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tv   Fords Theatre Lincoln Symposium  CSPAN  March 19, 2016 1:42pm-4:51pm EDT

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be violence waiting for the freedom riders. they were aware of his concerns but decided to continue the ride. they left atlanta on may 14, 1961. there were two groups of travelers, integrated groups on the greyhound bus and a trailways bus. they departed from atlanta an hour apart. when the bus arrived, there was a mob waiting for the bus. they attacked the bus. they broke out windows. they rocked the bus to try to turn it over. the bus was able to pull away from the station but not for the tires have been slashed. when it pulled over to try to phone for help, the mob attacked again. someone in the mob through a molotov cocktail. the bus filled with smoke and fumes. as the freedom riders tried to get off the bus, members of the mop held the doors so that people cannot depart.
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when they got off the bus they were the mercy of this crowd who then proceeded to attack them even further. the deal that had been worked out with local law enforcement and the segregationists was evident 15 minutes -- they would have 15 minutes before law enforcement intervened. after about a 15 minute point a local law enforcement officer pulled his weapon and fired a shot. that is what stopped the attack. in the meantime the trailways bus arrived an hour later. they don't know until they arrived that the greyhound bus was already attacked. the interesting thing about the trailways bus, unlike the greyhound bus, several segregationists had gotten on the bus in atlanta. they were riding from atlanta. they had not only harassed the atlanta, the bus from but they had also beaten several of the freedom riders while on
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the bus. the trailways bus was able to continue on into birmingham for yet another mob formed and was waiting for that bus to arrive. while this was going on there were a group of students, college students in nashville that were part of the national student movement that had been working to desegregate lunch counters in the downtown area for over a year. the students were monitoring to see what would happen. there were negotiations and discussions among the students in nashville to come to birmingham to continue the ride . that is where they reconvened in birmingham. once the students arrived the kennedy administration work out with the state government to provide protection for the students leaving birmingham and coming to montgomery. the deal that was worked out is that the buses would be protected by state police from the birmingham city limits until the montgomery city limits.
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in the montgomery city police would pick up the bus and protected as it arrived in montgomery at the bus station. the bus with the freedom riders left birmingham on may 20, 1961. everything was going according to plan until the bus arrived in the city of montgomery limits. offhe state police peeled and the city police did not pick up the bus to escort into the montgomery bus station. it took about 15 minutes for the bus to arrive here at the greyhound bus station. it pulled into the station and several freedom riders remarked that it was the wreath that they were not many people around. were not manythey people around. several photographers and journalists were waiting to interview the students. as they got off the bus and started the interviews, then a crowd formed.
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they came from behind buildings, out of cars, from across the street. they came from everywhere and to send it on these students in the end attacking the photographers and the journalists . they smashed cameras. some were beaten with their own equipment as a part of the attack. after they attacked the journalists they turn of the freedom riders. there were 21 students on the bus. 23. of them were older than they were black and white. as they were being attacked congressman lewis suggested to the students in the middle of all of this that they stand together and try to huddle together and not get separated. beatenple most badly for the loan white male on the bus. he was an exchange student at the time from wisconsin. he and congressman lewis for the first two off the bus.
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had all manner of weapons in which to attack the students. they were bats and chains and types and crates. any manner of weaponry you can think of to affect the students. after he was attacked, then the crowd turned on congressman lewis. he was hit over the head with a coca-cola crate. that was one of the last things they remembered. two other people on-site that they were also caught up in this assistant -- were the assistant to robert f kennedy. -- he came in dollar across this scene while it was in progress and try to intervene. he announced himself as a federal official. someone proceeded to hit him over the head with a metal pipe and attack him. him, what happened with
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the other official of the justice department on the scene that day went to go find judge frank johnson, a federal judge here in montgomery to ask him to issue an injunction to stop the klan from interfering. he issued the injunction to keep the klan from interfering with the freedom riders, but also issued one for the riders to stop the ride. the civil rights leaders came to montgomery to hold a mass meeting, along with citizens in the city of montgomery to support the freedom riders. it was held at first baptist church, the church of reverend abernathy. while they were holding the meeting, there were about 1500 people in the church. the mob outside thank you process was about 3000 people. they attacked the church. they threw rocks at the church.
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they turned over cars outside the church. they threw molotov cocktails at the walls of the exterior of the church. dr. king and other leaders inside the church reached out to attorney general robert f kennedy and asked him to send in federal troops. instead of the troops coming, the governor called out the national guard. once the freedom riders were taken from the church, they were taken to dr. harris' home. he was a black pharmacist who had been involved in the bus boycott. he provided transportation coordination for the bus boycott. at his home the freedom riders were given safe haven. the other decision was the ride would continue. the next stop the jackson, mississippi. on may 24, 1961, two busloads of freedom riders, many who had been on the early bus from
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montgomery left montgomery on the trailways bus. when they arrived in jackson, mississippi they did try to integrate the segregated facilities and were arrested. they were all charged with breach of peace. many served anywhere from 30-40 days in jail. over 300 riders were arrested and served times in jackson, mississippi. they never arrived to the destination in new orleans. even after all the activism and rosahe work people like parks and dr. martin luther king had done in 1955, desegregating the sadie -- city buses in montgomery, for most of life to not change from day to day. they still suffered in the same situations they had before 1955. inwas after the student sit in 1961freedom riders when the signs of segregation
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start to come down. that was when the icc ruled on november 1 that all these facilities across the south had integrate. that was when he first saw the visual changes in the landscape that segregation was on its deathbed. >> our cities toward staff recently traveled to montgomery, alabama to learn about its rich history. about other stops in our tour at you are watching american history tv all weekend, every weekend on c-span3. court is left of this amount of power incomes greater responsibility. the idea you have a seat on the court unfettered for 35 years just is not pass the smell test
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with a modern democracy. >> -- talked about changes he would like to see at the supreme court, including oral arguments the cameras, imposing term requiring justices to a here to the same code of ethics that other federal judges follow. >> the supreme court decisions affect all americans. all americans are aware of the third branch of government. in the last 10-15 years it has become so powerful. the idea that issues on voting and marriage and health care and immigration and women's rights, pregnancy discrimination. i could go on and on. 20-30 yearsmay be ago congress in executive branch we get together and figure out a compromise. that is not really happen anymore. the buck stops at the supreme court in a way that is unprecedented in our history. and given is making these very impactful decisions, we as a
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public can press them to conform to modern expectations of transparency and accountability. c-span's q8:00 on and a. >> feature programs that tell the story. some of the highlights for this weekend include this evening at 8:00 on lectures in history. dickinson college professor david o'connell discusses presidential legacies and the factors that contribute to a successful presidential term. at 10:00 p.m. on real america, in september of 1963, two months prior to his death, president kennedy traveled across the united states to promote conservation of natural resources for future generations. sunday morning at 10:00 on road to the white house rewind, a 1984 democratic debate in atlanta including former vice president walter mondale, gary hart of colorado and john glenn
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of ohio, former presidential nominee or to govern and reverend jesse jackson. for the complete american history tv weekend schedule, go to buff.m a history i enjoy seeing the fabric of our country and how things work and made. >> i love american history tv. american artifacts is a fantastic show. >> i had no idea history was something i would enjoy. >> with american history tv, it gives you that perspective. >> i am a c-span fan. we are back at ford's theater in washington, d.c. with the vietnam lincoln symposium. -- abraham lincoln symposium. the man is in the process of giving away an award. we are waiting for another speaker to talk. they will beast -- that will be
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stacy pratt mcdermott speaking about mary lincoln. she is contextualize and the life and legacy of that former first lady. >> in selecting a dissertation topic, i had a strong desire to address the value that musical analysis can provide in attracting small and large scale changes in historical memories. in using the musical moralization of abraham lincoln as the case study for this exploration i discovered a vast ofertoire, a plethora fascinating historical issues, and a community of scholars who have been exceedingly kind in offering me their time, insight and encouragement. i look forward to continuing my work in this area with a clear sense of the quality and quantity of exceptional scholarship that prior
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recipients have maintained. i am grateful to the members of the abraham lincoln institute and i hope to join you in sharing my gratitude in person at future gatherings. [applause] >> mr. president. [laughter] my name is bob willard. i've been president of the abraham lincoln institute in the past. i am delighted to be at this, the 17th symposium of the abraham lincoln institute. i have attended almost everyone. -- every one. it's a little more challenging these days after living in and around washington, we are now happily ensconced in southern california. i mention that because in the past couple of weeks the eyes of
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the nation were focused on the reagan presidential library, just a few minutes away from our new home. as america said goodbye to first lady nancy reagan, two you would gists claim that without mrs. reagan there would've been no president reagan. ofm not a real fan counterfactual history forussions, but i realized as long as i can remove or i'd expressed the same view regarding mary lincoln. that was underscored this morning by sidney blumenthal. i've attended lots of attendant -- events like this. i have heard many presentations on mrs. lincoln from friends and foes of this controversial first lady. but love her or hate her, there is little doubt that abraham lincoln, abraham and mary love each other deeply and support each other for better or for worse. and that mary's support was an
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indispensable element of abraham's ambitions. -- next speaker knows about more about this than just about anybody. stacy pratt mcdermott is the author of last year's mary lincoln, southern girl, northern woman. this compact volume traces the complex and often tragic life of mary lincoln in four stages. mary todd, mrs.. lincoln, mrs. president lincoln, and the widow lincoln. i encourage you to read the book. if you want to get an instant impression, let me draw your attention to her blog around the civil war and pop culture. teacher a resisting portrait of mary lincoln and give a strong thumbs up to sally field's portrayal of the president's wife in steven spielberg's "lincoln." harry -- her equities a sense
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far beyond very. expertise extends far beyond mary. her phd dissertation formed the basis of her 2012 book published by the ohio university press, "the jury in lincoln's america." our colleague and friend writes that "her careful study, based extensively-- based on primary source research sheds fresh light on the legal history of the 19th century america," it should come as no surprise that tracy is comfortable with primary material. since the early 1990's, starting as an intern and working to her current position as assistant director and associate editor, she has been an integral part of papers of abraham lincoln project in illinois. this effort aims to identify, index, and make available digitally all the works created by lincoln, as well as material
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received by him. i first became aware of safety's -- stacy'sthe advisory board, dh successful first phase of the project, lincoln's legal career. i would be derelict in my duty to the lincoln community if i didn't mention that the papers project was caught in the middle of a political budget dispute in the state of illinois. i draw your attention to the editorial in the new york times last sunday on march 13, and if you were so moved, i so urge you to exercise your right to petition the government for redress of grievances. at this time, and without public service announcement behind me, it is my pledge -- my privilege to invite stacey to the stage, nine by two to give her a warm welcome. you to give for
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a warm welcome. [applause] ms. mcdermott: it is such a pleasure to be here today. i was so nervous giving a talk at this hallowed building, and then i saw this, they did that, i'm from the midwest, that's perfect. i feel right at home with this scenery. it called minors right away. you dislike mary lincoln. perhaps many of you believe that she is really not so bad, but she just suffers by comparison to her mythical godlike husband. perhaps they're even some of you who actually like mary lincoln, as i do. certain thatlutely everyone assembled here today is aware of the fact that mary lincoln is not a popular historical figure. and mary lincoln's legacy in this regard is going to be at the forefront of my presentation today. but i am not here to defend mary lincoln. to defend your shortcomings.
