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tv   Lafayette in the Somewhat United States  CSPAN  November 24, 2016 9:45pm-10:31pm EST

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duty, unwillingness to legislate, to make the hard choices, they have taken the easy way out because their fundamental interests is getting reelected and they find the current system increases that. even that would appear delegation of legislative power congress giving away its power, congress is more powerful and more likely to stay in office under this system, the house of representatives has an incompetency rate higher than the house of lords come a they established themselves as a permanent class as well. they did their job, the concern was congress was interfering in the day-to-day administration of government so we had problems on both end of this delegating too much power and micromanaging too much. the constitution providing a
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healthy balance with congress being primary but not the overwhelming part of the government. >> the book is called bureaucrat kings, origins and underpinnings of america's bureaucratic state. paul marino of hillsdale college is the author. >> booktv on twitter and facebook and we want to hear from you. tweet us or post a comment on our facebook page [inaudible conversations] >> good afternoon, everyone.
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i have the honor of serving in the conference, my pleasure to welcome all of you to the 2016 national book festival and history and biography stage generously sponsored by wells fargo. we at the library of congress are thrilled to be presenting the national book festival for the 16th time. this terrific event would not be possible without the friends we have supporting us generously supporting like wells fargo and we are very appreciative of that but more important, would not be here but for readers like all of you who support the authors interested in them and come out extremely excited, thank you for being here today.
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this year's festival is inspired by journeys, the idea that a book is a voyage unto itself. taking us to places we might not be able to see in person but we can visit by reading about it. it gives us the opportunity to better understand our world particularly we are here celebrating history and biography. reading to us is an ideal form, really the best way for us to develop and encourage and grow our mind. in addition to the author presentations on this stage we have lots of other events, hope you will take an opportunity to visit the lower level of this engine center where we have lots of activities. aarp, wells fargo and the
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library of congress, i encourage you to visit us and learn more about your national library, learn about the wonderful things we are doing to make treasurers available to you whether you come and visit us in person or online. we have a great lineup, don't want to pick up too much time, and first presenter will kick things off for us, the associate editor and nonfiction book critic for the washington post. invite him to introduce our first speaker. we enjoy your day. [applause] >> good afternoon. welcome to the 2016 national book festival. i review nonfiction for the washington post which is a charter sponsor of the festival. thanks to the library of congress which hosted the
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festival for 16 years and david rubenstein and many sponsors that make it possible. i never met sarah bell personally until now but like a lot of you i feel i have known her forever whether through her work on this american life, delightful books into side alleys of american history and the role that most excites my moody 6-year-old daughter as the voice and full of violet from the incredibles sarah do anything and make it seem effortless and funny and profound all at once and if you have not read her obituaries of john ritter and tom landry you are missing out. here to talk about her book she has written a history of the puritans, presidential assassination sites and a book on america's revolutionary,
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lafayette in the somewhat united states. there will be time for questions and c-span is covering the history and biography session so be on your best behavior. please get one. it is my fan boy pleasure to introduce sarah. [applause] >> hello, book lovers, people of c-span. i travel around the country so much and only meet people who read books. i don't know if you watched the news the last year or so but i would like to say i am cool with that, thank you.
