tv In Depth Allen Guelzo CSPAN June 20, 2022 8:56pm-10:57pm EDT
commander, especially of light horse, carrying out light cavalry raids, doing, post doing all kinds of small jobs. he was really very good at that. but, as soon as the revolution was over and he moved back into civilian life, everything went from bad to worse. he made investments in western virginia land that where the equivalent of buying ski resorts in bangladesh. they all went to nothing, they
bankrupted him. politics for virginia.g virginia was the virginia of thomas jefferson. whitehorse harry lee was a federalist and, in 1813, he was beaten within an inch of his life by a pro jeffersonian mob in baltimore. taking both of those things together, light horse harry decided that other calling for more professions for him. so, he left and went to the west indies. he left when his son robert was six years old and robert never saw him again. i think that was actually a major and traumatic moment in the life of robert e. lee that stays with him for the rest of his days. >> the other thing i wanted to mention, from your first answer, was you right in robert e. lee, in life, that lee discovered a
sense of shame at having been part of the mexican american war. >> yes. for many americans who were part of the mexican war, especially that invasion from bera cruise to mexico city, the experience they had stayed with them all their lives. you can read many memoirs, especially civil war generals who got their start as junior officers during that war, who reflected back on it and remembered mexico as a land of surpassing and enchanting beauty, someplace they always wanted to revisit. alongside it was a sense of embarrassment that this war had taken place at all. i mean, for one thing, in the ethos of the 19th century, republics were not supposed to make war on republics. republics, in some sense, weren't supposed to make war at all. they would fight them but they
would fight them defensively against aggressive, imperial ventures from sars and kings and whatnot. but the idea of the american public corridor with the mexican republican beating up on it was a source of disconnect for many of these young americans and, the longer they served in this war, the more that disconnect weight on them. and robert really would finally come to the conclusion, i am ashamed of what we've done, i'm ashamed of this war. we picked on mexico, we deliberately took advantage. and he isn't the only one either, you can find, curiously enough, the same theme developed in ulysses grant's memoirs. so, these two men who will, in time, almost become the yin and yang of the civil war, had a similar experience in their service of mexico. that was the sense that the united states had done the wrong thing, in a day they mexico. that it was a long larger,
stronger power beating up on a smaller, weaker one. which it should have been, as a sister republic, encouraging, instead of making the object of war. >> he said he served under general wind field scott during that war. what was wind field scott's role during the civil war? >> by the time the civil war break, that winfield scott is really too old to take active command in the field. he is the general-in-chief of the united states army at that point. but he is really in no shape, at his age, to have taken active direction of the war. he sketch that a large-scale strategic plan, sometimes known as the anaconda plan, for how the war should be conducted. but he understood, he was past the time he could take active participation in the field. to that end, the person he
wanted to recommend as the person who should be the field commander for the armies that would suppress this secessionist rebellion was robert e. lee. scott never forgot the service that robert e. lee had tended to him during the mexican american war. in the years between that war and the civil war, scott develops something of a surrogate figure for robert e. lee. he insists in promoting members of the leaf family, one of lead sons really gets a commission in the army largely because winfield scott arranges. so, there's a very close relationship this way. but nothing more cruelly disappointed winfield scott than when lee came to visit him in mid-april of 1861 to tell him that he was going to turn down the offer of command. that he would resign his
commission in the united states army. it was said that winfield scott took to his sofa weeping, saying i never want to hear the name of robert e. lee again. well, that is probably somewhat apocryphal but it does give you a sense, first of, all of the relationship between the two but, secondly, the disappointment that scott experienced when lee decided to not take up the command. that, in other circumstances, scott might've wanted to exercise himself. >> later allen guelzo, was robert really well-known in a general public prior to the civil war? was he in the society pages because of his wife? was there a will he won't he, back and forth, in the press regarding his going to the confederates? >> to a minor degree. robert e. lee was not someone who enjoyed the public limelight. he did his level best to stay
out of newspapers, to stay out of the columns of people who are writing social matters. he himself will only venture into public view very, very reluctantly. he simply dislikes it, it's something he has no taste for. people often remark about lee that he struck them as very aloof, a very distant sort of figure. there is a famous passage in the diary of mary chestnut, one of the great diaries of the civil war era, she met leave for the first time before the war that the white salter springs and west virginia. she met lee there because that was where they took his wife. mary accustoms lee was acquainted by rheumatoid arthritis and the hot springs
where a way of giving her some relief from the difficulties posed by dermatitis. mary chestnut met lee, there without introduction she said this man on a beautiful horse came to join us. he looked so distinguished, i'm sorry i didn't catch his name. then she found out afterwards, this was robert e. lee. she said, no, everything about him was so fine looking, perfection. no fault could be found on the man, even if you hunted for one. this wasn't because chestnut necessarily admired that, she actually liked leaves older brother, sydney smith lee, a lot better. sydney smith lee it was very companion-able, fine man about town. but not robert. chestnut said, can anyone say they know his brother? i doubt it. he looked so cold and quiet and grand. that was the image that robert
lee chose to cultivate through his life. he did not like being in that public glare and, for that reason, any discussion that takes place about the possibility of robert e. lee's choice tends to occur only in his immediate environment, where he was living in alexandria and and arlington and across the river from washington, d.c.. and in a few other places, it's not a matter of national discussion or national attention. largely, because robert e. lee doesn't want national intention and discussion of himself. >> well, back in march, you were quoted in the princeton quarterly as saying, quote, if we wish to apparel the american experiment, we can find few more sinister path to that peril them by forgetting, obscuring or demeaning who we were. i bring this up now, with all the memorials to robert e. lee
being removed, et cetera, a lot of the confederate memorials being taken down. is that a mistake, in your view? >> well, there is no easy answer for that. i have to confess, for my own, part that i am at sixes and sevens about this question of statues of robert e. lee. i've seen statues not only of lee but of many other people taken down. and, on one hand, speaking as a pennsylvania person, i tell people, look, i am a yankee from yankee land, the most unlikely of lee biographers. as such, frankly, i can't fathom where you put up statues to people who committed treason. we don't have any statues, at least not that i'm aware of, on a revolutionary war battles to general how or general cornwallis.
we just don't have in there. in 1776, we tore down a statue of george the third in manhattan. so, there is a certain science in which i really can't measure why we do that. he people like robert e. lee raised their hand against the nation that they had sworn an oath to uphold. now, my father was a career united states army officer, he took that oath. my son is an officer in the u.s. army, he took that oath. even when i joined the national council for the humanities, back in 2006, i took the oath. so, it's not something i'm saying lightly. and it's not helped by the fact that, when li does make his decision to fight for the confederacy, would he is really doing is fighting for a cause that's wrapped around a defense of human slavery and human
trafficking. on the one hand, why should i feel anything except a sense of sympathy for the removal of relics like that, that really shouldn't be in any place other than museums? if someone wanted to propose today erecting a statue of robert e. lee, i would tell them, as politely as i could, to get lost. so that really hasn't been the whole story, has it? because what we've been talking, about not just statues of robert e., lee were talking about whole scale toppling, defacing's, of statues across the country. this includes statues of ulysses grant, statues of frederick douglass, statues of abraham lincoln. here in my own hometown of philadelphia, someone actually defaced a statue of a prominent abolitionist figure. what they thought they were
doing, i don't know. but so much of this seem to be an active irrational impulse. and, when i see the overall picture of the removal and the toppling of statues this way, i began to see how much of it gets done by rational impulse. that's when i started of hesitations, that's when i started to have the anxiety that we are doing something a little less considerate, a little less logical, than we think we're doing. back in 2017, when the charlottesville riot circled around a statue of robert e. lee there in charlottesville, that was the moment when robert e. lee almost became radioactive. at that time, i sat down with a former student of mine, john rudy, who is now a national park service interpretive officer. we worked up what we called a decision tree.
