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tv   American History TV  CSPAN  August 31, 2014 9:00am-9:57am EDT

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would never see the presence of a rock star historian, so i'm pleased about that. most of us pass through the district of columbia daily and get lost in our routines, many of us don't even take the time to perhaps look at the capital zone and appreciate what it is a we have a chance to pass by it. some things, of course, are missing, the baltimore and potomac railroad station. we know where ford theater is but you never see anything about the garfield assassination, that's because you have to go through the west building of the national gallery to stand it he ground of that original location. progressivism in the turn of the century as well. that building was torn down. you might pass by on h street the wonderful little bistro wok
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'n roll. it was a boarding house. i'm sorry, i don't know if this is in your book, but it is quite interesting to people in the district that tunlaw spelled backwards is walnut. i'm very happy to have allison fortier visit here with us today. she's worked at the state department. she also served in the national security council at the white house. she knows not only history but political history. we look forward to her remarks and welcome her to heritage.
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allison. >> thank you very much, john, for that very kind intro duction and obviously if i do a revision of this book, i need to consult you, because i just learned a few things and you're very knowledgeable about washington. so those of us who live in washington are often frustrated by what we see in the city. we see the discord, we see the government shutdowns, we see the inability to get things done. legislation isn't passed. when it is passed, we don't like it. so i think it is useful to step back for a moment and to think about the foundations of washington d.c. the subtitle of my book is design for democracy and that's what i'm going to focus on today. how the city of washington, d.c. is based on democratic
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principles and how it has come to its greatest fulfillments when it has sought to fulfill and realize those democratic principles. we had a new country and the founding fathers wanted a new capital for the country. they couldn't agree where it would be. and the disagreement over this decision became so extreme that there was some concern that it would break the young country apart. they wanted the capitol to be somewhere near the center of the united states, but then they couldn't agree on what was the center of the united states, for the southerners, they wanted it near the geographic center. for the northerners, they wanted
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it nearer, that would have placed the capitol closer to philadelphia and new york. >> just when things were getting really heated. thomas jefferson invited alexander hamilton and james madison to dinner. alexander hamilton was then secretary of the treasury, and he was a new yorker, and the northern states wanted the federal assumption of the debt. the northern states had run up a great deal of debt and the southern states had not. the southern states wanted individual states to pay off their debt. the southern states wanted the capitol closer to where we are today. so in a grand compromise thomas jefferson, alexander hamilton and james madison of virginia decided to package these two decisions into a grand compromise. so the united states government assumed the debt of the states
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from the revolutionary war and the capitol would be closer to the place that the southern states wanted. this compromise was a very important point in the early history of our country and helped solidify the country and democracy. so the constitution, in fact, had talked about a federal district that would serve as a home for the capitol. and washington d.c. is the only city in the country, the only place in the country, created by the constitution. article one describes the legislative powers, it also describes a federal district that would serve as the capitol of the new united states. so with these two facts in hand, congress passed legislation, deciding that george washington, the father of our country, would
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be responsible for selecting the exact site that would serve as the capitol. now george washington lived just down the river at mount vernon, his home was on the potomac, it was commonly known at this time. that he would pick a location somewhere near mount vernon and somewhere on the potomac river. in fact, he picked georgetown maryland as the site of the new capitol. now, the congress gave washington not only the authority to pick the location, but they also gave him the authority to select three commissioners and an architect to define the new city. it was andrew ellicot and benjamin baniker who set the outlines ten miles on each side
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from land donated from maryland and virginia. benjamin baniker was a free black and he and andrew ellicot were good friends. if you go looking for these boundaries today, the ones most accessible happened to be in the state of virginia. one is in jones point park in alexandra and two others are in parks in virginia. if you go to those particular boundary stones, you'll see how far into virginia the district of columbia once reached. but in 1846, virginia reclaimed the land that it had donated and today the district of columbia is on land districtly donated by the state of maryland. so george washington turned to pierre lafon to design the city of washington that would house our federal government
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institutions. and pierre lafon was a frenchman who had come here in the passion of the revolutionary war. we had much support from the french. pierre lafon was one of them. it is based on democratic principles. first of all, he selected the highest point in the city of washington to serve as the site as the legislative branch. this was important. afterall our founding fathers had rebelled against the monarchy of king george iii, they were trying to establish was the importance of democracy. it became known as the united states capitol. then baniker selected a site right in the heart of the city for the executive mansion as it was then called.