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[applause] >> i like my vision of america that i get from meeting all of you. i am feeling very contemplative today. you are watching on television, we are here in washington dc and for me i arrived in the city precisely half my life ago. i will wait for you to do the math. that is not your strong suit or mine, you have other nice qualities. 23 years ago i arrived in the city on the train from montana. my parents drove me to montana where i can't the amtrak, took it across north dakota, trained in chicago, i want to live here
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someday, went across pennsylvania. i remember the conductor, we were passing the susquehanna river and he said get a load of this and arrived here for my smithsonian internship and it was the next day yasser arafat on the white house lawn, a hopeful time in america. the library of congress sponsoring this event. the first i worked on that had the isbn number, the library of congress catalog number, and in philadelphia, the archives of american art, that was the main one. italian-american art history. i was saying earlier for me as
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an author every time i get a book in the mail the first thing i do is look at that catalog number, life is short in the library of congress. take that, great britain. being here thinking about when i was a young pup leading home to come here, that is the story i have been writing all these years through seven books. always the story of the misfit leaving home and that is the story of our country. earlier this year, this is the story of the united states, a kid walked away from home with a song and nothing else and conquered the world. that is the story i am writing whether it is the a roosevelt leaving new york city to mourn his wife and mother and head out
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to north dakota to be a cow man and one of his biographers said he was the only president who ever read anna karenina on a three day search for cattle thieves, or our friend abraham lincoln, who when he left springfield to come as president and took the train to philadelphia to independence hall and said the political sentiments i entertain have been drawn from the sentiments given to the world from this and he said the goal of his presidency was to save the country invented there and added ominously i would rather be assassinated on this spot than surrender it. the person who did assassinate him is another misfit who left
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home from baltimore. and i have written about new england missionaries who come to hawaii like so many in the early 19th century who saw the new map from expeditions like that of captain cook and resolved to spread the gospel to all the places sailors spread the clap. or to therefore bears, the new england puritans such as the massachusetts bay colonists. unlike those hippies from plymouth were trying to convince the english government they were not separating from english and were going to america where they would remain as english has clotted cream and wrote a letter to charles i eckstein 30 called the humble request in which they said they wanted to remind the
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king we shall be in our 4 cottages in the wilderness whereas in private john winthrop their leader, would tell them we were in the opposite, a city upon a hill. leaving home my latest misfit leaving home as a french teenager, the marquis they lafayette, this tells the story of him leaving home and his pregnant teenage wife to come to america and throw in with george washington's continental army and i will read for a bit and take questions and want to read this section of his voyage to america and his early time and another tangent about the heroic book seller to the subject of
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the proceedings. 1777 lafayette has absconded to america, brought his own ship to come here, the king of france trying to keep them at home, his wife's family keeping them at home, and once he makes it onto this ship he purchased across the atlantic start sending his wife, starts writing his wife and the letters to try to explain why he has abandoned her and their forthcoming child. i say in the book that history might be full of great fathers, recorded history is not where to find them. at sea lafayette unveiled the grandeur of his mission to his wife audrey and attempted to include her in it. i hope as a favor to me you will
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become a good american. she's a teenage french aristocrat from the most illustrious family and friends, lives in a mansion in paris, when she is looking at their mansion in versailles, asking her to become a good american is baffling. he wasn't in a position to ask her any. nevertheless he proclaimed to his wife the welfare of america is intimately bound up with the happiness of humanity, going to become the deserving and sure refuge of virtue, honesty, tolerance, equality and tranquil liberty. to establish such a forthright dreamland of decency, who wouldn't sign up to shoot 2000 lisman as long as mister bean wasn't one of them, from my end
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of history there is a big file cabinet blocking the view of the sweet natured public lafayette foretold and it is where the government keeps it full of indian treaties, chinese exclusion act and nsa electronic messages to international security which is apparently all of them including the one in which i ask my mom for advice how to get a red sharpy stain out of the couch. lafayette confided in his wife coming is a friend to offer my services to this intriguing republic i bring to it only my frankness and goodwill, no ambition, no self-interest in working for my glory, i work for their happiness. this regarding the inherent contradiction of proclaiming lack of ambition in the same sentence he reveals attaining larry is two stated goals, he
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was an only child. the phrase coming as a friend glows on the page because it turned out to be the truth. it is appropriate, lafayette, the way he abandoned his family, his retro quest for fame or envy his outlandish optimism but none of that negates the fact he turned out to be the best friend america ever had. not only referring to his derring-do on battlefields up and down the eastern seaboard, also referring to any number of his dog rona kindnesses later on like assisting thomas jefferson, united states minister to france, opening up french market to american goods. procured nantucket alerts to comply what lifted treat lights of paris was because of lafayette the city of lights
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glowed by new england oil blubber and thanks for getting him and getting them the gig on nantucket, rallied to send him a giants wheel of cheese. that is gratitude. let's send cheese to france. so finally, after a two month voyage on his ship, the victory which he called floating on this plane, they came ashore in charleston around midnight on june 13, 1777, waking up the household from the south carolina militia and that is where they stayed and lafayette road later i retired that night
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rejoicing i have last attains the haven of my dreams, went on to scratch the next morning was beautiful, everything around me was new, the room, the bed, delicate mosquito curtains, the black servants who came quietly to ask my command, the strange landscape outside my window, luxuriant vegetation combined to produce a magical effect. it was a swamp with waves. lafayette was in love. he and his men start in carriages and end upon horses and walking to philadelphia where he is going -- what became independence hall and announce -- he expected a warm welcome.
