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tv   Politics of the Founding Era Today  CSPAN  December 13, 2020 8:40am-10:01am EST

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>> next, historians compare founding-era politics to today's politics. they stress that while government and voting demographic have changed, many issues that concern americans today, part shnship, foreign influence and the role of the media, worry those in the republic's early years as well. the kennedy institute for the u.s. senate in boston hosted this event. gina: good evening, everyone. my name is gina perel and on behalf of the edward m. kennedy institute for the united states senate, it is my pleasure to elcome you here. we are going to have a conversation about the intersection of early american history and contemporary political issues. if this is your first visit to the institute, i want to welcome you to our full-scale replica of the united states senate chamber.
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at the kennedy institute, we are committed to engaging the public in a conversation about the role each one of us plays in our democracy and in our society. we do that through civic education programs that bring the united states senate to life and conversations like tonight that bring american history into focus. we are very proud to partner with the massachusetts historical society on today's program. they are an invaluable resource for american life, history, and culture. all of us at the institute are also proud together together a group of panelists for the program, including our moderator, fred tice. he covers news related to politics and higher education at wbur where he has been since 1988 serving as a trusted source of truth and information.
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he previously was the nbc news bureau chief in mexico city and the south america reporter for cbs news based in argentina. joining fred on the panel are four scholars who provide erspective on, and knowledge of, our nation's founders. together, they will paint an informative picture of how the founders operated and what current lawmakers, and each one of us, can learn from them. tonight's historians include liz covart from the omohundro institute of early american history and culture and host of the podcast "ben franklin's
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world." a podcast about early american history. stephen fried is the author of "rush: revolution, madness, and benjamin rush, the visionary docotor who became a founding father." he is also an adjunct professor at columbia university and university of pennsylvania. sara georgini, series editor for "the papers of john adams" at the adams papers project at the massachusetts historical society and matt sheidley, president and ceo of revolutionary spaces. thank you all of you for being ere tonight. i hope that you will visit again for one of our programs and exhibits. you are always welcome here. i will now invite fred and our panelists to come up to the front and we will begin the program. thank you. [applause]
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fred: welcome to the full-sized replica of the united states senate. aire like to introduce our panelists. to my immediate left, liz covart is a historian of early america who practices scholarly history, public history, and digital humanities. she is the digital projects editor at the omohundro institute of early american history and culture at the university of william and mary in williamsburg, virginia. she is the creator and host of the popular history podcast, nearly 300 episodes at least, "ben franklin's world." stephen fried is a best-selling author and professor at the columbia school of journalism nd university of pennsylvania. his book is an autobiography of one of the signers of the declaration, benjamin rush.
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it was published in september 2018 and was a finalist for the 2019 george washington book prize. a two-time winner of the national magazine award, he has written for vanity fair, gq, the washington post magazine, rolling stone, glamour, ladies home journal, and philadelphia magazine. sarah is the series editor for "the papers of john adams," part of the adams papers editorial project in the building not too far away at the massachusetts historical society. she is the author of "household gods: the religious lives of the adams family." she is a cofounder and contributor to the -- how is it pronounced? junto? sara: sure.
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[laughter] fred: over at the end we have matt sheidley who is the ceo of revolutionary spaces, which was formed after the merger of the old bostonian society. he spent eight years at the bostonian society where he was the director of public history and later executive irector. he was an associate professor at wellesley college before he entered the field of public history. i would like to start -- here we are in the replica of the united states senate. in the actual senate, the senators are as divided as washington, as the parties are.
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it seems like we are in a complete gridlock. were the founders ever this divided? feel free to answer -- maybe i will start with you, sara. sara: i think we have always faced moments in history where we felt great political polarization within our culture, but looking around this building and listening to the introductions of the panelists, i think, places like this are revolutionary spaces. they always have been. thinking about institutions that foster dialogue then and now is a good way to bring our conversation over to how the 18th-century can be a rare or give some tips to the 21st century. anyone want to jump in on that? fred: maybe with a tip? stephen: you're being very kind about this.
