tv Museum of the American Revolution Opens in Philadelphia CSPAN April 23, 2017 10:00am-11:41am EDT
>> you're watching american history tv, 48 hours of programming on american history on c-span3. -- follow usc-span on facebook and twitter to keep up with american history. the new museum of the american revolution open to the public on april 19. next, the opening ceremony. speakers including former vice president joe biden, bullets are prize-winning historian david mccullough and generalist cokie roberts. this is about an hour and 40 minutes -- pulitzer prize-winning historian david mccullough.
and journalist cokie roberts. this is about an hour and 40 minutes. >> ladies and gentlemen, please recognize the color guards from each of the original 13 states as they are introduced in the order in which each state ratified the u.s. constitution and entered the union. delaware. first delaware regiment. [applause]
pennsylvania. first troop philadelphia city cavalry. [applause] new jersey. old barracks museum. [applause] georgia sons of the revolution , in the state of georgia. [applause] connecticut. the governor's foot and horse guard. massachusetts. 54th massachusetts volunteer regiment. [applause] maryland. maryland society sons of the american revolution. [applause] south carolina. south carolina national guard. [applause] new hampshire. first new hank shir regiment. -- first new hampshire regiment. [applause] virginia.
the virginia military institute regiment colorguard. [applause] new york. ninth new york field artillery, -- veteran corps artillery of the state of new york. [applause] north carolina. the north carolina over mountain men. [applause] rhode island. united train of artillery. [applause] and presenting the flag of the united states, the color guard of the third united states infantry regiment known as the old guard. [applause] ♪
>> please be seated as the colors are retired. please please welcome the president and ceo of the museum of the american revolution, michael quinn. [applause] mr. quinn: thank you so much. our deepest thanks to the color guards of the original 13 states and to the color guard of the third u.s. infantry regiment, the old guard, as well as to the curtis institute of music. what a wonderful start to a very momentous opening. [applause] mr. quinn: this is the third part of our opening celebration. our program began this morning at the tomb of the unknown soldier of the american revolution in washington square
, where we honored those who sacrificed their lives to create our nation. our program continued in front of independence hall where we celebrated the future of that nation and the youth who are the legacy of the great ideals sounded at that time. now, we are at the museum of the american revolutions. we are celebrating not just the opening of the museum, but the people and the ideas of the revolution and the great landmarks and the history of philadelphia. and we are grateful to the many faith leaders, the students and , and the others who made this day possible. the museum we open today tells the story of the creation of the american nation, how people from all walks of life found a bond in the soaring ideals of equality, freedom, and
self-governance, who consecrated that bond by their courage and sacrifice through eight years of warfare. that bond is what turned them into the unified people of one nation and has done so for every generation since. this museum celebrates and belongs to the american people. there are many distinguished speakers with us on this joyful day, and we will introduce them as they speak. we are grateful for their enthusiasm and their support and we are pleased to welcome many additional special guests. the governor of the common -- commonwealth of virginia, terry mcauliffe, the lieutenant governor of north carolina, dan forest, the lieutenant governor of rhode island, dan mckee, the former governor of delaware, michael castle, the former governor of new jersey, james florio, the governor of maryland, martin o'malley, and the former governor of
pennsylvania and our great city of philadelphia, edmund l -- edmund l -- edwin rendell. thank you for speaking as at independence hall. [applause] mr. quinn i'm also pleased to : recognize congressman kyle wear ritty for join s us and members of the city council of philadelphia, mark squil will, lessry russell wednesdayer and is her relevant parker. thank you. [applause] mr. quinn we are joined by our : great partner, the superintendent national historical park, cynthia mcleod. [applause] quinn: it is such a privilege when the architect of this great landmark new building robert a. stern and his associates join us. we're delighted you came. [applause] mr. quinn: and we are also joined by the founder of intech
construction who built this museum on time and on budget, will schwartz a new member of the board of the museum of the american revolution. [applause] mr. quinn: we have guests from many places and we are so honored that leaders of museums and cultural institutions from across philadelphia are with us today. you are too numerous to support so raise your hands so that everyone knows you are here. thank you for turning out and joining us and welcoming us as we proudly join your ranks as one of the great cultural institutions of this city. we're also joined by people from many other institutions, but probably no one has come further or is more special to us than ellen chictans and her family from china and japan, the donors who have donated the two wonderful bronze sculptural panels on the chestnut side of
the museum depicting washington crossing the delaware and the declaration of independence. thank you so much. [applause] mr. quinn: there are leaders from many distinguished institutions from across the nation today, and i'm delighted to recognize some of them. steve rockwood, ceo of family search international from salt lake city, utah. president and ceo of the new york historical society. jack to wayne warren, executive director of the cincinnati historic society. john bray, director of the smith smithsonian national museum of american history. -- anne turnern, dylan president general of the , national society daughters of the american revolution.
