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tv   President James Madisons Life Career  CSPAN  December 18, 2020 7:09pm-8:04pm EST

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i'll put it down for me and it has to come a little bit done more for dr. cheney. welcome history lovers good morning. i am thrilled you are here, and i'm happy to welcome students from the palm beach de academy fifth grade and their teachers. and also students, from palm beach atlantic university and faculty. thank you for being with us, and this is about the future. doctor lynne cheney has focused
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most of her life, on teaching children, american history. so that the next generation can learn from the past. before i introduce her we had a surprise guest fly in from wyoming last night, and i would like doctor cheney's husband of 52 years dick cheney, to stand up vice president dick cheney. [applause] thank you so much for coming. it means a lot to me. well, i am honored to introduce this distinguished speaker and when i called her last year to invite her, she said am i the only speaker who has not won a pulitzer prize? i said yes but you are the only
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speaker who is chairman of the national endowment of humanities for seven years, and the only speaker who was second lady of the united states of america for eight years. if you google doctor cheney, you will be blown away by all of her awards and accomplishments. as always i will not list all of that, i expect you to do that. but while she was head of and age, she published american memory, a report that warned about the failure of schools and the institution of higher learning, to transmit accurate knowledge about the past. as she said quote the system of education, that fails to nurture deny students a great deal
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this changer of the way people think. she is currently working on the
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book about the virginia dynasty, washington and jefferson and madison and monroe. that will be out in about two years. what fascinates her is for the first 36 years of our republic with the exception of four short years of john adams the virginia dynasty was in power of the 15 book she has written, five of them are history books for children. and we have bought them for all of our grandchildren, and i've read them over and over again with the grandchildren who love them. i will mention a few, you might want to purchase them. america, a patriotic primer, celebrates the ideas that are our country. one of my favorites, aides for abigail. it tells about the accomplishments of women, in america. and of course the one that i love the most is when washington crossed the delaware and it tells about the general
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washington, leading his ragtag army across the frozen river on christmas night and his as surprise attack on the enemy in trenton it teaches children about the courage, heroism and dedication to your dreams. she was also a baton thrower as a child. she required hours of discipline and practice and she was known across the state of lamp wyoming as flamboyant, because her batons were sometimes set aflame in both hands. in 1954, she was wyoming's junior champion and in 1956, she won the state senior champion metal. i asked her if she'd be willing to show us a few hover tricks. she said you couldn't pay me enough. although i've heard that she still might do it for a big charity that's willing to give a lot of money. lynn dixon met young dick
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cheney at the high school, the vice president told me that his father was choosing between two jobs. one one was in wyoming and one was in great falls, montana. he said if i had gone to great falls, montana i never would've met. lynch she would've met another fella and high school, fall in love and married him and he would become the vice president. dr. cheney wrote that at the high school was the most beautiful building in wyoming, and in these beautiful building in casper. the second most beautiful building with the carnage a library which opened in 1910. she said by the time i started going there some 40 winters of hot water heating and worked to combine the scent of varnished wood with a slightly acidic odor of aging books to create a
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wonderful smell, one that was unique in my experience. in the 19 fifties, it was a haven for kids like lynn vincent, who wrote books. this was a different time, back in the 19 forties and fifties, and a lot of this audience can really late to. i remember as well, teens and kids were free to run around, come and go and their parents didn't even know where they were or worry. there was no pervasive fear of computers or cellphones blaring something ugly from around the world or country. there was a feel of feeling of optimism. when i was at the region of mount vernon, i invited doctor cheney to come as the second lady to talk to 350 students on constitution day on september 17th. as you know, it's the day that adopt the adoption of the american constitution and her
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top adore captivated the students. she intern invited the whole board to come to the vice presidents mansion and as you know, resides in the naval observatory grounds. the ladies were deeply appreciated of the top and the tour she gave us. when i spoke to her a week ago, i said what's something you do we might not know? she said every day i do the daily miriam webster vocabulary quizzes on my ipad. i didn't even know they existed, but ever since i've done every morning. fascinating fact is that people in their sixties and in their seventies, score higher than those in their thirties and forties. as our second lady of the united states, doctor cheney lived at the highest level of national life, but she remained which she grew up to be in wyoming, it curious,
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hardworking scholar. down to earth, great fun, a beautiful and brilliant woman. the columnist george will calls her lynn is the really indispensable cheney. ladies and gentlemen, please welcome dr. lynn cheney. (clappinig) >> thank you for the nice welcome and i've got to get a printed copy that introduction and great introduction. all her hard work that she is done and creative thinking to put a series of speeches
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together. so gabe, thank you and thank all of you for being here today and loving the idea of listening to stories about the past. it took me five years to write the book about madison. that's not an excessively long time, i think you if you would ask your other prisoners, it's a long process. but when you tell someone who isn't a writer to do five years, they are stunned. and after being stunned about how long i spent on the book, they are stunned that i spent five years on madison. and i completely love the time i spent working on it. and i explained that i like madison because he wasn't a flamboyant character. he was reserved and he got things done without making a whole lot of fuss about it. i think that is an achievement to be valued.