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i am not here to make apologies for her human faults and failings. i'm not here to deny that she made mistakes, she sometimes acted badly, and she failed to be a perfect wife, a perfect mother, and a perfect first lady. rather, my goal here today is to offer some reflection of my personal journey with mary lincoln, in writing my biography of her extraordinary life. to share my perceptions of how some of mary lincoln's contemporaries, and some modern historians, have unfairly judged her. and to provide some illuminating historical context for her fascinating life. hopefully, at the end of my presentation, you'll understand a little bit of what a nice girl like me is doing in this sordid mary lincoln business. and you will maybe understand mary lincoln a little better, too. most important like him i hope that you will see mary lincoln's humanity. atn i first began working
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the lincoln papers, i was taken aback, frankly, by the veteran that many lincoln scholars spewed at mary lincoln. as a new scholar at the time, was reading every i can get my hands on, trying to get up to speed. the mary haters were really just impossible to escape. they dominated the lincoln story of the 19th century, the lincoln historiography of the 20th century, and the symposia and historical conferences that i was attending in the 21st century. constantly, they presented on the one hand, the kind and honest and good mr. lincoln, and on the other hand, his hateful, deceitful, hellcat of a wife. this is a delicious dichotomy, i admit it. but it really doesn't do us much help in understanding abraham lincoln, his marriage, or his wife. they certainly don't help us understand mary. at the time, it appeared to me that jean baker, a phenomenal
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historian and really quite adept a livelyr, sheep and biography and a very balanced portrayal of mary lincoln in 1987. at that time, when i was studying lincoln and trying to understand all of this, she seemed to me to be the only one who was interpreting married with any historical nuance at all. was,baker's mary lincoln to my mind, a real person with good qualities and bad qualities. with angels and with demons within her. but it seemed like nobody was really listening to jean baker in interpreting lincoln or the lincoln marriage. now, i had read all the biographies i could get my hands on on abraham lincoln. and i had read many of the biographies that had been written about mary. it seemed free clear to me that figures per trail of abraham sheoln having chosen mary, was the mother of his four boys, and she was the first lady who was by his side.
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yet biographers didn't seem interested in any of the new wants. i will admit, i had just finished a masters degree under the two village of a feminist women's historian. i probably had my own feminist backup. me it seems pretty clear to that there was a male-dominated cadre that generally disliked mary, will cast her in an unflattering way. and a female cadre who mostly likes her, were even lecturer were admired her a great deal. i could not help and recognize this gender gap, and i spent a lot of years try to understand it. but if jean baker's book had been able to bridge that gap, i found it maybe wasn't possible. was there really an answer to this historical aggravation of mine? and if there was an answer, how might it change the lincoln
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story? but i was an editor of lincoln's papers, and i have mostly preferred my view of the lincoln story from atop the voluminous pile of documentary evidence, not rolling around in the mucky areas of historical interpretation, at least where abraham and mary lincoln were concerned. yet, in hindsight, i started to notice that i probably was a mary lincoln biographer was probably turning within me for a while. my phd advisor at the university of illinois encouraged me to accept an opportunity to write a biography of mary, i probably was an easy target for him. also, i pretty much do whatever he tells me. i maybe didn't have much choice. as i started to think about it, i realized that i had been thinking about mary for a long time. as i consider the possibility of taking on this project, wringing my hands about it all the while,
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i hearkened back to some of my old historical aggravations regarding the great mary divide. i asked myself some very hard questions. would i be just another female biography -- biographer of mary lincoln who liked her? could i write a biography cable changing people's minds? but i write a biography that might shed new light on the marriage? was i willing to tackle a bridge that i had previously believed incapable of the sturdy construction? of course, i didn't know the answers to those questions. i'm not sure i know them now. i certainly couldn't predict the outcome of the project in my hands. and i admit, i was scared to death. but the parameters of the biography intrigued me so much that i was actually more excited than in fear. the editors were calling for a very short, readable biographical treatment with a chapter of lightly annotated
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documents at the end. i love the idea of writing a short engaging narrative that would be accessible to general readers, and i was thrilled with the prospect of writing a sweeping biography of a really adjusting person. in a very short little volume. of course, choosing documents for the end of the volume, i was terribly excited about that. once i signed the contract, my nerves were still there. i worked really hard to think about a fresh way of approaching this project that made sense in a brief biography, it also would be an approach that would allow me to explore the really rich historical context of mary lincoln's life. and i desired to have an approach that might be useful to future biographers of her famous husband, abraham lincoln. i set the need for writing my approach to the book aside and began my research.
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at the very beginning, i purchased a well loved, very battered volume in a used bookstore of mary lincoln edited letters, which were published in 1972 by justin and linda turner. i sat down and really comfortable places in my house, drink some wine, then i read very slowly every single word of the more than 600 letters that are in that volume, at about 200 or so more that have been discovered since that volume was published in 1972. much of that time, read those letters out loud to my dog. who didn't seem to mind. i took no notes, which is something i have never done before as a scholar. i took absolutely no notes. i just read all those letters aloud. i let mary's life unfolds through the letters. i started with an absolute blank slate. we committed to that. no negative, no positive opinions.
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i concentrated hard on mary's voice, i really try to get inside her head. even though couple of my friends warned me about the dangers of getting inside a crazy lady's head. but i'm kind of a crazy lady to, just ask my husband. there, and it in didn't think it was really all that crazy inside of mary lincoln's head, after all. i spent about three months just reading those letters. all the while i was thinking about how personal and historical experiences were shaping mary's life. about how mary viewed those experiences, and about how mary understood her familial, social, and public relationships. and about how mary was to finding -- defining the world around her. the more i read, the more realized not only did the mary haters understand mary, but i have not understood her either. asre they had dismissed her crazy and mean-spirited and defined her as a detriment to
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lincoln's public persona or to his personal happiness, i had assumed a feminist posturing defending her that also failed to adequately capture who she was as a person, what her life was like. not onlyary's letters opened up a real life to me, but it also opened up my eyes to my own historical biases. the letters of mary lincoln's widowhood, a portion of her life that i think is maybe the most understood, ended up being the most poignant for me. in my rediscovery of this woman i thought i had known. this is the point in her chronology, finally, where i began to accept her for all of her complexities, and for all of her faults. when i hit the letters the mary wrote between 1868 in 1871, during her time in europe with very clearly, i saw an intelligent, sensitive woman with a whole lot of what we would today call baggage. and she was navigating fairly well through life that was both
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a blessing and a curse. i saw a woman who had a great deal of strength, but it was very fragile at the same time. i saw a woman with a great capacity to love and to learn and to give, but who struggled every single day to keep the past and her demons that they. i realized then that i wanted to write a biography of a 19th century woman who was doing the best she could. i wanted to tell human stories about this very real person, from her perspective, with as much as her heart, her intellect, her soul as i could possibly glean from the world -- from the words she had written. by the time i sent to writing, it became a personal imperative to me to allow mary lincoln to tell as much of her story as was possible. that was my approach. two long had historians appropriated and misappropriated her life, and her history to their own end.
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or to tell the story of her husband life. my approach to this biography was to rely very heavily on mary's own words and reflections , correcting errors in filling in gaps in providing historical context where the historian me -- in me deems necessary. in the end, i think i met the demands of my editors by writing a readable, accessible, very short biography of mary with a few fresh perspectives on her life. i also think i've written a biography that illustrates really quite well the richly human qualities of historical experience through the eyes of a woman who, like all of us, was flawed. mary lincoln was the wife of abraham lincoln. and that was annexed ordinarily important personal and historical fact of her life. but mary lincoln was also a daughter, a student, a sister, a mother, a friend, and ultimately, widow.
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she was a 19th century woman, doing the best she could. sometimes, her efforts exceeded even her own expectations. sometimes, they were just good enough. other times, they were devastatingly insufficient. her story really is a human story. i hope my biography adequately captures mary lincoln's humanity. mostly, though, in the end, i just hope that i have written a life that mary lincoln herself might recognize. now, what i would like to do is listare 10 facts -- top 10 -- 10 facts, 10 mary lincoln facts, that i would like all of you to take out of the room today. these 10 facts are, i think, imperative to understanding mary better, to understanding her marriage to abraham lincoln and her historical legacy. in going through the list, i will correct a few popular misconceptions, share a couple of my pet peeves, always fun,
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and read a few brief selections from mary's correspondence. because how can we allow mary to have some say in all of this if we do not hear something of her own voice? so, fax number one. -- fact number one. there was no such person named mary todd lincoln. born,her sister and was she was marianne, and after that, she was just plain mary. when she arrived in illinois, she was miss todd, mary todd, or molly, and that name it. when she married abraham lincoln on november 4, 1842, she became mary lincoln. she called her mary lincoln, mrs. lincoln, mrs. abraham lincoln. she signed all of her correspondence mary lincoln, mrs. lincoln, mrs. abraham lincoln, or ml.
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of 19 century women, she took the lincoln name, and she never gave it another thought. she was mary lincoln until she died. i suppose that feminist historians started this mary todd lincoln thing in an effort, i guess, to rescue her from domestic of security or something. but it is historically inaccurate, and it drives me bananas. every time i hear it. so please, just call her mary lincoln, or mrs. lincoln. she would have wanted. and you and i will get along so much better if you do. [laughter] number two, fact the lincoln marriage was a companionable one. very todd and abraham lincoln recorded in the parlor of mary's sister's house in springfield, in the context of an emerging new ideal in 19 century marriage -- companionship. looking toraham were a spouse that was share interests with them and have similar perspectives as they
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did. both mary and abraham loved poetry, they left reading and books. they liked children, and they loved partisan politics. and they had a very large circle of political friends in common. they were both smart, quick witted, and absolutely obsessed gith wake politics -- whi politics and the bow of their party. the election provided a significant romantic backdrop for the couple, and other couples in springville as well. and they were likely in love and talking about marriage by december of 1840. unlike their parents, mary and abraham saw marriage as something beyond an economic union. they aspire to find love and friendship as well. marital expectations were greatly heightened for the generation of americans. there was much more handwringing as a result.
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this is a very important context in which they suffered their famous lovers break up in january 1841. it was also their shared interest, their enthusiasm for politics that reunited the in the summer of 1842. like most marriages, the lincoln marriage had its ups and downs. but throughout their more than 22 years together, they enjoyed each other's company, it is absolutely clear. they shared a great love of their boys, and they continue to bond over literature, poetry, the theater, and politics. there can be no doubt here that abraham lincoln chose mary lincoln because he loved her and enjoyed her company. he chose her because he believed she was an appropriate companionable meets. and, i think she was just that. fact number three. lincoln did not travel the circuit as a lawyer to get away
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from mary. [laughter] mr. willard: -- ms. mcdermott: lincoln started writing the circuit as soon as he began his law career in 1937. he was traveling the circuit when he married in november of 1842. at that time, it was common for lawyers and judges to travel legal circuits. it offered a perfect way for young attorney especially to learn the law, build a client base, establish a reputation, and make a pretty good living. not only was it a good career move for lincoln the lawyer, it also offered multiple venues in which to practice politics. he utterly enjoyed the fraternity of the traveling bard. lincoln was not the only lawyer, nor was he the only professional in this era who lived an itinerant professional lifestyle. during this era, doctors, teachers, businessmen and others covered large geographic areas and spend time away from their homes and families.