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when i started coming, i was astonished by how mean the founding fathers were to each other, but i find it comforting. benjamin rush was not only one of the signers but he was a doctor to a number of these guys. there were a lot of personal emails -- email? letters. i think what is clear if you read the journal, i remember reading john adams being called a maggot in the newspaper during one of the elections. the idea that we invented partisanship, we invented media meanness, is a bad reading of history. as soon as there was america, as soon as there were two parties, there was this partisanship. especially in the 1790's in philadelphia, where you had a ton of media and everyone living in a close space. it mirrors what we are seeing now in a surprising way that i think of people saw it, they
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were not be quite as freaked out about now. if you read the dialogues between the founders, they are always asking whether they blew it already. the questions we have today like is america over? did we blow it? the people who made this country thought of that all the time. you can see it in the letters and you can see the optimism they come to that they are still going to move forward. that is hardwired into the country from the minute it was a country. liz: polarization was not something that was foreign to the founding generation. when you think about it, they had even more reasons to be divided. first, they had to think about, do we overthrow this king and parliament to create a new country? do we support this new government under the articles of confederation and later the constitution, or are we for our own states? we forget the early government, more power resided in the states than the national government. the fighting between new york
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and massachusetts or maryland and pennsylvania were more intense. in addition to being polarized about political issues, people were trying to figure out who they were as the american people. that is part of the journey we are still living with today. matt: i think it is helpful to think about that. we have a document that uses the phrase "we the people," but there was no agreement about who was in the body politic and who was outside the body politic. if we use the small lens and use the consensus of who was a voter and who ought to have a voice, even there, as stephen was letting us know, there is a sharp divide. there is polarization, there is increasing partisanship. if we broaden the lens and ask
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was outside the sanctioned category of we the people, if we include those who were enslaved, if we include women who were denied political rights, men who lacked sufficient property to have voting rights, if we broaden the lens that far, we can see they were deep, fundamental conflicts that divided beyond a chamber like this one. it divided the entire population of north america and i think it can be empowering for us to remember that. as we grapple in this moment with that question, what do mean when we say we the people? where do we want to put the boundaries around that category? which is a question that feels super alive in all communities right now across the country. we can feel a kinship with the founding era.
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we are divided, but we are also united by our shared argument over that question. fred: what provides continuity to the american character? what is one thing that has been a constant since the early days prior to the american revolution, building up to today? matt: i touched on it a little bit already, but the way i think about this is that we stand as a nation in a current of dialogue around a set of fundamental questions. hey are not questions given to us necessarily by the founders or by the founding generation, but they deeply run through the era of the revolution and the revolution settlement. they are the questions each
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generation has to grapple with for their own time and find fresh answers to. those questions run something like this. who speaks for me? how do i have a voice? what is my recourse when my voice is not heard, and then this question of who is inside and who is outside the circle of "we the people?" that is the current i think that binds us together. stephen: the questions i know rush brought up -- his main thing was he wrote after the revolutionary war the war's over but the revolution just started. keep in mind, he was a doctor. he did not think the things hey talked about were going to get fixed. doctors don't think the disease is going to go away, they think about incremental improvement. rush looked at the issues about what the responsibilities were of the citizens, i don't think
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he felt people were educated enough or took seriously enough what authority have been taken away from them by getting rid of the king and state church and all of the things they were going to have to do in its place. how challenging it was going to be to have separation of church and state so all people could worship equally. how challenging it was going to be to have public education so people could be worthy of their citizenhood. so they could be worthy of the freedom they fought for. fred: how did they break through the gridlock? did they have gridlock? sara: if i can geek out for a minute and share a story from my daily world? we are currently readying the ext paper of john adams and it carries us through the first federal congress. the senate looks a little different in john adams' day. but there is still a great deal of political divisions and as i am indexing, one of the things i index the most -- here are two entries i always have under congress, regional and political divisions, the need for union as well as possible disunion.
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this convergence of ideas is constantly on the minds of people in power. you have an extraordinary moment in the founding era where a generation of revolutionaries are integrating into a federal government such as the world has never seen. they are keenly aware that the world is watching and one of the ways they overcome this divide is personal, right? i have a great exchange between sam adams and john adams, two men who were cousins and on different sides of constitutional praise and criticism, who are thinking differently about the future of the country, and they try so hard in their correspondence to feast, as they say, on a dish of politics. they put this in a lovely, 18th century sense but i know they are struggling so hard. in the letters back and forth they look for common threads that they were both in agreement on during the more revolutionary days.
