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tv   Craig Shirley  CSPAN  December 18, 2019 4:33pm-5:32pm EST

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a whole. >> one of the questions i would like to see all the candidates answer this campaign season is based on the rights innumerated in this book here, where do they believe each of those rights come from. >> one of the issues i want candidates to address primarily is mental health because the main time we see mental health in the news is after a terrible gun violence situation. and most mental health factors don't contribute to that. myself -- i suffer with anxiety and depression, and i am not getting the best care i need. and i need candidates to actually do something more to help people like me. >> and an issue i would like the candidates to address is the involvement of pharmaceutical companies in health care. i think the advertising of pharmaceuticals on television led to the problems with health care coverage and that entire issue. so, if you could please address
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that in a specific way, it would probably help every american in the united states. >> voices from the road on c-span. >> we're back with craig shirley, the author of the new book "mary ball washington: the untold story of george washington's mother." craig good morning. >> good morning. >> so, why write about mary ball washington? we've heard the story about george washington. why write about his mother? >> because she's a misunderstood figure of history. she's been badly treated by american history. there's never been a definitive biography done of george washington's mother which i find remarkable. it's not just because she had him. that would be too easy an answer. it's how she raised him. her husband, augustine, died when george was just 11 years old. mary was a single mother in her 30s raising 6 children. that alone i think would
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resonate with a lot of women in america today and the tough times she went through raising her children. there was a -- when she was referred to biographers from time of her passing until about the time of the civil war, she came across this kind of june cleaver, or mary, mother of christ, or whatever. after the civil war when realism began to take hold in american literature with "moby dick" and "tom sawyer" and all that, the biographers made her look more like joan crawford. both got it wrong. the elements of both in her character and make up, but both got it wrong. she was neither and she was both. plus i lived in the area where she and the epic forest and lively area of rural virginia on the northern neck. and there's a lot of ball descendants down there today.
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it's just something that washington really piqued by interest. i wanted to write something about washington but he had pretty much been covered, you know, suit to nails. >> right. >> but the way to get in and talk about him was to do a book about his mother. >> so, give us a quick biography of mary ball washington. was she born in the united states? >> yes. >> give us information about her. >> she was born in the united states. she was -- her -- she was born of means but not of the upper classes, more like the upper middle classes of rural virginia, virginia society. from the time that she was born until the time she was 11 years old, she lost her, she lost her father, she lost her step father, she lost her step brother. so, she knew about death intimately by the time she was 11 years old. she meets augustine in her 20s and proceeds to marry him.
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in nine years, she had six children in nine years. she lived on ferry farm which was outside of fredericksburg, virj for a time. but as things evolved and augustine died and the children moved on, she moved into fredericksburg where she spent the rest of her life. and was not active in the community. she was a regular congregate at the church. we know she liked to dance. but there are a lot of gaps in the story. it's like buying a 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle and having 300 pieces missing. so, you've got to stitch it together and then kind of make educated guesses about what was the b part of the puzzle to get you from a to c. and so that's what we had to do.
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we researched everything fairly well, at mount vernon, the society, fredericksburg, fredericksburg newspapers, at mary ball washington's home at the mary ball washington library in virj, compiled everything we could to complete the story of mary ball washington. >> why is it necessary for americans to know the complete story of mary ball washington? what do we learn about george washington and about the beginnings of america from her? >> clearly -- he had an older step brother named lawrence who was the product of augustine's marriage to jane. jane died and augustine married mary. and young george looked up to lawrence as a role model. and lawrence by all accounts was a very good man. but lawrence also died in his late 20s or early 30s. so, clearly, all of his
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attributes, his patriotism, his loyalty, his intelligence, his integrity, his fidelity, all of these things had to come from somewhere and clearly they came from his mother. she was the one who taught him the life lessons that made him the standard by which all succeeding presidents had been measured. one other thing too i wanted people to understand is that the 1700s was not a very hospitable century for a lot of people of african slaves but also women. she obviously didn't have the vote. but she couldn't actually own property. women in that century couldn't really own property. they would inherit it from their husband when the husband died, but then their job was to be a custodian of that property and simply pass it along to their eldest son. and that's what she did.