because, how do you deal with monuments and statues? there are moments -- on the one hand, you simply can't say that because a statue hazard sacrosanct, that's not true. i remember, 1956, hungarian revolutionaries fighting against the soviets. what's the first thing they do? they tear down the statue of joseph stalin in budapest. in 2003, when american forces arrived in baghdad, one of the first thing that happens is the tearing down of an enormous statue of saddam hussein. now, i'm not, by any means, going to sit here and say i'm so sorry we don't have a statue of joseph stalin and saddam hussein these days. no, i think we're better planted without them. but how do we arrive at decisions for people who are represented first that she is who haven't been around for 150 years, 200, here's something
like that? i think there has to be something more of a process than i have seen in some of the latest wave of the statue toppling's and statue removals. so, we developed a decision tree. she basically said, let's ask a city of questions, five questions. depending on the answer to the first, question then we move to the second. depending on the answer to the, second we move to the third, so for, through the fifth. there is no guarantee in this decision tree, no guarantee of a result. it's not intended to produce a certain result. what it is intended to produce is, we have thought through this. we have looked at this logically. we have come to this conclusion as a result of a process, not just an impulse. if, at the end of the process, we decide, yes, the statue should be removed, then fine. at least we've done it with a process. the thing that i've been most concerned about, the thing that
i think endangers our understanding of history, is when we respond purely to these memorials and leaves monuments, purely out of a quasi-irrational impulse. that, i think, contains within it a real danger. because there's not a whole lot of real difference between that kind of irrational impulse and the behavior of a mob. the behavior of a mob is exactly what democracy and democratic societies drive to put distance between. necessarily so. so, i would rather err on the side of caution in this way, at least on the side of process. the result of process may be, yes, remove the statues, but at least we would've gone through a process. i think the process is what is important. >> well, the first line in your book about robert e. lee's, how do you write the biography of
somebody who commits treason? how do you guard against your own bias? because i asked, first of all, what the constitution say about treason? how does the constitution define it? on the one hand, it is pretty straightforward. the constitution says that treason consists of a making war against the united states and giving aid and comfort to its enemies. i have some difficulty in looking at robert e. lee and not seeing someone who did exactly those things, who made war against the united states. in fact, four years worth of war against the united states. it certainly give aid and comfort to the enemies. simply on those terms alone, i cannot avoid the conclusion. yes, robert e. lee committed treason. you are saying that because you -- i am saying that because i am reading the constitution for what it actually says.
i cannot avoid that conclusion. i say this at the very beginning because i am not coming to write a biography of robert e. lee, either to put a halo around his head or put a knife in his back. i want to come to robert e. lee as frankly and soberly as i can. the first and most important question is that question about treason. in some respect, it poses a challenge about writing this kind of biography not just about the. how do you write the biography of someone who commit treason? in some sense, it is easy to write the biography of someone you can easily admire, a washington, a lincoln, a churchill. how do you deal with people who lives are committed to things you find reprehensible?
you can't not write about them. you can't simply pretend that they are not there. how do you undertake the writing of what i call, difficult, biography. that is when i set myself as a task to do in writing about robert e. lee. it is conscious of the fact that a difficult biography calls for a different set of understandings and a different set of analytical tools then you might have in writing about lincoln, about whom i have written a great deal. you have to write and come to write about it with a different set of understandings. his life is very different. >> allen guelzo is the author of 12 books. doctor guelzo, after this was there an outcry from the public to jail robert e. lee? >> yes.
oh yes, yes, yes, and especially after the assassination of abraham lincoln. in the few days that transpired between easily surrender in northern virginia and lincoln's murder, there was a sense that the war is coming down to its conclusion. we can be generous, open handed. then comes the lincoln assassination. this is like saying, this is what we get for being open handed. this is what we get for being generous. we will deal now with these people the way that they are asking us to deal with them. there was a terrific backlash against the confederate leadership, against jefferson davis, who was still on land. he would not be apprehended until may 10th. a lot of this gets directed at le. the calls go up for something to be done about robert e. lee. it especially takes the form of
indictment and treason that is entered by the federal district in virginia. it is in virginia, largely because this is one of the few places in virginia, whether it is a federal court operating. they have concluded that there has been no federal courts operating in most of virginia. they've been confederate courts but not federal courts. yes. this indictment comes from the federal court of unorthodox. lee, along with some 33 and 34 other confederate leaders are invited by the federal court for treason. the assumption is that this is going to proceed to some sort of trial. this is where the problems began to accrue. looked at, initially, in terms of the constitution's definition of treason, then we should have gone to a trial. there were some interesting
trip wires in the way. one of them was the fact that at the surrender, ulysses grant granted to lee and all of his army in north virginia, a parole. a parole. what does this mean? this is how it is literally put. none of those who surrender are going to be troubled or involved by the federal government provided that they go to their homes and abide by laws peacefully. it is not entirely a get out of jail free card. if you do not abide by the parole terms all restraints are off. the parole had been given by ulysses grant. when grant gets wind of the fact that the new president and his attorney general, james speed, are toying with the idea of pursuing robert e. lee for
treason, grant feels that his own pledge, his own honor, is being called into question. he, quite frankly, tells andrew johnson that if he persists, he will resign as general of the army. that is a threat that andrew johnson could not accommodate. he had to back down in the face of that. no one stood a higher in the estimate of the north at that moment then ulysses grant. that is one problem that heads off the trial. another problem is that all throughout the war, a lot of questions about dealing with a liberties have been dealing with tribunals. does this sound familiar? this is sound like guantánamo bay? a lot of this logic a governance in those cases and i've governed those at the end of the civil war. the chief justice of the united states court, selma chase,
could not buy the idea that there was a parallel jurisdiction to a civilian jurisdiction in terms of the federal courts. the idea that there were military tribunals operating in virginia was an anthem to it. he made it clear that he would refused to participate in any federal trier trial of robert e. lee while there were tribunals operating in virginia. since they were operating, chase refused to cooperate with the trial. there is another roadblock in the path of putting lee on trial. there are a number of other legal snags this way. i will not take anyone into the weeds with unless you are a lawyer and want to go with me. at the end, the conclusion was, this is not going to be worth the political trouble that it is going to generate. what we will do is we will enter a four sack way.
this means do not to prosecute. in fact, in 1868, as andrew johnson is out of the white house, he issues a blanket that dispels the threat of a treasonous trial. technically speaking, it was a real question. lee treats it seriously. lee is a very anxious that this trial may go forward. he could be in serious danger. it is not until this amnesty comes down that lee becomes feeling that the cloud has, in large measure, passed over his head. he takes it seriously and it worries him. he would make a comment like a lot of my old friends do not want to be seen around me because i am just seen as such a drag on them.
they would be embarrassed to be seen with me. that weighed on him. it weighed on him heavily. the trial does not actually happen. nevertheless, it could have. what's the result would have been, we do not know. >> did a grant and lee have any relationship after the war? >> not really. in the immediate after flow of the surrender, lee expresses a great deal of gratitude to grant for granting that parole for his latitude and dealing with leads army. as time goes by, any kind of relationship that would have been a force between the two does not happen. grant invites lee to the white house in 1869. -- the interview only last about 15 minutes.