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they say, a love of liberty, a love of education, a need for us to have some kind of federal government that will stand the wear and tear of all this infighting we currently see. a government of laws and not of men as john always wished it to be. we see these kinds of personal, family level conflicts that are raging with the political nuance and we see people trying to overcome it. i think some of it is interpersonal, some political, but it is the fact that in this founding era, we have a remarkable set of figures who are -- if nothing else -- lifelong students of government. they are fascinated by how governments work and where they an carry us. fred: chuck schumer on the daily this week, he talks about -- you look at chuck schumer
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and think he must never talk to the republicans at this point and of course he does. he talks to them in the gym and this is where he finds out where they stand on things like asking about witnesses in the upcoming trial or not? liz, you have this podcast, "ben franklin's world," in which you touch on everything from the relationship of massachusetts and nova scotia to how the bill of rights came about. do you have any thoughts on how people at opposite ends, who were creating this country, or the political institutions of this country, were able to get beyond gridlock when they had gridlock? liz: i think that is the age-old question. when you look at the scope of american history, you are dealing with a lot of different eople and a lot of political entities, cultures, different
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religions, all trying to get along. it is trying to find the art of compromise. you can see this in the life of ben franklin. he was not perfect. his son was a loyalist, he was a patriot and never forgive william for it. so it divided his family, he was not able to find compromise there. but he is at the constitutional convention saying, hey, i want a unified legislature. i think democracy is a good thing, people should have the right to vote, but a lot of the states are worried about the people voting and the mob. he advocates for compromise and one of the things he advocates for is part of the connecticut plan which is you should have two houses in congress. the house of representatives and the senate. but it is a struggle. he gets in the constitutional convention several times and says, we need to ompromise. no government can be perfect or perhaps we've created the perfect government and cannot see it yet. he is advocating for compromise
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and as the historian barbara o'berk said, the art of compromise is not something that is horrible why, but it is the stuff of democracy. it is what gets democracy done and i think you can see the founding generation grappling with that. even our own generation trying to grapple with that. stephen: we tend to look at the federal government and the senate and house but these guys were compromising at the state level. part of the reason franklin had to deal with a unicameral constitution was because that is what pennsylvania had. and it was terrible. and, in fact, adams and rush went on and on about their fear that the pennsylvania their feae pennsylvania constitution could prevail and the pennsylvania constitution had one house. you could that rid of the supreme court. it frighteningly had a test for religion. you had the original pennsylvania constitution, which
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rush got thrown out of congress for being against, made you swear an oath to jesus. rush, he is that for believed that personally but thought it was horrifying there would be a religious test there was great fear that the onstitutional can't -- custodian ofe these two important buildings. the old south meetinghouse. what can you tell us about these places and what kinds of divisions were within them and maybe how people were able to bridge some of these divisions? >> are argument going eyes shane cares for the old statehouse, which was the seat of provincial government in revolutionary massachusetts.
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meetinghouse, which was a congregational church was the largest indoor gathering place in boston. it tended to be the seat of popular politics. partying -- the tea begin their. compromise or the difficulty of achieving political compromise, a story i like to tell is in 1765 the colonies understand that parliament is contemplating imposing a tax on the colonies. at they are trying to figure out how to prevent that from being in theplace and you have two different spaces in the old governor'syou -- the council chamber where the legislature met with the royally appointed governor and the assembly room where the elected
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representatives gathered to very toferent answers on how respond to the stamp act. institutionalist of revolutionary massachusetts had mastered all of the institutions of the transatlantic empire and was so well positioned to use patronage networks to call in favors, defeat measures, advocate for a moderate position. " we should write a letter and to say parliament has the authority to tax the colonies but we really think it would not be expedient because that would make people upset and people love london right now." that's his idea. james otis who is working alongside sam adams and others has a very different idea.
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" we should call out the stamp act as a transgression, unconstitutional, and name parliament the authority to impose taxes on the colonies." he is able to get that idea adopted by and inter-colonial stamp act congress but he cannot get the resolution to carry in his own house in massachusetts. they pass it in the house and day goes up to the governor's council for concurrence. it has to be seconded there and do they refuse. hutchinson insists we have to tone it down and take the more moderate position. -- the bestree massachusetts can do is send off a milquetoast a letter to the ministry saying it is not a great idea we wish you wouldn't do it. head is fixed to explode.
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after this stamp act fails in the streets, he works with two other gentlemen from boston to push the idea that a public viewing gallery should be put into the assembly room. why? there is a very strong prohibition in the massachusetts house of representatives on running to the press and telling people what was said enclosed session. moderates had cover. public in you put the a gallery, as soon as the moderate say "we should make common cause with they conservatives, we should support authority," n there's a likelihood there will be a large crowd of protesters
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in front of your house the next day threatening to break every window. in next crisis that happens massachusetts house is entirely radicalized. they refuse to compromise. toe is somebody trying ensure compromise can't happen. >> politics was barely violent back then. you didn't like something, you had a riot. found one thing i interesting, being someone from the media because benjamin rush wrote for the popular media, the country is so different from 1790 when there are newspapers in the capital. when we look at newspapers, up until that time there was not a ton of media coverage and not everybody could read.