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for folks who are wishing for the microphone today, but the ones who were just quietly doing it and getting a lot done, and boy he got a lot done. one of the things you will read often if you read about madison is that he was reserved. he wasn't a fellow that ran around padding people on the back and chatting them up. he was so reserved that he sometimes intimidated people on first meeting. there was a young man named george tucker who described his first meeting with madison this way. the impression made on me was of stern us rather than of the mild nurse suavity which i later found to characterize him. madison resisting james monroe when tucker encountered him. and tucker later wrote that said it's possible that he and monroe were discussing
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something very serious in that could've accounted for it, but it was also possible that madison reserved strangers. tucker said he never received madison that way after. he was one to know madison western on first meeting. he gave away nothing to strangers, nothing. and it was often observed as well that he was very different in private than he was in public. in private, he was witty, known to like madeira, and appreciate jokes that weren't meant for the drawing room. once he said his humor left a british ambassador utterly scandalized. madison wasn't tall, no more than five six i said in my book,
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but as i think about it, five six was reported by a man who may have exaggerated. five for maybe a little closer to the mark. he was a nice looking gentlemen, small, compact, nice looking, and he had a receding hairline. he combed his hair in a stylish way, forward into a point like this. well is there anyone here in this audience who watches blue bloods? oh my gosh. well i've got dick for sure. on blue bloods, there is a player named detective danny reagan, and if you ever watch blue blood, stanley reagan is the one who jumps over a car at least once an episode. he's played by danny walberg
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who those of you who have watched it might guess, combs is hair exactly like james madison. now if i ever get the opportunity to do casting for someone writing about the founders, i mean a suggest tani walberg. so madison wasn't physically impressive in a way that the six footers were. has gained office, six footers jefferson, monroe, washington in particular. i am struck time and again when i read about washington how important his physique was to his accomplishments. what went abigail adams first met him and john had told her about washington, she scolded john. she said not preparing her for the phenomenon that the general was, i thought that the one half was not -- benjamin rush, doctor benjamin
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rush described washington this way. there is not a king in europe that would not look like a volley by his side. what madison locked in stature he more than made up for in brains. his presence as jefferson described it, came from a habit of self possession, which placed at ready command the rich resources of his luminous and discriminating mind. in my book, as gay mention i called madison a genius. this caused some heartburn among some critics. well i'm happy however to stand my ground on that. madison not only saw the world he was born into, he saw how it could be different, and at age
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36, he arrived at the philadelphia convention, later known as the constitutional convention full of this idea, intent on creating a nation from the 13 states such as never had been seen before. just four years before, they thrown out the rule of great britain and went through iraqi time with the articles of confederation. but along comes madison and he is ready to change things. he is ready to make this totally new kind of nation. he imagined a vast republic where people were sovereign and their fundamental rights respected as nowhere else on earth. now at that time, anyone who is thinking of such matters believed that a vast republic was impossible. a republic maybe, we are all the citizens were homogenous, a little republic might be, but one that covered territory as
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large as the 13 states was sure to be pulled apart by all the interests and ambitions of its many inhabitants. that was the idea. that was machiavellian's idea, mona skews idea, that a vast republic was impossible. people believe that for very long time. madison's insight was to perceive that all those different interests and ambitions that other people have been afraid about, that in fact those were crucial to a republic's survival. clashing viewpoints would keep anyone viewpoint, even out of a majority from becoming tyrannical. now it is so starting to read about someone who changed the way people think, and to read further about how important is insight was, how transformative
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it was in part because it brought the idea of a republic down to earth. it didn't require a citizenry of self effacing angels to make it work. it wouldn't be a place where everyone had to stifle his or her ideas and aspirations for the sake of unity. ordinary people could live and pursue their dreams. because of madison, republic was no longer a distant ideal, but something to which people around the world aspire. bringing the idea of the extended republic to bear at a time when the great nation was to be created was madison's first act of creative genius, but by no means his last. he, more than anyone else would be responsible for the united states of america as we know it today.