james vaughan, executive director of the pennsylvania historical and museum commission. stephanie see itbic, director of the smithsonian american history, american art museum, robb shink, vice president of george washington's mount vernon. ruth taylor, executive director of the newport historical society, catherine robinson, president and ceo of historic charleston foundation. david roselle, executive director of when a toy museum guarded and library. the hill, director and ceo of fort tech underwrote that in new york, and betty joe of the delaware tribe of indians. [applause] mr. quinn and now i'd like to : introduce the members of the board of directors of the museum of the american revolution. will you raise your hands so everyone knows where you are and
that you are here today? [laughter] mr. quinn -- [applause] mr. quinn these are the : volunteers who have guided and sustained the multiyear initiative to create the museum. and now it is a very great pleasure to welcome the mayor of the great city of philadelphia, mayor jim kenney. [applause] ey: good morning, everyone. i can't tell you how proud i am as a native life-long philadelphiian to be standing here in front of this building and in front of all the great dignitaries that have come here today. i just personally very much am honored. it's fantastic to see so many of you out there helping us open this addition to our city's already thriving historic district. those looking to find out more about the founding of their country have made philadelphia a
priority. the museum will bring those people back while giving those who haven't yet made the trip more incentive to did so. -- to do so. philadelphia is named the heritage city because it served as the backdrop for the formation of our country. this museum will provide greater insight into the sacrifices that were made in order to make the ideas that were first discussed in independence hall a reality. this museum will provide us with a much deeper appreciation of what it means to live free. and i think the most important part of this museum for me as i've gone through it is it acknowledges fully and totally the contributions of other folks who made this country great, -- african-americans, native americans, women, and all others besides those who signed the declaration of independence. without all of them, this would never have happened and they are finally and fully acknowledged in this space and i think that's wonderful. [applause]
mayor kenney: and gerry lenfest, you're a great philadelphiian and a great american and i'm honored to know you. thank you very much and i'm glad to see you here today. thank you very much, everyone. [applause] >> thank you. please welcome the governor of the commonwealth of pennsylvania, tom wolf. [applause] governor wolf: thank you very much. mayor kenney, thank you for your comments. and it's great to be here and i want to welcome all of you who are from out of town to pennsylvania. i just want to point out that the weather is always like this in pennsylvania.
[laughter] governor wolf: again, i want to thank all of our distinguished guests for being here today but i especially want to welcome vice president joe biden. [applause] president,lf: vice we are truly honored to have you here today. since you began your career you have stood up for the middle class, for working people, for families and the interests of the less fortunate everywhere. your time in the senate and in the white house have made this country better and i just want to welcome you back home to pennsylvania. [applause] governor wolf: i'm proud to be here to help commemorate the opening of the new museum, this museum of the american revolution that will act as a monument to the lives of those who created this great nation. there is no better home for this museum than in philadelphia, than in pennsylvania, am i right? [applause] governor wolf because this : museum tells the story of the women and the men who created
this nation right here in philadelphia where this nation began. located with only -- within only a few blocks of the museum are a number of historic treasures that tell the story of how a loose band of cologne yalz -- colonials toppled a mighty and lead the world for two centuries. from independence hall to the site of the liberty bell to the president's house, to congress hall, to the tomb of the unknown revolutionary war soldier, all around us are reminders of the struggle that our founders undertook to create a nation dedicated to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. and now we have a museum solely dedicated for the first time to the lives and the sacrifice of those early americans who for far too long have gone nameless and uncommemorated. those who fought and struggled ultimately won our independence and deserve our respect. only a couple blocks away
emblazoned on the tomb of the unknown soldier of the revolutionary war are the words "freedom is a light for which many men and women have died in darkness." this museum will aim to turn the light on and tell the stories for those women and men and for people all over the world who have made this country what it is and who shocked the world 240 years ago by doing the impossible by defeating the mighty empire. i can't think of a more fitting tribute to their memories and i'm glad pennsylvania will play home to this new treasure. i want to thank everyone who all of those who came together to make this project a success , and i want to thank michael quinn, who has been up here. can we get a round of applause to michael quinn? [applause] governor wolf michael will lead : this museum to great success
right here in philadelphia. thank you all for being here, thank you for helping us celebrate this great moment in american history. thank you. [applause] >> please welcome noted author and two-time recipient of the pulitzer prize, david mccullough. [applause] mr. mccullocugh: what a morning. what a morning to be grateful we are americans. [applause] what a morning to celebrate our past and what that teaches us abouthow we about how we should move forward
into the days to come. the american revolution still goes on. the american revolution was one of the most important events of all time and very much of it happened right here in this great storied city. it's not easy to understand the past because for one thing no .ne ever lived in the past they lived in the present, but it was their present, not ours. and we have to not only understand who they were, what they set out to achieve, how successful they may have been, but we have to understand the time in which they lived. we have to not only understand what they wrote, but what they read. because if we don't understand what they read, we won't understand why they said or wrote what they did.
they were real people. history is human. when in the course of human events, human is the operative word. we can learn more from history than any other subject because it is about the human experience. and we can learn more about our country, our people, our past, our heart and soul as a civilization by knowing more about the american revolution. we can never ever know enough about the american revolution. and the opening of this magnificent museum is not just a moment to celebrate here in philadelphia, but all over our country. this is a moment of national importance and cause to celebrate. [applause]
one of thecugh: easiest, most obvious lessons of history is almost of no consequence -- that it has never been accomplished alone. it's a joint effort. our country is a joint effort. this city is a joint effort. and this marvelous museum is a joint effort. and i think we should pay tribute to all of those who worked for 16 years to make this happen and congratulations and god bless you. [applause] mr. mccullough: and no one deserves more credit than gerry lenfest. [applause]
mr. mccullough: i think today we should all go away from this ceremony standing taller because of who we are and what we've believed in, what we stand for, the values we still hold dear to us. this museum will do more to teach the oncoming generations about the importance of the revolution, not just in the military sense, but in a sense of ideas and the human spirit , thean anything we've ever had. high time we had such a museum as this. [applause] mccullough: history isn't just about politics and war. history is about art and music and architecture.
