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tv   James Monroes Highland  CSPAN  August 18, 2018 6:40pm-7:01pm EDT

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our tour of presidential homes continues as we stay in the virginia countryside with a visit to james monroe's high .and close to jefferson's monticello, the fifth president lived here from 1793 until his death. >> i call it a presidential cold case. there were always questions about this house. architects look at the little house and say that does not really look like a wing of a president's house. there are formal similarities to other dependency buildings from other plantations. the questions were lingering. when i got here, there were answers to questions i asked,
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but i did not quite fully understand. maybe it is just a willingness to say that i don't understand that. because maybe it is perfectly clear but i just don't understand. actually saying i don't understand that, let's look further. we are standing now in the center of the spot where james monroe's original main house stood. this is where we discovered the well preserved foundations just below ground surface. we have covered it back up while we are not excavating. that is how we preserve an archaeological site. we laid these pavers down on the ground service to get a sense of the footprint of the house. it was laid specifically over the places that we have excavated and have identified the walls. it is also speculated a bit in between those spots. this is the outline of the 1799 monroe house. we see some of the walls that
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are indicated by these surface flagstones so you can really get a sense of the relationship of this house to the smaller 1818 guesthouse that is behind the 1870's house. we have excavated a couple dozen squares around here. the interior and exterior around here we dug last fall. the grass has not quite grown back yet. eventually, our research will uncover this area and also the yard. our work on the yard will be able to tell us a lot of the activities that were happening here and we will get the house orientation. we don't know whether the main entrance was on this face for the southern face. we will be able to determine that. there is a smaller wing to the west that is probably more service oriented. it held a kitchen cellar.
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the cellar itself we have not excavated. we are eager to get into that. we will have great discoveries there. we have really good evidence of burning. we think the house was destroyed by fire sometime between the mid 1830's and early 1850's. we have not yet found contemporary newspaper accounts of the destruction, which is somewhat surprising. i know that any day someone will come up to me and have discovered the missing newspaper account. that will happen, i am sure. we found a chimney base. we found burned planks, the archaeological small finds are numerous. there is good documentary of corroborating that. the container of the day before plastic bottles, glass, wine
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bottles were used over and over again for all types of liquid storage and transport. some ceramics, which is interesting. that will tell us what the monroe's were eating off of, the dishes they used. -- excitingloiting moment to see the consumer choices they made. the house continues behind me and probably goes under the 1870's house that belongs to the massey family. it continues 20 feet or so underneath the house. that was probably severely impacted by the construction in the 1870's. otherwise, the part of the house that is not covered by that is really well preserved. it is an archaeological pressure
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-- treasure that i'm eager to get into. james monroe is an interesting character. he is maybe the most popular president of his time, and one that is least known today. we have a great challenge and opportunity to share his story. james monroe purchased the property in 1793. when he was away, he was minister to france during the 1790's. his good friend and mentor thomas jefferson and his other friend james madison were both involved in setting up the plantation prior to his moving here in 1799. james monroe and his wife moved here late in the year in 1799 . james monroe, unlike the other local presidents, did not grow up in this area. monroe himself is from west moreland county out east.
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he was born in 1758 and moved here from fredericksburg where he settled with his young wife just after their marriage. first they live on a property that is now on the grounds of the university of virginia. they call it monroe hill. this property became available and he saw it as being closer to jefferson, being a larger tract of land and hopefully more productive. he purchased the property in 1793 and moved in 1799. by the late 18 teens, he had his property oak hill in loudoun county. that was closer to washington. he wants down more frequently. during his presidency, he very likely traveled with his wife. sometimes his elder daughter also accompanied them. her husband, george hay, was an important person to monroe. a confidant and secretary
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sometimes. his family would come. there were certainly enslaved people during monroe's lifetime. he claimed ownership of about 250 souls. that is cumulative, not at one time. the enslaved workforce buried in number-- varied in a based on what was happening with the properties. that is important to recognize is that monroe's latency is physically fairly diffuse. this is the one that is open to the public. he spent time in fredericksburg and new york city. of course, he was born in the eastern part of the state. during the main portion of his public career, highland was his home. this represents his ministries abroad where he was twice minister to france and england and briefly to spain. it also represents his time as secretary of state.
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prior to that he was a four term governor when that was allowed. he was elected to four individual one-year terms. he was secretary of state and eventually a wildly popular two-term president. monroe seems to be an easy man. they say he was able to put men and women at ease in social situations. i think he enjoyed dinner table conversation. he really was kind. people say he had a great sense of humor. we see that in accounts of him. he seems to poke fun at himself and others. james monroe went to campbelltown academy, which was a good school. it really prepared colonial young men for a real professional life. john marshall was at least briefly one of his classmates.
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after both of his parents died by the time he was 16, his maternal uncle, joseph jones, who was his first real mentor and role model, sent james monroe to william and mary, where he studied for about two years. i like in particular a story about monroe's start there. he should have been well prepared and well regarded school. he got there and found he was really deficient in one of more of the subjects and was not quite ready and was kind of disappointed. he wrote about this later that he went home and studied really hard over the summer and really worked hard to get where he thought he should be. when he came back, his professors were impressed. he really then made the cut and was where he should have been. i think that is a central piece to understanding james monroe.
