousy and fear. politically they needed to do that so they could choose wise representatives who would deliberate for them to serve for the common good rather than self-interest and partisanship. it sounds kind of qualified including social media and the rise of political parties and the rest of it. as the founder's notion of virtue as crucial to the constitutionalism so relevant? >> i think it's still relevant. i would say the founders, at least the federalist view of virtue is a little bit different than the civic virtue that many political theorists before the founders thought of. we see the anti-federalist in
the debate over the ratification really pushing for the need for the constitution to cultivate virtue and with the federalist have a little bit more faith in the institution of government could do more of the work to get us the good laws that we needed. it can rely on the individual citizens virtue to get good laws to maintain or keep the anarchy that it they are trying to avoid. you can rely on the citizens virtue ticket. i think the federalist think there are ways that we can design institutions to help the process along. the institution could encourage good lawmaking and could encourage that virtue and the citizen so you're not fully dependent on the citizens to produce it themselves. the problem is you have to maintain a relationship between
the institution and the public. if the institutions are going to encourage virtue and if they're going to encourage cultivate a sense among the citizens that the rule of law is worth upholding and worth pursuing. that relationship has to be cultivated intended to and i'm not sure that we have really done that. i think there was a sense what the federalist have done is created institutions that would work in perpetuity. the constitution could stand on its own ground once it was ratified. we've lost sight of the work that has to be done to make sure that the citizenry understand the constitution, uphold the constitution that it committed to it in the cultivation of something like civic virtue or the constitutionalism among the people is something we don't do very much anymore. in the smallest way we don't
teach civic education anymore in america very much. in broader ways we draw attention to things other than the cultivation that might be important to uphold institutions. >> absolutely you so powerfully put federalist notion of the institutions doing some of the work in the crucial importance of teaching the constitution for the cultivation of virtue and that's exactly what were doing and that's at the national constitution center was created to do and that's what we are doing every day. i am thrilled to share i just got the numbers 25000 people tuned in to watch our program. we are making headway in civic knowledge, thank you for putting that in so well. the one thing that we do the constitution center programs is end on time. we are going to end in about ten minutes. this is a chance for you to put the rest of the book on the
table, there is so much in the chapters on the federal constitution, on slavery and the emergence of the judiciary surprising in your discussion of slavery including the prevalence of the indentured white servants which change the way the foggy generations thought about enslavement in the moments when it look like even virginia and other southern states were going to eradicate it in the wind shifting to the transformation it was supposed to really exercise judicial review of when the people themselves would've been mobilized to find an action constitutional to the more regularization and what we see today into this incredible chapter about the emergence of the private spear and you say it all goes back and looks forward to rhode island. take what time that you can. >> let me say something about the founders we talk about the
founders but you have to understand for most people in america, the. going up to the civil war, the founders were not the people that we refer to, not the revolutionary meters, not james mattis and george washington, they have founders were william bradford, william penn, john smith, that is a 17th century founders. throughout the great history in this. he had ten volumes on the colonial period he thought the colonial period was the founding of america. in fact, 1820 the constitutional convention in new york they revived in the constitution. mark vanburen who becomes the first american politician as the president, he did nothing he never had any great speech, he never negotiated a great treaty
he was simply the most stupid politician that america had ever seen he organize a new york party that brought him into prominence. in that convention he said washington and jefferson he says forget about them their aristocrats, they have nothing to do with democrats. that was one of the great arguments of the antifederalists. the whole system is aristocratic it's creating a government which will benefit at the expense of the many. mark vanburen almost single-handedly is lincoln who makes the founders that we talk about, he is the one who says the man that created the declaration of independence, the
document that makes the blood of blood in the flesh of the flesh of all of these immigrants that are coming for america with the founders, the flesh of the flesh of the people who drop the document and the other documents by implication including the constitution are what hold us together as a people. that is lincoln's great contribution and he really thinks the founders of prominence. there is a book about this. if you are interested they came out around 1950 or so he was a professor of early american history at princeton. he gets neglected, i don't know why because it's so important to realize that the founders believe they were not the founders that we believe in. it's really lincoln who created this. i think that point it's not in my book but it needs to be
mentioned. >> do you want to say, give us one more learning from our book. >> under slavery this is the central issue that is obsessing is now we have to understand two things, more than two things they all thought that slavery was on its last leg, baby south carolina, georgia didn't think that but many virginians did is certainly the northerners did. in virginia they thought so too, washington had more slaves in tobacco is no longer because the exhaust the soil in week does not require great labor they're renting out their slaves, people like washington and north dakota and richmond and the idea of renting out the slaves that is one step porridge wage labor
there is dozens and dozens of quotations, and 30 years, 40 years no slavery in america they could've been more wrong there was one of the many allusions we have a lot of allusions, we don't know what they are, some historian will tell us 200 years from now how could they think that. they thought slavery was dying. virginians were ready to abolish it. the college of the trustees report of business and the wealthy slaveholders, 1791 they give an honorary degree to granville sharp, the leading dish abolitionist at the time.
