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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  October 16, 2011 10:00pm-11:15pm EDT

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consensus turned into a political consensus. >> host: you don't want to label yourself? >> guest: i wanted to tell the story and help people from work with their id is climate, energy and everything comes along to see them in perspective and that is what i was trying to do and i wanted to do it in a narrative way. >> host: thank you very much. ..
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>> includes business, an
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anthropology and among his many writing awards is the prize for the expos a of corruption and the music industry and for distinguish business and financial journalism and a civil get -- silver gavel park out also zero authored three critically acclaimed books. praise for this book has been enormous. and then trying to restart the american economy nearly 81 years ago. the well executed overview of the program that laid the foundation for the modern progressive case. please help may welcome michael hiltzik.
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[applause] >> thank you so much for the very kind introduction and thanks to all of you for coming out. i guess i have been saved by tivo. [laughter] but we're all here i hope tonight for what i consider to be a joint effort or a turning point* in american history. my goal tonight is the same as the gold that i set for myself which is too recover the new deal from the midst of time and from eight decades of ideology and misunderstanding.
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i am going to speak for about half an hour i just cannot cover everything. but i want to set the stage by establishing the relationship of franklin roosevelt had with the american people. i will read from a letter that came into the roosevelt white house from the midwest and seeking advice from the excruciating pain personal dilemma. the letter began, dear friends. [laughter] our neighbors had to do dollars for the miele team but now says he will take a mule. here is my question. what should i do? a. [laughter]
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it is hard to imagine including barack obama but the deep personal affinity those a is a child of privilege and from upstate new york tells you not obey something about jihadis projected from all walks of life but at the time maybe period and in our history when america had been beaten down that even then the wealthiest businessman and those leaders that we have have literally thrown up their hands to declare that have no and so roosevelts
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was in the white house to say he would try everything he could to bring america and is in the presidential speech in the campaign, in then to take the message and if it fails but above all try something. and it was a varied slate of programs. under the unprecedented set of regulations. and then into the wilderness that was from civilian conservation and.
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and one of the first americans and also the mortgage system that requires homeowners to refinance between every three and five years preventing them for air verb building up equity long-term loans that help you to own your house. that was of everything goes right. and at rock-bottom interest rates this was the home corporation and two above to see something like that to also that by 1933 it created such as security and took america of the gold standard
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and more than america had ever built before. highways, bridges, tunnels, dams, the sewers systems, the civic monuments, and those are rich we don't drive or flash [laughter] it was the product of an amazingly diverse team some of those of been completely forgotten one of the ways is to bring these people back. there is frances perkins those who almost singlehandedly brought social security and as this
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at this second day as of secretary of labor but then to add to take mamma's hand from the headquarters. and the interior secretary a republican for the progressive republican on big g.o.p. convention but failed because he could not find anybody else who wanted to run and my personal favorite, a profane was point* who brought the nra into being that many of you have seen or remember who was famous to intimidate the industrialist and while not
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the secret the checking into walter reed hospital. [laughter]
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in cuts to congressmen pay in wages. the roosevelt constantly threaten to zero raise taxes on the wealthy but failed to do so until the very end for most of the period the bulk of taxes were paid by the middle-class and more taxes were piled on. the higher excise taxes and after the repeal of prohibition in 1933 with the social security tax.
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further, many new deal initiatives personally favored were failing and many successes were defeated the ending of the banking crisis for the new administration and by herbert hoover own economic advisor. fdr was opposed to adding pensions to social security and tell the eve of the bill introduction on capitol hill and threatened to veto the bill if it included deposit insurance but was overruled and properly so because then he bled claiming eternity from both of these programs. [laughter] which is the ability to understand. roosevelt's reputation as a liberal, pushed for the
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balanced budget every year. skeptical of large public works programs in the suitability thought would give him too much authority. and a programs the thought would have to much redistribution of wealth that he read dismiss as the dole but the new deal may have forged an alliance between minorities and the democratic party that has lasted up to the present day but then shortcoming as racial inequality. many have perpetuated discrimination and shortchange black family is in then in the south and the west and then refuse to
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press for the anti-munching bell. with the political rationale and then thought the country could go from there. that does not mean it was the new deal. of the most supportersupporter s were progressive republicans. and the triangulation between the liberal now raise progressives from his era just as barack obama of political compromise with his followers today. think about this. from 1934 which gave us the sec upgraded the disclosure
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requirements of all corporations considered as a total give away. what the stock exchange. [inaudible] and the question that is hotly debated today but the fact is the great depression ended sometime around 1935. u.s. economy mission real gdp grew at a blistering pace between 18% bree year that is four times economic growth rate. and the unemployment rate fell sharply at 23% 1932
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with 21st last year in office and the nation's employment rolls grew by nearly 4 million workers in that period with an increase of 25%. the stock market reacts did positively through the organization of 1837 that has nearly a quadrupled from any of their four year period. liberal economists would love to see the triumph from fiscal stimulus but the truth is the new deal achieved the record without keynesian ideas and now exactly 81 and made a famous remark in the fifties the fiscal stimulus was unsuccessful in the thirties not because it doesn't work but because it was not tried.