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his time of great achievement came after years of intense focus, deep concentration and nearly obsessive effort, the behavior that describes most lives a genius, from sir isaac newton, mozart to einstein's. let me just give you a few examples of all how hard madison worked in the run up to the convention in philadelphia and convention itself. first of all, know what's coming up, he began and intense study of laws in constitutions. he had been interested in this idea since he was in his'tis twenties, but when jefferson shifted him from paris, where jefferson was envoy, he began this intense study. a relative staying with the medicines, i'm smiling because virginia is just one because
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unreal, as bernard palin called it. he stepped back from this constant socializing the most virginians participated in and started working really hard. a relative came to see him, wrote in his diary that madison came to breakfast at which he ate sparingly, and then would go to his room till a little before dinner. so while everyone else was riding horses and playing wished, madison was in his room working. now he knew that washington's presence at the convention would make all the difference. washington was so admired, so loved by the american people by this time, that if he were there the convention would have a greater chance of success than if he weren't. so he wrote a letter after letter urging the general to attend. he also traveled through a snowstorm, a blizzard really to the confederation congress in
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new york to make sure that the congress people were on board. and while he was twisting arms there in his own subtle way, he spent hours in a boarding house studying the issues that were bound to come up. he worked really hard. he also left for philadelphia early from new york. the fact that he was the first out of state delegate there. that meant he could meet the other delegates as they arrived in particular the delegates from virginia. because madison was there early he brought them all together and together they produce the virginia plan, which as you know set the agenda for the constitutional convention. during the convention, madison was one of the delegates you spoke to most often any made crucial, critical interventions. when the in convention was about to write in the constitution that congress had
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the power to quote make war, madison stood up and successfully changed it to declare war. thus making the president commander-in-chief. now if you think about it, we would not have ever done so well, i'm sorry dick to mention this, if all the congressman were in charge of our of war, it would not have been successful. this was a really important intervention. while he's speaking and understanding how important it is to get the words just right, madison was also taking notes. he sat up at the front of the room and wrote the notes out in shorthand and then went back to his room at night and transcribed them. now i could go on. i could talk about madison's central role in getting the constitution ratified, his working at break nets speed
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with hamilton to put out the federalist, a series of and safe defending the constitution. madison described this effort as having to get the papers to the printer while the printer is still working on the last ones. he wrote i think it was 40 essays in 23 days, i may have those numbers wrong, but it was just an amazing, amazing accomplishment. i can also cite his work as a leader, adding the bill of rights to the constitution, but i think i have made the point that madison's geniuses, as most geniuses, was the product of hard work. it was like mold starts, and noodles, and einstein's genius. tense per 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration to quote thomas edison. and like mozart, newton, einstein and edison, james madison change the world. it's hard his hard work makes and of the point as well. he was often ill, leaving many historians to say that he was
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sickly. you come across that again and again. that he was even a hypochondriac. but when he was well, he was very, very well. traveling 1000 miles through new york with lafayette, traveling through that blizzard to new york. indeed, simply getting from montpelier to philadelphia was quite a challenge. it's trips were over roads, he often traveled in the rain. i'm struck by how often it was muddy on those roads, and one time it was worse than that. he was forced to dismantle his carriage, take the whole carriage apart, make three trips with it in what he called something like a boat, over a swollen pawned, and then he had to swim his horses across. this is an extraordinary amount of energy to expand if you are
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sickly. it's true that madison had the gastrointestinal problems that plagued almost everyone in the 18th century. this is a time remember when people believed that illness was caused by bad air and doctors didn't wash their hands. but in addition to the common ailments of the day, madison suffered from when he called sudden attacks, which he described as somewhat resembling epilepsy, and suspending the intellectual functions. madison's most influential biographer described these attacks as epilepsy toyed hysteria. now he was writing in a time when floyd was very influential. apple up toyed hysteria, in fact madison's description fits today's description understanding of epilepsy.