it is very polite. i do not want to see ferocity. it is not ill fellow door not well met. grant was hoping to in list lee and his support in his reconstruction. lee showed no enthusiasm for that. they part. they never meet again. there is a coldness there. i do not think it can be described in any other way. in fact, when people will press lee in 1870 for his opinion as to how or who the greatest union general was when he faced in the war, law lee's responses not ulysses grant. lee's response is george mccallum. if that does not surprise, you then nothing about the civil war will rip surprise you. grant, after fashion, returned the favor years later. when he was doing his world
tour, the new york journalist, john russell young, accompanying him, put a similar question to grant. who did he think was the greatest of the confederate generals? his response was a joseph e. johnston. it is even worse, surprising. you even have a sense that grant was doing a-for-tat. if you are going to disrespect me i will disrespect you. what could have been an interesting relationship between these two former opponents never ever develops in that way. if anything, in 1868 and 1869. lee will actually lend his influence more to people who are challenging ulysses grant then otherwise. >> we could spend this entire two hours of speaking about robert e. lee and his life and all of the imaginations that go into that.
we want to talk about some of your other books. prior to robert e. lee life your previous book was reconstruction, it concise history. this one came out in 2018. from this book, quote, even the strongest measures are taken by the u.s. government during both the war and reconstruction, were deployed less with a view towards subjugating these states to a centralized authority and more toward and nudging them back into a federal government. the great losers in this process were southern blacks. >> yes, i said that in 2018. i have not seen anything since two -- which inclines me to alter or change that. what we really hope, to optimistically. more than a little too often mystically was that the war would teach lessons, that he
would change political minds. and that all of the blood and treasure that have been expended in the eradication of slavery would open up the possibility, not only for reunification of north and south as one nation, but a re-constitution of the south itself in the image of the north. that did not happen. it does not have been in large measure because, a, we did not know about how to go about reconstructing. there was no book that you could go into in a bookstore entitled, reconstruction for dummies. this would give you a step-by-step process and how to do this simple reconstruction. what you see instead is a series of improvisations. not all of them were terribly well thought out. some of them were inspired too much by hope and a lot of them
inspired by budgetary -- on the part of congress. that is the first thing that you see coming out of reconstruction. we did not know what it was we were doing. we were fumbling. the second thing that emerges from this is that in the fumbling, this is big, it gives the opportunity for the old southern leadership to, once again, sees political dominance of life in the south. as they do that, they aim to subjugate black southerners to something of the same status that they enjoyed before the civil war, in other words, to reconstitute a form of slavery without actually using the term. this kind of re-constitution is what leads the southerners and
southern states to jim crow, to segregation, to violent rioting, especially in the 1898 north carolina riot. they were violent subjugation's of black people in the south. we can only look back on that and say, why didn't we take reconstruction more seriously? grant looked back from his time after the presidency. grant looked back and said that the great mistake of reconstruction was we did not impose a military occupation. we imposed a military occupation that would last for a sufficiently long time. to raise up and educate an entirely new political generation in the south. we are too fast and in some cases we are to optimistic. a lot of, cases we just don't want to spend the time and
money. because, look, military operation of the south, even at the height of reconstruction, the united states military forces that were used on reconstruction duties in the south never really amounted to more than 20,000 troops. it's 20,000 troops, we deployed 3 million union soldiers during the civil war. but what do we put into the task of reconstruction? 20,000. and even that number diminishes overtime. we would have had to have done something more serious, something much more along the lines of what we did after world war ii with the marshall plan in europe, with the occupation of imperial japan. where we, basically, reconstructed societies from the bottom up, in a democratic image. we did not do that in 1865 to 1877. i think, as a country, we paid and continue to pay a serious,
serious price for that. we learned our lesson in 1945, and yet, subsequent efforts at reconstructions have not shown that the learning of that was entirely permanent. we still suffer from wanting to take military actions or diplomatic actions and have them produce a quick response. and we wash our hands and walk away from them and then don't pay anymore bills. perhaps we should've thought, before we got involved in some of these things, that what was going to be required with something much more intensive, much more expensive and requiring a great deal more from our society than we had been willing to give. that is something we have to bear in mind. the problem posed by reconstruction offers us an interesting lesson.
and what is sometimes called nation building. and, and reconstruction, we did a pretty poor job of it. many people, especially black people, suffered as a result. >> allen guelzo, how broken was the south, economically and socially, in 1865? >> probably the impact of the war was worse than the great depression. there had been big swathe of military destruction in various parts of the south. one thinks especially in this case of georgia, all of the destruction in georgia by general sherman and his army has been pretty grossly exaggerated. people who either retirements memoirs or gone with the wind get this notion that, somehow, william to comes a sherman took a torch to everything that stood in the state of georgia,
that's not really the case. but there were places that did pay a high penalty if the armies were constantly traveling back and forth across, when one of them was georgia. so, the south suffers economically by the loss of the capital invested in slavery, by the loss of capital invested in farm implements and farm animals. probably the south losses mounted to as high as, in some estimates that i've seen, 13 billion dollars. that's 18 $65. and yet, the south could have recovered much more quickly than if it had committed itself to trying to recreate the semi feudalism of the slave system. in a sense, the great punishment but south suffers and reconstruction is not union
occupation. you need occupation, by contrast, was minimal. the real punishment this is a suffers in reconstruction itself administered. as the south decides that would it really wants is to walk away from industrial capitalism, to walk away from the 19th century transatlantic economy. and to return to what it had been before the war, which was a semi futile agrarian state. that will take another 80 years in the life of the south to change. so, in a sense, the south became its own worst enemy in reconstruction. >> allen guelzo, as you mention, you are born in yokohama, japan to an army officer. then you got a masters and divinity and, finally, into the history aspect. at what point in your life did
you find yourself fascinated by this era? >> oh, i think i was always, always fascinated by it. at least as fascinated as one can be and be conscious. i can remember, when i was probably not more than five years old, bad during my mother to buy a comic book version of the red badge of courage in the old classics illustrated series. of course, the red bag of courage introduces a story about the civil war. that particular comic book app to have at the back a 16 page insert, as a quick comic book history, of the civil war. when i say comic book, we're thinking of superman and -- kinds of silly stuff. the classics illustrated series was a serious piece of work. this red badge of courage was a
serious piece of work, and it fascinated me. it sent me to my grandmother who, as a young girl at the turn of the last century in schools and philadelphia, had witnessed on decoration day, which was what they called memorial day then, she had witnessed old veterans of the grand army of the republic, old union veterans and their little blue jackets and their little blue caps, they would come to the schools. like my grandmother, school the george clyburn school. they would talk to the school children about the real meaning of the civil war. for them, the real meaning of the civil war was not what those johnny reds are trying to teach you. it was about the end of slavery, it was about the preservation of the union. that was the understanding of the war that, you might say, i got at my grandmother's knee and grew up with. so, in my case, i never grew up with robert e. lee having an
aura around his head. many other writers about lee wrote as southerners, i think particularly of douglas suffolk raman, they wrote about lee as southerners, as promoting the myth of the lost cause. i grew up understanding the lost cause to be a myth and that the real story of the civil war really belong to lincoln, to emancipation and to the preservation of the union. but i acquired that interest very early on, and it has stayed with me and, well, as you can see, i'm still talking about it. >> and we'll show our viewers some of your lincoln books in just a minute. i wanted to welcome you to our in-depth program for january, allen guelzo, historians, civil war historian, is our guest. we want to hear from you as well, you have a chance to talk with, and make comments, ask questions. here's how you do so. 202 caa code for all of our