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.. the moment lafayette recalled was peculiarly unfavorable to strangers. don't get that at all. the americans were displeased with the pretensions and disgusted with the conduct of many frenchmen. consequently he wrote the congress finally adopted the plan of not listening to any stranger. when lafayette and his friends called the statehouse, they should them away snarling its themes french officers have a great fancy to enter our service without being invited. most of them, including lafayette had been invited by american agents in france hence the thrones of perks of frenchmen who have been washed ashore for months expecting to be welcomed with rankin riches. also i should mention europe is
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uncharacteristically at peace and so all of these european officers especially frenchmen come over in droves wanting a job and washington who was always in need of men wasn't excited about these particular men because he said they have no attachment nor ties to the country and he bemoans their ignorance of our language and he pointed out that american officers would be disgusted if foreigners were put over their heads and so that's exactly what happened right before lafayette arrived was another french guy and he was a french veteran of the seven years or that he showed up in philadelphia month before lafayette did saying here i am. i'm, you know, a bigwig-- i'm paraphrasing, a bigwig of louis the 16th court and on the greatest renowned authority on
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artillery in france and what he was was a wine merchant's son who had maybe seen a few canons, but he shows up and said i deserve to be your artillery chief. so, it turns out that replacing the cotton of all armies beloved chief artillery officer was not as easy and arbitrary as bewitched casting a second darren because henry knox was the revolution. born in boston, in 1759, two irish immigrants knox dropped out of school to support his mother and siblings after his father's death. he eventually opened his own bookstore, the london bookstore. after the course of action of 1774, this is really hard on pretty much all the colonists, but especially its merchants and
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especially knox, the bookseller. they closed the port and he could not get any of the books he was selling from england and of the colonists were boycotting stuff from england anyway, so those acts, the intolerant acts were supposed to serve as a warning to all of the other colonies and meant to slap massachusetts submission, but what happened was it further radicalized on already radicalized massachusetts and rallied the other colonies to comes to its material and political aide. so, henry knox, meanwhile, he had glued the royal governor's daughter lucy flager, great name and had joined a local militia and shots were fired in lexington and concord in 1775, so knox lease is feeling bookstore and has his brother.
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throws in with the malicious and then when washington is appointed the new commander-in-chief of the and he shows up, and he's telling the soldiers we should have no more sectionalec rivalries, where all one countr when privately he is writing to his cronies back in virginia, these people are especially the massachusetts man. [laughter] men it's still a work in then, and at that time boston was under siege.of the a the british occupied the peninsula often. they were resupplying the city with ferguson's sent from canada. this is the map i'm drying in my mind. i just assume you can see them. so, the patriots had them surrounded but to break the
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stalemate they needed weapons and that make up the good news that ethan allen and benedict arnold and her people had captured fort ticonderoga where there was all this artillery, cannons and mortars, three injured miles away.s and henry knox the bookseller goes up to washington and says how about i go get all them weapons?miles away and 300 miles away. washington is like yeah, sure go ahead bookstore owner. [laughter] and he'd did it. henry knox and his brother set off for new york in november i think it was and by january they had returned with 43 cannons, 14 mortars into a-listers dragged across frozen rivers and over
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the brookshire mountains by oxen on custom sleds. this is the derivation of that old yankee proverb that if you can sell a book you can use 60 tons of weaponry 300 miles in the winter. [laughter] and then washington has the artillery moved up on the hill of dorchester heights and the british wake up and see all these cannons pointing down at them. they promptly hightail it toto canada and that's how henry knox became the chief artillery officer of the continental army. he got the actual cannon. he actually got the artilleryth and then he trained and recruited all the other artillery officers, so everybody liked him and thought he was doing a pretty good job so wheny this french guy shows up the new
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artillery chief, there was a big flip out among officers of the continental army.el so that started, that's the environment that lafayette walked into. luckily the french guy had thect decency and crossing the delaware river and he drowned. the horse lives. [laughter] so everything was fine. it's a win-win you know. so that's what lafayette walked into. the thing is the reason the colonists, especially their leadership in congress andcialle washington and his highest-ranking officers are in this position with the french and all of these french nobleman lafayette included is all they want to do because they are basically, they just want what any self-respecting terrorist wants. they want to become a state sponsor of terrorists and they
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are just waiting for the king of france to give them money and tm guns and support in his army and navy and that's how they won the war eventually. so they take lafayette on because ben franklin sent thisir letter and again i'm paraphrasing. this kid is a really big deal, be nice to him. i haven't finished shaking down the french government so they make lafayette and major general he is basically a glorified intern. [laughter] until he proves himself and then so finally he gets his commission a few days later he and george washington you know washington was six-foot 4 inches tall and he historically makes a big impression on lafayette. lafayette was so starstruck when he meets washington he wrote it
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was impossible to mistake for a moment his majestic figure nor was he less distinguished as adt noble affability of his manner which is a brief memory but it does get on my nerves for tall people to make a good first impression. [laughter] unfortunately because of his scheduling mishap we can't be at karim abdul-jabbar'sca presentation next door rate i'm just going to go out on a limb and say everybody loves karim abdul-jabbar. [laughter] i do love karim abdul-jabbar.r. so anyway he joins us in washington, he grows on washington because he's so gung ho. all of his men are deserting in droves and hear these french kids.s