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not strange that lincoln continued to travel the circuit after his marriage. mary understood the reality, her own father had traveled a great deal for politics and for business. lincoln had been traveling the circuit for five years when he got married, and was providing a good living and working very well for him. he and his wife continued to allow it to work well for their family. until he was elected to the presidency in 1860. fact number four. mary's interest in politics was extreme, but it was rooted in the context of 19 century gender roles. mary's kentucky family remembered her as a fiery little a very younger, and she earned a reputation for not only understanding politics of the day, but for being willing to share her opinions about her hero, senator clay, who apparently she said she would one day marry. and casting appropriate aspersions on democratic president andrew jackson. growing up in a hotbed of whig
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politics with a father who encouraged her enthusiasm for politics fueled mary's interests in this regard. when she arrived in springfield, she was ready to immerse yourself in the 1840 presidential contest, and she did so with much gusto. however, she admitted to a friend, this fall i became quite a politician, rather than unladylike profession. like no other time in american history, women were becoming interested and involved in politics in the 1840's. they attended barbecues and rallies and speeches, and they pennedd depend -- and cap in literature. they were constrained to, because they had no vote or political power, and mary was ok with it. while there was a social role for her another women to play, in the end, mary believed it was
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really a sphere for males. it is no accident, however, that mary only considered political men, and certainly, she encouraged and often times really encouraged the political ambitions of her husband, who was, she saw very early on, a rising star in illinois. but mostly, mary lincoln viewed her role as the wife of a politician, albeit, a very smart and opinionated one, and she directed her ambitions towards her husband, and within the context of her own marriage. example,ever, for interested in engaging in the women's rights movement of the late 1840's. fact number five, mary lincoln's education was extraordinary. extraordinary. a time when most women never attended school, and all, and actually lucretia clay, henry clay's wife, was allegedly illiterate, women who did go to
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school maybe went 2, 3, 45 years. that was it. years in an spent 10 forward thinking academies in lexington, kentucky. a particularly vibrant and interesting educational environment. she studied math and history and science and religion, and of course, french. at her first school, she participated in public recitations, which most schools of the day deemed as an activity solely for boys. after graduating, mary then went off to a finishing school, where she mastered the french language and was exposed to a european perspective that opened up her imagination to new ideas, brave new ideas in some respects, and to a world far beyond her kentucky home in. she had grown up in a household that encourage the education of women, her father's mother and sisters were educated, and so was mary's own mother and
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stepmother. mary herself received an education at schools that valued the woman's voice. these educational experiences were very important as part of who mary was, and how she lived her life great they emboldened her confidence in her spirit, and they made her really very unique. arrived inry todd springfield in 1839, she was the most educated and likely the most sophisticated, and probably the most intelligent lady in the entire town. add to those qualities mary's deed understanding -- deep understanding and passion for politics governor grace, her bright blue eyes, all of those pretty dresses, it is a really any wonder that the gangly and awkward abraham lincoln was smitten? fax number six. number six.
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mary lincoln suffered, and her suffering was very real. but a time she was in her mid to late 20's, mary was suffering with regular headaches or migraines, probably migraines. and they plagued her throughout her entire life. she was also, by nature, and emotional woman. personally, i don't give a lot of credence to this history, but i do think it's very likely that if mary lived today, she would've probably been treated with medications for a mental health issue of some sort, and she likely would have suffered far less than it appears she did. added to the headaches and the periodic mental health difficulties, the birth of her fourth son, thad, lester with an injury that also remained a problem throughout her life. but despite these physical and mental difficulties, she mostly functioned pretty well. she rarely let for physical health keep her from attending to the children, running a household, which were mostly did herself in springfield, or being involved with charitable works
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like her sewing circles in springfield. in her later years, mary lincoln suffered from diabetes. she had serious back problems, and she was, in the end, readily losing her eyesight. as she aged in her body began to feel hurt, keeping the sorrow from swallowing her up was a very difficult struggle for her. mary buried one child in springfield, lost the second one in the white house, and watch the civil war claim family members, close friends, and ultimately, her own husband. some historians have criticized mary for her protracted grief following the death of her son and the assassination of her husband, arguing that everyone suffered during the war. the civil war was, indeed, it will render this, horrendous tragedy. a human tragedy. ,nd yes, a lot of women hundreds and hundreds of thousands of women lost sons and husbands. yet most of them did not witness
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firsthand the brutal death of ,heir loved ones, as mary did sitting next to lincoln, right here in ford's theater on that horrifying and fateful night. and finally, starting to adjust to life as a widow, mary had to suffer in 1871 the death of the third son, thad, who is just blossoming into a promising in man. her troublesome little sunshine, and his companionship in her early widowhood has been critical to her survival. she loved and adored this child. and i'm of the opinion that losing thad was very likely her hardest sorrow of all. when she wrote out instructions for her funeral, she requested to be buried with mr. lincoln on one side, and thad on the other. seven, mary lincoln was a modern, kind of hip mama. many of you might be aware, ensure you were aware, mr. lincoln's indulgent parenting style, as many lincoln
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biographies discuss this fact with wonderful stories to go along with it. but mary was also indulgent, showering the boys with affection and attention, spoiling them rotten with material objects and pets, even throwing birthday parties for them. at one party in springfield, for willy, there were 60 kids in attendance. mary made out handwritten invitations that you sent out to all the children, they provided food and games, and she delighted -- she and lincoln both delighted in hosting the very noisy affair that spilled out into the yard and into the street. it was not common to have birthday parties for little kids in that era, like it is today. this over-the-top party also occurred in december 1860, at a time when the lincoln family had way more important things to do. yet, they took time to indulge their child. of course, this treatment of the kids continued in washington. the boys were allowed to ron and
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play in the private and public areas of the white house. their wild child behavior annoyed lincoln's secretaries and annoyed many visitors, but it delighted to lincoln's. mary hosted and fed their friends, again, they were allowed to have pet, and the lincolns cater to their every whim. mary really was ahead of the childhood as a lifestage movement for sure. and while we might now understand that spoiling children is probably not the best parenting strategy, and probably had a role to play intense delay developments, but i can't help but see mary lincoln's approach to her children as an illustration of a great deal of love and devotion that many scholars have simply refused to recognize in her. when story of mary lincoln's motherhood is particularly revealing. in may, 18 60, mark delahaye was one of a number of men from the republican convention in chicago who arrived in springfield to convey the nomination to
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lincoln. apparently, he arrived at the lincoln home with two campaign flags and promised one of the flags to one of the lincoln boys. probably thad. to return home, he carried both of the flags away. on may 25, mary wrote to delahaye this letter, it's one of my favorite mary letters. she wrote one of my boys appears to claim prior possession of the smallest flag. is inconsolable for its absence. as i believe it is too small to do you any service, and he is so urgent to have it, i will ask you to send it to us at the first opportunity you may have. it, andly, as he claims i feel it is as necessary to keep one's word with the child as with a grown person. home safely,ached i remain yours respectfully, mary lincoln. no other purpose for this letter than to get that flag back for thad.
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fact numberight -- eight, mrs. lincoln overspent on clothing and she overspent on white house remodeling when she was first lady. but, there's so much more to the story of her time in washington. mary lincoln made a home for boys, and her husband, in that dusty old mansion. and she did her best to let those kids be kids in the midst of chaos, danger, and the persistent candidate for. she worked hard to carveout private time with the boys, and with her husband. and when it was possible, stealing family time at the white house, at the theater, or out in soldiers homes, where the lincoln family periodically escaped the chaos of the city. not only was this a comfortable yourself, it also was a welcome comfort and necessary distraction for husband as well. it was mary, not her husband, who understood that in maintaining an appropriate and
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functioning white house in the midst of war, hosting state dinners and holding public receptions, for example, in a stately unsophisticated environments sent a message of a functioning government to the nation, and to the world. on a regular basis, for example, the lincolns opened the white house to the public, and mary stood in receiving lines for hours, going through several pairs of white, clean gloves, no doubt, greeting the public with grace, respect, and kindness. when mary lincoln was in washington, she made frequent visits to the sick and injured soldiers, writing letters for them, bring them gifts of fresh fruit, and even liquor. and she raise money for hospitals caring for them. she also raised money for freed slaves, and helps her black dress maker, who was a close female friend, make contact in new york, and philadelphia to raise money as well.
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i do get interesting that mary counted among her best friends in washington the abolitionist senator charles sumner, and there can be no doubt that mary lincoln cared deeply for the northern war effort. that thebelieved abolition of slavery was a positive result of the war, and would be the single most important legacy for her husband and her children. as well, mary lincoln suffered no confederates, of course, she didn't suffer most people, certainly didn't suffer fools, but even those who happened to be members of her own kentucky family. number nine. mary lincoln is the reason that abraham lincoln is buried in oak ridge cemetery in springfield. mary lincoln wanted her husband buried in a quiet, green spot, a peaceful, pastoral setting. she chose the newly established oak ridge cemetery in springfield, illinois. there were hard pressures to bear the president in washington. to mary's horror, a
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monument association springfield consisting of a contingent of old lincoln friends developed plans to build a two and monument in downtown spring field. mary was furious, and her son robert was also furious. mary was intent on exercising her right as lakin's widow. in june of 1865, she wrote illinois governor richard oglesby, this is what she wrote to the government illinois. i feel that it is due to candor and fairness that i should notify your monument association that unless i receive within 10 days an official assurance that the monument will be erected over the tomb in oak ridge cemetery, in accordance with my will expressed wishes, i use my consent to the request of a national monument association in washington, d.c., and have the sacred remains deposited in the vault prepared for president washington, under the dome of the national capital as early a period as is practical. not exactly the helpless,
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grieving widow. she put her poker face on and dared the association to call her bluff. in order to convince her to change her mind, a delegation from springfield travel to chicago, where mary had settled with her son. mary refused to see them, even though they were out the door. she refused to change her mind, she was resolute. in the end, she won the battle. and think goodness. because oak ridge cemetery really is a perfect and pastoral setting for all of us to commune with lincoln's spirit. number 10. very lincoln lived for seven years as an ex-pat in europe. in october 1868, marion thad went to europe to escape public pressures and close public scrutiny. they experience following the death of a brand lincoln. it was a burden to be the family of a martyred president. as well, where is usually the 19th century press was pretty respectful of women, many papers really took off the gloves where
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mary was concerned. some historians have argued that with mary's actions as first lady, particularly her overspending at the white house, she had invited the vicious assault on her character and her femininity. that she had brought it on herself. but i don't agree with them, and in fact, i think the press was pretty unfair, albeit mostly a partisan press. i will offer one example. in your publication published a story and cartoon that absolutely lampooned mary's efforts to sell her dresses at a new york store to raise money for retirement to illinois. the paper attacked mary, accusing her of being a common peddler and lacking grace and self-respect. they viewed the sordid affair as an affront to victorian respect ability. however, they keep to the venom on mary alone, and admitted the names of those prominent ladies and gentlemen of new york city her turned out to view the sale. paper, theyto the
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would have been disrespectful to those prominent ladies and those prominent gentlemen to drag their good names into the fray. but whether or not you believe mary lincoln deserved all she got, it really doesn't matter. what matters here is that mary found it unbearable to live under all that public scrutiny. and she decided to take action and make it go away as best as she could. lucky for her, she had the luxury of traveling abroad. something she had always come her entire life, wanted to do. marion thad set off to europe to escape america, to see the world, to visit the best medical spas and very forward thinking medical spas for mary's health, and to enroll thad in a fine european school. they settled in germany, they made friends, they kept in touch with family members and friends in america. and they did an incredible amount of sightseeing that mary enjoyed almost more than anything she had ever done before. some of these letters are wonderful, she talks about her
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visit in foreign places. mary was and continues to be devastated that she did not have lincoln by her side to enjoy these trips with her. she frequently struggled to keep sorrows in check. but she did delight in tennant company, and i think these were some of her happiest years. when she went back to europe for a second time living abroad, she went for many of the same reason she had gone in 1868. after her insanity hearing, her incarceration in a mental institution in batavia, illinois , and are successful efforts to regain control of her own finances, mary lincoln made plans for a permanent exile in france. elizabeth, had offered a permanent home in springfield, and encouraged her to settle closer, at least closer to home. yet mary believed it that she could not live a peaceful life branded as a lunatic in the press, in a country where
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everyone knew who she was, and so many people disapproved of her. as she told her sister, i love you, but i cannot stay. in settled in france october, 18 76, and she lived there until october 1880. when she became too debilitated by health problems to stay any longer. from the french pyrenees in france, where mary lived most of her time during the second residence abroad, she wrote -- ofus -- hundreds letters to family and friends. she reported on her travels, commented on political matters in europe and the united states, and still showing emotional details of her grief that continue to play her. among thosened, letters, about 100 letters to jakob dunn, a springfield merchant an old friend of her husband's, with whom she had left her personal finances in the states. on december 12, 1876, she wrote a letter to him that i think is pretty typical of these business
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type letters, and i think it also demonstrates mary's remarkably clear mind at a time when her son robert and many others believe that she was severely mentally unstable. i like this letter because it illustrates mary's mental health and intellect, and it reveals her care and concern for family anders back home demonstrates that even in her twilight years, in a location far removed from home, she retained her passion and interest in american politics. in that letter, she wrote my paperir, the tension become an environment with instructions has been received. i returned the paper to you signed by the proper authorities , mr. musgrave graze the consul, connected with the american consulate, lebaron to banneker is one of the high authorities here and one of the government officers. i observe by my daily paper of paris, which receives constant
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news of america, that gold on the eighth of december was 107 and a quarter. quite a decline, making it however, so much better if it continues for the number of my friends. living abroad has really changed since the war between france and germany, and this is a very expensive place. mary continues doubtless the agitations caused by the difficulty of deciding who is to be our next president overshadows everything in our beloved country. we can only pray that no civil war will occur to blight our lustrous plans. she's commenting on the american president election of 1876 that resulted in the copper are miserly 277 and the withdrawal of federal troops -- the 1877 and the withdrawal of federal troops. in conclusion, mary roach, my sister, mrs. edwards will be on the 20th of november regarding the critical condition of mr. not as, therefore i was
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prepared to receive the sad and painful intelligence of his death. with many kind remembrances to your family, believe me, respectfully, this is abraham lincoln. towards land end for life, mary signed your letters mrs. abraham lincoln. rarely using her own first name. her later letters offer much evidence that her mind was frequently taken back to her happy life with her husband in springfield. before the war, and before the time when grief and sorrow overshadowed her life. sad and sweeta evidence that she was retreating into the role in life that she had most enjoyed, her role as the wife of abraham link in. as her physical and emotional health, her body and ultimately, her eyesight failing her, she welcomes death, because she believed in death she would be reunited with the man she loves, the children she had lost, and
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the domestic life she had lived with her beloved family. sayonclude, i will just that i find mary lincoln's life compelling. she was a complicated woman who lived in interesting life in a fascinating period of american history. more importantly, i think the reason that mary lincoln is so compelling is because she was a complex individual. she was smart, intellectually curious, and social. petty, and insecure, reclusive. she loved with all of her heart and her soul, and she hated with all of her heart and her soul. evaluating her upbringing, education, and her life experiences, i think makes her even more compelling. because we can understand something of how she became the woman she was. a man likeer see why
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abraham lincoln chose her. she was a woman with a great big personality at a time when society expected women of her social status to sit quietly in the wings to be charming and pretty and graceful, but not too charming or two pretty or to graceful. and i wholeheartedly believe that she did ok navigating that. i like her. i also think that if you are willing to see mary lincoln's humanity, and recognize the nuances of her person, in the context of her life, you might even learn to like her too. [laughter] [applause] ms. mcdermott: we'll have time for one question. good one.
