tv Lectures in History CSPAN February 21, 2016 12:00am-1:06am EST
credit, his great fostering competition, and he is looking at one of the real cost centers in the paid television industries. so i understand what he is doing that. >> i am saying, ok, who is the new gatekeeper? amazon, google? if it is one of those, the question i have is, right now, we have tough negotiations with directv and satellite or dish, or with comcast and cable. time warner, you name it. those retransmission negotiations are happening all the time and 99.9 percent of them and without any difficulty at all. but they are paying for the contents. so, if it goes to a new set-top box with a different gatekeeper, i guess my question, putting my broadcast hat back on, is, how about my copyrighted material?
will they sale as on that? do they have no responsibility for what they then will take from broadcasters? >> watch the communicators monday night at 8:00 eastern on c-span2. >> he describes how members of congress in the early 1800s bonded across party lines. for tobacco use, social clubs, and living together in boarding houses. however, leading up to the civil war, the friendships and alliances disintegrated, revealing the sectional divisions and national politics at the time. his class is one hour. prof. balcerski: welcome everybody. it is me, your professor. i'm excited to offer an election on the political culture of the antebellum congress. the outline, we start with a review of the party system.
i will introduce a concept to you of nautical culture and compare that to something we have encountered before, political parties. the bulk of the lecture is going to be presenting new evidence on the antebellum political culture. i have three major areas as evidence to talk about today. tobacco culture, political friendships and a fares of honor -- affairs of honor. like we often do in the class b are going to start with the image on the screen. i'm going to ask you to tell me what you see. this is lady washington's reception from 1861. take it in. who can point out something you see right away that strikes you?
>> lady washington is on a platform. prof. balcerski: how high do you think she is? off the ground? >> like a foot. prof. balcerski: that's a good piece there. what else? >> everyone is dressed up fancy. prof. balcerski: like you are today. exactly. very fancy. how about a third thing? go ahead. >> at looks like they are fairly close together. they may be dancing. they are all close together. prof. balcerski: very good. i should say about lady washington's reception, she is standing center stage in an
elegant down. there is someone else we sometimes think of as important in the background. that is george washington here in the center. sort of overshadowed by lady washington. the title of lady washington's reception, a formal reception that was held and hosted by the first lady, martha washington. she was standing on a platform. and you notice the opulent attire. the next image i think you will find may be more familiar. this is county elections from 1851. what do you see here? >> you see a guy at the top
left. prof. balcerski: there's actually more than one drunk person. good. >> some speaking. prof. balcerski: stump speaking. vote for me for president. anything else? >> it is working-class people. prof. balcerski: that is all good. you are seeing a diversity of people. you're also seeing the white male electorate. this is going to stand for democracy. it is a diverse thing. the whole town. children as well.
although it would be the white male voter, the constitution encompasses many and women, whites and african-americans alike. it is not a question about whether one can participate or if one can participate more broadly in politics. when we think back to the people who stood in as politicians, two people come to mind. from the federalist party alexander hamilton. from the democratic republican, thomas jefferson. they could not be more stark opposites. the federalists stood for a strong federal government. a strong financial and manufacturing base.
and hamilton was their leader. versus the democratic republicans who were wary of centralized government, who were wary of encroachment on personal liberties, who promoted farming and commerce among small villages instead of large cities and manufacturing. jefferson, the enlightened figure was their leader. that is the first party system. it is so-called because of what follows. the first party system was an earlier moment. one of the key issues was the embargo. we see from this cartoon that the embargo is spelled backwards as oh grab me. it is a turtle biting at the british smuggler.
it was a foreign policy measure designed to make it so that britain would have a hard time trading with the united states. it was one of the policies that doomed them to a second war with great britain. that's part of the first party system history. the way the federalists and the republicans clashed, where hamilton and his legacies, and jefferson and his successors came into power and faded from the scene. who they left the politics of the united states to were these guys. the men of the second party system. we have totally new names for the parties. although some issues changed, these are the new leaders of american politics. andrew jackson, a tennessee democrat. on the right, henry clay.