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there were a lot of people who did not know what was going on. there were a lot of people in philadelphia, a loyalist city where no one wanted things to change. a lot of people were not passionate about either side. they wanted to go to work and raise their kids and it was not until america freed themselves from england that they had to accept the responsibilities of the revolution. when we look at how media has changed in our lives with the onset of the internet, imagine what it was like to have the u.s. capitol moved to philadelphia and have eight daily newspapers suddenly in a town -- philadelphia was on the river to 9th street. it was tiny. thatinflux of media and media coverage of the capital was as amazing as the influx of
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digital media today. there have always been these dynamics of people on either sides, people stuck in the middle into the media fanning the flames. >> boston, massachusetts was at the forefront of the revolution. what happens to sam adams when he goes to this loyalist city and he has to be mindful that virginia feels like they should be leading everything. .> he doesn't that's the short story of sam adams legacy in a great degree. he has a complicated relationship with the american revolution. the thing to remember about john adams is that he like thomas jefferson are not here. they're not un-american shores. they are in europe securing funding, support, troops. they come back a decade later to a very changed world, to people who are creating a government who -- who they have not seen
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since the continental congress, a different media landscape, people actively thinking through their patronage networks and what is in it for them now that there is a federal government afoot, all the office seekers who fled his mail -- i almost said email because he gets these letters all the time. it is a complicated question for john adams and his cohort and he does not always mix easily with loyalist. he has a lot of interactions with them in london. his family doctor there is a loyalist but he lives actually in governor square -- grosvenor square. the first person to point out how awkward this situation is is abigail adams. you have a heightened awareness of what people's loyalties were
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but there is flexibility now about what they write be because often loyalists who emigrated to britain did not receive good treatment so they reintegrate back into american communities. there is a great diaspora throughout the world. john adams encounters them with something not unlike sympathy or pity. he often renews friendships he some newand saunders way.along the it is a very fraught legacy that he has and he himself is an actor in making it that complicated. >> we are here at the edward kennedy institute, one of the great accomplishments of ted kennedy was in the field of health care. >> health care may be broadly defined to mean, obviously he pushed for obamacare, the disabilities act and his last
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great accomplishment is in the field of middle health -- mental health. what did benjamin rush think about the responsibility of sickty to take care of the and mentally ill? >> when it comes to mental illness, he and ted kennedy have been active in this. they wanted to make sure that people saw mental illness and addiction as mental diseases that needed to be treated and not as failures of religious belief or will. benjamin rush wrote about that in the 1780's. we are still unfortunately debating this today. one of the reason the mental health parity act had to be passed was because these illnesses are not treated the same and we are backsliding on it right now in our coverage of it. it is the right place to talk
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about health care. everybody got health care at home. hospitals were only for the indigent. the pennsylvania hospital, which was the first hospital in america cocreated by benjamin franklin -- the idea was doctors would take care of sick people. it was for free. people at homewood pay them. that is how society did that. some institutions were created before benjamin franklin died, some after. he wanted to continue these ideas of voluntary associations who would take care of these problems. there is not a direct link because the only part of the federal government that took care of people the way we take care of people today was the military. the military had those responsibilities and viewed it as a responsibility.
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that is where most of our ideas about care that comes from the government grows out of the importance of taking care of soldiers. rush talked about that because he was on the field during the war and he took -- he wrote about ptsd. -- look at the revelation revolution from a doctors point of view, the ideas about where health care fits in society, how important it is -- the language sounds exactly the same. the doctors of that era felt that it was as difficult as it is now and they would have strong ideas to make sure -- their idea was everyone had to be taking care of. that was the responsibility of the medical community. how to do that -- rush was obsessed with how do we do this?
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let me not just write in an essay that we need to do this. --i am a >> sarah, do you want to jump in here? at 18th,k if we look 19th century early american health care we get a very different view. we might not see a rush at every see so to say but we would women like abigail adams who were tasked with caring for sick neighbors, relatives, anyone in their local community. we also see something different when it came to the role of people who were not doctors but cared a great deal about tending to the sick. here i am thinking about philanthropic and benevolent institutions. in the 1790's and do you see that here with the boston marine society, you have efforts afoot to create marine hospitals.