numbers, seven for eight 8200 for those of you in the east and central time zones. 8001 if you live in the mountain and pacific time zones. you can also send a text to this number, this is for text messages only. he -- please include your first name in your city if he would, if you do send a text question. you can also contact us via social media. just remember, hat book tv is our handle for twitter, instagram, facebook et cetera. you can go ahead and start making notes comments, start dialing in and we'll get to your calls for allen guelzo just a few minutes. his first book came out in 1980, nine edwards on the, will a century of american theological debate. for the union of evangelical christian dumb came out in 1994. then, several lincoln books. abraham lincoln, redeemer
president in 99. lincoln's emancipation proclamation and 04, lincoln and douglass, the debates that defined america, came out no eight. abraham lincoln as a man of ideas cannot know nine. lincoln, a short introduction, 2009 as well. and, then a look at the civil war and reconstruction in fateful lightning, followed by gettysburg the last invasion, is how allen guelzo looks at that back in 2013. redeeming degrade emancipator in 2016. reconstruction, i concise a, story came out in 2018. and his most recent, from a different point of view, robert e. lee, a life. if we could, allen guelzo, let's go to the year of 1863. which kicked off with the emancipation proclamation, very tumultuous year and nation's history. but i want to quote from your
book, redeeming the great emancipator. quote, the emancipation proclamation, which was delivered on january 1st 1863, is surely the unhappiest of all of abraham lincoln's great presidential papers. >> and of the word unhappiest is that when you focus, on right? >>, well that was the one that jumped out to me. >> [laughs] that was a deliberate and provocative strategy on my part. i say unhappiest, basically, because, well we log the gettysburg address, people still memorize the gettysburg address. it is, after all, only 272 words. we adore the second inaugural, especially that eloquent conclusion, with malice toward none, charity for all. who can disagree with the
beauty in that? then we come to be emancipation proclamation. the first word of the emancipation proclamation just puts us off, because that first word is, whereas. [laughs] whoever thought of beginning a great document, a great state document, with the word whereas? because it sounds illegal list a. well, yeah, it is legal if stick. that is one of the problems that people have with the emancipation proclamation, the language of it is very legal. no one less than karl marx made the observation that the emancipation proclamation reads like a summons sent by one county court house lawyer to another. and indeed it does read that way! it is very technical, it is
very legal and it's atmosphere and then, people look at this, and they scratch their heads and say, why? here's a man capable of writing the gettysburg address, the second inaugural. why, suddenly, when he comes to do perhaps the greatest deed of his administration, maybe the single greatest feat of any american president, does he suddenly drop back into professional, legal language? that has led a number of people to draw the conclusion that he didn't really mean it. his heart wasn't really enough in it. if his heart really had been in emancipation, he could've produced something equally eloquence as the gettysburg address or the second inaugural. and this is what led richard half stature in 1948 to make the memorable comment, probably the comment most memorably attached to the emancipation proclamation, that the proclamation had all the moral
grandeur of a bill of lading. in, truth it did. so, there is one reason why people stumble at the emancipation proclamation. it seems so legal. where is the grandiose? what does that mean? what do the absence of that eloquence mean? another reason people are unhappy with the emancipation proclamation is that it is dated january 1st, 1863. why didn't, as soon as a civil war began, why didn't lincoln pick up his pen and right an emancipation proclamation in 18 of 61? why do we go from 18 61 to 60, three nothing happens and then 63 he decides he's going to issue the emancipation proclamation? so, people look at that and say he really had some other agenda done emancipation, he was trying to enlist the sympathy
of the european nations. he was trying to evoke more response from the north in support of. the war goes like i, said the emancipation proclamation is not a noble gesture at all. it is a work of political strategy. there are others still who critique the proclamation because they don't think he goes far enough. there is a whole section on the emancipation proclamation, on reservations, on exclusions. the emancipation proclamation will free slaves in these states in rebellion. then, he goes on to explain that this will not include the border states, the four slave states that remain loyal to the union, missouri, delaware, kentucky, and maryland. it will not touch slaves in places in virginia that are occupied by union military forces or in louisiana occupied
by military forces. this is an exception. people look at it as, what is going on here? if you are going to free the slaves, free the slaves. instead, you get this bill of exceptions. instead, people scratch their heads and say this cannot be for real. this cannot represent a moral gesture on part of abraham lincoln. voices of criticism of that sort have multiplied over the years to the point where, yes, this is why i say that the emancipation proclamation is his unhappiest document. so many people scratch their heads and cannot figure out what is going on. in many cases, they draw the worst possible conclusions. let me dispel some of that as quickly as i can. first of all, yes, the emancipation proclamation is legal listing. we go a stick in ways that the gettysburg address is not. you want to know why? the gettysburg address in a dedication remarks that lincoln
composed for dedicating a cemetery at gettysburg. you cannot take it into a court of law and do anything with it. when the state trooper pulls you over on the turnpike for exceeding the speed limit, you cannot quote the gettysburg address. the emancipation proclamation is different. emancipation proclamation changes the legal status of approximately 3 million human beings. if it sounds legal acidic, it has a legal work to do. it is a document that can be taken into work -- court. yes, is it legal, yes. it is very legal. it has legal heavy lifting to do. why, and this is connected to it, why then at the same time is the emancipation proclamation full of exceptions? . this is largely because he issues this emancipation
proclamation, as he says at the beginning of the proclamation, on the strength of his role as commander in chief of the armed forces of the united states. in other words, he is exercising his war powers. you cannot exercise war powers against the border states which were loyal to the states. they had remained within the union. they were states, with four states that still legalized slavery. they were not at the war with union. his war power did not extend their. if lincoln had attempted to emancipate slaves in kentucky, or maryland, on the strength of the emancipation proclamation, you can be sure that at 9:00 the next morning slave owners would have been beseeching federal court houses demanding injunctions. they would have gotten. those injunctions would have gone into appeals. the appeals would have ended up
with the supreme court. who is the chief justice of the united states supreme court at that moment? roger broke tani, the author of the infamous dred scott decision. he would have made it -- and of lincoln's war powers. lincoln could not afford to have this happen. he could not afford to have this kind of challenge go into the federal court system. so, we rule off the four border states and the occupied areas of virginia and louisiana. was he trying to do? is he trying to cheat on emancipation? no, he is trying to protect emancipation from a legal challenge that is not difficult to imagine emerging from chief justice taunting. yes, the emancipation proclamation has this reputation. it is an unhappy reputation. there are serious reasons why
it is what it is. when you understand the reasons and start to understand what abraham lincoln's thinking in composing the emancipation proclamation, he is substantially more assured than he is given credit for just at first reading. if the emancipation proclamation reads like a bill. it is a beloved waiting for cargo over freedom heading to the port of emancipation. that bill of lading we can rejoice and >> we will come back to the year of 1863 when our phone lines will lit up. we want to hear from our viewers as well. let's begin with jonathan out in los angeles. jonathan, good morning. >> good morning. professor guelzo and his books are fascinating. it tells you that my rams are playing baltimore in ten
minutes. we are watching professor guelzo until 11:00, our time. as long -- i wanted to ask him about a review of his book that said he has written a revisionist history. i am curious to have him explain what is meant by revisionist history. it seems that every time a historian writes something it is revisionist. i would love to hear his thoughts on that. thank you so much for the program. >> jonathan, do you remember would book it was. fateful lining a new history of the civil war? >> no, no it was a review of doctor guelzo's book on generally. thank you, sir. >> well, i think, in a sense,
jonathan as provided the answer but i am likely to give. anytime a historian sits down and writes history, you are doing revision. no historian simply duplicates what has been said before. every historian comes with a new ways of looking at things, new questions that you asked. in my case, for instance, when i commit robert easily, i am interested in lee as the great general of the civil war, the great commander of the federal army is in virginia. one cannot be interested in the civil war and not pay some attention to that. yet, i am the first to admit that this is not what draws me to lee. what draws me to lee is another consideration. robert e. lee was, for 30 years, almost 30 years of his career, an army engineer.