between clay and jackson we get two very different views of what america should look like to show how and the second party system new issues were emerging. the question of the banks. this is the second bank of the united states. we see andrew jackson holding a cane which he walked with. he is trying to battle back the many headed hydra, the mythical creature from great mythology. here it stands for the bank. on the heads of the hydra is an individual representing the bank. the most prominent was nicholas bill, the president of the bank and who became an enemy to jackson in this process. this is something of a satire because jackson would kill the banks.
that whole political story is somewhat well-known at this point. after the bank war, formally the whig party, less is. -- coalesces. indeed it shows the whigs were actively trying to attack jackson. we know he was a man of the people. he was a symbol of american democracy. we see born to command. he is a regal figure holding a scepter. you may not be able to see all the details.
underneath ham and under his feet you will see the constitution of the united states as if he is trampling on it. you will see various improvements called internal improvements. jackson is pictured as being against all those improvements. as a whig, this is effective. if there is one thing american politics feared, it was that of a king. the revolution had been fought over this issue. although jackson himself is thought to be a leader of democratic reform, let's not forget sometimes politics is personal.
i want to ask a question and see if we can knock out a few of them. let's name the characteristics of the democratic party versus the whig party. what do you have? >> to mcgrath. weak governments. against tariffs. a tax on goods. prof. balcerski: coming into the united states. good. got that one. and i put up they are against action. let's not forget that is part of it. remember the tariffs, that was a measure passed under the john quincy adams presidency.
what we see are the democrats and a lot of ways, they are the legacy parties of the democratic republicans. there is a continuation through jefferson and his policies and jackson. flipping the coin. let me think about the whigs. >> the opposite of democrats. they are strong government. they are for government action in general. prof. balcerski: that's good. they are everything the democrats are not. strong government.
they wanted certain economic and social goals. the whigs are pro-spending on transportation, particularly the internal improvements like the canals and roads. from the way point of view, it was no tariffs. -- no tariff of abominations. it was something the united states should enact. it can be argued the whigs secede the federalist agenda of alexander hamilton. although they are remixed, the jackson democrats, they are the next generation of politics. it is this party system that i want to focus on. in order to move us from parties to political culture i want to
introduce you to this concept. parties. its people, it's the leaders. if the organization. people. and it is action. you're talking about campaigns, class wars. parties are focused on these things. it is a group of organized people taking action for a certain result. that's the role of the party. to gain power through all of these things. elections, campaigns. political culture is a little different. it can be said to be a more capacious view of politics. it includes believes. abstract things like norms or values or attitudes.
it includes elements of power, things like symbols and meanings. between political politics and culture, we have a broad view of politics. we can think about how different actors and politicians are both partisan or members of political parties and part of a political culture which may transcend at times those parties or may be limited to those parties. that is the idea and concept i want to introduce. the concept of political culture allows us to get into new concepts. allows us to go beyond the party mold and look at interesting things from the antebellum.
i have a few questions to consider during the remainder of the lecture. how and why did american political culture change from the days of the early republic to the antebellum? from the days of hamilton and jefferson to the days of jackson and clay? we want to trace that change. that's the first goal of the lecture today. the second one, what does this emerging political culture reveal about wider american society? i'm going to return to those questions at the end. i want to present some evidence that will help you understand how political culture operated in this period.
tobacco culture. political friendship. and affairs of honor. they are interrelated. not to say that one couldn't affect the other. some are more important than others. these are important aspects of the political culture of the day. when we think about in those terms we see these are ways for us to understand why and how politicians came into conflict with each other before the civil war. the first piece, tobacco culture. this draws on my research i've done. i have not published these findings. but, there are elements of the culture i found very interesting. it's amazing what you can find out there.
some of the elements of the tobacco culture i found include chewing tobacco, snuff, and cigars. in the 19th century i should say right now they had not invented the cigarette. if you were doing tobacco you were doing it one of these three ways. it may seem silly. tobacco was one of the key ways politicians across parties could talk to each other. i found numerous incidents where sharing a wad of chewing tobacco could bridge a gap that otherwise existed between a democrat and a wig.