architecture. [laughter] mr. mccullough: and history's about poetry and about memory through the arts. we have a broadway show right ow, a "hamilton." we have the work of john trumbull. we have the architecture of that marvelous period and of now, bob stern's work right here. this is a major work of architecture. [applause] : this is april 19, 2017. here's a poem from april 19th, 1837. 180 years ago. written by ralph waldo emerson. "by the road bridge that urged the flood
their flagged april's breeze unfurled here once the embattled farmer stood and fired the shot heard round the world the flow long since in silence slept alike, the conqueror in silence sleeps in time and ruined bridge has swept down the dark stream which seaward creeps. on this green bank by this soft stream we set today a votive stone that memory may there deed when, like our sires, our sons are gone spirit that made those heroes dear and die to leave their children free bid time and nature gently spare, the shaft we raise to e."
spirit. spirit and perseverance. george washington once said to me, it's one of the most powerful messages to all of us, perseverance and spirit. perseverance and spirit have done wonders in all ages. [applause] >> please welcome oneida nation representative and ceo of indian nation enterprises, ray halbritter. halbritter thank you for
: that kind introduction. it's truly an honor to follow one of america's greatest historians. i bring you greetings of peace from the indian nation and our people began gatherings and have since time memorial with a thanksgiving address with these thoughts that we all come together in peace as one and we give thanks to what we have and our minds become as one. native members have traveled here to be part of this special day know that prayer well. we are so fortunate that together we could be here to celebrate the grand opening of such an important museum, one that recognizes the oneida's significant role in the establishment of the united states of america. today say day of gratitude. the oneida nation is proud that our ancestors will be memorial memorialized in the museum of the american revolution. we are thankful that such great american leaders like mayor kenney, governor wolf, former vice president joe biden are here with us today. gerry lenfest, your determination and contributions
kept the vision of the museum of american revolution in motion and for that we are forever thankful. at a time when we experience so much political acrimony it is , gratifying to see leaders in organizations from all walks of life come together to honor our nation's founding. just as the thanksgiving prayer says this is also a day that , gives my people great peace of mind because is it is the culmination of years of work to preserve, honor, and enshrine our historic role in the founding of this country. never forget the phrase we often hear in history. the phrase implores us to keep our heritage and -- few is better than native americans and we are proud to be taking steps to make sure our role in this nation founding is remembered. and that the stories of our history are told and retold for generations to come. with today's opening of the national museum of the american revolution, we are rescuing the history of this country's birth and native americans role in it from the dark abyss of the memory chasm. as a proud supporter of this
wonderful new facility, the united nations -- initiative because we believe that it is a critical facet of both preserving the history of the united states and honoring indigenous people's formative role in building this great country of ours. today, many americans have no knowledge of native americans' role in the revolution but now they have a chance to hear the rich and compelling story of how our people reached across cultural lines and worked together with the founders and the unified fight for freedom. the history of my ancestors ' pivotal coalition with those fighting british ter ranny began -- british tyranny began well before the founders came to the aid of the revolution. before the french it was the united people who became george washington's first allies at great sacrifice to us. it was the oneidas who took up arms in such their colonial neighbors early on considered by many hornz to be the bloodiest battle of the revolution. that battle cemented the longstanding friendship between
the oneidas and the colonies and it made the oneidas the first allies of this country. our blood was mingled with the colonists' blood, our bones were mixed with the bones of the patriots. troubling thisis history has often been omitted from america's founding story, but those omissions only underscore the significance of this new facility and the moral imperative of the museum's mission. the museum makes sure that we are not succumbing to reductionism and not oversimplifying the beginnings of america. it guarantees that the details are preserved and that all the stories of sacrifice are passed on to future generations as our grandmothers and grandfathers have admonished us to do so. preserving and teaching the true founding story of america is not an exercise in self congratulation. it makes sure that in an increasingly diverse history accurately reflektsz the
-- reflects the diversity of its foundational story. this is particularly important for people of color who too often are victims of historical revisionism, distortion, and omission. native-american heritage for example has often been fik nal -- fictionalized or altogether omitted in ways that are both inaccurate and oversimplified. making sure we preserve that multicultural story is not a radical or dangerous idea. more than two centuries after my ancestors fought side by side with general george washington, our ancestors deserve their place in our collective memory about this country's founding. while their bodies died for our future we now ensure that their , memories will not. museum, we ares also protecting the longevity of the revolution's core ideals for generations to come. two centuries after the war, those notions remain as
revolutionary as ever and an inspiration to the world. when my ancestors joined with the colonists, they were standing for these immutable ideals just as our country still , stands in defense of those today. in native american thanksgiving prayer, we have a verse similar to e pluribus unum, from the many one. we bring our minds together as one and in the spirit of that prayer, let us give thanks today for this museum and its work protecting the ideals of america and its founding story. we're doing our part to make sure that the spirit of the american revolution endures and that the diverse roots of america's founding are inshrined enshrined for posterity. [applause]
>> please welcome colonel john bircher, a recipient of the purple heart for combat service in vietnam and representing the military order of the purple heart. [applause] bircher: thank you. it's such a great honor to be able to be here today. i want to thank general jumper and mike quinn and especially vice president joe biden, what . what an honor it was to meet you today, mr. vice president. we miss you. [applause] bircher: can i see a show of hands, how many of you