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with ferry farm, augustine left it to george. she was custodian of it. and then interestingly enough, it becomes indicative of their relationship is that she never really handed ferry farm over to george even though he expressed frustration with her for not executing the paperwork to give him that farm which his father had left for him. >> which brings us to our next question. what was her relationship like with george? were they close? were they distant? did george express, like you said a little bit of frustration with her? >> a lot of frustration. >> tell us about the relationship between a young george washington and his mother and then an older george washington and his mother. >> i suppose washington, like most of us, was in a lifetime and maybe fruitless quest to please his mother. and she rather expected him to go out and do good things. it was expected of people of
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that class of that strata of virginia society to go out. you weren't supposed to be wasteful. you were supposed to go out and do things. and george just so happened preside over the continental congress, was the commander in chief of the continental congress, and elected unanimously as president of the united states and reelected. she took that all in stride. when he was 14 years old, he wanted to join the british navy as a cabin boy. she wrote a letter to her brother-in-law in london and said tell me about how americans are treated in the british navy. he wrote a scorching letter back and said under no circumstances are you to allow george to become a cabin boy because it was the lowest wrung. they were british subjects,
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french, spanish, whatever, down at the lowest wrung, even below jamaicans and african slaves were american cabin boys. they were treated the worst of all. and this is at a time too when something like 1/3 of cabin boys died at sea. so, she gets this letter from her brother-in-law and she puts her foot down and tells george no, under no circumstances can you join the british navy. so, he -- >> how did he take that? >> he -- as far as we know, based on the little information, he obviously was disappointed. he obviously -- but he -- but he did as his mother told him to do. >> as we all do eventually, right? >> exactly, yes, yes. >> now -- >> or we try to anyway. >> we try to at least. i want to read something from your book you said about mary ball washington. she was seen as a saint or a villain, nothing in between. but in fact, taken together,
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mary's seemingly contradictory character traits complemented each other. mary's kindness and control were one and the same. mary washington was a woman who used a facade of motherly virtue to cover her desire to control her son. in the same way that he led a country to break away from its overpowering imperial matron, george had to struggle to find independence in his own life to step away from the power of his demanding mother. give us examples of the ways george had to break away and prove independence to his mother. >> the one example i gave you -- >> the cabin boy, right. >> yeah, about joining the british navy. also during the french and indian wars, when he was in the british army fighting the french and indians in the ohio valley, she implored him not to go and he went despite her. on the other hand is that he was very dutiful about delivering an allowance to her several times a
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year, sometimes more than several times a year -- >> you mean part of his salary. >> part of his income from his -- from mount vernon and other ventures and things like that. he would take money to her in fredericksburg for her to help make ends meet. so, there were contrasts. there were battles over property. there were battles over whether or not he would join the british army, british navy. but there was also clear that she did love him, and it's clear that he did lover had. it was a very tempest wous relationship, but it was also a loving relationship. >> i want to let our viewers join in this conversation. we're going to open up regional lines for this last hour. that means if you live in the eastern or central time zone, we want you to call in at 202-748-8000. if you are in the mountain or pacific time zones, your number
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202-748-8001. and keep in mind you can always text us your question at 202-748-8003, and we are always reading on social media on twitter @cspanwj and i'm interested in research that goes into works like this. i know the further we go back in history, the harder it is to find material that helps build these narratives. what did you work from to come up with the story of mary ball washington? his letters, washington was a writer of letters. her letters, some of which
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survive to this day. local accounts, letters from her children like betty and samuel to her and letters from her to her children, local newspaper accounts, third party accounts. there was an account once when some french soldiers going through fredericksburg during the american revolution and they recorded th recorded that mary was anything but a supporter of the revolution which was interesting because her son was leading the revolution. >> we're going to get into that in a second. >> the indication was that she was not all that thrilled about supporting the revolution, that she was loyal to the british crown even as her own son was leading the american revolution. there was account of some french soldiers going to fredericksburg that noted mary's indifference to the whole revolution. >> since we're talking about it, let's jump into it now. mary ball washington grew up as a british subject. >> british subject.