he was an officer of c.o.r.e. engineering. much of his career in the army was a devoted to engineering projects. his first project out of a west point was to lay foundation for what is, today, fort pulaski in the savannah estuary. he was at the beginning of that. from there, he was assigned to the construction of what was originally known as fort kowloon in the main ship channel of hampton roads. from there he was assigned to st. louis and spent four years in st. louis, focusing on rebuilding the st. louis waterfront. from there, he goes to fort hamilton in new york. there, he is the chief engineer at that post on the tip of long island, where today, it is on a narrow bridge that crosses over to long island. from there, he goes to the mexican war. after the mexican war, it is
back to construction. he built for terrell in baltimore harbor. and then he goes to become superintendent of west point which was still an engineering school. this is when he was the superintendent there. he spent a lot of his life as an engineer. i have to give myself a crash course in engineering in order to begin to understand this, especially the particular kind of engineering that lease spent most of his time doing. it is coastal engineering. this is a sub specialty in engineering itself. i wanted to understand lee as someone more than just a confederate general. i wanted to understand the 30 years he spends as a civil engineer. what drives me to that? fundamentally, i am trained as an intellectual historian. in other words, i am a historian of ideas.
a historian of the way people think. i took my phd at the university of pennsylvania under two great intellectual historians, allen course and bruce cooler. i approach lee with that way of trying to understand him. i want to understand how the man's mind works. i have to understand his profession to do that. it is an engineer. that is a revisionist way of coming at robert e. lee. not many other biographies of robert e. lee spent a whole time about -- talking about his career in the army. -- it devotes to giving us the life of robert e. lee. those 30 years do not even take up the first volume. another famous biography of lee, that was written by freeman's alkaline, actually, in 500
pages devotes no more than 30 pages to leave before 13 61. purely by the fact that i am a historian of something other than military affairs, i am going to come at le with a different set of expectations and understandings. that makes me a revisionist. i confess to the deed. i confess to the deed knowing that every historian who knows and does this work serious lee is going to be a revisionist. this is because you have a different set of interpretive tools. sometimes you are dealing with a new materials. one of the challenges with renee writing about robert easily is that, unlike lincoln or grant, lee is a civil war figure who's paper and letters are not easily available in a
printed, edited addition. if you want to write about abraham lincoln, you have the fall famous eight volumes which are the collective works of lincoln. or if you want to write about grant, you have the 27 volumes of the papers of ulysses. they are there and easily available. they are beautifully edited. robert e. lee, there is no standard addition of his letters or papers. he is different. that is a problem. lee was a compulsive letter writer. he wrote, i would estimate, anywhere between 6000 and 8000 letters in his life. not only are there a lot of them but they are scattered all over the place. there are penny packets of leap papers here and there. i have access to archives that run all the way from the morgan
library in new york city to the huntington library inside moreno, california. there are also at various points in between. more maddening is how much the material surfaces on ebay and auction sites. there are a lot of ugly material in private hands. there is no single addition of lisa works that make it easy for a biographer. it also means that you are liable to make discoveries. this is what i did in the process of this. sometimes, when you make interesting and new discoveries, you will revise the conclusions that people come to earlier. this makes you want to be a revisionist. whether it is new tools or new sources, every historian who sits down to work in a serious way, is performing revisionism. the only question is what kind of revisionism? is it revisionism which is done
in a sloppy and careless a fashion or is it revisionism that is done with care and with consideration of others? i would like to believe that i would like to think that i'm in the second category. that is my provision. >> judy is in new jersey. you are on the story with allen guelzo. >> thank you very much. i would like to bring you to the lost cause and the origins of the lost cause. i am in the middle of the american mind. it is the failure of the gentle elite. you mention books written by charles francis adams and henry adams and that their potential origin of the lost cause. i would was wondering if you could speak more to that. thank you very much. >> sure. judy, the cause could be said to have been sprung on april
9th, 1865. at appomattox courthouse. those blandly issues his last general ordered to the army of northern virginia, which is sometimes known as general order is number nine. in that order, the army of northern branch india is told that you fought and noble and honorable war but greater union have overcome that nobility and compelled us to surrender. we have managed to do it with honor, we have conducted ourselves with honor so now we can all go home and believe that what we did was honorable. that becomes the root of this thing called the lost cause, the last cars will sprout from there to a choir a number of facile's. one principal tenant of the
lost cause is that the southern confederacy, the secession of the confederate states, was not about slavery. that, really, what drove the confederates was to secede from the union was a concern about states rights or a concern about tariffs or a concern about the northern economy and potential dictation by northern capitalism, so forth and so on like that. anything but slavery. , so you find in the writings of former confederates like richard taylor, for instance, in his memoir, the construction and reconstruction. he only says, this slavery had nothing to do with the confederacy, that simply a story cooked up by the abolitionists. so, that becomes the first tenant of the lost cause. another tenant of the lost cause is that the confederacy didn't really lose the war, the confederacy was simply ground down by the superior weight of
yankee capitalism. that attrition, not military skill or military genius, simple, raw, barbarous attrition, was what's destroyed the south. the south, in other words, fought until there is no one left to stand up to fight. the north just had superior numbers that it could throw into the meat grinder. that accounts for why the confederacy loses the war. it doesn't really lose the, war the war was unfair from the start. almost as if you would say that one team fields it's 11 players and the other team only fields three. well, guess who's going to win and that game? thirdly, the lost cause rests on the assumption that the confederates always behave themselves with honor and nobility. when the yankees invade the south, they behave like vandals. they behave like a tool of the
han they, robbed it destroyed, they rate, they kill. but when leaves army lunges across the potomac into the north, it behaves itself. all three of those are as phony as a three dollar bill. just to give you some illustrations of this, in that latter point, the southerners always behaved honorably when they invaded the north as opposed to the north to the south. well, for one, thing the south doesn't invade the north all that much. but, when the army of northern virginia comes into pennsylvania in the summer of 1863, every record on the ground shows that the confederate army basically helped themselves to anything that wasn't nailed down. in other, words they behave just like the yankees did. which is to say, they behave like most most 19th century
army stud. we gave this a particular edge was that the confederates wound up with something like 500 free pennsylvania blacks, shackles them, sometime down to the richmond slave markets to be sold and slavery. that was a different kind of re-possession, shall we say. that, i think, calls into serious doubt this whole question, that we behave honorably. there's not a whole lot of honor in capturing defenseless and innocent people and enslaving them. but let me take this back, even to the whole question of general order is number nine and leads involvement in it. lee himself does not actually draft general orders number nine, it's really composed by lee military secretary, charles marshall.