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here at highland, we have always understood that the standing house is not the entire monro main house. we thought it was a part of the main house, or a remnant wing. we know that from documentary sources in particular. insurance documents where three of them that show sketches of two wings but together. when i started here in 2012, i sought to understand the history of the property itself. the wing that is no longer here, we should be able to find traces of it underground and i was not really satisfied with the sense that it is there and we have not found. we kept looking and eventually excavated all the way around the main house. it was in the front of the
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1870's house that we found in a deposit of archaeological debris. we needed to open up larger excavations. we need to find out where was the building that contributed that debris. we were very lucky to find well preserved archaeological foundations there. the structures on the property today come from the different phases of occupation. the james monroe period buildings behind me, the presidential guesthouse was built for him when he was president. in 1818, and he was coming here as president, he needed more space. when you travel as president, you have more people visiting you, you need more accommodation for people to come with you or to you when you are president. the 1818 guesthouse is one part. that has a small one room white
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piece added to the eastern part, and then that connects to this large building, this taller yellow building that was from the 1870's. this little white piece is from the 1850's. we see circular saw marks all through the frame and that gives us a good date. that is corroborated by archery dating. we have an overseer's house as well. and a smokehouse. otherwise, we have later monroe buildings and reproduction buildings or reconstructions of buildings that were here historically. we do know the names and occupations of cumulatively 250 people that were enslaved as part of monroe's lifetime owning. there was a variety of course.
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one of the things that we really appreciate is getting to know people's names and their specific occupations. for example, in september 6, 1818, letter that james monroe wrote to george hay, he talks about building this house, building the presidential guesthouse. he mentioned one by name and the other by occupation of two enslavement that does enslaved men that did work. he speaks of a carpenter. we think that man was peter mallory. you see his name in other places. he also mentioned a man named george who may have been another carpenter or another craftsman. knowing that these two were the people in charge of building the house we still have standing really brings a richness to our understanding of the property and its history. we see people and the roles they play, the connections or not the
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monroe family who ultimately saw them as labor, but in certain instances seen these enslaved people with whom they did share things. it is a complex story and we do know some. not enough. we're still working. the discoveries we have made are not only an opportunity to re-examine the site, which is essential and very exciting, but also an example to study james monroe himself. we are excited to look back at what we that what we understood about james monroe. our research is ongoing. we continue to do archaeology. two projects are the larger landscape, including the slave quarters that we may have discovered in the field, and what we want to do now is really raise the funds for the
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excavation that will take place over the course of a year or years. have it open for a month or two at a time so we can really look in and see the whole house open and really that into those cellars. that would be crucial archaeologically to open those up and see who's stuff was in the cellar when house was destroyed. we think the house was destroyed after james monroe left. all indications are that it would have been between the 1830's to 1850's. monroe was gone by then. the cellars will be able to tell us in closer detail when the house was destroyed. we will be able to tell with the finishes of the house, the
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plaster, maybe types of woodwork and hardware. we have a long season of archaeological excavation ahead of us. we are in the development phase for because we need the resources to be able to open that and keep it open for a good period of time. our best days are still ahead of us. we look forward to the time when archaeology is a daily occurrence here. that is what people can see when they come. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2018] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] andou can't watch this other programs on the history of communities across the country at this is american history tv, only on c-span3. "afterwards"ht on
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retired marine corps general on gender bias in the military. she is interviewed by military times read -- a military times reporter. that it not held to a high standard coming out of boot camp, how does that affect the rest of her career? that becausem is the marine corps does not want to change what happens at that foundational level and because everything is so segregated. those stereotypes persist any stereotypes, as i mentioned theier, they feed into perception that women can't because they are women. then they are not respected. the lack of respect is legendary. hear male workers who happen
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to be slower that they are women, that they should be sent battalion. he becomes normal to say derogatory things about women. that is the dilemma that women have when they graduate from boot camp. the culture that they are brought into. >> watch sunday night at 9:00 p.m. eastern on c-span two. >> the c-span bus has arrived in hawaii for the 39th stop of our 50 capitals tour. we are visiting honolulu, with the help of our spectrum cable partners. >> we are excited to have c-span here in hawaii. a greatthis is opportunity for showing people hawaii across the nation. >> i want to make a warm welcome
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to c-span and its impressive bus that is going all over our nation. while in hawaii, i know c-span will enjoy the beauties, sunshine, and of course the a of the 50thloha state. i'm sure you will feel the it starts on its discovery of hawaii as a part of its of 50 capitals tour. , i do hereby complain -- hereby declare this as a c-span week in hawaii. on our visit to hawaii during hawaii weekend october 6 and seventh. watch on c-span,, or listen on the c-span radio app. next, on the civil war, author timothy smith discusses
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his book. it is about a local civilian, who despite not being part of either army decided to fight on the side of the union and was subsequently injured at the battle of gettysburg. timothy smith explores the myth of the john barnes a story that has been passed down over the years. our next presentation is from mr. tim smith. we go way back, close to 30 years of knowing each other. he is originally from the baltimore, maryland area. battlefieldnsed guide here at gettysburg national park. he has authored several books. atis a former instructor harrisburg area community college. he does appear regularly on pennsylvania cable network


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