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>> her son is leading a revolution, a rebellion, against the culture she grew up in. did that cause a conflict between the two? >> not that i've been able to discover, jesse. it's just that -- and you're exactly right. from the time she was born along about 1703, nobody knows -- interesting nobody knows when she was born and nobody knows where she's buried. we don't know where her grave is in fredericksburg. we know when she passed away, she died of breast cancel. her approximate age was 83. nobo nobody's really sure. she grew up in a british culture. she was a brit uish subject. she went to the local anglican church. she grew up believing in the divine right of kings, that king george ii, king george iii were
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the absolute heads of british empire and she was a british subject and the american colonies were part of the british empire. now she and a lot of other people like her are asked to forget everything they've been immersed in part last -- for her 60 years of her life. everything you've learned you have to unlearn. everything you know is wrong. you don't bow down to kings. the british parliament is not running things. you don't take your orders from parliament. we're going to rescramble the deck and we're going to throw off that colonial power and become an independent nation. this is earth shattering for a lot of people. this is before the internet and before regular newspapers, before television, radio, things like that. the forms of communication are the spoken word, written word, and newspapers and that's it. so, things move very, very slowly. but when the american revolution
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which happens which really goes in slow motion because the american revolution really starts probably 10, 15 years ahead of the july 4th, 1776, the town son acts, all these king george's edict to american colonies not to settle the ohio valley. over a long period of time, 10 years or more, is that great britain and the parliament and the king are pushing more and more down on the american colonists. and sometimes they withdraw these acts and sometimes they don't. but it finally, you know, the pot finally boils up around 1774 and then results in the declaration of independence in 1776. and she's watching all this, but she's really not involved at all. like a lot of people, she's not
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involved. and she never -- there's no record of her knitting socks for the american revolution or hosting fund-raisers or bundles for american members of the colognikohl colonial army and she was an observer at best. >> george washington at the time was probably the most famousobs. >> george washington at the time was probably the most famous living american, he and ben franklin. was she ever in any danger, you would think as the most famous american you would think the british might have sent someone to collect his mother. >> no. they didn't engage in things like that, and i'm not sure how well known that she was not a supporter of the revolution. obviously, he knew and he was too busy and he was preoccupied with this rag tag army over seven years of a british victory
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after british victory and that's really washington's genius is that he kept the army together battle to battle, losing many and winning a few, but winning a few important ones. >> was there any contact between then general washington and his mother during the revolution? >> no. he wrote many, many letters to martha and martha wrote many letters to him, and i found virtually no communication between george and mary during the seven years of the american revolution. why do you think that was? is it simply because he's too busy and he has -- >> i don't think there's anything nefarious. >> was there a rift in the relationship? >> nothing emerged to suggest that, not any contemporaneous letters whatsoever and not any contemporaneous diaries whatsoever that seemed to indicate there was a rift between the relationship, and it's just that he was very busy and you know, i mean, there are
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other examples of how much he loved her and how devoted he was to her and the letters also addressed to honored madam. now, it was respectful, that's clear, and it kept her at somewhat at arm's length distance from him. so correct and so formal as to keep it from being too personal. >> let's some of our viewers join in the conversation. once again, we'll open up the lines. if you're in the eastern or central time zones your number is 800-748-8000 and if you're in the pacific time zones your number is 800-748-8001. jim in tucker, georgia. good morning. >> good morning, you guys. it's a fascinating topic. so my question -- i have a
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couple of questions and comments. first of all, you talked of the way that people communicated back then and you didn't mention a town crier. so i would be interested to know what -- how that impacts, you know, the way folks communicated back then. regarding the relationship with his mother, that's really interesting stuff. i'd like to know how the temperate -- how the temperate -- i guess it was a temperate move back then, but how that relationship may have affected washington's perspective on the whiskey rebellion after he was president, and then i have -- i'd like to know -- well, two more things. i mean, you know, you look at way people communicated back then and they have letters, that's great.