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this was to signify that the president was to live and work in the heart of the people that he was to serve. to this day, the executive mansion or the white house, as it has been known since the presidency of theodore roosevelt is the only executive mansion in the world regularly open to the public. this is very significant, this is a very important principle of american democracy, that any one of us can go and visit the white house. if you're a member of congress, it takes a little time, but you can go and visit, it is very open and accessible to the public. so then lafon also said, there's been some discussion about this in the post and local media recently. lafon said there should be no be instructions between the executive mansion and the
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legislative house. no tall buildings, they were to be able to view each other at all times, keep an eye on each other. our system of checks and balances. and then he also created in his plan a large broad avenue that would connect the executive mansion to the legislative house and that was so they could communicate back and forth. in those days they didn't have cell phones, they had to go back and forth by carriage. this was intended to ensure clear communication between the two branches of government. it is interesting to note although the judicial branch of course was also created by the constitution, there was no separate building for the supreme court until 1935. the supreme court was always housed in the u.s. capitol. and it was only with the increasing activism of the such court in the 20th century that
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it gained its own building, the magnificent building across from the united states capitol. i would like to point out one other institution that dates to 1800, and that's the library of congress. the library of congress is an important part of our democracy, because it signifies the recognition of the need to have open access to information, and as we read what goes on around the world, we appreciate that we in this country have open access to information, and this is the abiding principle of the library of congress. it was originally housed in the capitol. it was started with $5,000. they bought books and they burned. thomas jefferson had his collection. many of those
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burned. they persisted and the library of congress has persisted as a guardian of open access and it remains our copyright system, which is very important. the one way to appreciate this pattern of the plan is freedom plaza on pennsylvania down near the white house has the lafon plan etched into the surface also with quotes by pierre lafong and others about the importance of democracy, it is a nice little treat if you're down in that area. now, washington, notwithstanding the start, this auspicious start, really didn't amount to much in the first part of the 19th century, and there was a lot of frustration with the city, there was a lot of discussion, well, we should leave this dump, we should move
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elsewhere. we should go to philadelphia, which was the temporary capitol from 1790. that was the biggest city at the time and very attractive city. in washington, you had unpaved roads and open sewers. and you also had slavery. it was based in washington, d.c. until 1846 when that part of washington, d.c. was returned to the state of virginia. you may be aware that international slavery was banned in this country after 1808. but the slave trade was not banned and it was alive and well in the district of columbia until 1850, when it was banned as part of the grand compromise that agreed which states would be admitted to the union as enslaved states and which would
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be admitted as free states. there are a lot of free blacks in washington, but there were a lot of slaves as well. and it was really with the civil war that the debate about whether or not the federal government should keep the capitol here in washington or move elsewhere was finally put to rest. this was when washington, d.c. began to grow and take on a real identity. first of all, many people came here, soldiers came here to defend the city, people came here to build forn . the war of 1812 had been one of the issues stimulating people to say, oh, we should move the capitol elsewhere, because the british came in august of 1814 and burned the city and many of our buildings, the white house
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became uninhabitable and the capitol was burned as well. that was another factor. it became a magnet for escaping slaves and there was a large group of slaves from the southern states who fled to washington and who lived in what they called contraband camps and this also swelled the population of the city. i would say that washington, d.c. is the place to be if you want to feel the spirit of abraham lincoln and what he did for this country in terms of keeping the union together and then coming to realize that one of the fundamental objectives of the civil war also to be emancipation of the slaves. if you go to the white house, there's a very moving thoughtful portrait of president lincoln in
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the state dining room. i talk about the lincoln cottage a lot, because a lot of people are not aware of it, it only opened in 2008. actually president lincoln spent about 1/4 of his presidency in the lincoln cottage. it is fairly modest, but it was outside of the center of the city. it was away from the white house where people were always bothering him about something and away from the disease and the heat of downtown washington, d.c. so he and his family would escape. he would ride back and forth on his horse, sometimes alone and go to the lincoln cottage, high elevation and he could also walk out and see the dome of the capitol that was under construction and it was one of his objectives that the capitol dome be completed to show the strength of the union. sadly, we know today, that many of the people who worked on that capitol dome were slaves.
