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tv   American Artifacts Womens History  CSPAN  December 28, 2019 11:40pm-12:01am EST

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correction were city tourist staff recently traveled to indianapolis. watching c-span three. >> each week, american artifacts takes you to museums and other artifacts to learn about american history. we lose it -- we visit alexandria virginia to see civil war related sites where women aided communities of newly freed slaves. rachel vogelstein: the national women's history museum is dedicated to ensuring the
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distinctive contribution of american women are written into the national narrative. the museum has achieved this goal for 20 years. we currently exist as an online museum. the goal is to build a physical museum on our national mall. in 2014, congress passed a bipartisan act to create a congressional commission to investigate the feasibility of a national women's history museum in washington d.c. >> commission to study the potential to study the creation of a national women's history museum. >> we are half of the population. wherever you stand, i'm sure there is consensus in this house that half population should not go unmentioned in the textbooks of our country, but there is no museum in the country that shows the full scope of the history, the amazing, brilliant, courageous, innovative, and sometimes defiant women that have helped to shape our history and make this country what it
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is. rachel: in november, 2016, the commission produced a bipartisan report that americans deserved a national women's history museum that it should be on or near the national mall and affiliated with the smithsonian. i am pleased that a bipartisan group of members of congress have introduced legislation to create this museum here in washington, d.c., on one of two sites on our national mall. over 200 members of congress have supported the legislation that has been introduced into the house and the senate and is pending today. the group of the members of congress who support this legislation on a bipartisan basis have continue to fight for this and grow.
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we are optimistic that the importance of writing women's stories into our national narrative is a value that becomes stronger and more clear every day. >> it is time that we come together and that we have an appropriate, bipartisan approach to addressing the collecting and and the enshrining of what women have done in the fight and the cause of freedom. >> many americans are familiar with the fight for women's suffrage, and the leaders who risked their lives and security to ensure all women and men had the right to vote, but i think far too little is known about
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the contributions women have made across a range of disciplines from the sciences, medicine, the military, and that completing the story of american history by ensuring that we are including women's distinctive contributions across american life will really enrich what is possible for every american boy and girl. >> the national women's history museum is currently a museum without walls. we are located online where you can find exhibits, articles, biographies, on women's history. we also offer walking tours. one of our walking tours is on women during the civil war. we start at the lyceum. during the civil war in the 1860's, this building, like many others in alexandria, was used as a hospital. nursing, as a practice, before the civil war, was used as a punishment.
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women who were arrested for public drunkenness or prostitution were punished by working as a nurse for a week or two. during the crimean war, nursing as a practice became more of an occupation for women, and during the civil war many women came over to help teach others how this practice of nursing could be used to help soldiers. during this time, the practice of nursing was becoming more formalized. the battle of manassas took place about 20 miles in this direction. soldiers were brought into alexandria to be healed by these nurses. when we think about nurses during the civil war, people like dorothea dix might come to mind, and she was essential in helping the field takeoff during the war. she was able to appoint 15%, or 3000 of the medical staff during the war, including nurses here
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in alexandria. nurses here in alexandria were not only white women who were widowed or older, they were women that were from all backgrounds, all stages in life, including african-american women. however, african-american women who practiced as nurses were considered laundresses, which was a way for the army to get away with paying below equal wage. any of the churches were used as hospitals and women were able to make this practice more of a field for women, however they did get pushback from medical surgeons who were predominantly men. these men would tell women they ceased to be women if they started practicing medicine. there was a lot of discrimination within the field, but women, including dorothea
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dix pushed past this discrimination and were able to help medical field by leaps and bounds and helped save many lives. the next stop will be market square where we will talk about women and the other businesses they ran during the war. here we are in market square. this is the oldest, continuously operating marketplace in the united states, and during the civil war, this is the marketplace where women who worked on local farms would come in and sell fruits and vegetables to nurses, who would take them to the soldiers recovering in the hospital. while this was a legal practice, there were also illegal practices happening in the market square, and one of those practices was the smuggling of alcohol. alcohol was prohibited during the war, but they had access to this alcohol, predominantly whiskey. alexandria was a port city, so the union had taken over the
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city, including the ports, so there were very few boats coming in and out, but on aboat coming into alexandria, two young girls were caught selling alcohol. they confessed their parents put them up to this. here in the market square, a general was watching people walk by and noticed three rotund women were carrying their weight different than a normal human being would. these women were stopped, and once they were stopped, they started pulling out 23 canteens, 15 bottles, and one jug of whiskey from the ruffles of their skirts. the confessed they were going to sell this to union troops, and they confessed this amount of whiskey would have gotten them $225, and today that would be around $6,000. the practice and the smuggling was not necessarily uncommon. these are the accounts were people were caught selling the contraband items, however as you can imagine, soldiers and
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whiskey do not mix and there were injuries and casualties from drunken soldiers misfiring their weapons. one woman, mrs. robert jamieson, she was shot and wounded, and unfortunately mary butler, another woman here in alexandria, was shot and killed. as you can see, again, sometimes alcohol and soldiers do not mix. we will continue on, next stop will be christchurch well i will talk about sarah tracy. she helped establish and keep mount vernon safe. here we are outside of christ church. this is where george washington would, and worship. mount vernon, washington's home, is less than 10 miles from alexandria. mount vernon was preserved by women. during the civil war, sarah tracy was the secretary for mount vernon, and she helped preserve this home during the war. sarah tracy made sure that soldiers on either side of the war were able to come in and visit washington's home. this was especially important because both sides, the