lee might have been a great letter writer when it came to personal correspondence, but he detested official paperwork and, for most of the civil war, he will allow marshals to draft his documents. and make some, corrections will lean over his shoulders. he does that with number 92, martial drafts. as we know this because marshall himself says so in his memoirs. lee makes a couple of, corrections strikes out a few, things curiously, enough that marshall said lee was afraid would antagonize northerners. and then lets the order go forward. when we actually does it down to write a document this way, which is his final report to jefferson davis, he tells a very different story. the story he tells and its final report to jefferson davis is about how the army of northern virginia seemed to have lost all sense of discipline and cohesion, how it straggled, how it failed, how
everything that held the army seemed to come apart. the army didn't seem to be interested in fighting anymore. he's putting a lot of blame on the behavior of his own soldiers. that is very different from the myth of the lost cause. but it's general orders number nine that promoters of the last cars would refer to, not that final report of these. why, then, do we find northerners like charles francis adams and henry adams appearing to support the lost cause and endorse it? because for adams, both of the adams brothers, the postwar north turned out to be a very different world than the one that they thought they were going to inhabit. was a very different world than any previous adams -- i, mean these were adams is, one of the first families of the united states. they believed, as elites, that they deserve a certain measure of respect and the post war
society, with its energetic embrace of expansion, of industrialism, showed no particular inclination to pay respect to great families from the past. and the adams family turned to the lost cause almost as a way of criticizing wet northern society had become. the last cause becomes a weapon for saying, see how noble those southerners were in defeat? see how terrible we northerners are in victory? theirs was a complaint of an elite family that didn't feel, like rodney danger field, they felt they got no respect. so, they will use the lot of cars to try to buttress their own claims to that respect. not that they succeeded, not that they got it, but that was part of their strategy. which is why you find the adams
brothers embracing the last cause. not because i particularly love the loss, caused charles francis adams that fight against it in a massachusetts regiment. but because it became a handy stick to beat their fellow, disrespectful northerners with. >> steve, like when i hills, california. thanks for holding, you're on with historian, allen guelzo. >> think you so much. professor, i so appreciate you're appearances on c-span, you always have words of wisdom. you are the voice of reason. the question i have is, recently, you are on c-span discussing your biography of lee and you discussed potential implications, had they succeeded, leading to a settlement with the north and vulcanization of north america or the united states. i know there is always a risk
for historians to play the wet if game but you had, i thought, very brilliant observations about the geopolitical impact that they could have had. particularly with respect to world war i and world war ii. i thought it would be very helpful for me in the audience to hear you review and perhaps expand on that again, i think it has profound implications for many of the discussions we're having today. >> thank, you steve. >> steve, thanks for that. i'd start off by asking a particular question of people. what kind of world would we be looking at it if pickets charge had succeeded? or if lincoln had not been reelected? the confederacy had achieved its independence? as much as i dislike whatever questions, i've encountered people who sometimes make a
small career out of doing whatever history, i always think, there are so many contingent factors that go into the making of historical events that asking what's if almost becomes a kind of fantasy. people have fantasy leagues for football and baseball, but sometimes i think there are people who have fantasy league for history. on the other hand, there is, at least, some limited consideration for the value of the what ifs question. if only because illiteracy with a possible alternatives and might have been. the possible alternatives are not necessarily good ones. sometimes people ask me what do you think the turning point of the civil war was? it was the most important moment of the civil war? it was the moment that want the civil war?
i surprise them when i tell them a pathetic courthouse. what they are expecting me to say is antietam, gettysburg. then i think, wait a minute, that is when the war ended. i put my finger as that as a rhetorical gesture. partly also to illustrate the fact that the american civil war could have ended very differently. through much of its journey duration and especially right up to the reelection of a rambling can. it, for instance, lincoln had not been reelected. if george mccallum had been elected as the 17th president of the united states, then it seems to me, at least, that there is no question about that. if not him himself but his
party. they would have moved as quickly as possible to open negotiations with the confederacy. if those negotiations had begun, by 1864, no one was going back to a shooting war. there had been too much bloodshed. there was too much weariness, too much exhaustion. people in the north would not have elected mccallum because they anticipated an extended war beyond that. it had mcclelland been elected, there would've been negotiations. negotiations would have ended in no other way than with independence. if confederate independence had occurred, then a number of unpleasant things are very likely to have resulted. one is that the united states would have conceded to dissolve in succession. once you have a successful
succession, there is no reason there should not be more. it would not be difficult to see the pacific coast hiving off into its own west coast republic. the northwestern states, i mean the great lakes era, the great lakes area, hiding off itself and do its own independent republic. leaving, let's say, pennsylvania, new york, and new england, as the united states, to become a kind of useless and vulcanized tiny republic. what would have ensued between them were trade wars. no longer with the united states be this entire free trade zone. there would've been trade wars. it would've been bigger than i neighbor. it would've resulted in vulcanization. if there had been this, what
would be the result of we come to world war i and world war ii? would there have been a united states to intervene into either of those? no. the result of that is not pleasant. that is only one possible result. another possible result of confederate independence as a result of negotiations would have been the rendition. this is a fugitive slaves. during the course of the civil war, we estimate that somewhere between 200 and maybe, at the upward point, a 500,000. southern slaves fled slavery. they either found some kind of home in the north or found contraband camps, as they were called, or founded in union uniform. they found refuge life. at the end of negotiations, the confederacy, i think almost certainly, would have required
rendition of those fugitives. it was a genuinely horrible thought. it is so horrible that we could not imagine that. oh, really? if the price of peace, if the price of bringing home your father, your brother, your son was the rendition of those fugitives, i wonder how many white northerners would have bought into that? my guess is, not many. after all, we demanded rendition of fugitives at the end of the reveal illusion and at the end of the war in 1812. i see no reason why there would not have been a similar demand. it would not have been entirely successful but it was not successful in the revolution or in the war of 1812. it does not mean that the demand would not have been made, and in some cases met. there is another unhappy product of a confederate victory. then there would be the
confederacy itself. the confederacy would have seen its future lying in expansion, the creation of a slave empire. this is not just in the confederate states themselves but in imperialist expansion into the caribbean, to cuba, to the other islands of the west indies, to central america. in a decade before the several war, there had been filibustering expeditions. these were mercenary expeditions headed by and funded by americans to topple local governments in nicaragua, panama, and places like that. they were almost all lead and financed by southerners. in a post war environment, where the confederacy was independent, that kind of a filibustering would become foreign policy. you would have seen an aggressive expansion. this would be a confederate
slave empire, in large parts of the western hemisphere. these are not conclusions we can look at with any kind of ease or calm. yet, i think that they are the answers that would come to a what if question. in the years after the civil war, a veteran of the union army, window homes, was a lieutenant who was seriously injured. he sat on the supreme court as one of the most famous justices of the supreme court. sitting on the bench with him was a louisianan who had previously served in the confederate army. this was edward white. every year on the anniversary of the battle of antigua, homes would present white with a white rose.
whites response, my god, if we had one. i think in that same stricken tone of voice is what we have to see as the answer to that whatever. >> allen guelzo you have had a long association with a gettysburg college. you live in the area and have an intimate knowledge of the area. can you give a good sense of the battle by walking the battlefield out there? >> all the time! all the time. the battlefield at gettysburg is such a wonderful place to walk, to visit, to meander, to analyze, to think about, and sometimes, of course, the temptation to second guess. that always comes. you wander around the marvelous battlefield and you come, in my mind, to the central location. it is the angle at pickets
charge smashed against the union defenses. you think that this small plot of ground may be the most hollowed of hollowed ground in the north american continent. it is a marvelous and magical place to be and walk around. yes, i have never lost an interest, never lost at the thirst, in walking around the battlefield at gettysburg. >> bob, nashville, tennessee. good afternoon. you are on the story with allen guelzo. >> good afternoon. doctor guelzo i teach history at the state university in nashville. i teach survey courses. i have seen it in class films many times that you were in and in which you are commenting.
i point out to the students that this guy looks and sounds exactly like a frazier crane. [laughs] . if kelsey grammar were doing history, professor, he would use you as a model. like you, i had a grandmother who was born in 1953. she was 70 when i was born. she was born in 1883. she used to tell me these stories she heard as a child of how the yankees came and they buried the silver so the yankees were not steal it and so forth. it brings up something that you see as a team in movies from gone with the wind to glory about the looting of the south. in glory, it makes it looks
like they are organized criminals in taking everything like not just in food or everything they need, but stealing a silver items, gold, whatever -- i have never seen anything written about that. i was wondering if you have any knowledge about the scale and that sort of >> thing? well, armies our armies. since the days of the babylonians and never can as or, armies descend upon the areas they are invading like locusts, they simply eat up, take up, steele. that is what armies do. when an army comes into your neighborhood, all law is set aside. this is one of the horrors of war.
i use the word horrors deliberately, and the son of an army officer, the father of another officer. i want to tell, you frankly, i have known in my lifetime many army officers and the army officers who are most dedicated, the most serious about their calling are also the ones whom i can call the most sincere and dedicated pacifists. because they are the ones who really understand what war costs. they also understand that war can never be entered into but reluctantly. because what will happen in the environment of war is never anything to be enjoyed. and when i see war become a species of entertainment, that's when i began to have the uncomfortable feeling that there is such a thing as war pornography.