to convince you that tobacco wasn't just an every day thing that didn't matter for politics, let me read you this quote from an english observer who came to the united states, who went to washington, who checked out the scene. the habit of chewing tobacco is prevalent in the state. nor as it has confined to the border classes. members of the house of representatives and the senate, doctors, attorneys chewed tobacco almost as generally as the laboring classes did in the old country. more especially in the western states, it is no unusual thing to see judge, jury and the gentlemen of the our chewing and spitting as liberally as the crew of a homeward bound west india man.
you have judges. everyone is chewing and spitting. it is incredible to think about. if you were sitting in the congress you would be hearing this spittoon, the clean -- the spittoon as clearly as you would hear the politicians. this is really incredible to think about. this is a nasty habit. this is from a book from 1840 that i found called a pinch of snuff. here is what this office says. a man's character may often be judged by the manner in which he takes snuff. we detest the miserly on -- ungrateful attitude in which some people be their noses. a liberal elegant hand may be known in this work at a distance too great for the fact it serves
to be seen. she is taking a pinch of this fine tobacco and she is putting it in to her nose by way of a snort. when you take it you would sneeze horribly. the second thing is you would get the hit of tobacco in your system. what i found was the most common user of tobacco of the entire u.s. senate was henry clay. this is the guy who is the leader of the whig party. henry clay was more known for using tobacco than any politician in the antebellum senate. we see william griffith king.
these men it turned out had a major incident. it almost led to a duel. it came when senator king asserted the character of andrew jackson is our president, that of his editor francis blair would compare gloriously to that of mr. clay. it was said mr. clay consider this as placing blair inequality with himself. and called it cowardly. get ready. it is a bad word.
in the process clay realized he is over boards. the two men come to reconciliation. on a personal level they had not apologized to each other. this is how clay does it. there are no hard feelings after the formal apology. clay approached him and said king, give us a pinch of your snuff. and they burst into applause. they knew this was clay's way of saying i'm sorry. this incident demonstrates political actors could rely on a common cultural practice to bind most partisan divisions. what do you think of this example?
i thought it was pretty incredible. >> is there any remnants of the tobacco culture today? prof. balcerski: a good question. we think maybe it is just henry clay. what i found out i cannot believe it. when you walk into the congress today in the gallery there are boxes that are filled with snuff. any member could take it because you can't smoke inside a public building but you can take snuff. >> i actually was watching an old film of one of my favorite musicians. it was 1970. times of change.
prof. balcerski: we are going to snuff that conversation. we are going to move to political friendships. maybe this will be more friendly of an audience now. tobacco shows we can all get along. it also shows if henry clay, the most jackson hader that there is, can reconcile over tobacco, maybe there is hope for america. political friendships were a deep part of the antebellum congress. drawing on my research and others, who talked about a washington brotherhood, for sheldon and my own research i find there are key elements that the defined this.
paternal organizations, if you are amazing and a democrat, a mason and a wig, you are still a mason together. politicians like to drink. going to a tavern and talk about over things they bonded. as you can see in the pictures, this was a thing of the antebellum. and lavish parties. washington was nothing if not a place to party. it was the case there would be balls, the president would have balls. this is the case where the first lady would help to arrange those. it is one of the ways men bonded with each other.
so what we have here is a washington dc by the time of the civil war that is quite advanced along this line. that was not exactly the case when thomas jefferson became president. washington dc was just getting started this image shows the white house as it was just built in 1800. john adams was the first to occupy it. jefferson was the first to occupy the white house during his entire presidency. the washington of 1800 was an undeveloped place. there were swamps and muddy roads. in the capital there was little to do. not so by 1850. one of the big differences when it comes to the city of washington is it is actually a city now. this is a familiar outline to us. a few things the modern washington dc has they didn't have in 1850.
i want to zoom in on this part of the map that shows the important government centers. this is dimming in on the map of washington in 1850. there are a few elements that are familiar to us. in the circle you see the presidents house, the white house. on the other one you see capitol hill. which means yes, indeed the national mall, the smithsonian institute in the unfinished washington monument. even by 1850, there was a lot going on in washington the sides the presidency and the capital. look at these other buildings that had filled in. political friendships took place in the in between spaces, in the other buildings.