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but for abraham lincoln, it was also a symbol of the union, and if you go to the grounds of the lincoln cottage today, you can walk and see the capitol dome from there and it remains a very inspiring site. also, sadly, you can go to the ford theater where he was shot and then you can cross the street and go to the peterson out where abraham lincoln died. you can also, and very recently, you may be aware. there's a commemoration of the battle of for the stevens where in 1864 president lincoln went to fort stevens as the confederate forces were approaching washington. he remains to this day, the only american president who has ever deliberately placed himself in the field of fire. there was live action going on around him. there were stories, not sure of
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the accuracy, but definitely risks to his life in going to fort stevens and the remnants of fort stevens are well worth visit today. one of the things where you can feel the spirit of abraham lincoln is the lincoln memorial. you can still very much go there. and feel who this man is, what he brought to our country, and what his ideals and goals were for country and they continue to inspire today. it was during the presidency of abraham lincoln as we all know, that in 1863, he issued the emancipation proclamation. he emancipated the slaves a year earlier in 1862. federal government had more control over it. he wrote much of the emancipation proclamation at
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lincoln cottage, that's part of the tour when you go there. now, after the civil war, washington was the capitol of the winning side. and that brought it increasing credibility, there was no more talk of moving capitol elsewhere. washington, d.c. became solidified as the united states capitol and after -- in this period, after the civil war, there were several people who sought to beautify the city. one quite a character by shepard who was from washington paved the streets, covered the sewers, made many improvements, bankrupted the city but he did a lot of good for washington, d.c. and then around the turn of the century there was a mcmilan
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commission and it was part of the city beautiful movement. i personally think the library of congress is one of the most beautiful buildings in the world. union station from 1908 compares favorably with any train station anywhere. if any of you have been to penn station in new york, you know what i'm talking about, and then there was also a movement of many of the wealthy from around the country saw washington as a fashionable place. they wanted to come here. so they built many beautiful homes. the social season wisely was january and february as opposed to july and august. this was definitely before air-conditioning, you can today go to dupont circle and walk down massachusetts aevenue, man
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of these homes are still existence, most are embassies and private clubs. the one that still remains as a home for that period that is open to the public and free is the anderson house, which is on massachusetts avenue, and it is a lovely visit. also after the civil war, one aspect, several aspects actually of lafong's original plan were fulfilled. one was the mall, the mall was cleaned up and the smithsonian institution began building along the wall. there was a smithsonian at first and largely for scientific research. by the end of the 19th century. the new director decided the smithsonian should be open to the public, it shouldn't just be for scientists, it should be for people to come to and appreciate the culture, the art, the
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science of the united states, and, you know, now we have 18 smithsonian institutions in washington, most of which are on the mall and we're continuing to build in 2015, the national museum of african american history and culture will open. the museum of natural history is the second most attended museum in the world. only the louvre in paris beats us out. these are very, very popular institutions. and also, lafong had put in his plan, these maddening circles that today we have to drive around. but they were meant to beautify the city and to give the public, the american public, a place to promenade and appreciate. one of the things in reading this book, i lived in washington
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for 30 years and never realized. they are all named after civil war heroes, scott, thomas, logan, mcpherson, haines point. what am i missing? >> one after the other, these were civil war generals, dupont, seward was secretary of state. this all came about in the second half of the 19th century. finally there was the money and there was the commitment to washington as capitol to populate these circles and to make them a thing of beauty. most of which are still a thing of beauty today. it was really in the 20th century that washington became the city that we know and love and appreciate today. there were several things that happened in the 20th century.