so, well i've written a great deal about the american civil war and about war itself, i'm not a military historian. i approach the subject of war with a certain degree of hesitation and caution. knowing that the costs that it imposes on people are simply beyond definition. it's been said that war is one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse, along with famine and plague. yes, it is on that same level. so, when 19 century armies, and our civil war, misbehave, they are, in some, not doing anything different than armies have done from time immemorial. and even have done in our own time.
and though we are elected sometimes to admit it, even our own forces have, in modern warfare, misbehaved. that is one of the sad eventuality is a war. that does not mean we put our hands together and say, tough, nothing we can do about it. it simply means, let us always understand that war is a great calamity and that, even when the result of war's victory, the price to be paid for it is always a great and terrible price. >> sorry, doctor guelzo. >> just going to add, this is the way i think that we approach even our own civil war. let us do it remembering the sacrifices, remembering all that was lost.
in the cauldron of war and all that it costs, because the costs are more serious than in almost any other human endeavor. >> 202 is the area code, 202-748-8000 if you love me east and central time zones that have a question or comment for historian, allen guelzo. 202-748-8001 for those of you on the mountain and pacific time zones. if you can't get through on the phone lines, you can try a text message, 202-748-8903. that for tech messages only, please include your city. -- texts and to you, doctor guelzo. i really enjoyed your lincoln revealed on the coffee table like, lincoln an intimate portrait book. i am currently reading, leo life, with its 36 page bibliography and 82 pages of notes. the acknowledgment sections
include a mention of your use of four by six cards. is that how you assembled and crafted the 434 pages of text? >> easy answer to that, yes. [laughs] in fact, have right beside me here, a box. full of four by six cards, for the next project and i'm working on. so, that is, in some ways, i suppose an old-fashioned way of collecting once research. but it's one that i pitched into very early and have stayed with. i often say that i read when i'm in the middle of a project, i read, i read, i note, i note. i accumulate these four by six cards, boxes and boxes of them. then finally, it's like water building up behind a dam, there is comes a moment when you just a sense, okay, where there. and that is the moment wherein
i compare myself to a mississippi river gambler spreads out all the cards and start putting them in piles. here is a subject, here's a subject, here's a subject. i sort them out that way and, and in some respects, the sorting process itself is the beginning of writing. then, when i sit down and, write whatever really doing is taking all of the appropriately sorted cards and moving through them in the order that i have created with them. , so that's my technique. a little old-fashioned, i suppose. but that has allowed me to accumulate tremendous amounts of resources, this way. i can go back to these cards over and over again with that interview. now, perhaps the question is also, why four by six? why not three by five? i can't get enough on a three by five card, i need the four by six. so, the four by six has become
my standard procedure and it's on the four by sixes that i record all of what i regard as the important material that i've been encountering, as i work through it. >> so, how many four by six cards for robert e. lee, a life? and where they stored right now, where the finished one stored? >> there are three boxes of them, that are stored in the back room behind me. you can't see it but there. all marked robert e. lee. they're there with the five boxes of four basics cards on gettysburg. another three boxes on length of the myths a patient proclamation, i think you get the idea. there's a lot of boxes full of four by six cards back there. >> jim in kelly and, to california. jim, please go ahead with your question or comment. >> thank you for taking my call. professor, thank you for a wonderful discussion. just your thoughts, please, on the issue of reparations.
especially because you are an expert on reconstruction. and what is the little medallion on your suit? >> [laughs] the little pin is the james madison programs logo. because i'm part of the james madison program at princeton university, one of the hat said i wear their. i do the initiative on politics and statesmanship for the james madison program. but, yes, all right, that's the pin. >> and that's based at princeton university, correct? >> right. the initiative and the james madison program itself are all part of princeton university. especially the department of politics at princeton university. >> thank you. >> now, focusing on that, you're going to have to remind me of your first question. >> reparations. >> reparations, thank you. the question of reparations usually comes up, i can almost
clock this, usually comes up every 15 years. most recently, it came up in an article written by nikole hannah-jones in the wake of the 16 19 project. just before that, by ta-nehisi coates. both of these were passionate arguments on behalf of reparations. passionate blow they are, i have some questions and some hesitations ear. because, on the one hand, the payment of reparations is something which seems to be normal. we have, in fact, engaged in reparations payments for a number of groups which have suffered harms and wrongs at the hands of governments. i think, particularly here, the german government, dealing with the israeli government. i think of our dealings with those who were unjustly
assigned to near concentration camps during world war ii, thinking of the knee side, the japanese americans. there were the reparation agreements there. reparations, are in a sense, part of the whole justice system. of equity jurisprudence. so, what about reparations as it is promoted by nikole hannah-jones, i ta-nehisi coates and by a number of others, running back over a number of years? first of all, i think we have to work with the definition of what reparations were talking about. are we talking about reparations for slavery or are we talking about reparations for subsequent segregation and discrimination? these are really two separate categories. sometimes i think that they want to face them together and talk about it as one.
i do not think it is quite so easy for instance, if we use legal language, it is completely different. first question i ask is what are we talking about. are we talking about reparations for segregation or reparations for slavery? most the time it is about slavery. here is where we start to run into difficulties. reparation first slavery, again, looks like a plank that is ten feet wide over a chasm. the chasm is ten feet wide and the playing is ten feet long. you put weight and things start to fall down. the first thing you want to ask is, who should be paying reparations? here is where the question gets difficult, should be the united states government? why? the united states government did not hold a sleeves.
it did not pass slavery or enslavement legislation. the united states government had a fugitive a slave law but it was not the same as an enslavement statue. it was the states that had the enslavement statues. sometimes you forget this. sometimes it was a state based matter and not a federal government matter. so, should the federal government be paying slavery reparations. this is a major question. how can it since it was never involved. what about the states? maybe we should single out those who were slaveowner states. let's single out alabama, for instance, as a slave owning state. the state of alabama should pay reparations. okay, but, let's also remember that there were a number of other states that we do not think of as a slave states which legalized slavery longer
than alabama. alabama legalized slavery from a time that it was a territory until the civil war. we are talking about 50 or 60 years. my own home state, the commonwealth of pennsylvania, legalized slavery from the time it was founded in 16 63 all the way up to in all the way up to the 19th century. if the state bears responsibility. then the state of pennsylvania should bear much more responsibility for repairing slavery than alabama. as soon as i have said that, it simply does not make common sense. didn't pennsylvania fight to end slavery in alabama? didn't pennsylvania, on its own merits, move to emancipate and deliberate slavery? yes it did. if we are just talking about
the state basis for reparations, then how can we evade the fact that a pennsylvania actually has more guilt overtime than alabama? yet the oddity of that would jar many people. if you cannot easily settle which entity is going to pay represent ration's does it come down to individuals? what about a slave owners, should they pay reparations? one of the difficulties is that many slave owners, and the descendants of many slave owners today are simply not in the same economic positions that their forebears may have been. they may be truck drivers. are they going to be able to pay reparations in a meaningful way? should they? the other thing that is connected with that is, to whom do you pay reparations?
obviously, you think the answers should be the descendants of slaves. this will eliminate some important assignments of black americans today. these are not the descendants of slaves. colin powell was not a descendant of slaves. how then do we deal with large numbers of black people who would be excluded for the reparation sentiment? is that fair? that leads into a related problem which is in many cases, so many slaves were, themselves, the offspring of the slave holders. among the many a crying injustices of slavery was the fact that slavery was the system of sexual oppression. slave owners raped and misused
their female slaves and the offspring of that were multi racial or biracial. you are the descendant of a slave, the irony is, you may also be the descendant of a slave holder. studies that i have seen estimate that, on average, and this is an on average figure, genetically speaking, black americans are anywhere between 20 and 25% white by descended. that surprising and shocking statistic or a -- if you are a descendant of both a slave and a slave holder, to whom are you paying what?