in the audience are veterans? wow. [applause] colonel bircher i'm here today : on behalf of a special group of veterans, the 1.7 million men and women who have either given their lives or have been wounded in combat serving to protect the freedoms that we've all come to take so much for granted. i can tell you that the cost of freedom is not free. it's paid for in the blood of the sons and daughters, our mothers, fathers, sisters, and especially the spouses. general george washington at the end of the revolutionary war wanted to do something to recognize the fidelity and bravery of the common soldier, not officers, but rather the nco's and privates who served in
the continental army. and so he created on the 7th of august, 1782, the very first declaration in the continental colonial army called the badge of merit. it was a simple piece of purple cloth inscribed with the world word "merit" on it. at first we thought there were only about four people who received it, but our research in the archives has now shown that we know of at least 27 men who received the badge of merit. but after the revolutionary war, it went into disuse and in 1932 , then chief of staff of the army general macarthur wanted to do something to recognize the 200th birthday of george washington. and so he brought the badge of merit out of retirement and recreated it as the medal that i wear today. it's the same purple heart and on the back has the words for
military merit, but on the face has the likeness of george washington to recognize all that he did in founding the country. as i mentioned, there have been 1.7 million recipients of the purple heart medal. every single veteran has served and sacrificed something. some gave all, but all gave some. and so it's an honor for me to be able to be here on behalf of those purple heart recipients who have sacrificed their lives protecting the freedoms that we all enjoy today. thank you so much. [applause]
mr. harcourt: philly, how are you today? [applause] mr. harcourt yeah. : i can't tell you what a great day it is to celebrate the birth of our country. every day is a great day to celebrate american history. it's alive here in philly, it's everywhere. and it is my honor to be here for the opening of this gem in your city and in our country the museum of the american revolution. it's fantastic. [applause] yeah.rcourt: long time coming. this next song is particularly relevant because of an exhibit inside this museum. as an actor,
especially in a period play, you're always imagining your surroundings -- what was it like ? what did it sound like? were there doors? were there lights? so many little things. and i can't tell you how many hours i've spent imagining washington's command tent. it's inside this building. that tent, seeing it in person, it was so moving. it gave this next song new meaning for me. it takes place on the eve of the battle of yorktown, roughly 1781, and david mccullough can correct me if i get anything wrong. [laughter] mr. harcourt: and general washington was giving hamilton his first command and some sage advice. washington had the forethought to know that the actions they were taking were going to reverberate through history for hundreds if not thousands of years.
he warned us of demagogues and gave sage advice to hamilton .bout how to use this power and i have to say that there may be no greater moment for me than to get to perform this song in front of our vice president who embodies the ideals that george washington spoke about and i want to thank you for your service mr. joe biden. thank thank you, sir. [applause] mr. harcourt this next song is called "history has its eyes on you."
i was younger than you are now when i was given my first command i led my men straight into a massacre i witnessed their deaths firsthand i made every mistake i felt the shame rise in me and even now i lie awake onwing history has its eyes e history has its eyes on me let me tell you what i wish i'd known when i was young and dreamed of glory you have no control
who lives, who dies, who tells your story i know that we can win i know that greatness lies in you but remember from here on in istory has its eyes on you history has its eyes ♪ you [applause] mr. harcourt: and history does have its eyes on us. everywhere you look, there is history reverberating. this is like a theme park for history. it is. everywhere you look. in particular, alexander hamilton walked these streets.
his buildings for the treasury office were right there. that's the first bank of america, and our next song -- yeah, let's hear it for the first bank of america. we have a lot now. [applause] mr. harcourt but our next song : details how that bank got its charter. hamilton was obsessed as treasury secretary with getting a debt plan passed and paying for all the debt they incurred with the war and the southern democratic republicans were dead set that he would not pass it. he had to do something he didn't really enjoy, but to make some trades to see what he could get done. never before i think has a song made passing a debt plan sexy and danceable, so it's got that going for it. it also happens to be the -- the platform and the impetus for aaron burr to jump into a
political life. he was laying back at that time, and when he saw the kind of power that hamilton could wield he wanted in. , helping me, we have playing hamilton, gracious and taylor. we have thomas jefferson is ra meek, and we have james madison as dizzy. this song is called "the room where it happens pure co- x mr. secretary. >> mr. burke, sir. >> did you view the news about griddle general mercer? >> no. >> you know clermont street? they renamed it after him. now his legacy is secure. >> all he had to do was die. >> that's a lot less work. >> we ought to give it a try. how you going to get your debt plan through? >> i guess i'm going to finally
have to listen to you. >> really? >> ♪ talk less smile more do whatever it takes to get my plan on the congress floor ♪ now madison and jefferson are merciless quick hit the sin, love the sinner hamilton -- goi'm sorry, burr, i have to . decisions are happening over dinner. and immigrant walks into a room diametrically opposed photos the immigrant emerged to financial power a system he he could shape however he wants the virginians emerge with the nation's capital and here's the piece to eesistance -- the piece d resistance no one else was in the room
where it happens no one else was in the room where it happened thomas claims alexander was on washington's doorstep one day in distress and disarray thomas claims i have nowhere else to turn and basically beg me to join the fray thomas claims and i arranged a meeting, the venue, the menu, and the ceiling no one else was in the room where it happened the room where it happened the room where it happened no one else was in the room where it happened the room where it happened no one really knows how the parties dgs the pieces that are sacrificed in every game of chess we just assume that it happens but no one else was in the room where it happens meanwhile madison is grappling with the fact that not every issue can be settled by committee