particularly in the boarding houses where you wouldn't expect them. like right here. notice where the arrow is pointing. it is next to a larger arrow. this is today by gallery place in washington. it's at a place called the old patent office, part of the art museum. i was able to find this scene from the 1840's. here it is. in the background, those buildings in front. in this photo which was titled the old patent office, the point of the person looking at it might be to say what's important here is and is a tall native building. what i'm going to argue is that
building, the building you don't really see. that's the washington boarding house. that's the place where politicians lived. that is the place where deals got done. let's mention one example of an important boarding house pattern and group that changed the course of american history. they lived in a boarding house on the same street. it's for that reason they are called the f street men. there are five of them. they are called a mess because people eat their meals there. like a mess hall. there boarding house was on f street. you have james mason, robert hunter, david atchison, andrew butler.
what do they have in common? what do you see? >> they are all democrats. prof. balcerski: yes. what else? >> they are all southerners. prof. balcerski: because virginia, that's the south. missouri, it is still the south. and south carolina is definitely the south. southern democrats. the party of andrew jackson. what's missing here from the party of andrew jackson, northerners. where are they? why would a group of southern democrats choose to go on the same boarding house? there's a lot of answers to that question. one result is undeniable. it was this a group that was more responsible than any other group of politicians for the most important piece of
legislation in the antebellum congress. that was the kansas nebraska act. this group marched over to franklin pierce's house and demanded pierce support their plan to organize the new territory of nebraska to permit slavery. there it is. southern democrats have one thing in common northern democrats don't. and interest to expand slavery. this is ominous. this shows the politics of the party through this political culture were becoming increasingly sectional. what year was the kansas nebraska act? >> 1854.
>> i think it's more politics. you have northerners battling for their views. if they all live in one house, that is how they got their job done. prof. balcerski: well said. the power of the domestic sphere and politics. other thoughts on that? remember these guys. the f street mess made quite a mess. what comes out of the f street mess, but comes out of this is my third category. affairs of honor. this is not to say that affairs of honor did not take place in the earlier time. because they did.
the most important of all, from the first party system, the duel between ehrenberg and alexander hamilton. this material draws upon a book by joann freeman. i look at the affairs of honor in the later. broadly speaking they had a few things in common. they were part of a culture of honor. this transcends both north and south. it becomes more of a southern institution in time. the coulter of honor is more associated with the south. honor is very important to those southern politicians like the f street mess. it's associated with reputation. it can be categorized by different elements.
but it is what you were thought of. at this time europe a tatian was all you had. and sometimes it is like our identity. identity theft, the problems that happen when our identity is stolen. think about that as an attack on reputation. your reputation has been this merged. it's about gossip. it's about spreading lies and rumors. political nature, a personal nature. it's about posting. now i think we all know what to posts means. to post on social media site is to put information out there. back then all the had were is --
were newspapers. they could precipitate an affair of honor if those postings were attacking reputation. indeed it often went in this way. gossip and postings. finally dueling. dueling is the last stage in the cycle, and the process of the affair of honor. it was a last measure. there were lots of threats of duels. we saw one earlier. dueling was a last measure. not to say it didn't happen. it did. 200-300 in total in this time between politicians. i want to present to you three examples 31 from this early.
of federalists and republicans. i wanted to start with this one because we get to bring in our own connecticut senator roger griswold. so we have one of our own here. he is born in lyme, connecticut. he was a federalist as many were. he ghost the congress to be a congressman. he's there until 1805. it was a long serving federalist congressman. matthew lyon was from vermont. he was a supporter of thomas jefferson. he became a republican. they could get along sometimes.
they also can get into big fights. what i'm described is the line griswold brawl. griswold had a club in his hand. how did they get this way? it came about an argument over politics. it was during an impeachment hearing of the democratic republican officer that griswold, mr. club was trying to attract the attention of lyon, to engage in the clinical process. he was ignoring him since they belong to opposing political processes. griswold lost his temper and insulted lion by calling him a scoundrel.