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you're probably all aware that george washington when he left office, and again, we celebrate the fact that he left after two terms and declined opportunity to turn his presidency into a new american monarchy, he gave good advice, he said no foreign entanglements. stay out of it. focus on business at home. and by and large, for most of the 19th century, that's what americans did. and even woodrow wilson, when he was campaigning for his second term as president of the united states campaigned on the slogan he kept us out of the war, meaning world war i. but we did enter the war, we fought for freedom, we entered world war ii, we fought against
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tirany. some of which are very controversy. but in most cases the motivation for them is preserving freedom and democracy and american national security. washington, d.c. has become the center and the focal point for national military museums and memorials in the country. and you only have to go to the world war ii memorial and see the world war ii veterans who come there, and how strongly they feel about coming back to understand what this means to them, what these memorials and the recognition of the fact that they served and so many gave so much to keep us free. i think i would like to mention, too, one of my favorite
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memorials that is smaller and less well-known, but in some ways i find it quintessentialally american. it has a long name so i have to read it. national japanese american memorial to patriotism during world war ii. it is quite close to the heritage foundation. it is on the senate side of the capitol. what's striking about this very small memorial which involves a water feature, cherry blossom trees in the spring. this beautiful sculpture of two cranes intwined in barbed wire, it is a memorial both to the japanese americans during world war ii. after pearl harbor
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there was a strong reaction and concern about japanese americans that they could serve as a fifth column. there were large camps that were set up for the duration of the war. the memorial includes the official united states government apology to the japanese issued by president ronald regan. the over half of the memorial and what makes this striking, is it recognizes the surface of the 442 442 442nd regiment. there they were serving while their brothers, sisters, and parents were enturned. i find this to be part of the compromise and recognition. although this is a flawed country at times, that
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underlying it all are these democratic principles that hold us together and that inspire others and that have made washington known internationally as the capitol of the free world. there were other movements in washington in the 20th century that made this the place to come and the place to be. one of my favorites that i like to talk about. early in the 20th century is the women's suffrage movement. women started the movement in new york, but came here and informed organizations here to try to gain the right to vote for women. they marched down pennsylvania avenue, the day before president wilson's first inauguration, they were jeered, they were shoved, they had things thrown at them. they were arrested and when they were arrested, they were
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force-fed and some of them were sent to insane asylums, of course if you wanted the right for women, you were crazy. if there's something you don't like, there's an extensive permitting process today, but you have to go -- but you can go and picket the white house. it was the women's suffrage that started that. the role of government, certainly heritage is very active in debating what should be the role of government, how large should it be, this is a healthy debate. the role of government has gotten larger. social security. what is today the voice of america building, this is open for touring and many of the departments that were created during the 20th century to
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address issues across the united states are open for touring, the department of interior, beautiful ansel adams photographs, other people artifacts. many people don't realize you can tour the treasury building, this is an absolutely beautiful building. the cash room, you can go and see where andrew johnson sat after he seceded abraham lincoln and he was waiting for mary todd lincoln. he sat and looked at the white house and you can tour his office. which is still a working office, a treasury today. also the civil rights move m, i think probably the civil rights movement encapsulated the fact that if you have a problem with washington, you need to come here to make your point about it, and the march on washington for jobs and freedom in 1963, which was time to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the
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emancipation proclamation was a major demonstration in washington that contributed greatly to changing racial relations in this country and leading to greater equality and justice in this country, but there have been many, many other protests, discussions and washington is very often the center of those, and very often they end at the lincoln memorial. this president who did so much to keep the country together. his memorial has become the meeting point for those who seek change. i end my book and i would end my remarks today with the invitation to each of you, if you have not already done this, but i suspect many of you already have, is to go to the lincoln memorial, sit on the steps, look out across the reflecting pool, look down
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toward the washington monument, and across to the united states capital and reflect upon what your country means to you. thank you very much. [applause] >> in other words, stop and smell the roses. >> right. >> we will take questions, we have copies of the book available for purchase and alison will be glad to sign them. if you have questions, we would ask for you to wait for the microphone so everyone can hear your question. i have one to start with. it is interesting that lafong did not read the constitution in that we have three branches of government and he gave prominent to the executive and the legislative, but the judiciary stayed in a way under the foot