meanwhile congress is fighting over where to put the capital it is a pretty then jefferson approaches with a dinner and invite and madison provides for jennie and insight maybe we can solve one problem with another and when a victory for the southerners quid pro quo i suppose wouldn't you like to work a little closer to home actually i would well, i propose the potomac ell, we'll see how it goes no one else was in the room where it happened the room where it happened the room where it happened my god, in god we trust but we never really know what got discussed >, boom, and it happened and no one else was in the room where it happened alexander hamilton what did they say to you to get you to sell new york city down the river alexander hamilton did washington know about the
dinner was there presidential pressure to deliver alexander hamilton or did you know even then it doesn't matter where you put the u.s. capitol because we'll have the banks we are in the same spot you got more than you gave and i wanted what i got you don't get a win unless you play in the game you get love for it you get hate for it you get nothing if you wait for it got health and forgive me i want to build something that's going to outlive me what do you want, burr what do you want, burr what do you want i want to be in the room where it happens the room where it happens i want to be in the room where t happens i want to be in the room where t happens
be nt to be, i've got to i want to be in the room in that big, old room hold your nose and close your eyes we want our leaders to save the day we don't get a say in what they trade away we dream of a brand-new start but we dream in the dark for the most part dark as a team where it happens i've got to be in the room where it happens i've got to be in the room where it happens i've got to be in the room where it happens i got to be i got to be room to be in the lick, boom ♪ [applause] mr. harcourt: thank you so much. guys.
ms. roberts: so beautiful. and this weather is quite wonderful. and singing about history. mr. vice president, honored guests and supporters, and especially the young people here today, i have a message. history has its eyes on you. it's true that as general washington said in the song, that you have no control over who tells your story, but it's important that his story and heroines andther heroes of the revolution be told, and of course, that's what we're celebrating here today. you know, there are many stories of bravery on the battlefield during the eight long years of the american resolution. but there are many other stories of people not in combat but in support of the cause, the cause of the idea that became america
. take martha washington. she was a prime hostage target. she had to brave diseases and and the discomforts of cold and poor rations to join the troops at camp not just the awful of valley forge but every winter of the long war. and she did it despite her very strong desire to stay home and tend to her duties in mount vernon. but she did it, because -- her duties at mount vernon. but she did it because the general, as she put it begged , her to come. my friend david mccullough has written about how important it was that george washington kept the army together, but he needed martha to do that. he understood that she and her cadre of officers' wives were absolutely essential to treat
troop morale. they came and cooked for the and prayed with the soldiers and nursed with the soldiers and put on big entertainments for them to keep them going through the long winters. i must say it was a good thing that martha was around, george could be a little indiscreet. for instance, the time he danced with three hours straight with the pretty katie green. it was good that martha was on hand. keeping up morale is particularly hard in the year 1780. the british were winning on the battlefield, taking american cities. the french have not yet shown up. something had to be done for the soldiers. and one woman here in philadelphia, perhaps, on washington decided that she was
the one to do it. ester reed understood that even as a woman in the 18th century, a woman with no political power and no legal power, married women cannot unproperly jewelry on their bodies belong to their husbands, that when you got skin in the game you stay in the game, but you don't get a win unless you play in the game. she called on the women of the country to make sacrifices for the army which defend defend our lives, our possessions and our liberty. she had only been an american woman for 10 years. she came here married to joseph reed, by 1780 was the president or the governor of pennsylvania. she wrote home to england saying i cannot say america was agreeable. soon she became an absolutely
patriot, argued for independence as early as october 1775. when war came and her husband joined george washington's forces ester and her four little , children found themselves refugees running from place to place to escape the british. her , -- the british, her former -- andmen -- think of it disease was rampant. with all of that hardship, and i really think of it -- just getting through the day in 1800 was very hard. she was not worried about herself. she was worried about the troops, so she organized. she became publicly active in a way that a good citizen should. she organized the lady's association of pennsylvania in door arounddoor to philadelphia and the suburbs and
to collect money for the troops and the publicity about it spurred women in other states to act as well. as the first lady of pennsylvania, she wrote to all the other first ladies in the states and asked them to start fundraising drives for the troops, as well. in fact, the only letter of -- the only extant letter of martha jefferson's that we have because thomas jefferson burned all the letters, for which i could kill him, again. but the only one we have is her letter as the first lady of virginia asking the women of virginia to go to their rural churches and donate money for .he churches the women of philadelphia raised
$300,000 and expected more from the other states to come in. it was almost equal to what robert morrison pain stakingly raised to capitalize this. she had a fight with general washington about how to spend the money. he wanted shirts and she wanted to do something more special. after a series of intense letters, he 19 -- he won. she was just shy of her 34th birthday when she died. dysentery came raging through philadelphia, and she -- and the council and these -- assembly adjourned. the business of the ladies association was taken up by sarah franklin bashan and the women -- the woman did what the general asked and made shirts for the troops.