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they are all like put me in coach. and when washington says okay you can join my military family, which was lingo of the day basically washington saying you can become one of my minions like the way alexander hamilton was described as a member of washington's military family but remember lafayette was an orphan and when washington sent family what lafayette heard was son. then hijinks ensued. [laughter] so i guess i will take someake e questions if you have them. there are these marker funds set up here. let's get cracking.>>
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>> i was wondering when i read the book if you had seen the show hamilton and what you thought about the role of lafayette. >> if you didn't hear that the question was about hamilton. [laughter] have i seen hamilton and what do i think of the portrayal of lafayette. i've seen hamilton and i also love hamilton even though they are so much hamilton in hamilton. obviously you know who would love the lafayette in hamiltonld is lafayette who was just the publicity for this. [laughter] and you know the fact that he comes off so charming and chivalrous and such a good dancer was such wonderful hair. [laughter] lafayette was lower to going bald at 19.
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the last time i saw it there was an npc in front of me and for some reason i kept picturing lafayette and it. he was just wondering the whole time. it's interesting though one thing about that show especially because of the casting and this wasn't your question but i have been think about it lately because people have some qualms about the founding fathers especially the ones who owned other people. there are some people lately who want to disregard all of their accomplishments. i can understand that but one way to get past that is to make washington black which i amu definitely doing next time. such a good idea. we should have done that, that should have been our original casting. washington should have been black.wash
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>> in today's i guess mass recording that goes on in everybody's lives being so archived how do you think thatt will affect our look at today's events as a historian? how do you think that will change? >> everybody's lives today are so archived? >> just like with television and social media. everything is out there and very intimate thoughts are posted for everyone to see. how do you think that wouldre affect your job or how would it change? >> i mean i guess the nsa is archiving a lot of stuff, right? i mean my bread and butter art and these letters like letters on paper that you have to put on white gloves to look at. i think if things are being saved that's good. one thing force future
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historians is for better or worse people nowadays are prettp forthcoming about everything, you know. sometimes it's hard to figure out what washington was w thinking. his wife burned up almost all of their letters upon his death an they are cagey and tactful and they leave out private scenes p because those are private. i guess one advantage of this world we live in, how people are documenting every omelette. [laughter] and every aspect of their day. i'm guessing, i'm not on social media but i hear the jokes abouo it. i guess i would be helpful especially if you are some kind of social historian where your job is to figure out what people ate. all you have to do is look at all these food logs and twitter
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and everything and you can see like oh you eat a lot of goat cheese i don't know but i think because communication is sout constant there is maybe less of that grandeur you know. like joy rich washington was painfully aware that everything he was doing especially as president that he was consenting to the presidency so he wrote these letters with such care. he was writing to us, to posterity and i don't really think that when i meet e-mailing my friend. i think with the letters because they were more hormonal, maybe we are not always at our best and our electronic communications. i am not. yes.i sarah. i'm with the american friends of
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we are 400 strong.>> yeah, >> oh one of those people. [laughter] >> thank you for bringing our hero to the forefront. >> that's why i did it. i would have done it for free. [laughter]aughter] >> we bought your book. so lafayette is criticized for being, doing things for the glory of it, not for the reason, the purest reason. back in the 18th century without such a bad thing doing it just for the glory? >> no, i don't think so. if we are going to give all the historical figures whohed th accomplished their accomplishments because they wanted was glory, that wipes out maybe mother teresa but she got a lot of press too you know? if you are doing good things i don't really care what your motives are that much. there is something about
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lafayette. he is 19 and i mean it is kind of bad form to abandon yourr pregnant teenage teenaged wife so i can't overlook those things. but his glory, that was -- his quest for glory was part of what fueled his accomplishments in one of the reasons he was so valuable to washington was that he was so gung ho. he was so brave. didn't he didn't care about his own persal safety. when he was ordered at the battle of brandywine he was supposed to be recuperating. all of that had a very practical
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he just loved, it was just a lovefest for over a year of people talking about how much they loved him. he got things done. his glory was based on achievement and based on blood and sweat and you know the old college try. it wasn't like getting glory bright out now, what do people get glory for now? not that isn't an accomplishment that you know what i mean. >> thank you very much. >> hi, you talk about historical
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folk heroes and american rogues and it seems like you tend to enjoy the life of the rogues o >> the life of the what? >> the rogues. >> the rogue? oh the rogues, the one going out on the road. >> i was just wondering if you have a favorite. >> if i have a favorite of anyone i've written about. that's what i was saying at the beginning. i have a soft spot for a lot of them even the unlikable ones may be especially the unlikable ones. i subscribed to the digital washington post and if you woke up to an enough from them as yoa do every morning and the headline wasssentially likeable, not sure who they were talking about.