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of legislative. is there any back fwround as -- background as to why or what? >> i think partly, when you go into the u.s. capitol and see there are two rooms where the supreme court sat. they are very beautiful rooms. they are very significant. so i don't think it was dismissing the judicial branch. but the activism of the judicial branch has made it a much bigger force in the 20th century, it was also initially in the 19th century. the capitol kept expanding, but it got to the point where there
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was no room for them. but they were with the legislative branch and not done with the executive branch. questions from the audience. >> are there historic buildings in washington that are in danger of decaying and being lost? >> there are. in fact, there's a very active website where they monitor buildings at risk, neighborhoods at risk, there's a lot of development in washington, i mean, you know, the good news is that the high pointed of population in washington was after the terms of franklin eleanor roosevelt who grew the federal government massively and washington grew along with it. and then the population of
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washington declined until this last census is the first time the population again grew. but with that, has come threats to buildings. now, you know, what, in this book, which is -- and i should have explained, it is 12 chapters with a brief narrative at each chapter and then you go to the sites that illustrate the narrative. we're fortunate, because there's so many buildings that were almost tore down that were at risk. whether it was the eisenhower executive old office building. the patent office was almost torn down, and fortunately many of them were saved but not all of them. just, i think it was yesterday, we have an example of the old post office, which was considered a very ungainly
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building. most of washington government architecture is this kind of -- i'm going to blank on it, classic style, and here you have the old post office pavilion which is romanesque and it sticks out like a sore thumb. now it is becoming a luxury hotel. it will be preserved but maybe it would be nice if it could have been preserved as the post office. another example of that, although i think a good outcome occurred is the very important franklin school. washington, in the late 19th century, was considered a place of great learning and scientific discovery. alexander graham bell conducted many experiments here and was one of the founders of the national geographic society. but the franklin school was a very advanced school recognized
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internationally, and it has just been -- it was a homeless shelter and sitting empty for years and now it is going to be an art space. so the building will be preserved and franklin square is going to be spruced up. it is greatly in need, even of grass, franklinly. yeah, but it is something, and admire these people, they watch it every day and they are a group of people who live in washington who are very activists. >> let me go in the back. no, right here in the middle. thank you. >> fantastic talk, thank you very much. >> thank you. >> what would be your recommendations, if you could have just one, for best undiscovered d.c. gem, off the beaten path, off the usual
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guidebook. >> i mentioned a couple the japanese memorial. the lincoln cottage. one that i would recommend highly to all of you before the summer is over. if you want to get your patriotic juices flowing, if you go to the marine war memorial, they have concerts on tuesday nights, they are free, and you go arlington cemetery, which i didn't talk about today, but i can talk about it if anyone is interested. you go, you go to the visitor center, you have to pay to park or take the metro, and they have free busses, they take you up there, you can bring a lawn chair, you can sit on the grass, young and old, little kids can run around, bring a snack and the precision drill, where they are throwing rifles, the music,
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and as the lights go down and dusk occurs, you look toward the memorial with the real american flag flowing. and then you look to the city of washington, it gives me goosebumps, i hope people know about that. all of the military services have wonderful free concerts. do i have in the book. free contribution or entrance free. i mean there's so much that is free in this city, so you can go for a little while. one of the -- i mentioned the civil war, so one of my favorite is the sheridan statue. i've been around sheridan circle a million times and stuck in traffic, and one day i looked up and i thought, that's the most magnificent statue of a horse i
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have ever seen and i looked and it was done by borglum who did mt. rushmore. i came around the corner, i had seen this beautiful statue of the general on his horse of and i came around the corner, there's renzie stuffed in the smithsonian. he's beautiful. this beautiful black horse, which they say is preserved. but you know, he's stuffed. i would say go see renzie. >> i recently moved here from moscow, which was one of the most beautiful subway systems in the world. how would you rate washington's metro system? >> since i've driven here a lot,
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i love the metro. i was on the red line yesterday. say what you will, it is clean, it functions well, it moves a lot of people. you know, i mean occasionally -- they had a tragedy in moscow recently and we've had our tragedies here, too. but i love the metro and i think it is our right to complain about it. i feel sorry for the blue line rider, but they will be put at a disadvantage because of the silver line, but i ride the red line, so i'm happy. >> one thing i noticed since moving here, you get this strange dichotomy between the federal city and the "real d.c.", or the city that's not
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part of it. another thing i was surprised to learn in the last couple of years is the arena on h street, which is today an abandoned shelf itself and used as an indoor parking garage was the sites of the first beatles concert in the united states and had a history of the civil rights union as well. i wonder if you had tips about the cultural aspects of the city, as opposed to the politically significant ones. >> i've been frustrated by guidebooks. i did make an attempt to integrate the history of african americans in washington, because they are an integral part of the city and from the time of slavery, but there were free blacks here, and many free blacks in georgetown.