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>> i just wanted to say, i like your presentation, i heartily concur with your conclusion. i think it's wonderful what you have done. my wife'so say that great-grandmother was a cousin of mary todd lincoln, and i have lived -- i've been married for some 60 years, living with a todd descendent. ms. mcdermott: r todd still the way our -- the way they are then? mother-in-law was a good example. i knew she was senile when she was 95 years old and she started treating the right. i think what you are saying about mary todd lincoln and the different parts of her personality all of this is very much on target. ms. mcdermott: thank you. no question, i got off easy. [applause]
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>> will not take a 20 minute break. during this time, dr. mcdermott at our next bigger will be in the lobby to sign copies of the book. -- our next speaker will be in the lobby to sign copies of the book. the next presentation begins at 3:05. >> the abraham lincoln symposium
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is taking a break before the next speaker, who will be thomas l carson talking about lincoln's ethics. we will be back with more live coverage from ford's theater when it does resume. in the meantime, c-span cities tour is featuring the history of montgomery, alabama this weekend. here's a look at one of the stops. >> the two most cataclysmic events in our american history transpired right here in montgomery. so much of it is right here on court square. that touch thewn river, new philadelphia, which was near the federal road, came together, united and became one december 3, 1819. andrew jackson founded the new philadelphia, the area that's now located around states
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avenue. he was a visionary. but it iscoundrel, very scoundrel, if you will. you see the land with a capital since today, given to the city's thing you can never sell it, you can never lease it, because when montgomery becomes the capital, this is where the capital will sit. 47,sure enough, 1846, montgomery did become the came to and immediately build the capital on capitol hill. slavery was a big issue of course, the abolitionist movement was growing in the north. the two sections of the country were changing in their orientation. because we continue to grow cotton in the south, where the north was becoming more industrialized. and so there was a difference of opinion, and the issue of states
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rights really overwhelmed the south, if you will. but slavery undergirded the states rights issue. was the one of 1860 in which abraham lincoln was elected. -- the south that we had been defeated right here. we will just go ahead and secede. of course, the meetings were taking place in the capital. 1861, the 11, secessionists were the one that carried the day in the vote that determined cessation or remaining in the union. with that, the die was cast. as far as our capital was concerned, it in them city of montgomery, we would become the capital of the confederacy, provisionally at first. we wanted to keep it, of course, forever. but the confederate states of america were organized in our capital. ,ustin davis was elected
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president of the confederacy. he was inaugurated on the steps of the capitol, the platform there in february of 1861. ,ort sumter was sitting there the charleston hall was just sitting there. they re-provisioned the urge to fire on it, which is palpable. you could feel it in the air. and so the confederate cabinet was meeting in the exchange hotel, just on the corner of commerce in court square, directly across the street in as the known internally winter building or the telegraph office was on the second floor. fellow, he ranng ,ack and forth, back and forth from bo regarded charleston the cabin here in the exchange hotel. finally, the decision was
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reached that they are not going to leave, so we will fire upon the forge. in april, the fort was fired upon. and the orders to fire on it were issued from the telegraph office here. and then across the street was the central bank of alabama. it wasn't a state bank at all. it was a private bank. but it was incorporated, of course, in the state laws. bank was the first to loan money to the confederacy. square we hadrt the exchange hotel, where the cabinet met, with the order was given. in the winter building, we had the telegram sent. and the money needed, it was not a great deal of money, but bankually it put the totally at the end of the war,
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-- [indiscernible] right here, so many things that happened at the end of the civil war took place. what was montgomery doing after the capital moved? in may, 1861, the capital moved to richmond. that left us in a little bit of a backwater. we had railroads, we had steamboats, we were a supply store. , alonghad cotton stored commerce street and adjacent streets to it, bordering on the river and the railroads. we don't really know how many bales of cotton. huge numbers of cotton stored. with the yankees are coming. raid, inwilson's january of 65, with thousands of troops, they scoured through the whole area, small mining enterprises, little foundries, they were destroyed all those. they destroyed the university of
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alabama, and they then, the battle of selma took place. , the formal capital of the confederacy. federal troops began moving towards montgomery. there was great anxiety here, of course. winona what's happening. we don't know whether we will be tremendously because we were the founding site of this whole chaos we were existing in at that point. all that con the stored in the warehouse. confederatery small force here in montgomery. way theyde there's no can take on wilson's raiders, this mass of people that are the -- so they were lean were leaving. but before they leave, they
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agreed to burn the cotton. and so this great conflagration takes place all through this area on april 9, and the wind is blowing off the river. blowing sparks towards town. there was a good chance the same thing would happen here as happened in other towns and villages and cities around the south, we would be burned. there was a black volunteer sergeant, they were in charge of the fire protection, because most of the white farmers had gone to war. firemen wereack able to contain the fire until the wind changed. and they became true heroes here in montgomery, to great acclaim that they had saved the town from destruction. arrived iniders
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montgomery, and they're coming around court square. the fountain was not there at that point. it was just a basin with a metal fence around it. sense -- thatthat sense that cattle have been sold. enoughme, interestingly him from selma. we had another march the came from selma, 100 years later. they came and marched up market street, at about 4:00 in the morning, they took down the confederate flag and put the american flag on the flagpole on capital ground. we were out of the war. the interesting thing is, as the war began april 12, 13, 14, 15, that it was the same date the yankees arrived, so for years to the day, the war lasted
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for montgomery anyways. we had adjustments to make. reconstruction was difficult for us. for anybody. eriod ofstruct a p intense loyalty to one state and shift your loyalty back to a struggle a bit of for many, many people. the blacks were free. ,nd so a whole new economic social, political environment, laws, rules, everything changed in a sense. the electric streetcars was one of the first efforts on the part of the blacks to gain special rights, in fact the law was passed by the city of montgomery
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to cause the streetcars to run separate cars for the blacks than whites. that created a streetcar strike. and right here on the square, all the streetcars in montgomery lined up on that morning, that this law was to go into effect. and so a municipal panic, when you can't get the streetcars in because [indiscernible] the initial effort that was made by the blacks to focus in the changing of that ordinance, that separate but equal on the streetcars, schools, that was affecting the schools. it was affecting all of the economy as well as the social and political activities. bit by bit, it's becoming an issue that has gotten to need some sort of resolution. and so the transportation issue going back again to the
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streetcars and segregated streetcars, and segregated buses, the buses replaced streetcars. you have the same issues again. square, in the montgomery fair, rosa parks worked as a seamstress. the buses were often crowded lately in the afternoon, she came out of the store, needed to pick something up at the drugstore just off of court square. she went up to the drugstore, made her purchase, came back, and about with alliance heads sheltery was a waiting for bus riders. bus right there. took her seat in the area that was limited to -- blacks could sit in it if the bus didn't get
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crowded. she sat down, legally. two blocks up the street, before the empire theater, the bus stopped and more white people got on the bus. rosa parks just sat there. and so began the montgomery bus boycott. right here on court square. there was also some activities that took place here. dr. king, one with the king junior was a minister the next day at the baptist church that someuilt in 1880's under question by some of the -- letter to the editor, are we going to let black people build a church year on market street? it happened. think about it. the civil war began in the capital with the election of jefferson davis and with the organization of the confederacy.
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, thehen, within a block baptist church was built, and the leader, the moral and spiritual leader to some extent of the whole civil rights movements of the 20th century really kind of spring from that church. so you have a wonderful contrast and really one of those strange parallel events that do take place in history. as the civil rights movement changed from the focus on transportation to other aspects, particularly the voting effort, and so the marches came. justped out at st. jude's a little west of town. and the next morning they came
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down through the streets of montgomery, down montgomery street. .ame through court square fair -- so many things have happened on it. in a sense it is a national main street as well. i think that is one of the beautiful aspects, that we see two issues, civil war and civil rights springing forth in the .ame locale in a sense we don't want to take all the credit and all the blame either. >> every weekend, feature programs that tell the american story.