that is another word like count -- like coward. when you say it everyone gets quiet. eyes pop out. it's the dirtiest word. you were saying you are a liar. well, it did not go to well for him. lyon declared himself willing to fight, to take on griswold. griswold asked if he would be using his wooden sword, which is a reference to the fact he had been dismissed from the continental army and thus did not have an actual sword. this is when lion's bat on his face. that is a stop there. they broke the men.
he made a formal apology claiming he had not known it was in session. but he meant no breach of decorum or disrespect to the house as a whole. two weeks later, griswold retaliated by bringing in the club. he beat him without the head and shoulders in view of the house. all the congressmen were just watching on. lyon grabbed the tongs. and that is the scene here. they were broken up once again and it led to a house investigation. nothing happened. the brawl was ok basically. this is all part of the code of honor.
this is part of an acceptable conduct for gentlemen. apologies had to be made but the fact is it could happen and it did. that they didn't go on to become a dual is most surprising. it stopped at the level of a brawl. we move ahead to 1860. we get to another affair of honor. this is more of a loaded gun. this is the benton dispute. we have the mississippi senator who is holding a gun. and on the right we have the missouri senator who has his chest pulled back saying let me at him i have nothing to hide. this one comes from words being exchanged that nearly lead to blows.
he calls them at: the nader -- a columinator. benton is a big guy. foot was prepared to respond. he pulled out a pistol. again, the word may not seem that bad but it is one of these words that say you are a liar. when the gun was taken out by foot you can see he was called back. eventually the men were wrestled away. this is a false alarm you might say. both men were democrats. it doesn't fit into a sectional pattern we might expect when we have two democrats fighting it out. but it is the final example, the
most famous affair of honor of all that revealed the breakdown of american politics. that is the brooks sumner affair. in this cartoon titled southern chivalry, argument versus club, you see an assailant holding a cane with his face blocked. attacking a man who seems to be holding a 10 and perhaps a bill in his hand. that man was charles sumner. the assailant was preston brooks, a democrat from south carolina. sumner considered him a republican from massachusetts. prior to that he had been a wig. charles sumner made a speech in the u.s. senate in which he attacked the results of the
kansas the brassica act of 1854 and he went one step further. there was violence. sumner knew this. he wanted to point out there should be blame placed for the passage of the act on a few men in particular. he called out stephen douglas of illinois and he also called out andrew butler of south carolina. butler was a member of the f street mess. one of those powerful southern democrats who had forced franklin pierce to support the cancer brassica act. sumner makes his speech in which he says and i quote, " stephen douglas was a nameless animal, not the problem -- proper model for an american senator." then he insulted senator butler.
he said of butler, " he was having taken a mistress who is always lovely to him, so polluted in the side of the world, the harlot slavery." charles sumner has issued major insults against two men of the opposite party. this scene that took place shows us that the violence in the u.s. senate was starting to escalate. two days later, preston brooks, a congressman from south carolina who was not actually
mentioned in the speech but was a cousin of andrew butler from the same town, edgefield, south carolina, he and his compadres and henry edmondson of virginia, the three of them cobalt. they conspired. they made a plan. brooks had a prepared speech. he probably had a piece of paper in front of him. here is what he said he said. you tell me if he said this. he walked up to sumner at his desk. sumner was writing. he said to have said, mr. sumner, i've read your speech twice over carefully.
it is a libel in south carolina over butler. sumner starts to get up. brooks loses control and begins whacking him with his cane. it began to crack upon impact on his skull. we see blood on his four head. sumner was trapped under his desk. as he tried to get out of it, he ripped the bolt from the floor. this desk is preserved by the massachusetts historical society today. brooks continued to bash sumner until he was on the floor bleeding and unconscious. sumner was out for the count. brooks walked off into history.
one of his compatriots was to keep other senators away. you see him wielding the cane. you see the ink that had spilled. people who are trying to come to his aid as much as you see people laughing. some people thought the attack went too far. concerned as well as humored. when you have someone being beaten senseless on the floor of the senate, something was fatally wrong. my question is, you've heard the story now. what extent was it about politics and what extent was it about personal issues? do you make this as a political thing or a personal thing? go ahead.