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his sudden attacks may well have been complex partial seizures which leave the affected person conscious but with his or her comprehension and ability to communicate impaired. with the intellectual function suspended as madison said. it may leave the affected person tired and confuse for a short term after, but they are not necessarily disabling, nor do they prevent exertion. madison was lucky enough when terrible things were described, and prescribed, mercury for example. madison was lucky enough to encounter doctors who told him to exercise. what a modern thing to think. it's often recommended today for people who suffer from epilepsy. as he rode and walked over the hills of the virginia pa moment. he became ready to take 1000
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mile journey with lafayette or hold office. now i find research like this fascinating. i could happily spend days reading 19th century medical manuals. they make me feel very lucky that we are not prescribing those same remedies today. but when you are writing a book, you have to ask yourself, is what you are doing important? does it offer insight of the person you are writing about? and in madison's case, i believe it does. a hypochondriac or someone giving to hysterical episodes is quite different from someone who has and identifiable and manages to achieve greatly in spite of it. understanding madison's ailment also understand certain things he did and or didn't do. he wanted to be a soldier as the revolution was coming off. he wanted to be a rifle man and
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he was a good shot. he told a friend he could hit an eight inch target at a distance of 100 yards, which is the length of a football field. and this is with an 18th century weapon. but his military career came to a sudden and when during training, he suffered what was likely one of the sudden attacks. madison had several chances to go to europe and always turned them down. i just realized a day or two ago that the first five presidents he was the only one who ever set foot out of the united states. medical manuals of the day committed people with epilepsy they recommended people of epilepsy avoid deepwater, presumably because a seizure could make you fall overboard and drowned. that's when jefferson suggested that madison visit him in france. madison decline. writing to jefferson that he had quote some reason to suspect that crossing the sea
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would be unfriendly to a singular disease of my constitution. madison was a lifelong defender of religious freedom and when we try to answer the question of this lecture season series that proposes how has the past influence the president, it's his battle for religious freedom that i always think of. the constitution was absolutely essential, that set the ground floor, but the his fight for religious freedom was inspired in part by the treatment of baton baptist that he witnessed in virginia as a young man. they were arrested, charged with preaching without a license and thrown in jail by people subscribing to what's madison described as that diabolical, how conceived idea of persecution. at the age of 22, and you know it is angry as anything he ever
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wrote, he declared, religious bondage, shackles debilitates the mind and unfit sit for every noble enterprise. emma he spoke with the authority of a man who knew the misery of being bound to a viewpoint. probably because he had experienced it firsthand. the standard religious view of the time was that people with epilepsy were lunatic's. they were called that. by the most orthodox religious people that they were unclean, sinful and even possess by the devil. it's easy to understand madison being indignant by such notions and determined to free people from having to -- . he worked with his long term friend thomas jefferson. they worked together in this cost and one of his proudest
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achievements was a rule virginia statute for religious freedom. if you've been to mounted shiloh you'll know it's one of the three achievements that jefferson put on the center tab over his grave. jefferson was the author of the statute and he declared that neither religious nor political leaders had any dominion over the fate of others. punishing people for the religious beliefs or declaring them unworthy of public office was depriving them of advantages to which they had a natural right. our civil rights, jefferson wrote, have no dependence on our religious opinions anymore than our opinions on physics or geometry. now again, madison and jefferson were on the frontier of thought here. it had long been believed that there should be an established church in the anguishing
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anglican church in the case of virginia, and religious conformity had to be imposed. but madison and jefferson saw it differently. now the statute failed to pass when they first brought it to the virginia assembly. the jefferson went off to paris for five years while he was gone, madison who was the sharpest politician among the founders, he saw an opportunity and he got a past. he wrote an exultant letter to jefferson in which he declared that the statute had been had extinguished -- madison's high regard for the stat sheet has been shared by generations. a much admired theologian called the statute and i quote an ethical shift in the western world's approach to relations between a civil and relations