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people have letters to look at, but now with our culture the way it is now and all of the e-communications i wonder how that will affect the research, and then the last thing i'd like to hear your comments on are how -- how washington's relationship with his mother may compare or contrast to president trump's relationship with his mother. >> okay. a lot of questions. i'll try to do my best. thank you, jim. i honestly don't know about -- i'll be honest about donald trump's relationship with his mother. i assume -- most presidents had very good relationships with their mother, and i think that's a key indicator of what type of president they would be. obviously, abraham lincoln spoke very kindly about nancy haynes and sarah roosevelt was very domineering of franklin roosevelt, but he obviously lived with her basically his whole life even when he went
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home to sunnyside in hyde park. reagan -- ronald reagan, i've written four books about ronald reagan had a very, very devoted relationship with his mother nell. so much so that when he was age he and his brother neal were given the choice to follow disciples of christ, while neal chose to go into the roman catholic church. that in itself, he always said nothing but very, very warm things. he gave her a job in hollywood in the 1940s answering his fan mail for him. bought her a house. bought her and her house a house, her and his father a house. i think most presidents, and again, i think this is an indicator of leadership. most presidents had very, very good, maybe sometimes
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tumultuous, stipometimes battli and very strong relationships with their mother. abraham lincoln despised his father, but he loved his mother, but maybe how a mother raises a son is just as important if not more important than how a father races a son. so that's one question. on temperance, washington himself was a whiskey distiller and quite successful at selling it. in fact, there's still a distillery on the mount vernon today. he was known to have a cocktail although there was no record of him of drinking to drunkenness although his brother samuel. there's some scant evidence that his brother samuel had a drinking problem, but there was no temperance of movement in that air whatsoever. there's no evidence either that
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mary ever took what they used to call her spirits that ever had a drink or a high ball or cocktail or anything like that. what were the other questions? >> think those two will be enough for that one. >> okay. so let's talk to steve who called from webster, massachusetts. steve, good morning. >> yes, good morning. mr. shirley, first in your research, i am just curious did you ever come across anything that supports the cherry tree story or whatever it is? >> no. no. go ahead. >> and they also had a second question. i'd like you to enlighten us a little bit not only on the whiskey rebellion. i'm a student somewhat of che's rebellion, and to my understanding president wash would be had a bit of the a disdain for back country people, and i understand the bill of rights came from the massachusetts compromise more or less. if you could comment on those
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two items and first the cherry tree and i don't believe it, and also about the agrarian rebellions, as well, too. his mother's effect upon president washington and his regard towards agrarians. thank you. >> sure. thank you. as far as the -- what was the first one? >> the cherry tree. >> carson weems was an early biographer of george washington, and he was the one who came up with the cherry tree story. there was no evidence that the cherry tree story actually happened whatsoever, but it did indicate that one thing that is true about that is that george washington was a man of deep conviction, deep character, deep honesty and deep integrity and the story, while probably not true is still a good parable of the type of boy that george
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washington was and the type of man he grew into. so it still has its choices each though it's not true. >> the whiskey rebellion, after washington becomes president hamilton goes to washington and alexander hamilton is the secretary of the treasury and he goes to washington and says, look, we need to pay off the various debts and the various states left over from the revolution and one way to bind the country together is to take on all of the debts from the national government and washington agrees to this and it's that interestingly enough it's an indication of how early lobbyists were operating in washington because the tax that was levied on the whiskey distilleries were laid more heavily on the small distilleries and less on the big distilleries because they could hire lobbyists to lobby the city of washington to lay off of them, and that was kind of the source of the whiskey rebellion