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some of the highlights include this evening at 8 p.m. eastern on lectures in history. david o'connell discusses presidential legacies and the factors that contribute to a successful presidential term. at 10n 10 p.m. -- then p.m., two months prior to his death, president kennedy traveled across the united states to promote conservation of resources for future generations. on road to the white house rewind, a 19 -- a democratic debate from 1984 featuring , formerondale presidential nominee george mcgovern, and jesse jackson. go to for the entire schedule. >> as the director of military
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and veteran affairs at the university of toledo here in ohio, people come at my office talking about who they want to vote for. regardless if they want to vote democratic or republican, it is your civic duty to get out and vote. i encourage you to do your research and vote for the candidate that supports your causes and the future of this nation. >> i'm here supporting bernie sanders. i think he's one of the most important candidates in this field right now. he is the most viable alternative to a mainstream politician. he has the most progressive ideas that are more important to the country. i would encourage everyone to go out and support bernie if possible. issue isst important going to be college tuition as well as jobs. when kids go to school they need to know how they are going to pay for it and how to afford it, as well as when they are leaving college. what the job market is going to
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look like, trying to bring jobs back into the u.s.. as president of the college democrats i feel those are the biggest issues for an election cycle. vote forgoing to bernie sanders but since i'm not politically inclined i ended up voting for hillary, because she seemed more knowledgeable. she's been secretary of state and she's already seen the inner workings of the white house and how the game goes. >> we are back live as the abraham lincoln symposium continues. the symposium is at the four theatre in washington dc. this is the 19th annual symposium. for theatre is of course the site -- ford theater is of course the site where abraham lincoln was assassinated by john wilkes booth. thedents of lincoln died
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next day across the street. ford is currently a working theater as well as a national historic site. the symposium has been going all weekend long -- all week long, talking about lincoln, his life, and his political actions. hear from thomas al carson, talking about president lincoln's ethics. >> good afternoon. name is michael, i teach
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history at the university of illinois springfield and i bring you greetings from the holy land. [laughter] [applause] when i saw this set i was startled. i saw the title of the show being done tonight is 110 in the shade, and i thought it was a musical about washington dc in august. to introducesure thomas al carson, president of philosophy -- he is a graduate of saint olaf college and of brown university. president -- professor carson's teachings focus on ethics, as the title of his book suggests the status of morality, value, and the good life, and lying and deception. has a lifelongn interest in history, which has
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led him to write his own recent ook "lincoln's ethics." i commend it to your attention. i must admit, i was a bit skeptical when informed that a philosopher, not a historian or scientist, was writing about lincoln. thate long shared the view philosophers offer unintelligible answers to insoluble problems. i assure you that lincoln's ethics offers highly intelligible answers to eminently soluble problems of great interest to students of our 16th president. please join me in welcoming tom carson. [applause] prof. carson: i want to thank
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everyone who is here. thank you for coming and thanks to some of my old and dear friends who are here. i should mention there is a handout, i hope everybody has a copy of it. you can follow the talk along with the handout. and you will need to hand out the end of the talk. my talk is based on the second half of my book, which discusses lincoln's character. summarize the first half of the book, which addresses moral questions about some of lincoln's most controversial actions. number of cases where many thought he acted in morally. morallimmorally. during his long career before becoming president, he never
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opposed the state's black exclusion laws breed he opposed other unjust laws that were part of illinois black vote, including laws forbidding blacks on juries, or marry white speed he never supported giving full civil rights to all african-americans. whites.rry he never supported giving full civil rights to all african-americans. in his first inaugural address he promised to enforce the fugitive slave law and promised he would not interfere with the institution of slavery where it already existed. he rescinded general fremont's order for emancipation in the state of missouri in 1861, and a similar order from general hunter for the states of south carolina, georgia, florida, and maine in 1862. the emancipation proclamation was seemingly halfhearted. theid not free slaves in
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border states, tennessee, or most of the territory occupied by the union army. many criticized him for not issuing it earlier. president lincoln suspended habeas corpus during the civil war and prisons -- and imprisoned thousands of people without due process. his actions and policies as commander in chief can also be questioned, because their moral status depends on the justice of the union cause in the american civil war, which itself is open to question. given the abolition of slavery to not -- the reason question whether the union was morally justified in fighting the american civil war at the beginning of the war, it is also debatable whether the union just means to fight the war. considerable responsibility for the conduct of the war and the union army's treatment of confederate some indians -- confederate
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civilians. most of his actions were justified on utilitarian grounds. they were necessary to bring about the best consequences in the long run. i also argued in practice lincoln was a totalitarian. my defense of lincoln does not predispose the truth of totalitarianism. whatclaim the actions of lincoln should have performed, for example complete abolitionist of slavery at the beginning of the american civil war would be self defeating. we don't need to be utilitarians to reject these criticisms of lincoln. let's turn to lincoln's character. other political leaders and historical figures, abraham lincoln is generally regarded as a singularly good and virtuous human being. the mythical lincoln many of us learned about as schoolchildren was honest ape. he walked many miles to return a few pennies for someone who was
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overcharged. he was moved by compassion and a sense of justice. lincoln was a resolute and determined commander-in-chief, despite great awareness and compassion for the immense suffering cost by the -- suffering caused by the american civil war. how much of the myth of lincoln's moral goodness is true? does he deserve this reputation as a morally good person? my book addresses this question at great length. lincoln possessed many important moral virtues to an extreme a high degree. many people deny he was an unusually good human being. criticism is the charge that he was a racist. conclusion is the lincoln -- in some important ways
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the myth understates his goodness and virtue. the contrary, lincoln is a moral exemplar, someone worthy of a -- someone worthy of admiration and imitation. moral begin by describing virtues lincoln possesses to an extremely high degree. lincoln was a compassionate, the netherland, and tenderhearted person. he was removed and distressed. this trade was very pronounced from his childhood and observed by many people on many occasions. lincoln was exceptionally kind to animals. -- once he went to great trouble to rescue a hog from drowning in the mud.
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lincoln once took pains to rescue two little birds who had been blown from their nest in the storm. lincoln placed the birds in the nest provided by their mother and he could not have slept if he had not given those two little birds to their mother. lincoln was equally kind and benevolent to human beings. when he lived in indiana he would often visit and comfort sick children. many years later and a letter to owned slaves and defend the institution of slavery, lincoln wrote that the shackles of slavery was a continued torment to me and -- one important qualification needs to be added. as a young man lincoln enjoyed
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mocking and ridiculing his political opponents and often did this with anonymous letters to local newspapers. once he reduced a local democratic politician to tears. and another occasion he let the auditor of the state of illinois to challenge him to a duel. give up his penchant for denigrating his political opponents until middle age. during the last part of his life, after he reentered politics, he was an exceptionally kind person without qualification. lincoln's moral virtue was magnanimity. to be magnanimous means to overlook injury and insult. magna minute maybe -- magnanimity was -- lincoln persis -- lincoln had the virtue of magna minute he be -- virtue of magna minute be --
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virtue of magnanimity. lincoln and stanton were working on a case that included the mccormick reaper's. to him refused to talk or allowed him to take an active role in the trial. stanton was often contemptuous of lincoln. at their initial meeting, lincoln wanted to discuss ideas to the case. stanton walked away muttering to another companion, why did you bring that long armed ape here? he doesn't know anything and can do you no good. admiredess lincoln stanton's abilities beat when he had to find a successor to simon admired-- stanton's abilities. when he had to find a successor to simon cameron, he thought stanton would be the best person for the job.
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lincoln replied, now mr. harding, this is not a personal matter, i desire to do what is best for the country. stanton did a superb job as secretary of war and played a crucial role in union war efforts to the second was that of lyman trumbull. lincoln ran for the u.s. senate. rivals, thef his ,emocrats lyman trumbull -- on the first ballot lincoln received 45 of the 51 votes needed to win the election. trumbull received five votes. together he and lincoln controlled enough votes to win the election. electede senators were by state legislatures, not directly by the voters. balance --nt
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subsequent ballots, trumbull refuse to support lincoln because lincoln was a whiig. lincoln others his supporters to support the anti-slavery cause by voting for trumbull, despite his disappointment at the outcome. trumbull was elected to the senate. mary lincoln was bitter about this. afterwards she was never again with julia terms james, who had been a close intimate friend. trumbull became an important republican senator and later nominationlincoln's for president. he also co-authored the 13th amendment to the constitution. is an important virtue for any leader. magnanimousnot been
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he would not enjoy the services of the best people working for him. distracted by the lights that assailed him. underappreciated features of his character are his , andnformity, skepticism openness to criticism. he rejected many of the conventional values of his own time and place. he was a singularly unconventional person. " from william lee miller, which you have in your hand out, he "talks of hostility to indians, lincoln resisted it. the west when supported andrew jackson, lincoln supported -- in a political party with a strong native undercurrent, lincoln rejected that prejudice. ,n a southern flavored setting
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lincoln i was opposed it. in a white world with strong racial antipathies, lincoln was generous to blacks. in an environment different from education, lincoln cared about it intensely. in a family active in church, lincoln abstained. when evangelical christianity permeated the western frontier, lincoln raised questions and gave different answers than his eighbors." lincoln was skeptical that the common prejudices of his own time and place, including very strong racial prejudices against african-americans. when he alluded to those prejudices, said they may or may not be well-founded. he never specifically endorsed the common the you that whites were intellectually and morally superior to blacks. endorsed the common view that whites were intellectually and morally superior to blacks. lincoln reluctantly permitted black soldiers to serve in the
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army. he also worried that blacks may not make good soldiers. when it became clear that black soldiers were putting themselves very well in battle, lincoln went out of his way to acknowledge their valor and crucial role. as president subjected his views to criticism. strong and able people to his cabinet and software frank criticisms of his ideas. and -- appointed strong and able people to his cabinet and saw ranked criticisms of his ideas. ohio senator fenway to set lincoln's attitudes about slavery could only have come from someone born of or white trash.
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william lloyd garrison said lincoln's education among the white trash of kentucky was most unfortunate for his moral development. lincoln's capacity for self-criticism came from many of his critics. shortly before his death, the wrote, fort -- child all his deficiencies it must be admitted he had grown continuously. it was great luck we elected a man who was willing to grow. frederick ugliest noted lincoln's willingness to listen to criticism and said he was patient under rapprochement. he learned from people who spoke harshly and unfairly of him. miller aptly describes lincoln as someone who has strong moral
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can actions -- moral convictions and gave strong arguments for the abolitionist of slavery without being moral or self-righteous. he seldom condemned other people. although he condemned the institution of slavery in the strongest terms, he called it a monstrous injustice and said he hated the -- hated it. the sin of slavery, but unlike many of the abolitionist he did not hate or disdain for -- or disdain the sinners. betrayed considerable hostility in condemning others, lincoln's self-righteous concern for moral questions was virtuous. i will briefly mention a few other virtues lincoln possessed. first is what i call his honorable ambition.
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in many is a vice people, but his ambition was morally virtuous. steam above gain others by rendering himself worthy of their steam. his first political statement from 1832, lincoln wrote every man is said to have his own peculiar ambition. for one i have no other so great as to be truly esteemed by my fellow men by rendering myself worthy of that esteem. lincoln was a temperate and self-controlled person. he sustained from alcohol and tobacco and was very moderate in his habits. he was faithful to his wife despite having strong sexual desires and many opportunities to stray from his marriage vows. he was exceptionally self-controlled in his expressions of anger. despite the terrible pressures
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and the vicious criticisms he received from many quarters, the blunders of his generals, president lincoln kept his anger out of important decisions. he also controlled his anger with his wife, who frequently tried his patients. now going to turn to the criticisms of lincoln's character. despite lincoln's many virtues, their grounds for questioning his question is questioning his -- forer is a status questioning his characters and status to his moral exemplar. he is criticized for neglecting his family by spending too much time away from home, for being cold and ungrateful to friends, and for his relationship to his parents. the most serious criticism is the claim that he was a racist. my book discusses all these criticisms in greek detail.
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today i will only talk about the issue of racism. was a lincoln a racist? the answer depends on what we mean by racism and at what time in his life we are talking about. i will present you with six different definitions of racism. given three of these is aitions, being a racist grave moral failing. lincoln was never racist in those sense of the terms in which racism is a grave moral failing. he was for much of his political career a racist according to two of the other definitions. but when he died it was unclear that he was a racist, according to any of these fixed definitions. i'm going to read you the first three definitions. you will need to follow on your hand out, i will refer to these definitions by number. racism is the belief that certain races of people are
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inferior to others and is permissible for other members of "superior" races to exploit members of the "inferior" racist. three, racism is racially motivated indifference to the welfare's of members of a certain race of people. being a racist according to any of these three definitions is a serious moral failing. but very clearly lincoln was never a racist according to any of these three definitions. he never thought that anyone was ortified in exploiting enslaving certain members of races. hostile to the welfare of blacks or other races. there is a bunch of evidence to the contrary. a fourth definition is as racism is the belief
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that certain races are morally or intellectually superior to other races. it's unclear whether lincoln was a racist in this sense. his writingsy of or speeches does he say that whites are inherently morally or intellectually superior to blacks. but neither did he denied this. we don't know whether lincoln was a racist in this sense. lincoln endorsed unjust racial discrimination during most if not all of his political career. thatfended unjust loss denied free african-americans both social and political rights. his most well-known statement about this came in his debate with douglas in charleston illinois. , i am not nor ever have been in favor of bringing out the social or political equality of the white and black races.