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religious fears. by dividing them with the state on one hand and the church on the other, virginia statute is in martin marti's words, a hinge between the ages. i think we were on the side of the change that the founders accomplished, it's hard to realize it, because they have become such a part of our lives. madison made many decisions but perhaps the wisest was marrying dolly todd. he was out walking in 1794 when he caught sight of her and was instantly smitten. this happened regularly tonight who saw dolly. she was merely five a, of shapely figure. she had black hair, blue eyes and startling pale complexion, which she has learned to shield from the virginia sun. she came from a quaker family which had not for her being a
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good fit. she was inclined for the gators of the world one quaker women wrote and this is my favorite story. a quaker matron recall that during an effort to convince dolly of the seriousness of life, the young girl first smiled and then afterward fell fast asleep. the 26-year-old dolly was recently widowhood. her husband john had died in a yellow fever epidemic the year before madison saw her, and so hatteras rima the baby, leaving her with a son who was to, and his name was pain todd. madison, who is 43, dollars 26 madison's 43, ottawa units, that turn to eric burr. this is the one big cousin rethink, even when you're not related in 18th century united states, everybody knew
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everybody. he tutu turn to erin burnett, because they had gone to princeton together, and he arranged the introduction. dolly was thrilled at the prospect. she wrote to a friend. thou must come to seen me, that must come, aaron burr is bringing, i love this line, the great little madison to see me this evening. four months later they were married. now i am of the conviction, but political wives, political spouses generally. cannot do too much to help their husbands or wives career. it's a good thing if a political spouse behaves herself for himself, and stays out of trouble. but as a general rule unless they are rich, spouses do not do much to forward their
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spouses ambitions. so there's an exception and in this case it was dolly. she invited women as well as men to their house in the new city of washington, and she included federalists as well as republicans well james while she was chatting with one or two guests, dolly was talking to everyone. as one guest said that she was very amiable and pleasant conversation and she also served southern comfort food. she liked to serve ham, surrounded by mashed cabbage. now a spouse could entertain, or at least some spouses and they be glad to tell you that i have not mastered the art of cooking.
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he likes to say during the first couple years of our mask marriage, i pretended as though i knew how to cook. and he pretended as though he liked it. but entertaining fellow officers, was not an effective thing to do today it was not important in the way it used to be and they decide who the republican nominee for president would be. generally speaking the life of a congressman in the 18 century, in the city of washington was pretty miserable. there is nothing to do but go to the boarding house or other congressman lived but there was a few things, there is one place and i puzzled over this for a long time or you can go and watch cancers now i wonder what that could be the
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congressman as i say, slept in boarding houses boarding houses on capitol hill. and one member described it, as living like bears. brutalized and stupefied, from hearing nothing but politics. all of this made an evening at the madison house particularly welcome and it shined a light on medicines warmth and personable side. so her choice of dramatic closed
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france. they decided it would help them, if they shut down u.s. trade with france. and we need more sailors. so they started stopping american ships, and taking off board and putting into their -- anybody the expected of not being an american. because many people in the united states had come from england they were often taking
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american citizens and i heard that, i read someplace that one of the devices for deciding whether your american or not, was to ask you to say the word peace. if anyone said pays they took them away right away. the idea of our citizens being seized was very objectionable. and in june of 1812 and madison became the first president to carry the nation to war under the constitution. we often hear about the glorious victories as. . we so balls would bounce off the sides of the ship, and that led to the name older insides.
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but there were humiliating losses on land, and the biggest humiliation of all, was the british march on washington and burned it. that you can still see the burn marks, in the capital of united states as well as in the white house. i happen to be in the capital, with queen elizabeth when she was visiting the united states, and we are being toward around, by excellent guides. and this guide pointed out, right here you can see where the evidence of the british having burned the white house. here are some big pieces of wood, and they had ash on them. and clean elizabeth, i will never forget, said well you did the same thing to york. new york is toronto today, and indeed we had set some fires in york, so the british have not quite gotten over this, so is john here?