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was the small distilleries. one thing they did, too, which was interesting ask washington did lead men in battle to suppress rural pennsylvania and the distilleries in order to escape the tax moved into kentucky and ten ten. >> which was then not a part of the united states. >> which was not a part of the united states, and it was the whiskies, bourbons and scotches were made in kentucky because they left the united states to escape the taxes by the whiskey tax. >> we talked about mary ball washington and a young george washington. we talked a little bit about mary ball washington and general george washington. what was the relationship like between president george
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washington and mary ball washington? >> he -- this is a great question. he's chosen as president of the united states and he's got to go to new york now, new york being the first cap of the united states and he's got to go there to assemble a government and assume the duties as the first chief executive, but before he does belief for mount vernon, new york, he makes one last trip to fredericksburg and he goes knowing his mother is dying of cancer. she knows she's dying of cancer and there were two contemporaneous accounts of letters that the last meeting between the two of them was very, very tender, was very, very warm, and she basically acknowledged and finally acknowledged that what he'd done in his life had been great and she basically gave her blessings to go to new york to assume the
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office of the president of the united states and to do what he had to do to pull the country together. so by all accounts, his last meeting with her was a very warm one. now he's in new york and he gets a letter by horse or by carriage takes a week, two weeks, something like that, and he's told that his mother's passed away and he goes into a room by himself for something like three hours. obviously, grief stricken at the loss of his mother. so it was -- it was at the end, all of the old animosities and all of the old battles had fallen away and there was just the love of a mother and the love of a son. >> did president george washington was he able to attend a found ral or service for his mother? >> no. >> he was pilloried for that. >> pilloried by who?
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>> by gossips and things like that and the media? >> i don't remember any newspapers actually saying anything about that. maybe there was one or two, jesse, but i don't recall off hand. >> but by other people. >> yeah. >> but again, he was -- he was a victim of distance is that, you know, it was four or -- 350 miles from fredericksburg to new york and -- >> by the time we heard it was probably a week or so later. >> yes, by the time he heard she'd already been burred and i don't think it was recorded the day she was buried, but it was recognized and it was celebrated and her life was celebrated and as a matter of fact, the collection was quickly taken up in fredericksburg to establish a monument and a large obelisk and it sat uncompleted for many,
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many years and then finally, later on. as a matter of fact, i think it was andrew jackson who laid the kind of dedicated the monument, but it wasn't finished for many, many years later, but it isn't finished today. >> let's talk to dawn calling from durham, north carolina. >> yes, good morning. >> wanted to know if mr. shirley had any background or information came across with the law being created because philly and new york had different rules on indentured servants and slaves and when they could be free and the white house being actually moved to washington, d.c., because of that. a book called "never caught" by a sister named armstrong talks about his pursuit of a runaway
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slave. any use of africans on both british and american side to win the revolutionary war because george washington had to use african men to win the war, africans who wanted to bey from from slavery because the american men or british descent or so forth, they were dropping out of the war. they were leaving and abandoning the post. i'll admit that the future of runaway slave act is not what it should be. it was an important part of american society and culture and the 1700s and later in the 1800s is the very farm where mary operated who crops and had about 20 slaves in fredericksburg and washington had 300 slaves.
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and on his death bed. and there is, and again, i didn't get into this, but i am aware that african-americans served in both the british army and the american army and there were some promises made if they served in the american revolution and who was dying in the institution, and along the 1820s. and i'm not as well versed on that issue as i should be, but there's no doubt that they were interwoven or intertwined and had been so for 300 years. >> and what was the relationship like between mary ball washington and martha washington? george washington marys martha, and i believe, on his death president washington said slaves could be released after martha's death. >> yes, i believe so.