that's the kind of question you want to ask a graduate student, why would the college of the trustees who were all slaveholders, why would they give an honorary degree to an abolitionist. this undercut the 1619 project right out from under them. that's the kind of issue that should provoke a lot of graduate students to thinking freshly about this issue they did have to accommodate the deep south summa virginians washington and virginia think of them as middle states, the south is south carolina, georgia and they want slaves. and there's compromises made in the convention. compromises that are more easily made because they think slavery is going to die.
as i say they kind of been more wrong but there are compromises in the south want slaves to be counted fully for representation in the north says no not at all so they reach a compromise which becomes a source of southern strength so it allows us out to dominate the government throughout the whole period. and then the fugitive slaves. your provisions in the constitution like garrison are turning the document into a documentable tell. madison and others are crucial in keeping the word slave out of the constitution. this document forever and we
don't want to paint it with the word slave and there is no recognition as madison puts it in the constitution. they see the future as being the end of slavery. they had no realization at the end of the revolution than they were at the beginning. even the new york abolish slavery. that's another important thing, these of this first slaveholding states in the history of the world that had legal slavery that abolish it. the romans didn't abolish slavery but the american states abolished slavery. they don't have a number of slaves that the south has.
they have 50000 where there's hundreds of thousands in the south and it's easy for them to do it. nonetheless they did it on the wave for any other place abolished slavery that should deemphasize. in the expectation that this would spread this is part of the enlightenment program. they have a whole series of reforms, each state from virginia northwood they will redo the criminal system they will do away with inheritance laws and intel, they will public education they will and balch the church and they will abolish slavery. they don't always succeed in those things they did and virginia with the 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 the billing gets defeated. jefferson becomes a major figure in the state so there's a lot of people thinking about getting rid of slavery. what changes things was the rebellion which becomes haiti and that scares the be jesus out of the southerners and from that moment on there is a reaction and by the early 19th century the southerners are scared to death of slavery in all hope of form is gone. >> thank you so much for that you say at the beginning of the book it will give comfort to partisans if history never does in the complexity of the story which is radical in its
freshness and it spread so much light. it is 7:45 p.m. i one job of chief justice roberts is to end the show on time. we are going to get gordon what the last word but we will continue this conversation in all of our panelists because their peers are great friends of the center and will continue the conversation on podcast and throughout the year. for now please join me in thanking all of them for shedding such light on constitution day. thank you very much.
oral histories at c-span.org/history. good afternoon, everyone and welcome to today's session of the washington history seminar historical perspectives on international and national affairs this afternoon. we'll be focusing on a recent book by robert parkinson of binghamton university entitled 13 clocks. how race united the colonies and made the declaration of independence? published earlier this year by the hondro institute of early american history and culture and the university of north carolina press joining us this afternoon as discussions our derek spiers of cornell university and rosemary zagari of george mason university. i'm eric arneson from t g