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i am not nor ever have been in favor of making jurors of negroes or qualifying them to hold office nor to intermarry with white people. a physical difference between the white and black races which i believe will ever for bid deal -- ever forget the races from -- ever forbid the races from dealing together. i as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior race." in the white i think lincoln was pandering to deep racial prejudices of illinois voters. definitions five and six -- five, to be a races is to be deaf to be a racist is to be disrespectful of a certain race.
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-- five, to be a racist is to be disrespectful of a certain race. lincoln was a racist insult of the senses during most of his political career. to be disrespectful of a certain race of people, lincoln used the words "nigger", and -- in his debates with douglas he said he agreed with douglas in being horrified at the thought of interracial marriage. "judge douglas is horrified at the thought of mixing of the blood of the white and black races. agreed for once, 1000 times agreed." presuming lincoln was purportedly speaking for himself at all white people when he said, "there is a natural
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discussed in the minds of all white people to the idea of an indiscriminate amalgamation of the white and black races." to complicated things -- to there -- things, david lockley reports in he asked to why he favor the illinois law forbidding interracial marriage. , "then replied, saying law means nothing. i have no objection to anyone else marrying them." if a white man wants to marry a negro woman , let the negro woman if she can stand it. this probably confirms that some of his offensive statements pandered to the prejudices of voters.
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the sixth definition of racism is racism is inadequate concern for the welfare of a race of people. there is evidence lincoln strongly favor the interests of whites over blacks. the discrimination he endorsed in the passage of the charleston debate and many other occasions give evidence. lincoln said, "if there was a necessary conflict between the white man and the negro, i should be with the white man as douglas." then lincoln added, "but i say there is no such necessary conflict, there is room for all to be free." lincoln was a racist according to definitions five and six during most of his political career. but we need to make an important qualification. lincoln hadespects great respect for the welfare of blacks. he was concerned for their happiness, freedom, and the
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right to enjoy the fruits of their labor. theeentered politics in 1850's. he was roused to never oppose the expansion of slavery. lincoln's racial attitudes changed during his presidency. by the end of his life it is no longer clear he was a racist according to either definition five or six. to respect the sacrifices and valor of black soldiers who fought for the union. he also came to greatly respect and admire in number of well-educated black leaders he met during the end of the war. life, lincolnhis cared greatly about the welfare of african-americans. respectsl important he'd not favor the interests of whites over those of blacks. criticismtense public , based on concern for their great suffering of union prisoners of war, lincoln halted
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the exchange of prisoners with the confederates until they very reluctantly agreed to exchange black prisoners of war in january 1865. the lincoln administration's willingness to hold resin or exchanges to protect black pows was denounced by the new york times and walt whitman among others. lincoln was no more concerned of the state of white prisoners than of lack prisoners. his firm insistence that the emancipation proclamation be upheld, and his insistence that slavery be completely abolished -- attachingn were great weight to the freedom and welfare of black people. it is likely he could have ended the war earlier if he had allowed slavery to continue. therefore it is likely these policies cost the lives of many thousands of soldiers, the great majority of whom were white. of his life, lincoln wanted blacks to be citizens of
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the united states and wanted to give voting rights to some, but not all black men. gave, last speech he ever he said he preferred that for now black men who fought in the war and those who are very intelligent be permitted to vote. most scholars mean -- most scholars think he meant very educated or illiterate. .- or literate it was john wilkes booth who heard this speech. and the state meant -- the statement prompted booth to murder lincoln in where we are today. friend, "that now itizenship, i will put him through. that will be the last speech he
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ever made." lincoln wanted uneducated white men who served in the war to be able to vote. we may take this as evidence of racism on lincoln's part. but at this time i think it was right for lincoln to because this, to move slowly, and not push for the radical change of giving full rights to all blacks. so he might risk undermining the ratification of the 13th amendment and risk sparking a carrillo war in the south. -- sparking a guerrilla war in the south. if he lived longer and overseeing reconstruction -- would lincoln have supported anything like the 14th and 15th amendment to the u.s. constitution? the answer is we simply don't isw, bus what we say about racism needs to be hedged in
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light of this uncertainty. we need to distinguish sharply between our judgments about the justice and wisdom of his what we think they reveal about his character. the policies in question were motivated by lincoln's caution and his understanding of the constitution and understanding of the states. even on the least charitable interpretation, lincoln's racism was mixed for virtuous benevolence for the people who are the objects of his racist attitude, that he attract greatly from the goodness of his other virtues. the mythical lincoln presented to many american schoolchildren was without flaw area at least his flaws were never mentioned.
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he had serious flaws but in many ways the lincoln myth understates his goodness, because it doesn't adamantly describe the great cities he's faced. the myth doesn't explain lincoln's very bad moral luck in being raised in and running for elected office in an atmosphere of extreme racial prejudice and intolerance. some historians think racial injudice was stronger is central and southern illinois and indiana where he lived most of his life than any other region in the united states. lincoln myth does not give the details of the intense stress of his life and his crushing workload as president. lincoln suffered was aggravated by the disloyalty of harshary chase, extremely criticisms from all sides, the death of willie lincoln, and
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what i think was a very unhappy marriage. mary lincoln never recovered over the grief of her son in 1862. in july 1863 she suffered a serious head injury as a result of a carriage accident. to severeher prone headaches and aggravated her bad temper. hindrance and embarrassment to her husband are the latter part of his presidency. hecoln achieved the things did under extraordinarily difficult and stressful circumstance is -- stressful circumstances. i would ask you to turn to the last page of the handout. i have some before and after pictures here. the first photograph was taken in august of 1860. on februaryas taken
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1864. the photographs were taken less than five years apart and we can see the burdens of office written on his face. lincoln had many rough faults and edges to overcome. he involved from being a partisan politician who mocked and personally attacked his opponents in speeches and anonymous writings to become a great statesman, who was fair and respectful to his opponents. abolitioniste an in supporting the 13th amendment and he continually adopted more and more enlightened views and policies regarding african-americans and their place in the american society. so i submit that the real abraham lincoln was at least as good as the mythical lincoln. more complex, more interesting, and more human as well. lincoln was a morally exemplary human being.
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he is worthy of our great admiration. the most respects he is worthy of imitation. of hisis fully worthy very honored place in our national memory. follow -- usion i "e mentions lincoln's faults the most objectionable passages from lincoln's -- lincoln's faults and quotes the most objectionable passages from lincoln's debate. noteft him because he was perfect, but he was in triumph or co--- in triumph. the world is full of people hating and despising their fellows. to them i love to say, see this man. he was one of you yet he became abraham lincoln. i personally revere him the more because of out of his contradictions and inconsistencies, he fought his way to the pinnacles of earth.
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his fight was within as well as without. the foibles and contradictions of the great do not diminish, but enhance the meaning of their upward struggle. it was his true history that proved abraham lincoln a prince of man. men."nce of [applause] >> i think we have time for questions. >> you mentioned lincoln never stated whites were superior to blacks. he was agnostic on that. >> i think it's a this interpretation.
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-- that's the best interpretation. >> but he does say specifically black people are inferior to white people in one regard, color. was he being's interior -- was he being secure call -- being satirical? >> i think that was to pander to the voters. i forget the passage, you probably remember it better than i do. appearancebout the of african-americans, the appearance of whites is superior to blacks, something like that. meaningless a statement. he said, "they may not be inferior to whites in terms of
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intellect or morale of the. -- or morality. in terms offailure their color and their right to earn the bread that equality."m >> his courtroom technique, where he would concede something to the other side, which i always felt in the old days before computers, if a student turned in a particularly bad paper, you had to have some thing positive to say. this paper is very neatly typed. lincoln was doing that. to ber thing that needs pointed out about the 1815 campaign, lincoln began in july
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of 1915 eight giving a speech in chicago hard on the heels of a speech douglas gave the day before. conclusion, lincoln said let's stop all this quibbling about this race being superior and let's it -- and let's unite behind the declaration of independence. [applause] forget that he consistently advocated that blacks would not have the same political and civil rights as whites. i don't think there is anything getting around that. >> he never repeat that because reckless hammers him again and
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again. how can you vote for somebody to be u.s. editor when he doesn't believe there is such a thing as a superior and inferior race. douglas emphasizes that statement over and over again. another thing he emphasizes is are includedople in the declaration of independence's statement that all people are created equal. he said, absolutely not. white andans all european men, and lincoln emphatically denied that. >> i'm curious what people think of the statement in the speech from april 11, 1865. the speech that gets him killed. it seems to me he is still advocating unjust racial discrimination there.
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no idea that uneducated whites or whites who had served in the war should be denied the right to vote. >> that is an important point. and -- >> [inaudible] >> as was pointed out this douglas when frederick gave his speech in 1865, where he said he heard lincoln call he limited black support, was so disappointed because it was so limited. that is an important speech because as it was pointed out this morning, douglas said lincoln learned his statesmanship in the school of
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rail splitting. you take a mall, a big hammer, and drive home the thick and of the wedge. we should have known what lincoln was doing was inserting a thin and -- inserting the thin end of the wedge. >> i think there is a bit of speculation. he would havet done had he lived longer? i don't think that is quite as clear. i think to some extent we have we say about this we have to hedge with some degree of uncertainty. it is quite possible or likely he would have done so. >> i am puzzled still and concerned that even now people seem to take a light -- take to light that-- take to
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lincoln was a racist. why does that attitude persists? >> i think there is some evidence for that statement in things i've said here. i think in some sense he was a racist. >> [inaudible] it seems to me we have to parse the word racism carefully. in some important senses, hugh clearly was never a racist -- he clearly was never a racist. somethingracist mean morally bad he was never a racist. evidence, clearly he
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is endorsing unjust racial discrimination for most of his political career. i think the mistake a lot people make, or the popular consciousness, that he is clearly endorsing unjust institution. we have to understand his times. towasn't in a position change them and it would have been political suicide to say otherwise. so the judgments about his character that people conclude from that are very erroneous. say he is an exemplary person, a morally exemplary person. >> back to this lady's question .nd a point i will make you had a situation in 1865 where relatively few african-american men voted in the north, and you had a situation that continues to serve as occupying soldiers in
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the south, protecting voting rights for newly freed slaves. that was one aspect. secondly, what has not been discussed today is the of unions activism veterans, black and white, decades after the war. in the most important discussion of whether or not lincoln was a racist is to take a look at what the men who clearly affected lincoln's votes during the civil war or his own soldiers and what happened after the war or for decades afterwards, where the only institutions that refused to accept the color line was the largest union soldiers organization and the importance of that. i think there are several points to be made of the hypocrisy of the north, the ongoing lack of
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opportunity, and the things that have to be remediated. >> is that the grand army of the this is critical because it is the only national organization. >> another thought or two here. lincoln's primary concern was with slavery, opposing slavery, opposing the threat of slavery. we think in terms of civil rights, questions of equal social or political rights. these weren't questions that lincoln spent a lot of time thinking about. moving in a direction toward that.
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but he didn't live long enough to finish his work, and we really don't know what he would have done. >> legal work for the grand army was done in the great uncle's law office. equality andcated votes for the blacks. think it is misleading to use the term racist in respect to lincoln. >> the disparaging comments about people of mixed race being horrified at the thought of interracial marriage, use of racial slur terms, i think that is evidence of disrespect.
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it is even possible that the he wasect was -- feigning disdain for interracial marriage. i don't know which we are more troubled by. he sincerely was disgusted at the thought of interracial marriage or he would say he would be disgusted by ticket votes. i do think there is evidence here and i don't see how you could say that someone who consistently opposes discriminatory laws against a certain group of people, how you can see that person is adequately concerned for their welfare. i think that is a charge that does stick. not sure he was racist in any sense of the term at the end of his life.