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>> the slaves went to martha and then after martha's death they could be free, but what was the relationship between mary ball washington and martha washington? what was their relationship? >> there's some evidence that it was not good martha -- mary did not attend their marriage and again, that could have been because of distance. >> mary did not attend george and martha's wedding? >> i beg your pardon, yeah, their wedding. i beg your pardon, but that could have been distance also. on the other hand, one time washington wrote a letter to his mother-in-law, martha's mother and said please come and visit us at mount vernon. we have lots of food. we have lots of visitors and we have lots of room and we have lots of music and you'll have a great time. at the same time he writes a letter to his mother and says don't come visit us at mount vernon. there are too many people here
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and you don't like the food and there's not enough room and the music is too loud. >> very clear how he felt there, right? >> did mary ball washington ever go to mount vernon? she may have once. before it was mount vernon, before his brother lawrence, when his brother lawrence owned it, he named it under whom he served and greatly admired. before it was known as little creek and there was some evidence that mary may have gone there to plead with george not to go join the british army and fight in the ohio valley to fight in the french and indian wars and it's very scant evidence and i don't believe she ever visited mount vernon. >> let's go back to our callers and let's talk to rick who is calling f calling from las cruces, new mexico. good morning. >> good morning. yeah. i would like mr. shirley to
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comment on anything he knows about those allowances that you mentioned that george washington provided his mother, and he read somewhere that he viewed those as well, is that correct? >> he wrote them down in his diaries and he was meticulous and all of his financial transactions and his acreage and what was being produced about the number of pounds and potatoes and tobacco and other things like that. i'm not sure i recall. he may have listed them as debt, but i don't think he expected them to be repaid, and she didn't have the income to repay him, and he felt like it was his duty to give his morgue these allowances and they varied from time to time. sometimes they were larger.
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sometimes they were smaller, but interestingly enough, the last time they met was that he brought, the last time we met the last time we went to new york and he took an allowance and he refused us saying she was fine and had enough money and in her mind, it was not something he owed her and it was not something she demanded, and he was giving it out of the kindness of his heart and his ledgers is a debt, but he never expected them to collect on them. >> let's go to martha who is calling from charleston, south carolina. >> thank you for another great book. i'm looking forward to reading it. >> thank you. >> a previous caller mentioned "never caught" by eric armstrong dunbar, the story of george washington pursuing ona judge,
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the slave that ran away to philadelphia to freedom because onna judge was martha washington's helper in everything she did, and so george really pursued that. it's an amazing history and it's a national book award and thanks to c-span i trd and bought it, and i'm going to buy your book. >> i want to know did george visit his mother in fredericksburg, and is there a possibility that maybe his mother destroyed the letters that may have been exchanged during the controversial revolutionary war or anything like that? >> yeah. that's a good point. very, very possibly. we know that martha destroyed all of the letters that george wrote her which was invaluable history and there were many, many letters that george wrote
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martha and she burned after his passing. it's very possible that mary destroyed letters at all, but again, there's no evidence that he wrote it at any one time. so who is to say? >> we had one of our social media followers who wants to know what was mary ball washington's view on slavery. >> she was a person in her time and she was a person in her culture and she never expressed any type of opposition to it or anything i could find or any type of regret. she simply accepted it. she had her house slaves and there were slaves at ferry farm, and it was just a part of the fredericksburg in virginia and colonial america especially in the south. >> did she inherit her slaves -- did her slave come through her
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marriage or did she inherit them through her parents and great point is that when her parents died, she inherited several slaves and when her husband died she inherited more slaves. >> did she go out and actively purchase more slaves or were they all inherited? >> i believe they were all inherited and that's something that he -- that's something in that culture would have done and it would have done by one of her sons or george, and there was no evidence -- it was one of those missing gaps of history how she obtained the slaves through inheritance. >> let's go to our callers, and let's go to fred talking about burgess, virginia. >> good morning. i'd like to find out the circumstances of mary washington moving from george washington's birthplace to ferry farms.