there is a serious and critical problem there. how do you make this determination? i think the final problem that has to be confronted with reparations is, whatever out the civil war? it is estimated that the civil war costs somewhere between 650 and 850,000 lives. amin has been established more or less around 750,000. that is a mean. statistically, there are variations in that. of those civil war related deaths, something in the order of 330,000 or 350,000 lives were lost in the union cost. these were people who were fighting and dying to end slavery.
their lives are the price that we paid to end it. that is something that lincoln captured. this is when he talked about the price of a war and how this war was a judgment that was inflicted on both north and south for its complicity in slavery. he said that every drop of blood drawn by the lash is being paid for by a drop of blood drawn by the sword. what is the value of those lives? how do we compute the lives of those -- the value of those lives sacrificed including the life of abraham lincoln himself. how do we compute the value of those lives and reckon it against the reparations bill? i do not know how to do that. i also know that you can't not take that reckoning into your
decision-making about reparations. if all reparations are about getting a check, then my concern is you have forgotten about civil war. i have heard people say when i was at a reparations conference in a university and someone stood up and said, i want to know who is going to write me the czech. if that is the only consideration, then we have forgotten about these civil war and the lives, black and white, that were lost in that war to eliminates slavery. i ask, what is the reckoning for that as well. these are questions that do not have easy answers. these are the questions that we should have to ask if we are going to eventually come up with our honest answers. >> we are talking with allen guelzo on book tv. david in a virginia, you are
on. >> thank you. good afternoon, professor. i am a native of a pennsylvania. i am a born and raised in cambridge. i graduate from the military institute. i happened to marry a young lady whose great grandfather was in the army. it burned my home town down. as you can imagine, i have mixed feelings about the rebellion. however, there are some questions that have been bothering me over the years. i will share them with you. my first one, was james buchanan a homosexual? was he a murderer? with secretary stand a nickel feeley act? i am not asking the answer to these questions. i do have a question that i would like you to address. this is related to the election
of 1864. did lincoln run as a third party candidate? if not, was andrew johnson a true third party president? thank you. >> well, my answer to that is going to be a classic. yes and no. the reason i put it that way is, in 1864, lincoln is facing a reelection which has serious odds against him. the war has not now been going on for three years. especially by the summer of 1863, sorry, 1864. what does it have to show for? the confederacy is still fighting. lee is still defending richmond. sherman has now taken atlanta. blockades are still getting through the federal navy blockade. for many people, it looked as
if three years of war had been enough and got us next to nothing. that meant that the leaders of the republican party came to lincoln and said that we need to do something desperately. lincoln is a very eager to draw as many democratic fruits as he can to the side of his republicans. he is not sure that if they run, just on the strength of republican votes, that they will win. there are many people who are so dissatisfied with the course that they will shift those votes. how do you appealed to the democratic voter who does not particularly like republicans or republican policy, nevertheless, wants to see the war brought to a successful conclusion. what you do is you rename the republican party. when the republican party comes together for its convention in baltimore, in the early summer
of 1864, it adopts a new title. it calls itself the national union party. while they re-nominate abraham lincoln, the republican nominee from 1860 as their presidential nominee, they also select a democrat, in this case, a southern democrat, andrew johnson, to run as president. in a sense, in 1860, the republican party had already done something like that. in 1860, they nominate lincoln for the presidency but they nominate as a vice president's handle hammond. he had been a longtime democrat. he had just come over into the republican ranks because of his opposition to slavery. . you are foreshadowing of that in 1860. in 1864 becomes explicit. lincoln is nominated as president on this national union ticket. his vice president will be
andrew johnson, the only senator from a confederate estate who refused to go south. he stayed in the state. he is a lifelong democrat. he is one who represents one has always been a democratic state. tennessee was the state of andrew jackson. on the other hand, during the war, lincoln had appointed johnson to be the governor. he had not done a good job of it. he was not perfect but he did a reasonably good job which was better than other experiments that lincoln has done -- in fact, johnson himself had addressed delegations of black tennesseeans, promising them that i will be your moses. i will lead you to the land of freedom. they thought oh, if what we are trying to construct is a ticket that is going to appeal to
democrats, andrew johnson is our man. johnson gets the vice presidential nomination. the pollsters go up. i have a copy of one of them, national union ticket. you see abraham lincoln and andrew johnson. for all practical purposes, the leadership of this national union is still the republican party. who is kidding who? it is representing the is a very aggressive pr effort on the part of republicans to make a bipartisan appeal to democrats. so they run as the national union party. is it really a third party? no. it is really the republicans carrying a sign with a different name on it. it is a national union ticket. as a third party candidate, no one would have thought it at that point. johnson, despite his long
career as a democrat, seemed to be uttering all the appropriate republican noises. it goes forward that way. lincoln is reelected and johnson is elected as his vice president. at that point, the whole national union thing it disappears. they got with a wanted. they got reelected. that is last we hear about it. it is a third party, yes, but only in the sense of using a different name for pr purposes. it is it is it a third party? no, not really, it is not a different party than it was before. it is simply a strategy for recruiting democratic votes. >> four minutes left with our guest allen guelzo. we ask for their favorite books and what they are currently reading. here are allen guelzo answer. favorite books, jonathan edwards, john gardeners, on moral fiction, and bruce captain, this hollowed ground. daniel walker, how the
political culture of the whigs. crisis of the house divided, and balls wells life of johnson. he is currently reading, diverts prophesy and the vexed fate of black classical music, lost in thought, the hidden pleasures of an intellectual life. and lieberman's for threats, the recurring crisis of american democracy. i wish we had time to discuss some of those. we only have a couple minutes left. we want to get a james from ohio in here. >> good afternoon, i hope you can hear me clearly. i have my tv muted. professor guelzo, i want to associate with my earlier comment from a 15 minutes ago. as a routine hired teacher myself, you are the very model
of southern analysis and what used to be called rush eoc nation. above all, you are contextualizing. i know people will get on you for lengthy answers but context is everything. i've been to gettysburg three times. i have your book on my table with a few others, even though i was a science teacher. gettysburg is a magical place. it will hook you if you go once, you will go back. in your counterfactual dominoes which you did about what would happen if the charge have succeeded, i think another thing that popped into my head, i have a lot of thoughts like your four by six card stack up. canada and mexico might have gotten a little piece of the united states if it had been vulcanized, as you suggested. another book that i am reading is the coldest winter on the korean war. he says that at the beginning
of the chapter, perhaps all wars are in some way the product of miscalculations. a good way to wind this up, unless you want to talk about the instrument -- >> james, you only get ten seconds left. then we will only get 30 seconds from doc there. >> was there a big miscalculation on the part of the southern leadership that led to the war. >> doctor guelzo you have about 30 to 40 seconds. >> the answer to that is very direct. yes. they miscalculated utterly. they miscalculated that they had the resources to carry on a war. they miscalculated that the north would respond why beat -- by refusing to admit the rebellion and making it a war. they miscalculated by assuming that foreign nations would come to their and intervene. at every moment, they miscalculated. no one criticized them. more than that, robert easily,
and even on his way to the surrender ceremonies of appomattox he pointed this out. this is how he knew. this is how i always knew that this would end. >> you mentioned your four by six cards at your side for your current project which is why it? >> it is another book about abraham lincoln. i am returning to some original turf. >> we are going to close with this text from out in newark, new york. who plays the base that it is in the background? >> i do. i was a music major my first year of college, it composition major, actually. i discovered would you painfully discover new first year of college, you do not have enough talent. i had to do something else. that is what i have been doing up to this moment. i still play it. >>