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when alexander hamilton drafts he immediatelyt, starts thinking about health care because building 2 that brilliant plan is a provision of the widows and children six sailors. thinking about things like this us, how thete with economy is tied to health care, other actors like benevolent associations and philanthropists also have the voice and ear of the health care system. >> anyone else want to jump in on this health care question? so let's get back a little bit -- john adamsams goes to philadelphia, meets
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benjamin rush on his way to philadelphia, benjamin rush warns him that what he is about to encounter -- >> one of the amazing things about that story is benjamin rush is a 29-year-old dr., he goes out to meet adams because co-author of the proclamation that led to the boston tea party. they were going to run the congress and rush said to them, "if you do not put aside your belief that you should be in charge and let the virginians think they are running this, we are doomed." firsts john adams' introduction to this good-looking young doctor who talks a lot, very opinionated. rush makes sure they get in the same carriage so rush can talk is your off as they come into town.
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rush and many of the doctors in philadelphia took care of the congressman so they had them over for dinner. he originally thought rush was only a good place to have food. he writes abigail that he has a good view of the delaware. rush because
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as a was not being debated subject that we would get rid of slavery during all that time. mind'm saying is keep in it is a small federal government going on, not the washington we have today and goodness. here, balcony. >> something that is divisive right now is the definition of high crimes and misdemeanors.
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i'm curious on what your thoughts on what the founders' definition would be? [laughter] expertise.rea of >> have you covered this in your episodes? >> we have not covered impeachment so much. i know that george mason and foramin franklin worked opponents of impeachment. precedence in english law to decide what parts they wanted to keep and what parts they wanted to dispense with and part of the language they capped was high crimes and misdemeanors, but they looked closely at what it meant for treason. they did not really want to execute anybody for committing high crimes and misdemeanors so my understanding was they picked that term because they could be
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broadened what they were trying to do was say if in the case of executive undermining people's trust in the government or the government's ability to work, you good list something like that under high crimes and misdemeanors, but clearly people are debating that today. there is a lot of debate. >> keep in mind the role of the executive. obviously the first president was washington. he was not an elected president. he was like the most famous guy in america. it was going to be president after george washington fell on -- john adams -- it is part of what people talked about what was right and wrong
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about the executive but what the role of the executive was going to be because the first executive was not a -- adams was the first two had to be president and think about what a president had to do. i think the language give you a pretty good idea that people did it know either as soon as was not washington. >> washington was a hard act to follow. americans had never had a vice president before. sure whatnot wholly the job entailed. it was he. he stepped into a clear path he had not wholly anticipated except in the abstract. struggle in john adams between what he thought in theory about executive power and aimes and treason -- see
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struggle in john adams between what he thought in theory about executive power and crimes and treason. let's see. how about over here? wait for the microphone. >> when the founding fathers created this nation, there were a smaller set of states to account for so obviously the needs of those states may not have been fully aligned but were more similar than some are now. in the letters that you have read or other primary sources, where their conversations about how the nation what expand and how they might account for these varying different needs that might come about and waive the balance of decision-making? >> i was just thinking --
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congress outlined the northwest ordinance to add states, what we now think of the med west, -- .idwest into the union there were provisions, but it was how much square miles, this is how many you would need before you voted for statehood. it is not how do we overcome all these regional differences. texas has their own revelation. they want into the union because the texas republic is failing. at first the u.s. government is like we are not going to admit texas. for political reasons it becomes advisable to admit texas so they do. that is as far as i got on that. and deep challenge with expansion revolves around
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the issue of slavery. that points out there is so much variation between the states at this time but there are fundamental factors that divide and cut across. to be likeo is going massachusetts or new jersey in its system of farming is not as critical as the question of whether the institution of slavery is going to find a home north of the river and that is politics on which the of westward expansion divides even in early stages of national expansion. it points to this question that we have some fundamentally unresolved debates coming out of the revolutionary era that rippled down to our time. the interestwith in expansion is a similar focus on the question of the american character they are creating. along with all this land opening
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up in pennsylvania, ohio, you have speculators, squatters, the question of how to defend it. do we need a standing army? how will we pay for a navy? how will we defend and hold this land? there are a lot of questions of purpose and character tied up in expansion. see that play out in these letters along with this wild optimism that america is going to be first among the powers of the earth, america will show europe how it is done, and to come out of a fairly bloody revolution with that kind of optimism is i think remarkable. i am always surprised by the founders in the 1790's and early 1800s that they have not got entirety yet. >> they are so sure they are right. still they are also
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willing to talk to people who think they're are right but in a different way. there is a dialogue that stretches past to the revolution. it keeps me reading as a historian. >> the question is whether some of these things that came let her represented different challenges to the country than some of the early challenges. a good rule of thumb is if you are not seeing things going on between the original 13 states, you're not looking hard enough. the issues of america are hardwired into the first 13 states. it comes from increase in size, increase in population, but most of the issues were already there , only expanded upon by expansion of science and technology and expansion of the economy, but they are all there at the beginning.