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that in my opinion likeable can be overrated. one of the people i like to write about was roger williams who was a puritan theologian, likeable already, right? and he comes to boston to the massachusetts colony and they offer him the job of being the t minister in boston which has puritan jobs go, that's the one you want. he turned him down because basically he has found them not puritanical enough and they kicked him out of massachusetts basically because i just wanted him to calm down about religion. the puritans wanted him to come down about religion.n. [laughter] and he's just as annoying person who is constantly haranguing them. they threw him out and another misfit company goes to rhode island and founds rhode islandan
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and for a lot of non-hippie dippy recent basically establishes freedom of religion and rhode island. not because he thinks everyone's beliefs serve ballot but he feels pretty much everyone except for his wife is going to hell for what they believe and maybe that should be punishment enough. seb rhode island becomes this bastion of misfits, and jewish, baptist, quakers. roger williams up the quakers have the right to live there. one time he spent three days debating them to the extent that they wanted to kill themselves. but meanwhile back home in massachusetts quakers are being hanged at boston commons. he's a very unlikable annoyingsn person but i found him sometimes hard to like but very easy to
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love. so people can do great things and maybe you don't want to have lunch with them.m. [laughter] >> thank you. it. [applause] >> i love reading the books on history and about bruce springsteen's boyhood home in healthy adults into there was wondered when you were writing about people like lafayette ande winthrop do you know what their theme song would the? do you get that in your mind? >> what their theme song would be? >> would you give them a theme song? >> i don't know about that but generally the book has theme songs for me. this one for some reason i always wanted to put on the version of the oh shenandoah.
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it appears to like that passage i read when lafayette thinks america is going to be alike ori like that's the country that they were trying to build and that's the one i would like to live in. when i was writing about the puritans i had three songs that i would put on.hey had they were leaving home and they had these ideals. one of them was, the mormon tabernacle choir version of bound for the promised land. there was chuck berry's promised land and springsteen's promised land because what they were doing was all about promising the future and it had these biblical overtones.>> hel
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>> hello i love history especially george washington. >> of the dirt of history. george washington is a hero but he was also a marginal general. what influence did lafayette have? >> what influence did lafayette have in washington? >> yorktown as a whole other story. >> for one thing lafayette did washington. lafayette was the one saying that these people are idiots. you are one for the ages.
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sticking it out so i think there is that. here was that influence and also lafayette was a pretty fervent abolition. he couldn't influence washington's decision for washington to have some of his own slaves freed upon his death. i would save most it was moral support. i don't know if you have a friend like that who whatever when you are down they are the ones who bucks you up, and i think that's who he was for washington. i only have time for one question because someone else is coming in here next. u2, which wendy zink has the better question? [laughter] >> he says you have the better question and that makes me want to hear his question, but ask me a question after. i just have to physically remove
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itself from this podium. yes? >> he talked about lafayette coming back to america in 1824, can you tell a little bit about the reason why almost every city in america at that time name something after lafayette? what impacted he have on america that did that imac in fact, great question to end on. i made the right choice. thank you. yes, when lafayette québec in 1824 and 25, that 13 month victory lap around the country where he went to all of the states is the origin for how all of these states and not states, but cities and counties and warships and horses and babies and streets and parks got named after lafayette. and i think washington dc it's worth remembering that the most meaningful of any of these, no offense to lafayette ronald ar


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