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so there were these humiliating losses on land, but that is not where the war ended. madison sent a's piece missing mission, and it succeeded. then andrew jackson won a great victory over the british at the battle of new orleans. they said sometimes the jackson's victory didn't mean anything since the treaty had already been signed, but to the contrary, it show that the united states, could be as powerful on land on land as well as it see. there the war also showed that free speech could survive more time. despite being tried by americans who condemn the war, during the top of succession, madison never wavered in his commitment to free speech. he proved that a republic could defend itself, and remain a republic still. and perhaps the highest praise,
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that madison received, came from john adams. who not always admired virginia. madison's administration adams wrote, acquired more glory and established more union than all three of his predecessors. washington, adams and jefferson put together. what a wonderful compliment. i was, thinking that you might like to know a little bit about some of the people that i felt, obliged to leave out of the speech since it would've gone on and on forever. one of the people, and these are women for the most part, and they do tend to get pushed aside and in the history of the early republic. but one of the women was madison's grandmother. her name was francis madison. i became interested in her, because of a note she wrote when madison was a child and they were living together. her note look like a shopping
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list. at the top of it it said for a, -- . for epilepsy. the 18th century medical books that i so much enjoy, taught me that some of the items on her list, conduit camp saffron, were thought to be good for breaking a fever it's. the guests that madison may have had fever related seizures as a child. they are not regarded as epilepsy today, but can be part of the syndrome. seizures as a child, epileptic seizures as an adult but francis was quite a woman. the more learned about her the, more interesting i found her she and her husband were the first to move the first other family to piedmont. not long after they move their, it was the frontier. and he died, poisoned by a slave records say, and running
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the plantation fell to her. she had to learn the details of growing tobacco. one went to plant the seeds, went to talk them, want to cut the leaves, how long to cure them. and when the time came to pack the tobacco and transport it to market, francis carved her name, on each one of the barrels. and this is a remarkable instance of a woman forwarding herself. and she should have, she had made the tobacco in those barrels. her orders from london merchants, were what might be expected from a tobacco grower, she ordered axes, pair of boots who drove mueller, and while she did the work of a man on the virginia frontier, she also upheld her areas standards of womanhood. dresses were among her orders, as were to as good as it stays
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that was course it's, size small. and i may be more interested in grandmothers than i should be, but francis was quite a woman. doug and another woman, i'm not sure i would call her quite a woman but she was important to history, and her name is kitty floyd. kitty, was 15 years old around faced young woman. she lived with her family in the same boarding house that madison and jefferson did. and madison, 31, he fell in love. i should not make too much of the age difference, because in the 18 century, 15 or 16 as katie was about to be, was considered a perfect age to marry. so madison 31, fell in love with her. this was 1783, 1:15 was considered a marriageable age.
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and that is wanted to doug marion. and jefferson want to talk to kitty, and to play up madison, and he rode madison and said, i think i've got it fixed. well it turned out not, jefferson was always the optimist, and kitty had seemed amenable, but she and her family traveled to new jersey, and madison waited to hear from her, about the upcoming wedding, but he did not hear and he did not hear, and finally he got a deer john letter. he poured his hurt, and his heart out to jefferson, who gave him great advice. he told him the world will present many other resources of happiness. and you possess many within yourself. and this is my favorite, firmness of mind, and an intermitting occupations, will not long leave you in pain. in other words throw yourself
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into your work, and that is exactly what madison did. and kitty went on to marry a medical student, his name was william clarkson, he became a clergyman. kitty was a spendthrift. in a will her father wrote, that he had given giddy and her husband, considerable sums of money. and doug land. but the father complain, all is spent and gone. he ordered his son nicholas, having cut her out of his will, to give her 70 dollars a month. it's possible to think as disappointed as madison was, posterity was the better off for the breakup. he was about to enter the most consequential years of his life, and he was lonely or without kitty, but probably more productive and if you will pardon me, for reading history backward, i would also like to observe, that had madison
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married the floyd, as there would be no dolly madison. so i've done my best to get the women into the story, and they have fascinating stories as well. but i want to thank all of you for being here today, and cat emhoff, who is the president of montpelier is here with us today, and i appreciate all of the great things that have been done at montpelier, and i would recommend that you visit it, and see the evolution of marion scott dupont, or maybe it's mary and dupont scott but a wealthy woman, and she was married to randall scott scott for a while, and as she basically had pink stucco on this building, but the idea is to get it back to what it look like, when the medicines were here. and the effort has been remarkable. thank you montpelier, thank you for arranging this, and thank
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you all of you for being here.
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the environmental protection agency, launched 50 years ago this month, during the richard nixon administration, to mark the anniversary, nixon foundation president hue cue it, interviews former california governor arnaud arnold schwarzenegger about nixon's record, and the impact


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