just to show that it was something special, from the women of america, every woman sowed their own name into the shirt so the soldier knew there was a woman who cared about him, a citizen who cared about him to -- him, out there, grateful for the work he was doing and it tied them over, kept them going until the battlefield victories started to come in and the french finally arrived. criticizedd have esther read if she had stayed home and privately voiced her concerns about the troops. that is not what she did. she decided to make a difference , to engage not only herself, that many other women in the effort to make a difference. she put skin in the game for her country, a country that would deprive her of political and legal rights. it is what joe biden has been
doing for his entire life, despite disasters and political disappointments, he stays in the ring where it happens and he knows that that's the way. [applause] that's the way you win at the game. that's the way you make a difference to your country. that's what you young people are called upon to do as citizens of this great republic that our forefathers and mothers fought for, on the battlefield and in the public square over the centuries. it is my hope that this new museum helps inspire you to become those active involved citizens in this great country. history has its eyes on you. [applause] >> please welcome vincent brown,
the charles one professor of history at harvard university. >> thank you for coming out, today. it's a real honor to be here. this museum has been a long time coming. it is startling to think we are only now dedicating a museum to the american revolution. perhaps that is a good thing. too often, using them's are where history goes to die. people can be forgiven for thinking that. revered withory is a series of confusing and complex stories of legend. loyal can motivate people to heroism, to a cause. they can be brittle.
challenge it with too much contrary evidence and its naps and we are weaker for it. -- and it snaps and we are weaker for it. it should be a living history, as alive and its aspirations in the present as it is in the deeds of the past. this history is messy and contradictory. tragic and ironic as often as it is heroic. it also has the virtue of being closer to the truth. i am grateful to the curators of this exhibit for having the courage to tell that truth. to show us the press story of national origin and a multifaceted account of how one might've experienced a time of such turmoil. the danger it presented, the hope it offered, the uncertain outcomes of agonizing decisions. brother are events to commemorate and great men to
revere, in this museum, american people are on display and from the perspective of people, history is a predictment rather than a sequence of events to be glorified, memorialized and made sacred. this is a living exhibit, a rendering of the nature of revolutionary times. from george washington's we can 10, -- tent we can imagine the , tension he must have felt in making life that will go across the continent and, indeed, the world. and when we see the shackles use used -- used to restrain and enslave a child perhaps like one , of those used to restrain washington's own slaves. we are reminded that the new nation did not stand for freedom for all, the united states will soon come to hold the largest slave population in the history of the world and yet the revolution continued to inspire. we can turn our attention to kerry washington. he escaped from mount vernon and
joined the british army where he found liberation from bondage and immigrated to sierra leone. he joined another revolution against the british in that african colony. we can know that he embodied an american spirit of revolution as certainly as george. 75 years after the declaration of independence, the great abolitionist frederick douglass famously asked, what to the slave is the fourth of july? his answer an inspiration to , overthrow the tyranny of his day, to side with the right against the wrong with the weak against the strong and with to -- with the oppressed to the oppressor, he said. here lies of those revolutionaries and many that have followed. like douglas, most americans are not content with reassuring origin stories. we work now for the prospect of the better future with past
struggles as our guide. we see the american revolution in its own historical present, we look not only on the grand -- grander of long dead heroes. we appreciate the efforts of common women, men and children of all sorts. their losses, as well as their victories and determination to turn those losses into lessons that will keep them fighting on. americans can be true to that path by recommitting ourselves to the time to come, taking this history is an inspiration to make the united states the dream we mean it to be. i am fortunate to see this museum is alive right now to show the way. [applause] please welcome the chairman of the museum of the american revolution and the 17th chief of staff of the united states air
force, general john jumper. >> mr. vice president, distinguished guests jerry, , marjorie and your family. the -- museum -- your family. the museum of american resolution honors the courage, the sacrifice, the toil and the blood of a generation who dared to fight for war for -- fight a war for independence. they did so in a quest to found a nation dedicated to those self evident values and truths that all people were created equal and in a conviction that citizens of our nations could, can and should govern themselves. now, 242 years after the first shot was fired a concord, the museum can begin its work as an institution that preserves the stories and inspires generations of young people to embrace the meaning of those truths.
even as a new museum, we have our own story and own heroes who , toil andourage sacrifice made today possible. it is both my pleasure and duty to thank and recognize them. first, our predecessor, the ,alley forge historical society sustained by many dedicated selfless people throughout the 20th century. thanks to them with can present an unparalleled collection of artifacts presented in our museum. to the national park service, which gave up ownership of this land within the independent national historical park so we can serve the millions who come here every year. to mr. robert stern, who designed this landmark building and the skill and trades men and workers in this city who built it. our highest thanks goes to our staff and to their families who
have transformed our organization into a full-grown institution who have overseen , the construction, who have conceived a remarkable exhibit program and assembled a phenomenal team of designers, digital programs -- programmers and artists to bring this all to light for us. that of this have -- what have been possible without the generous financial donations given by 11,000 donors. remarkable. [applause] not only from philadelphia, but from every state in the union. you will see the names of these major donors chiseled onto the stone inside the wall inside the entrance of the museum. our deepest thanks go to each and every one of them. today we reserve our deepest respect for the one man most responsible for bringing us to this place on this day and that
is jerry. [applause] he's here with his wife. jerry became the founding chairman in 2005 and although relinquishing that official position last he will forever december, remain that singular selfless power, able to elevate the human spirit and inspired -- inspire human endeavor. and to deliver this honoring the -- enduring tribute, honoring the nations struggle for independence. it is a privilege to follow you as chairman and to recognize you for yourself and -- selfless dedication. ladies and gentlemen, jerry. [applause]
>> jerry just asked me to make a few comments on his behalf. although it took many years for the is he him of the american revolution to be brought to this nation, it is finally here and we would like to thank all who contributed to its being. way to go, jerry. [applause] >> thank you. >> it is now my duty to introduce our keynote speaker, former vice president joe biden. i'm not sure what more i can say. you have heard so much praise of him, all true. i do want to add that he is a son of pennsylvania, born in scranton.