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should be clear about specifying the time there. [applause] >> our panel will begin momentarily. >> if you can please stay seated, we are going to begin the panel discussion right at the moment. if you were here for the morning session or paying attention, you probably figured out i am not paul. forgiven the rod charlie confusion but i am definitely not paul. he is listed in your program as moderating the speakers panel. since we are in the theater, it
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turns out the understudy is called on to the lead role. promise i did not break paul's legs or any other body part to get more stage time. paul can probably do you know he is ok. this is where we allow the speakers to engage with each other and if they want to ask anything of each other. questions any burning that you didn't have time to ask during the regular panel, this is the time to think about it. >> did the speakers have anything they want to ask of one ofther? or topics conversation, or just open it up to the audience? >> you gave a robust and really good revisionist account of mary
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lincoln. there are people who have their doubts, including lincoln's secretary. what about that? what about the darker underside? >> we all have multi-sides. mary lincoln had some troubles. she was a very highly emotional woman. i believe she suffered from mental health issues that made life difficult. lincoln was a difficult person to live with. mary lived out loud. she was emotional and if she was feeling bad or upset she lashed .ut lincoln was the opposite. he internalized his feelings. friction in the marriage for sure.
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the biggest example is after , mary greve. she wore black and she cried her eyes out and she didn't eat. she suffered physically. lincoln didn't have that luxury. the war was going on. in that instance he really did have to internalize. you can see there were difficulties there. natural difficulties. >> you mentioned lincoln had difficulty dealing with the rise which wasklux klan, an armed terrorist organizations engaged in asymmetric warfare against the federal government. i wonder if the klan would have come into existence had lincoln been around and what he would have done had the clan risen?
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he also was an advocate of -- >> there is too much overwhelming racial hatred. too many disk -- too many disaffected former confederates. the government did do something. there are the ku klux klan hearings. oft is a really rich source those hearings, where you can get the testimony of those who were terrorized by the clan. i'm not sure how much more effective, short of increasing military presence in the south, which i'm not sure lincoln wanted. i'm just not sure how much could have been done to effectively control it.
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another timely topic. given the voted to black men, think of the level of disenfranchisement. those were incredibly effective, as well. for me it comes back to the question, that transition from slavery to freedom, and engaging the battle and be willing to make the commitment to make sure that freedom for former slaves had real substance and meaning. that gets to a question i would like to have. had it lived and guided the country through reconstruction, when we have a lincoln memorial?
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>> you are raising the question, to what extent has the assassination led to the romanticization that has gone on? plenty of opposition to lincoln, as well, overtime. there is an anti-lincoln tradition. so it is hard to say who gets memorialized and who does not. having preserved the union and freed the slaves, assassination or not, it is a pretty good resume for memorialization. >> we also think of historians at ranking a lincoln, , in somen, and fdr order. lincoln had not done the reconstruction, and dropped down in the ranking a bit because of
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the problems of reconstruction. you know about the reputations of a president, how they wax and wane. is interesting, but the building of the lincoln memorial is consecrated. just a few years before the movie "birds of a nation," is shown, the first movie shown in the white house, to woodrow wilson, it depicts what happens in ford's theater. an incredible depiction. it also depicts a different lincoln. this lincoln is pro-southern. and he would've reconciled with the south on a southern terms. is ahe rise of the klan shown in the movie to be a response to lincoln's assassination because their champion, abraham lincoln, is gone.
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dealing with the distorted reputations of presidents, look at what happened to lincoln. he was the friend of the south, and had he survived, reconstruction would have been not like it turned out to be from the point of view of former confederates. me that if to lincoln had lived and not supported the 14th and 15th amendments, and gave a blessing to the idea that blacks would be second citizens in the united states, he would not look very good in our recollection right now. >> i don't think that is even a possibility. or may notwhat may anden, that his trajectory movements toward.
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>> i think you mentioned his last cabinet meeting, the that at the end of the meeting he was more encouraged than he ever had been attitudes, more with the radical than he had ever been before. lincoln also wanted to give a lot of money to help rebuild the country. >> it is much easier in doubt to create the link you would've anped for, then the loop -- th the reality. some thought that his best was a good thing for the radical cause. i saw a gentleman over here
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first, and we will continue to go back-and-forth. audience: it seems there is a threat worse than racism, and that seems to be sexism. the way in which mary lincoln was treated so viciously, and which a candidate for president today is being treated, is totally different than the way men in a similar position would be treated. do you think that that just does not get enough attention? bothttitude toward women, 150 years ago and today is just as bad. that it is just -- id, but certainly, think mary lincoln, was treated
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badly in washington because she ,as seen as a western rube which could not be further from the truth. mary did not filter her opinions, which cost her dearly once she got there. today, women should not have to be suffering from that. but sexism is still a problem, same as racism. we have come a long way, but there is still room for improvement, always. audience: i remember reading that there was a great deal of correspondence burned between mary and abraham lincoln, with the 600 letters that you reference, how much else was there? >> i wish we knew. we are missing the 1850's. we just don't have a lot of correspondence from the 1850's. and they did burn things.
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i wish they had been like the ses, and keptdam everything. we are missing a lot. i think it is safe to say that mary probably spent four hours a day writing letters. only havect that we 850, 900 letters, we are missing a lot. i have no idea how much that might be. but she was a very prolific letter writer. to write,sit down like a lot lot of women in her class during that time. we are missing at least as many and a lot more. >> being at the library of congress, we see this a lot. this is an era where not only are people writing a lot, but it is on to grateful taper.
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and they are in an area where you have gas lamps. to share my archives with you, but it got caught in a flood or a fire. 1871 whenhicago in the big fire -- there may have been a law that people were not firesly destroying, but and other problems of keeping paper is some of the issues. audience: a couple of observations. theink the use of o, was justterm negr the language at the time. the other comment and i'm interested in your reaction, a lot of the racially motivated speeches in campaigns,
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ipecially with a douglas, think it is political expediency and pandering. what is your reaction to that? i think that anyone at that nme would have known that the word was derogatory. i do agree that a lot of what lincoln said was pandering. i don't think his true views were established or expressed. to some extent, it was necessary to survive lyrically in illinois in 1858. there was a racial demagoguery against lincoln, that if lincoln
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was elected there would be interracial marriage. >> illinois was the most racist state in the north, had the most akoni and life codes. an life codes. it was a heavily democratic state. there was almost no room for anti-slavery opinions. lincoln'ss a light on anti-slavery comments in that context. douglas often used the n word openly, and on the floor of the senate, constantly. so much so, that william seward, a senator from new york, after one session walking out said to him, douglas, no one who uses
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the n word is going to be president. >> thank you. this morning you taught us that abraham lincoln, a white man, described himself as a former slave. and i recall that bill clinton, a white man, has been described by some as america's first black president. based on your research and real life experience, what parallels do you see between president lincoln and president clinton? >> thank you for that question. [laughter] came fromlincoln eight poverty's -- poverty-stricken background. his father was a dirt poor farmer who competed for his
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wages with slaves in kentucky. he fled to indiana in order to escape that. he was unsuccessful as a farmer. he had been dispossessed in by acky by his farm wealthy person who grabbed the real estate. he was deprived a share of his father's wealth like his brother , and existing laws of primogeniture. he was often cruel and violent toward his son, who was a gifted, sensitive young man. they lived in the wilderness. the father abandoned his children, lincoln and his older sister, sarah, leaving them a four months to fend for themselves in the wilderness on their own in indiana. they were essentially wild children living among animals in the forest. lincoln was really saved by his stepmother.
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know, camen, as we from a poor background. his father died before he was born. he never knew his father. mother, in order to support her child, had to leave him with her parents, who ran a general in rural on barter arkansas. that is where bill clinton spent a few years as a child. and she went to new orleans to learn how to be a nurse to support him. she then married a buick dealer in arkansas. high living, stylish man, who was also violent. and we all know the stories of how when bill clinton was a
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teenager, he had to confront his stepfather when he was shooting a gun and beating his mother, and stopped in. lincoln never reconciled with his father. bill clinton did reconcile with his stepfather. when he was dying of cancer, he for him on hisng sick bed. and they had a reconciliation. so i think that there are some similarities in the background. audience: when i think in terms of the comparison to president obama, i think of temperament. elected, almost all the political cartoons that came out showed lincoln high-fiving obama. obama announced his candidacy in springfield. i always thought his temperament, the left got so annoyed and disgusted with obama
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i kept thinking of the radical abolitionists and republicans, because lincoln would not act on the slavery or these other issues. sometimes, as i follow current policies, i see the temperament of gradualism, of being evolutionary, taking all sides in. obama styles himself after lincoln, certainly in his speaking. >> president obama is very much inspired by lincoln. his background is very interesting. he had a father who abandoned him and his family. he wrote about it, try to come to terms with it in a literary sense, in a book. withother also left him
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her parents, to be raised. so there are all kinds of similarities in these interesting inry how people develop their temperament as president. audience: here's another question on modern comparisons. this time to a republican. raised two issues about lincoln's view of the united states. that lincoln had a view of the united states as a great , almost a experiment missionary kind of view that we held out the great hope for mankind to emulate us. both secession and slavery would mean the failure of that republican example to the world.
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it had to be dealt with. in a sense, it was similar to ronald reagan's view in the 1980's. the u.s. being the great city on a hill. another issue, where reagan often denigrated the federal government of the united states, with a statement that, the states came first, they created the federal government. lincoln had the opposite view, that the federal government actually created the states. there is ample evidence of both, the you think about declaration of independence. i wonder if any of you would like to comment on that, particularly the second issue of the states versus federal government. >> i don't think, despite the don't seeory, i lincoln as a missed assist about union, he was about democracy. not the republican experiment. remember, the founding fathers
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disapproved of democracy. john adams thought it was a epithet, that people could be trusted. andhe time of lincoln jackson, it is democracy, democracy, democracy. sure, they wanted to preserve the union and abolished slavery, but ultimately, what so galled him was that an election would be overturned by people deciding to leave. that they would resort to the bullet rather than the ballot. if you look at the gettysburg address and all the elements, and his reelection, that becomes the paramount theme. as for the use of government, yes. lincoln creates a strong executive. he uses executive authority in a way no other president had before. and as many republicans today anxious about the lincoln legacy. he wasn't seen as a dictator,
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aching, an aristocrat. on the other hand, the definition of government was pretty simple. he said he believed government should do for the people what it is that they cannot do for themselves. and he was more than happy as president to go along with congress and make sure that all the incredible legislature was passed to do that. of course, he was a president with a republican congress and they could do whatever they wanted. take on your my question. speech hecooper union lays out the case for the united compact of as a states, but the federal government creating the states through the constitution. and he goes through it historically and goes through the record of what the framers in their debates about the constitution meant. that is the essence, in great part about that speech.
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inaugural, he reminded of andrew jackson's acclamation. who was not necessarily thought of as a person representing the power of government, although strongly connected, made the case that the states did not preexist the federal government, but on the contrary. lincoln felt himself well and in in the framers jackson, that he was not at all involved in a parliamentary exercise. >> there was a portrait of jackson he kept in his white house office. audience: i would like to ask themcdermott to describe commitment of mary lincoln, and the legal procedures involved,
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and i would also like to pose a question. if any other panel member has an opinion? >> mary did not think justice was done. the thing about the insanity hearing for me, i would like to relationship her with her last surviving son. i think that is probably the biggest tragedy of it. i think robert cared for his mother and loved her. i think he had genuine concern that she was ill. but there was no assistance that would help her. positionnow that that was administering drugs and alcohol, and there was no real help for her there. -- the sad part of it granted, in that time. -- time period, it was hard for a woman.
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they ultimately reconciled at the very, very end, and she gets to see her oldest grandchild. that is the sad part about it. the insanity trial is a hoax in this time period. there is no chance for the defendant to defend themselves, it is not a real trial, it is unfair, there is no gender-neutrality at all. they would never have done that to a man. and she was denied her legal rights, simply because she behaved eccentrically. and she did need mental help, no doubt about it, but there was no help for her in the medical profession at the time. -- the biggest tragedy is the loss of the relationship between her and her last surviving son, and that makes me very sad for her. let me just say --
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audience: to say that mary had a shopping problem is like calling the pope slightly catholic. there is a woman took her husband to the brink of financial ruin at the worst possible time in his life. how do reconcile your depiction of mary as a companionable, womantive wife, with this who, behind his back, literally lied, stole, and brought him to the point of despair? >> it is hard to reconcile, no doubt about it. that did bring lincoln greek. undergirding all of those activities of mary, is a real, serious, mental instability. i don't like to recycle history, but it seems clear to me that she probably suffered from manic depression.