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the fact that there was a free man's village at arlington cemetery. howard university and the friedman's bureau and also u street. i mentioned the howard theater and the lincoln theater. i tried not to include commercial entities, i mean, i was very tempted to put ben's chili bowl in, for instance, i thought if i started down that path. if you walk down 14th street, every day there's a new restaura restaurant. i elected not to do that. i wanted to put lincoln's theater and howard's theater in, i do refer to it, it is not as deep, probably, as what you might look for, but it is a very vibrant city. increasingly, one great place to go for a concert is the
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synagogue. i do have some of the churches in washington, because i wanted to put the national cathedral in. there's also the ame church. there's mount zion in georgetown, a very vibrant religious history. but i touch upon those rather to go into them deeply. i have a question before we go on. io i want to ask this question, which president, and i've always stumped the audiences, so i want to see whether i can get the right answer here. which president pardoned robert e. lee? does anyone know? >> jimmy carter. >> no. >> close. >> so after the end of the civil war, robert e. lee told his troops, lay down your arms, go home, swear allegiance to the
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united states, which he did, and he reapplied for united states citizenship and it was gerald ford who pardoned him. >> so i'm 100% on that one. >> so many tv shows and movies center around washington, d.c., i would just like to hear your opinion on whether or not this accurately depicts the city and all of its beauty. >> so what is that bruce willis movie, that i love, "live free or die" and he comes to washington, d.c. in that movie and i'm just sitting there going nuts, because it is baltimore. so i actually -- >> no way out. >> -- never, ever wash tv shows that are set in washington, d.c. people have told me that my cover looks a lot like the netflix show, "house of cards",
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which was unintended but "house of cards" is filmed in baltimore. so for me, i have lived here for 30 years and it just bothers me too much. i watch pbs murder mysteries, that's what i watch. if it brings in tax dollars, why not. revenue, you know, why not. >> the washington monument is off-center between the white house and the jefferson, i'm wondering if you can tell us the reasoning for that asymmetry. >> well, there was an original washington monument in the plan, and it looked very different though. i mean, it had a massive statue around the base of horses. that one was not built.
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it was the form that was very popular in the 19th century, and it was a form that napoleon had brought back from egypt. but actually it was more or less on the perpendicular intersection of a point between the capitol and the white house. so it is pretty close. there's a map in the center of the book, which is a national park service map and one of the happy discoveries i made since this map was done with appropriated u.s. dollars, it has no copyright restrictions, so i was able to use it. it is pretty close to the point of the executive branch and the legislative house. >> i just wondered if you could talk about pierre lafong was dismissed and why he didn't get the building design for the capitol.