at an early age, his family undertook that hazardous crossing of the delaware river to settle in wilmington. there, he successfully ran for an won a seat in the u.s. senate in 1972, becoming one of the youngest senators in american history and that was just the beginning of a career of one our nations great public servants. you won an election to the senate six times and he was elected vice president twice. ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the 47th vice president of the united states of america, joe biden. [applause] >> thank you very much.
you know, those of us who served in public office for some time are accustomed to say it's an honor to be here. but this is truly an honor to be invited to participate today and to follow such such -- such distinguished speakers, and i mean that sincerely, thank you. governor, it's a pleasure to see you again and mr. mayor, thank you for the passport into philadelphia and to all of the distinguished guests. i was contemplating when i had -- was flattered to be asked to be the quote, keynote and i will not be a long keynote. i was contemplating what i should talk about and i thought
about what i think is a fundamental question. what is this museum intended to stand for? it for our founders who lived the revolution and gave their lives are revolution? what were they attempting to do? what did they stand for? i think it's important that we answer that question because it's as relevant today as it was then. to paraphrase, emerson's home, what did the people hear when they heard that shot heard around the world. what was it that they heard? about?s this experiment was it just about independence, or revolution for independence?
i think it was about an idea, how to give life to a renaissance idea that a country could actually be governed by its people, all of its people. it's wealthy people, it's poor people. it's people who can read and couldn't read, educated, uneducated. the revolutionary notion of the consent of the government -- of the governed. it seems to me that's ultimately why they say america was an idea, the idea that people could govern themselves, not a monarchy, not a governmental system that conferred, power on the elite or the military, or
only the educated. an idea that ordinary people could do extraordinary things, given half a chance. it truly -- half a chance. it truly was a revolutionary idea. an idea that both startled and at the same time gave hope to the rest of the world. it's an american idea that i still think gives hope to the rest of the world. i have traveled to almost every country in the world. in the last 40 years i've met every major world leader without exception. why do they look at -- without exception. why do they look at us the way they do? why are we still the most
respected nation in the world? faults and all ,f the mistakes we have made founders.ples, our it seems to me they asserted watch -- which has only been referenced already, again but was a revolutionary idea including the french revolution. , we hold these truths self evident. we hold these truths self evident. there is nothing self evident about that assertion when it was made. all men are created equal,
endowed by their creators. we -- by their creators. we initially asserted that our rates do not come from a government, they come from the mere fact that we're children of god. we exist. therefore, we have these rights. we need not ask anyone, any of -- for any of the rights we possess. republic went on -- it would not be defined by a single , but by thoseon that to ourrights founders were self-evident and they thought self executed.
but it took 13 years to give those asserted rights, 13 years to put these ideas into a document of governance, the constitution. the constitution that made our , nottutions, the guarantor the deliverer of, but the guarantor of these inalienable rights. it was the vehicle that we constructed here in this city that would enshrine the principles we said we believe in -- believeded in. and unlike any other nation in the world, and there is no
hyperbole in that statement unlike any other nation in the , world, the united states is uniquely a product of our political institutions. you -- institutions. you cannot define an american by race, religion, ethnicity. americannly define an by an intuitive commitment to the notion that all men are created equal endowed by their creator, and guaranteed by that constitution. our constitution on our adherence to its principles are the reason why we remain the most respected, emulated, revered nation in the world. notwithstanding what you hear
today from some others. [applause] i was criticized. most of the time, totally justifiable criticism, about 12 years ago when i said in a major that we lead the world, not by the example of our power, but by the power of our example. that is not hyperbole. world by the power of our example. there is nothing guaranteed about our democracy. nothing guaranteed about self-governance.
there is no guarantee that we will remain the greatest example of freedom and liberty and equality in the history of the world. there is no guarantee at all. whyave to remind ourselves we have been able to accomplish so much. how did we earn that respect? how can we maintain it? oft as the generations revolutionaries before us did. just like every generation that has followed and will follow. if you could excuse the contemporary comment, the only way this nation can be governed with the consent of the people
is we arrive at a consensus. since --es a consent consensus -- consensus. it requires compromise. o it requires -- it requires reaching out. overlooking. someone once said the truly wise parent and i would argue a wise government knows what to overlook as well as to what to look at. the politics today is pulling us apart at the seams. it has gotten worse. politics have become too negative, too nasty, to petty, to personal -- too petty, too personal.
partisans are not looked at as opponents, but as enemies. we no longer just question the judgment of our opponents. we spend more time questioning their motive, a very presumptuous thing to do. i learned a lesson early on and -- as a young senator. i do not want to go to the senate because of an accident that occurred after i was elected. a man named mike mansfield, i man who had more integrity than most people have in their whole body came to me and said you owe it to your deceased wife and .our child to be sworn in only 1712 had been sworn in. come stay six months.