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i never knew about that move until i retired and moved to virginia and i don't know the circumstances. >> are you talking about west county where george washington's birthplace was is that it was simply a matter, as i believe, of convenience because after she died she needed to be more easily obtained food and a safer setting in the rural part of virginia, and she was giving out in years and it would have made sense to move from fredericksburg and west moreland countiy. >> i want to read more from your book here. you say in your book for all mary's faith and devotion. in the end her motherly love may have been as much about
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authority and affect and it was us as he man, and it made him stubborn, singular, awe-inspiring or independent. how should we remember mary ball washington. what should be her place in american history? >> i think her place in american history should be as the woman who raised the man who became the most important person in america. when george -- at the end of the american revolution george goes to the continental congress in baltimore and annapolis and he goes and makes a short speech and he lays down his sword sur rer rendering his command and when he's told that george washington has lay down his sword to go back to become a planter then he
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will be regarded as the greatest man in the world and that was the king of england who was the head of the british empire, the far-flung british empire who had dominion all over the world who was saying that george washington would be regarded as the greatest man in the world. this is high praise. this is incredibly high praise, but it's clear, it's clear that these qualities, the integrity, the honesty, the courage, the modesty. you know, two-therm limit is that it wasn't mandated by law and it was simply that washington said no two terms is enough and that is for all american presidents until roosevelt. clearly, he got this from his morlt. simply the ins pragsz for the
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founding of america. >> and that's why wanted to write the books because history hasn't been so kind to her over the last 250, 300 years and there was a monument to mary ball washington that andrew jackson did the dedication for, right? >> that's right. are there any other mono ups, a mo monuments that we can see now? >> there is one in fredericksburg. >> named directly after her? >> yes. >> there is the library in lancaster. 24rr various streets named after her and by the way, the fredericksburg baseball team, the nationals, the minor league team that is owned by the washington nationals have just adopted mary ball washington as
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their mascot and they've made a caricature and him hitting the ball with an axe for the axe that chopped down the cherry tree and the little cartoons of the two of them. so she's getting more and more recognition now that she deserves. >> let's go to bill who is calling from cromwell, connecticut. bill, good morning. >> good morning, jesse. my question for your guest, he said george washington's mother was conflicted and her relationship with england, was george himself ever conflicted? >> oh, yeah. sure. there were ovations made on behalf of the united states, the colonies to great britain, and i think it was called the olive branch initiative to try to get parliament and king george iii
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to lay out the taxes and they would stay loyal to the crown is that george washington was also, you know, also immersed in that culture. he was also a british sur ject and he was envious of his brother who served in the british navy. he was very respectful and it took a long time for americans to throw off the british crown and declare themselves free and independent and no longer subjects of the british crown. others came quicker, sam adams and john hancock and others came to the revolution a lot more quickly. washington came to it more slowly. you've called this book more of
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a historigraphy rather than a biography. history is 100% facts. 100% of the facts are not available so you have to fill it in with educated speculation and educated guesses and i would say it's very minimal. i would say 80% of this is fact based. >> supposition, what you know as an expert during your research. >> exactly. >> let's talk to richard who is calling from albuquerque, new mexico. richard, good morning. >> hey, good morning. >> hey, we're talking about history here and we are talking about the taxes and the tariffs and all of that and everything, and i just want you to get it right for everybody because i feel like you're a very good historian. >> you're very kind. we're not related, are we?
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>> i know all about -- let's talk about the slavery issue. back then in washington that was the norm for everybody over there, but when abraham lincoln came in to be president, can you please explain to everybody over here that abraham lincoln, the purpose of everything that went down in the civil war was because the tariffs and the taxes when the south wanted to separate themselves from the union and along came with it to free the slave, but it was all about the tariffs and the taxes. president lincoln knew the dangers that the confederates separated themselves from the union they would be making themselves really strong by not giving to the whole united states. so can you explain to everybody that thinks that it was because
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of the war to free slavery? that wasn't the issue. it was because of the taxes and the tariffs and everything. >> i'm not an expert on abraham lincoln, but i think that -- the debate was settled many, many years ago that the civil war was about civil rights and it was about freedom for african-americans. it was the very foundation of the republican party which was elected in 1860. now obviously lincoln ran in 1860 on eliminating slifry, but he quickly evolved into an abolitionist and that was what the war was about to abolish slavery. >> how long did it take you to write this book? >> how long was the research and how big is the getting interest