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spending,ook at the it is a very difficult outgrowth of a manic situation. she was a determined woman with an emotional problem. but i don't think that completely violates the good things that were between the lincolns. were a typical marriage with ups and downs like everybody else. difficulties, lincoln still supported and loved her. >> please join me in thanking our panelists for a great symposium. [applause] and if you will stay seated for just a moment, i will ask michael burlingame to come out and present our 2016 book award.
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[indiscernible] michael: in which boots seems to his exact most of his life between artistic sensitivity and delusional self inflation.
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it gives us both the daily texture of booth's life, and the arching currents of his time not only a story about the assassin, but also about the culture from which his infamy sprang. inre were several reviews that vein. my favorite goes like this, as clear,tossed book makes booth was a celebrity in his own right. and the profile-the drama of the deed. these other reviews, compelling portraits, go to confirm what the insightful blurb on the books dusted jacket stated. mainly, based on meticulous and exhaustive research, written in vivid prose, spiced with wry
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book is ary alford's tour de force by a masterful historian. it exceeds the high expectations by civil war buffs, linktone ncolnians -- if you would, please accept this check. [applause] terry: thank you michael, thank you for that award. on the johnny carson show, he had an unusual guest. a man who got a call wednesday from the nobel prize committee. they warned him that he is one that year's nobel prize. i believe it was in chemistry.
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the man was a carpet layer. so he on that. they called back and said this is no joke. this is the nobel prize committee, you have one this prize, it turns out there was a distinguished scientist in the same city with the same name. award,sisted he won the he had, he recollected taken a class or two in chemistry. [laughter] he had done perhaps not stellar work, but credible, perhaps. maybe it was just a slow year. [laughter] so he was properly grateful and excited until i call the next day to straighten it all out. the historian was a supposed to learn from the past, and the lesson i am learning, is to cut my phone off. so i don't get a call that this is all in the state, -- a
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mistake, too. i was not raised on a cotton farm, so i would not have any idea what such a person would say, but i wanted to race -- raise -- i was raised in the cotton section. the town was so small, i was kept in two rooms of a woman's house. the large, nearby town of greenville which did have a bookstore. exciting, third possibility of getting books. you could check them out from the library at a woman's house, you could steal them from the library, or by them in this bookstore. and i had a deal with the bookstore owner. i would send them from my allowance, three dollars every month. and he would send me a novel by william faulkner. i got very fond of that book
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of the literary mississippi. seeing faulkner, tennesseehard wright, williams, and the lesser likes, stark young, walker percy. i remember looking at the map and saying to myself, one day. one day, i am going to get on that map. toould like to thank the ali help me get there, for sure. and i would like to thank some who are not here anymore, the press editor, sheldon mayer, who bought the book, the booth book from me on eight telephone call
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and a letter. i did not send him an outline or a copy. he said, you will deliver this thing, won't you? editor, i send my trust and gratitude. and to my wonderful associate, michael burlingame, and is great lincoln book. book,mber, a 19th-century if there was ever a new dark age, the barbarians would stop and stand in terror at this particular book. i think your book will be a fortress. a great book, an interesting joan, the great miller. me, and ibefore
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appreciate their encouragement. and i think them for it. answer a-out, i will question that i got last summer from someone after a gave a speech. and that person said, i know john wilkes booth did a terrible, unforgivable thing. that henow, she said, was a really loving son, a good his lifefor most of until he lost his footing at the end. he was a good friend, a fine at her, brave on occasion, saved to people from death or grave injury during his lifetime. so she said, the question i want to ask you, john wilkes booth, at the end of the day, was a john wilkes booth good or bad? thing.nly say one he has been good to me. [laughter] thank you very much. [applause] >> and with that, we bring to a
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close the 2016 abraham lincoln institute symposium. we hope you have enjoyed the day. if you did, there is still time to make a monetary contribution to the abraham lincoln institute to fund next year's symposium. you can see any board member of the ali to make a donation. we are wearing these badges. or, you can visit our website to donate. toonline, and you can look for the date of our next symposium. wish you a safe ride home, whether your journey as long or short, and look forward to seeing you next year. we will reassemble across the street at 5:30. thank you all for coming.
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[applause] [indiscriminate chatter] >> that concludes our coverage of the live it symposium of the abraham lincoln institute, at the theater where abram lincoln was assassinated in 1865. we will air the entire program again on wednesday, march 30 at
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8:00 p.m. on a c-span three. you can watch all of our programs on american history at our website. >> up next, on history bookshop, author jeffrey shuffle talks about his book, "supreme power: franklin roosevelt vs. the supreme court." it is about new deal legislation, and how franklin wanted to ensure a more liberal vote. --frey shuffle, senior jeffrey toobin moderated in new york city. this is recorded in 2010 and is about one hour. greetings fellow deadheads. your favorite album is? i am glad to be here with my
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-- jeff shesoll and his great book. i want to tell a story. i went to college with a woman who later went to work on "the wall street journal." and as far as we knew, she disappeared off the face of the book. she was working on a book, and we never knew when it would come out. here's pass, finally in the spring of 1990, this book comes out. the week ands out need a hill testifies before the senate judiciary committee, and my friend was susan, and the "backlash." sometimes the timing is perfect. roberts decided to get into a nasty fight with barack obama [laughter]
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but then congress decided to pass a potentially controversies -- controversial piece of legislation which may end up before the supreme court, all for your benefit, jeff. [applause] my publicist and i worked this out very carefully. michael: your -- book between jfk it is one of the first that made great use of the white house case. you have these people in real time talking about issues that are the subject of the book. later,n, several years to the packing price -- crisis of the 1930's. jeff: i will speak specifically
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of the core packing process, but it is one of the great conflict of the 20th century. one of the greatest constitutional crises. a littleare we getting ringing in the sound system? is anybody else hearing that? many deadbeen to too concerts? [laughter] i think i am drawn to narratives of congress because in the clash between titans of one kind or another, whether it or fdr and the supreme court, it is brought to the court. they were fighting for great steaks. -- stakes. therey: let's talk about plot of "supreme power." 1935, what was happening with -- fdr and the
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new deal? it begins in earnest to strike down not just new deal programs, but the centerpieces of the new deal. the nationalh recovery administration, the recovery act, the an array. and it moves on to the aaa agricultural program. other central pillars of the new shortre not to down in a procession. usually, but not always, by a very narrow margin. byre is a very rock question 1936, whether roosevelt can actually get anything fundamental done in the country because the supreme court is standing in the way of everything, not just the federal government, but in the way of the states. states are passing laws, to wages, setinimum maximum hours for certain types of jobs.
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and the court begins to strike these pieces of legislation down, too. the court seems to have tied uncle sam up in a hard not, and , and it is not clear how to get them out. jeffrey: franklin roosevelt is a very familiar figure to many of us here. talk about the supreme court at the time, who they were, characterize it at that moment. this was the oldest court in american history. it was something people were aware of, they were known as the nine old men. is, and othersde nearly as old as him. pretty reliably conservative for a number of decades. for many decades. there was a clear sense, from the time roosevelt was elected in 1932, that there was going to be a confrontation between fdr
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and his court. it was not that they were old, but many of the older justices were really 19th-century man in spirit. willis was old enough to remember watching lincoln's funeral procession. charles evan hughes, the chief justice, who had been on the court previously in 1910, when he was a student at brown university, not only had no running water or central electricity, he had two closets, one of four stuff, and one for cold to shovel into his heater. favorite, james mcreynolds, the worst human being on the court. he was a such an appalling anti-semi he used to stand up and leave the conference room when brandeis would speak. that, he wasy
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forced to sit through that ceremony. so he pulled out a newspaper and russell but very loudly throughout the induction ceremony. and he got confirmed. jeffrey: so that is the courts. was: the chief justice hughes. and just to go back to your last western, the other thing to know about this court, they did not use the term at the time, but it was a very activist court. and 1936, they were overturning federal laws faster than the previous rate. the conservative justices really holy war see it as a against communism and anarchy. without descending too m, what wasgal geekdo
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the rationale that all these new deal laws were unconstitutional? jeff: there were a lot of contracts, and, substantive due process, and a range of other things to strike down the programs. many old doctrines were revived from the past. fundamentally, the conservative notion of constitutionality was rooted in the 19th century, and the laissez-faire doctrines of the 19th century. of the sense constitutionality implies two things, a limited government, states rights, and a constitution of limitation. it was not as roosevelt felt, a broad avenue through which a lot of things that pass and get done. it was a constitution of limitations. and sometimes, those limitations pinch. one of the questions that often comes up with supreme court justices, one i have
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thought about a lot in terms of the period i wrote about, how much are the justices applying principles and letting the chips fall where they may, and how much are the justices applying legal principles to accommodate a political result that they want to reach? as you get to this critical new deal period and period of conflict, how does that trade-off look to you? jeff: there were a lot of presidents used to strike down the social legislation, whether before roosevelt or during his presidency. there was no shortage of opportunities for the conservatives to do that. but also many opportunities for them to sustain a lot of this legislation. they were other precedents could've called on as well. see during this period,
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i alluded to this a moment ago, you see the justices scrambling for doctrines of that have been out of favor for decades, that everybody thought had been dead decades before. suddenly, they are applying them with vigor to these new deal cases, or applying two of them at the same time. there are essentially, preempting any legislation of this kind is unconstitutional. fdr, the protagonists of your book, and of the period, talk about his attitude toward the court. he is one of the great figures of american history, but talk he looked at the court as a political institution, a legal institution, and the conflict between him and the court and how it grew. jeff: he said the court as a
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political institution. that probably won't surprise anybody here. when roosevelt, in the 1932 campaign gave a campaign speech, i opened the book with this -- chapter one, he goes to baltimore in october 1932. he is campaigning against not only hoover, but against republicans generally. he says the republicans have control of the white house and the congress, and the supreme court. that would seem a fairly controversial statement -- uncontroversial statement today, one, to suggest that the supreme court was in politics. [laughter] and there was a notion, very strong then and still exist today, but not quite at this level, that when somebody puts on the judicial robes, that he has parted with his politics. idley take an idol --
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interest, but was not involved in this. roosevelt did not buy that. he wanted him to figure out how many of the appointees, judges on the federal bench at all been appointed by republicans, and how many by democrats. only 28% were democrats by affiliation. they felt they had a big partisan problem on the bench. think thatid not this was about the constitution. he thought it was about special interest in politics. jeffrey: all through his first term, he has problems with the laws getting overturned. ton does the idea percolate do something about the court itself? jeff: interestingly, for the first time, before he is a
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non-graded, he is aware there will be a confrontation with the court. there is talk in the press about inevitable -- if he keeps his campaign promises, there will be a confrontation. one of his key supporters, a senator from california sits down with the incoming attorney general and says what it we going to do about the court? the old fossils on the court? he floated an idea that they would pass a constitutional amendment to relegate any justice past the age of 72 28 a meritus- 72 to status. the notion of doing something to the older justices then the air, even early in first term. one of the curiosities about the supreme court, that a lot of people don't realize, is that the number of justices is not
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established in the constitution. there is nothing in the constitution that says there is nine. that is a creation of congress, by law. talk a little about that concept. as you said, people are surprised by that. jeff: it is an amazing thing to consider. many people don't think of it this way, but tomorrow, the congress could decide to increase the number to 17. there is nothing in the constitution to suggest it cannot do so. the founders left the number they deliberately open question. gone up and down over the course of the 19th century. sometimes for efficiency, or sometimes you needed more justices, but it is also a matter of politics. some people in jackson wanted


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