today our supposed to be sworn in, as mike castle remembered, i didn't show up, i stayed in the hospital, changed my mind. he sent the secretary of the senate to the hospital to swear me and -- swear me in. when i went down and i got an assignment, i thought every freshman senator got an assignment. once a week i would show up in the majority leader's office to report on the assignment i was given. it took me about three months to figure out all he was doing was checking my pulse to see how i was doing. one day at the end of may, following the tradition i had, which was to walk through those double doors down into the senate to check when the last vote would be so i know which amtrak train i can get -- take to get home to see my sons. jesse holman's from -- jesse helms from north carolina, a
friend of mine to this day, bob dole and one of my mentors teddy , kennedy, for the precursor, for the america's with disabilities act. he's talking about it's not government's obligation to care and deal with the handicapped, etc. so i walked in and sat down for my meeting. and i guess i looked angry and he said, what's the matter, joe, he spoke and turned. i said, that jessie helms, and i went on to basically say, he had no social redeeming value. i didn't understand how he could do what he was doing. he looked at me and said, joe what would you tell me if i told helms threed jesse years ago where reading the raleigh observer in their hometown of raleigh, north carolina. a story on a man with steel crutches saying all i want for christmas is someone to love me. would you say if i told you that
they went and adopted that child? i said i would feel foolish. he said will they did. he said i learned a long time ago, everyone has been sent here was sent because there are state found something good about them. -- their state found something good about them. it's your job to look for that. it's always appropriate to question the man and woman's judgment, but never their motive because you don't know it. well, ladies and gentlemen all we do today it seems is question motive. we need to focus on the things that unite us. focus on what our founders understood, that there is nothing beyond our capability, beyond our capacity, nothing. focus on the model that was referenced by a previous speaker. e pluribus unum. out of one, many.
that is who we are. we are so different. but so similar. so similar in our aspirations. constitution. it was to make those aspirations saying. history has demonstrated when we act as one america, we always do well, no matter who is in charge. rich, poor, middle class, black, white, asian, hispanic, gay, transgender. those have been here generations and those who have only come recently. one america. even when it's not easy, which most of the time it's not, even when there are setbacks and xenophobic attitudes.
we have always eventually stepped forward. we've always overcome. but as martin o'malley, who i consider a great friend who is an incredible governor, he heard me say this before when he asked me to speak at fort peck canneries 210 -- fort mchenry's 200th anniversary. i think we're the only country in the kent -- in a world with an anthem, a national anthem that ends with the question. i don't think there's any other. i may be mistaken, i don't think there's any other anthem in the world that ends with a question, does that star spangle banner yet wave? that question, and its implicit aspiration is echoed through every single prayer lists moment
in america and helped us endured over the past two centuries. was it still waving in the midst, 200 years ago of fort mchenry? was it waving 50 years later as broke over alight nation ripped apart by civil war? was it waving on the beaches of normandy in the mountains of korea and the jungles of vietnam, the streets of fallujah and the kunar valley in afghanistan? was it still waving? whent waving over america an american stood on the moon, our first responders at ground zero. was it waving when a weary president at gettysburg or a preacher of a dream with the lincoln memorial. was it waving over every embassy, every foreign position, every shift, man, woman in the service of america?
ballpark, town, and city of this great nation, and the front porches of my house and many of yours, waiting for their return? obvious, thus far the resounding answer is yes. and forever waive, but only if we hold onto it. because it's not the flag we are waving, it is what lives within us. is it in our hearts? and meanlly understand what this museum is about to celebrate? in the heart of every american, is the very idea of america.
they don't even know it, to articulate it, that way. ask the average person when you leave here, why do you have the right to do a, b, c or d. i'll -- or d? and they will tell you because the constitution as i do and they may have never even read the constitution. important.is not monument, but a reminder that we've got to fight every dam day -- damn day to remind ourselves how we got to where we are. don't ever think that there's ever anything self executing about democracy. it lives in this museum and in every movement of every child
who is going to walk through this door in the hand of the parent and believes that he or she can do anything. why? because we are americans. why? truths to hold these be self-evident. why? because it's all about the consent of the governed, and that's what makes us different. that's what makes us special. that is why it is such an incredible honor to be able to stand here for the opening of this museum before so many of my fellow americans. god bless you all and may god protect our troops.
[applause] >> thank you vice president biden. for the please join me ribbon-cutting to open the doors of the museum of the american people, to people -- american revolution to people around the world. >> the philadelphia boy's choir will perform america the beautiful while we cut the ribbon, so please be patient. and thank you all for coming. ♪ america ♪ america ♪
all weekend, every weekend on c-span3. to join the conversation, like us on facebook at c-span history. , etc.ight, on afterwards to and from colorado, also a member of the freedom caucus discusses his book, drain the swamp: how washington corruption is worse than you think. >> when you arrive at d.c. and you have the surroundings that i described earlier, you get very comfortable in that situation, and you don't want to give up those comforts and the way to continue to earn those comforts is to spend more money into grow government and cannot solve problems but to create programs and take credit for those programs, whether they are efficient and effective. congresshe members of
are here, it's the best job they've never had, the highest paying job they've ever had and it's a job that they don't want to give up, and so their reelection is more important than the actual problem solving that needs to go on in d.c.. >> watch afterwards, tonight on c-span three's book tv. recently, american history tv was at the american historical association's annual meeting in denver, colorado. professors,h authors and graduate students about the research. this interview is about 20 minutes. johanna neuman at the american historical association. your session on sunday called one cause, to democracies, why american suffrage its shunned british violence.