>> i would say any time it gets this heated it is more personal and political. it's probably a combination of both. prof. balcerski: ok. anything else? >> i thought it was political. one is a democrat and one is a republican. they are on opposite sides. it looks like he takes the political side strong. prof. balcerski: excellent. other thoughts? either way it certainly hurt. this is one of the major episodes in the build up to the civil war. the sumner affair is credited for giving the republican party strength in the election of 1856. they run on two platforms.
bleeding kansas, the violence in kansas was caused by terrible decisions by the democrats. and bleeding sumner. that this personal attack galvanized a political party. i'm one to offer a few conclusions that sum up all this and suggest how tobacco culture, and affairs of honor makes sense as part of the story of political culture and why they are important. and to return to those questions, what has changed since the days of hamilton and jefferson? one conclusion is this. there had been a breakdown of congressional friendship. it is revealed with sectional divisions in national politics. that it used to be ok to cross those party lines, to be friends.
to have those parties. to have those social clubs and different cultural elements and smoke tobacco together. or not. those friendships broke in the climate over sectional division. the most and greatest division was over the issue of slavery. not to be ignored in this moment. i find this is part of my research that the boarding houses became more sectional and partisan in nature. the f street mess, the most powerful and prominent example of a sectional southern democrat boarding house, it was not alone. politicians are beginning to sense they needed to band together. for their own safety, in washington they knew it was best to stick with their own.
this breaks down trust, the personal bond they had once shared. this gets to the last piece. the burr hamilton duel was so infamous. it was one of the few times where american politicians killed one another and a duel. the line griswold duel was unusual because although it was comical, it suggested things had gone too far. when henry foot drives -- draws a pistol no one is surprised. there was a quote that it was the only way to defend yourself against a pistol was to bring to pistols. when brooks beat sumner to the ground people laughed. people said he got what he deserved.
in the south to get one story. in the north you get another. finally to conclude, the political culture had come apart at the seams. ok. i want to stop your and take questions and see what you think. i want to hear from you guys. >> i've never heard of boarding houses. a thousand boarding school. do they still exist in washington? prof. balcerski: boarding houses. who had not heard of them? not surprised. it's not a term we use much today. it is not in our culture. in fact there are some boarding houses today. i had a bonus light on this.
it was this one. i found this article in the new yorker from 2010 about the frat house for jesus. it was incredible to me. it changed my views on what was happening in washington. there was a group of congressman in 2010 living together in basically a boarding house. you can see what they shared in common was a christian belief. some are still in congress. some have had to step down. the article was talking about the fellowship on c street. it got me thinking about the f street mess. these guys are from different parties. the thing that unites them is more the religious view. it is perhaps not as comparable to the boarding houses of the
1850's but this is still happening. maybe with rising rents we will see more of this. good question. other questions? >> what happened to brooks and sumner after the caning? prof. balcerski: he didn't go home happily ever after. which one? both? brooks. he died. he had a villains ending. he died pretty early. he died in january the next year. he did not live very long. sumner actually lived a long life. charles sumner recovered. he went through some serious 1850's medical treatment where he had burns put on his back as electroshock treatment.
he was probably suffering from what we would call posttraumatic stress disorder. he was a big man who lived with these wounds his whole life. he lived until 1874. he was a senator during the civil war, he was from massachusetts. he ended up writing the best civil rights legislation. he was down but not for the count. he got back up. he served in the senate until his death. other questions? >> you said they still allowed smoking in congress?
prof. balcerski: they allow snuffing which sounds disgusting. i'm not sure if anyone snuffs today. but yeah. what was i going to say about that? i'm not going to ask there are smokers out there. what i will say in doing my research, henry clay really doesn't go away tobacco culture. i have a slide here. this guy is all over product placement throughout american history. there's a cuban cigar called the henry clay. we see this box is probably -- i'm not sure of his chewing tobacco or a snuff box. i found franklin pierce gets shafted here. he gets made into a pipe head. there is a campaign to put his head on a pipe and smoke it. kind of a misunderstood figure. other questions? i assume you all figure we don't duel anymore. or do we? i just had one other thing. i had a few slides ready for you. it is this. you are on yourself on doing the paces on the duel. although dooling has ended, the rhetoric of dooling has not. i was shocked.