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if you look at these letters these guys are talking about this stuff. clocks striking at once. >> we have time for one more question. asked,uestion has been but the opposition so much to king george -- how did that ffect each of the founders' views of the presidency? >> i'll take a go at that one. i think one of the most remarkable moments in john considersreer when he the revolution finally over is when he is standing outside of king george's bedchamber ready to resent his credentials as an
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american ambassador. heat someone who would be executed as someone who went against his monarch is now a credentialed representative from a legitimate country. it is hard not to wonder what that first set of conversations was like. we have some sense of it from his letters home to john jay. it is remarkable to think of these two men a couple years 50-something guys coming from different ends of the political spectrum, from opposite sides of the revolution but bringing us back to how we compromise and how we deal with political polarization. he is able to have a conversation with his former king. that trajectory tells us something about the capacity for dialogue between revolutionary and monarch in our unique way --
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in a unique way. >> with each of you like to have some closing comments? towould each of you like have some closing comments? >> it has been an interesting conversation and i would like to come back to the point of memory. part of the founding story most often when we talk about the founders and we have revisited this story over and over in each generation and our country will be celebrating 250th anniversary of let'sndence in 2026 so think about the opportunity to engage in a thoughtful dialogue about what that history means to us today and how it sits relative to our ability to define ourselves as a nation
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going forward. we use history to come together across our divides and i hope we can do that and we should do so here in boston. we have a great opportunity to set a model for national discourse. >> that is true. i love that question earlier because i think any document that begins we the people is a living document. we have a chance to change it through the work we do. question,d onto nat's get a good look at the primary sources. we have a terrific exhibit up at massachusetts historical society that brings together different voices from the boston massacre. to have theclaim expertise of everyone on this panel. i wrote a biography about one of
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the founding fathers and he was my excuse to learn about this period. one thing i learned is that people like sarah are so invaluable to history. you would be surprised how much history is not researched, how more basted is -- i know from spending time with benjamin rush who has not been written about much until recently, there is more to learn about him and around him. some of this hits on issues of mental health and health care, racial division issues and people have made their own decisions based on very little research and sometimes wikipedia research. if you want to dig in to any of the founders whether they are well-known -- you may be the first person to really ask certain questions ever because
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the stars get all the attention. a lot of the questions have not been asked about some of the people who are equally interesting. not assume everything you read about the past is right because history is written in the era of the historian writing. when you are worried about , whodice about class, race the people who wrote the history books, what era they were from -- i had to adjust for the time that the books were written and what normal was considered at that time. keep that in mind if you want to know what the founders represented to each generation. history tells us how we came to be who we are. a good history book will tell you as much about the past it is written about as the time it was written in. and if the exciting things about
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the revolution coming up is how exciting and complicated it is. to see whoation gets more of the complexity and different stories of different participants. we will see exciting work coming out. from a podcasters perspective that is exciting news. >> thank you for a great conversation and thank you for being here and your questions and thank you to the edward m. kennedy institute for hosting this terrific panel. [applause]
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>> while many holiday traditions will be different this year we can still remember festivities from years past. ♪ ♪ time, the sixth and last
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i have come to light this christmas tree in the nation's capital. my prayer now, as it has been in each of these other decembers, is for peace and reconciliation abroad, justice, and tranquility at home. ♪ >> seasons greetings from all of us at american history tv. you are watching american history tv. 48 hours of programming on american history every weekend on c-span 3. follow us on twitter, @cspanhistory, for information on our schedule and to keep up
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with the latest history news. >> gettysburg college civil war institute hosted an online discussion with nina silber, author of "this war ain't over: fighting the civil war in new deal america." ms. silber talks about the ways individuals and groups remembered the war and utilized it in their own political fights during the 1930's. gettysburg college civil war institute provided the video.

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