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>> apparently he was a difficult man and he irritated everybody, including the three commissioners, so they dismissed him. it was quite sad and i do have this in my book. that he was never paid for his work. he repeatedly petitioned to be paid, he wasn't paid and he died in poverty. he buried, and i'm not sure exactly where he was buried, but in the 19th century, in a state of remorse, the government had him dug up and moved to arlington cemetery, so his grave site is very close to the arlington house, and of course, the arlington house was the home of robert e. lee who vacated it very quickly once he decided not to go with the union but to go with the confederacy in his home state of virginia, the family
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left suddenly and the federal government took it over and since lee was a slave holder, they decided to have friedman's village on the grounds of arlington and the grounds of arlington cemetery, and the 20th century, this is answering way more than your question, but with the lincoln memorial was built and then the memorial bridge joined arlington house, they look at each other in a grand gesture of reconciliation between north and south. this was in 1926. feelings were still pretty heated then. >> we have one way in the back and then there. >> okay. of the three ports of washington, definitely bladensberg has not changed for a while.
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it is like a huge industrial site intermixed with historic buildings like some of these places that had been there when large ships could go up as far as they could and then that would be where the port was, right? i was wondering whether you were able to -- i mean, i think now is the time to rediscover this. it is the 200th anniversary of the burning of washington, which used as its base bladensberg. >> right. >> i don't have anything on that in this book. i tried to focus on washington proper. i do have like the freedom house and that if you're looking for another relatively undiscovered museum. the freedom house is located on the site of the slave trading business that was the largest.
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it is very small but moving museum. i believe the story of sullivan northrop is in there, who was in "12 years a slave" and i have the home of benjamin baniker, his home burned, but there's a museum. it was called when the american defenders with washington the british approach was called the bladensberg races because the americans retreated so fast. it is worth exploring, frankly one of the -- the history press, who published my book is wonderful. a regional history publisher and they do a lot of regional history books, there's one on civil spring in the civil war, i don't know if they have one on that or not. but quite a few books on the area. it would definitely be worth looking at.
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>> so there's the original fdr memorial outside of the archives and then there's the new one over on the other side of the tile basin. do you know why they built the new one when the old one was what fdr specified and why they made a new fdr memorial? >> well, and i think i forgot, there are a few, i don't have congressional cemetery, i forget pierce mill and the old fdr memorial, i think i forgot to put that in, but it is still there. there's a lot of controversy now about the eisenhower memorial and whether or not he would want a very large memorial. i think it is frankly seems to be the trend at the moment, you know, there's been discussion about truman, the state
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department is named for harry s. truman. there's been a bill introduced in congress named union station. i don't know, i don't remember exactly. i think i was talking to someone about the jefferson memorial and fdr pushed that memorial and apparently, it is because jefferson was a democrat and there had been a huge memorial to lincoln, the republican, so there's a little bit when the state department was named for harry truman. the executive office building was named for eisenhower and that's a real mouthful. i try to adhere to that but it is a mouthful. you would probably have to go back an look at which party controlled congress. >> in the back. >> from time to time, the lafong
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plan is disrupted by some tacky office building, how does this happen? >> well, you know, i mean, it is true, but i mean, even, you know, mentioning the eisenhower memorial and i have not followed all of the ups and downs of that, but one of the latest revisions is apparently to take down this huge metal curtain that would have obstructed the clear view of the capitol from one aspect of washington. i think also this debate over the limitation on the height of buildings in washington, which comes from a 1910 act, but in part, the inspiration for that was the lafong plan. there still seems to be quite a bit of care taken that if
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buildings are allowed to be taller than 110 feet, they will be away from the mall and away from the essential government buildings, but i live in maryland, if you want to see interesting development, go there, it is a mess, but it won't cause any more traffic. wherever we live, it happens. 14th street development, i read this website every day, and there's a lot of concern, i have children and i think how will they ever be able to afford a house this washington, so you see that. when i first came to washington, you weren't sure you wanted to drive up 14th street, but if you did, it was prostitutes and certainly going to 14th street today and sitting outside and eating at a restaurant or going to studio theater is a lot more fun than seeing a parade of prostitutes as i call it in the
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book. >> do we have one final question? >> if not, thank you, again. >> thank you. [applause] >> thank you very much. >> you're watching american history tv, all weekend, every weekend, on c-span 3. to join the conversation like us on facebook at c-span history. at the national gallery of


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