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it from the publisher and i troyed to make admuch information as possible and then i break out information and started sketching out the chapters as to what i think and i like to write chronologically because i think that makes it more interesting for the reader and more logical for the reader instead of jumping around here or there or any place else. so this book is about mary's birth, mary's life and mary's death and everything that happened in between, and my books on reagan are about the 80 campaign and the origins of the 80 campaign and my book on december 1941 is about the 31 days of december and how it changed the united states before pearl harbor and after pearl harbor and i a seem belled as
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much information as possible and i read it, i digest it and talk about it and what i do is each morning i will assimilate new information right in the afternoon and then in the evening my wife is in my books and my op eds, too. and so she was -- and so in the evening, she will edit the various pages i've written. >> give it to me next morning and i will then take heredities and input it where i've written her corrections and we'll start the whole process again and we usually do that. yont typically normally work on the weekends and we'll edit, research, right. for me, the rhythm and i can
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jump in and jump out of it and this book took four year the and are my book on 1941, my books typically take three to four years. >> and you're able to be edit by your wife and stay married. >> i know. i know. we joke about that, and i've discovered the habits of other writers and their wives. for instance, mark twain wrote a chalk line. nobody could cross that line, not his daughters, but the only one was olivia to edit his work
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and i'm trying to remember -- walter middy. >> i would have gotten -- james thermer was in one of the black tie soirees with shchampagne popping and thermer is just staring off into space for ten minute, twenties, 30 minutes and finally she yells at him and says james, stop writing because he was writing in his head and you probably do the same thing and i do the same thing and you have to become the book which means you're thinking about it all the time. >> you got it. >> we would like to thank craig shirley for being here today. and he has a new book called "martha ball washington."
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we need to go out and buy the book. >> my wife is one of my best editors, as well. >> there you go. >> as the white house debates two articles of impeachment president heads to battle creek, michigan, for a campaign rally and watch on c-span2 and online on or listen live with the free c-span radio app. c-span's washington journal live every day with news and policy journals that impact you. coming up thursday morning and we're getting your reaction as the house of representatives votes against articles of impeachment against president. join us with your phone call, e-mails, facebook comments and tweets. watch c-span's washington journal live thursday morning. join the discussion. this sunday, book tv features
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two non-fiction books and alan dershowitz offers response how sexual misconduct accusations should be handled. >> i don't want it to go away. i want to disprove it categorically and i wrote the book and i have all of the documents in the back. i have all of the fbi interviews. i have the narrative she wrote and the tape recordings of her lawyers and there's nobody reading this book to come away with any doubt whatsoever that this woman made up this story completely out of forethought that i never met her out of her own mouth, i never met her. >> then at 7 time 15 p.m. eastern in her latest book "the truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off," gloria stein emchronicles her life and career through essays and quotes. >> think it's helpful to see, you know, what cameemchronicles
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life and career through essays and quotes. >> think it's helpful to see, you know, what came chronicles life and career through essays and quotes. >> think it's helpful to see, you know, what came before because now the me too movement thanks to technology and the web is now all over the world, but it's a process and now it's a majority consciousness. >> and at 9:00 p.m. on after word, baltimore county president freeman hrabeowski and he is interviewed by wes moore. >> we are, through our work in the humanities to the sciences, looking at ways of helping students to learn to ask the hard questions to read critically, but to a preeshity value of evidence in a society bombarding us with information and different points of view with things being confused about what is sdpruth what is not. educated people should have the
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skills to ask the questions that will lead to the evidence that can therefore determine what is truth. >> watch book tv this weekend and every weekend on c-span2. >> sunday night at 8:00 eastern, american history tv on c-span3 looks back at senate impeachment trial of president bill clinton which took place over five weeks in january and february of 1999. >> we are here today because the president suffered a terrible, moral lapse. marital infidelity, not a breach of the public trust. not a crime against society, the two things handled in federalist paper number 65, i recommend it to you before you vote. but it was a breach of marriage vows. it was a breach of his family
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trust. it is a sex scandal. >> explore our nation's past. watch the clinton impeachment trial sunday night at 8:00 eastern on american history tv on c-span3. >> next, a new report looks at u.s. policy toward north korea. former security and intelligence officials talk about the potential threat that north korea poses and the best path forward in negotiations over kim jong-un's nuclear program. the foundation for democrat sees hosted this event. mr. may: welcome. i am fdd's president, founder, cliff may. i know most of you. i have met a lot of you. i am glad yoar


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