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confederacy and the union, saw washington is the founder of their country. tracy did have stipulations for soldiers that would come into mount vernon. they had to be unarmed, and they also could not be wearing their uniforms. they would find any means to cover up, whether in shawls or different clothing. so, sarah tracy kept money in the herbert bank, that was to be used to purchase mount vernon from the washington family, but but during the war, union troops decided that they wanted that money for themselves. sarah tracy refused and said she would move the money into riggs bank in washington, d.c., but she had to do this covertly. she put the money in the bottom of the basket and put eggs on top of the basket. she went into washington, d.c.,
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met with mr. riggs, where she sold the eggs, and she made sure the transaction was legitimate because she received a receipt for the transaction of the eggs. thanks to sarah tracy, we are still able to enjoy and visit mount vernon today. not only were women nurses, entrepreneurs, having jobs, selling items, but women were also soldiers in the war. they had to do this in a disguise. it was frowned upon for women to join the war as soldiers. that is why they had to dress up in men's uniforms. women would dress up on either side of the work, either side of the war, both confederacy and the union, as soldiers so they could fight among their brothers, husbands, family, and also fight for the cause of the war. one woman in particular is sarah edmonds. she also went by frank thomas. she was very open about being a
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woman soldier, especially after the war, and after the war, she would dress in traditionally men and women's clothing. we know about 300 to 500 women that served during the war, but those are the ones we know about. there is a number that we might not ever know about historically that fought during the war. so, our last stop is the beulah baptist church. this church was established in 1863. this was the first african-american church built after union occupation in alexandria, and in the 1860's, during the civil war, this would have been the edge of town. further down, the street would be more country side, and this is also where contraband camps were located. they were like refugee camp that we would recognize today. they were encampments of formerly enslaved people. these encampments and the term
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contraband camp started cropping up early on into the civil war. in 1861, general benjamin butler, stationed at fort munroe in virginia, he was the general at this fort, and during his time there, african-americans escaped from there enslaver, and sought refuge at the fort. the next day the man was demanding enslaved people were returned. butler, who was a lawyer before the war, thinking on his toes, and said that these people are now contraband of war. this term spread like wildfire. this term today, we use it as historians to describe formerly enslaved people who found refuge and freedom during this time. during the war the term was used as a derogatory term, describing formerly enslaved people, but with the idea that they were helpless were childlike, and in the african american community,
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this was used to differentiate people who had their freedom before the war and gained their freedom during the war. in alexandria, these encampments started cropping up. women started noticing these encampments need basic human necessities, including food, shelter, clothing. women like elizabeth, a formerly enslaved woman, best known as misses lincolns dressmaker, helped to establish these contraband camps in and around washington, d.c. she appealed to the first lady, mary lincoln, asked for some money, and mrs. lincoln wrote to the president. she said we are going to give $200 to help fund this contraband relief association. from then on, the president and first lady would continue to get money for these relief organizations.
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it was not just a elizabeth, it was also it was also people within the african-american community who are helping gather food, provide shelter, money. these encampments were funded through usually church groups. not only was elizabeth working in the d.c. area, but another woman, harriet jacobs, was also formerly enslaved, and she found her freedom in new york, where she met a quaker woman named julia. they teamed up, came to alexandria, worked with these contraband camps and provided money, education, night school for not only children, but also adults so they can become literate, read, write, and sign their names to contracts because because they were starting to look for and get jobs. in a lot of ways women in the
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contraband encampments were also working to make sure people were educated. one woman in particular, mary dines, she was literate, and would write down scriptures for people to learn to read and write. we have seen a few of our sites on our walking tour in old town, but the national women's history museum is continuing to tell more of these stories. rachel: our hope is that building a national women's history museum on the national mall will not only educate and inspire, but it will help complete the story of american history. >> you can watch this and other american artifacts programs by visiting our website, ofm here to encourage you
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time. this is about the time i started filming my documentary the first year i entered. i am in the washington, d.c. offices right now, this came with an incredible opportunity for me to express my thoughts and views about the political climate as well as connect with local and state leaders. i'm extremely excited that you are interested in this and pursuing this. it is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. >> there is still time for you to enter the c-span studentcam video competition. you have until january 20 to complete a documentary that explores an issue you want the presidential candidates to address. we are giving away a total of $100,000 in cash prizes with again prize -- grand prize of
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$5,000. for more information, go to our website. sunday on "the presidency" university of texas professor at austin professor and produce university professor talk about impeachment including the current proceedings against president trump. always played a vital role in the investigation and adjudication of a legend presidential misconduct. congress has investigated many presidents for misconduct, following the lead of various informants, including journalists and whistleblowers. the story goes back before the founding of the republic. all the way back to the 18th century. back to the continental congress. has punished many presidents with a variety of
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instruments, there are a variety of instruments by which they investigate and punish presidential administrations for misuse of power. these include funding cuts, restrictive legislation, sensor, ending the extreme cases impeachment. for historians we need to think about impeachment on that spectrum of the continual mechanisms by which congress investigates overseas and acts upon presidential misconduct. that is what congress has always done historically. hold the president accountable for the misuse of power. this is an old story and a new story. fulfilling its old and enduring historical road. this is a basic historical thesis. one that needs to be remembered in our world today. i want to go through a few points about this.
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first, presidential misconduct is common in american history. the founders expected it, and as we all know, power corrupts, and many of the best presidents have succumbed to the temptations of power in different ways. >> learn more about oversight of presidential conduct sunday on "the presidency o." >> next, on lectures in history, clemson university professor bradley thompson teaches a class about the preamble of the declaration of independence. examining it line by line, he talks about the self-evident truths enumerated by the founding fathers and explores what they may have intended by their word choices. professor thompson: good afternoon, everybody. so for the last six weeks in this class, we've been examining the politi


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