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that means for most of the new deals stimulus programs were paired with counter stimulus. so they were paired with deflationary programs of the inflationary work-release was paired with. [inaudible] and public works with higher excise tax. farm commodities with price-fixing which makes the crisis on the farm and the unemployment assistance provision may be over bound by the new social security tax with a working president. in fact, not in 129838 did the new deal of the money exclusive stimulus program with unemployment relief
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that was available today. that program stop the recession and set the stage for a sharper recovery one of the strongest. that is not to say it didn't boost federal spending but the 7% of gdp and that which had been half a percent was that nearly a 6%. the notion that the depression didn't end until world war ii emerge from the fact that spending and the deficit both soared between 1941 and 1945 but the trend really started much earlier. it the new deal did not think of as stimulus. there were those to press for much more roosevelt with
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his inner circle with work-release and government construction as a way to keep them spending money to buy time and incidentally but all of this did have a stimulative effect. the so this war we talk about the economic context of the new deal and specific initiatives but what about the political consequences? like to spend time on this because of the political opposition. merry deluded to end the partisan end line up was very different both parties
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democrats and republicans in fact, one of the strongest progressives was those who as governor and was a republican and and ran for vice president 1912 those parties also had very strong conservatives with those senators and congressmen some who would splinter off into the party from 1948. roosevelt from the antagonism that complain he was creating uncertainty anze industrial economy
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including everything else and the uncertainty was substance and politics never change but today's liberals complained of the influence of fox news of course, it wasn't there in the thirties the play by the newspaper industry that was but i can tell you for reading the editorials that some of those would make us blush today. [laughter] but fdr especially those big business on wall street filled with blustery comebacks consider how he responded to the american liberty league by several
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financiers and had announced as the two principals line is a necessity of respect dam property to teach the government to encourages and protect. law roosevelts opinion was described as "and organization that of a advocate's two out of ten commandments. [laughter] with the two tenants but the concerns of government those who want to keep themselves free from starvation to have proper educational standards and the protection and the life and liberty of the individual that seek to
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enrich advance themselves. but the public never seem to challenge but those in the most famous speech in the pre-election rally. 1936 -- 1936 "too night and all those and never had a chance. ltd. sweatshops. and homeowners. we will continue to seek to improve to reduce hours and then to wipe out the sweatshops. for all of these three have
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only just begun to fight for it and never before in our history of these forces been so united against one candidates. and i welcome their leader. [laughter] we can all imagine from cable news if not for barack obama. it is not right to criticize the, the roosevelt was a unique political figure with the talent to reach out with his voice as a radio speaker times j gymboree change with them and despite the great similarities between the great depression and the great crash and the crash of 2008 and a recession on the other there are others. let's not forget that by the
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time fdr was inaugurated the depression was going on nearly four years. it was so long even wall street was profoundly ingrained in to the american psyche. and on the senate finance committee hundred said chief counsel the hearings of 1933 laid out the biggest factors to cheat the low man out of the life-saving this and by the way but that recession did not last long enough. the strategy and should
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2,008 was to keep people from starving and stimulate the economy and employment and social security and work relief to lead to the crash of 20082 debate regulations of the 1930's are maybe they become so used to bankers it is hard or maybe obama doesn't have the guess that fdr had to put his position that the american can understand. and progresses today is something that fdr never stop doing, even when he had
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to tell voters was the unfinished job roosevelt continually reminded them of everything the new deal had achieved a record in terms of establishing the status quo obama's passing the stimulus bill achievements which by the way those that same ashamed about but with the most mysterious program that although unemployment was still too high and economics was too slow the real diss -- spirit of the depression was a thing of the past. the new deal worked. he reminded that this recession had not returned us to the disasters of suffering from the beginning of 1933. your money in the bank is safe.
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and securities speculation and almost 50% higher than 1952 and government has established and accepted responsibility. the last point* is another one the responsibility of government and also from 1937 i never had sympathy with the point* of view the most unfortunate truth intrusion into the national affairs democratic governments could never going to the fears of a democratic nation but i think we know too well the principles of american government have remained
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under attack. solid to spend the last few minutes of my time telling the story through security that to this day we keep hearing the doesn't have any money. it is a ponzi scheme so that those retirees could take it out but i am here to tell you that is not sure but what is true there's no getting away from a shared responsibility those from social security understood very well and the chief draftsman told congress that
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whether they are supported by their children the economic crisis has to be paid in support of their elders is money available to the new generation with the u.s.-backed pension laws are not those who have to be supported there is no way. and that is a great virtue of security. and that this important for the other generation not completely redesigned everyone to be but the responsibility for that is important.
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to be bankrupt for the ponzi scheme that is what it is all about. that is what the critics want to take away and in the hope they want to keep that thought front and center ever since the provision was enacted as the book points out there is plenty that deserves to be a tax to most of the critics of the new deal want to turn back the clock to recreate the american and system a policy from 19 century and shown to be a big wall but that phase died in 1929 it altman gave
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for the new deal but what we discover then was society does is save money and by doing so. [inaudible] but the lesson relearned that the policy based it is a very small portion of the population. the elements of the community to seek to enrich and advance themselves. why do we have to learn that lesson over and over? i may not be able to answer that question to the open of or to questions that you may have. [applause]
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>> do you concur with the idea that the state capitalist. >> is an interesting question there were in the administration that preceded the new deal that wanted to nationalize and griffey radar screen to focus on the abuse of capital that is a good question. >> legislation passed.
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[inaudible] i think what you are talking about the. >> also the as of. >> data know as much about bad debt losses very controversial. it essentially the outflow of gold from the united states was bid for the economic policy makers. because roosevelt wanted to take america off the gold standard congress passed the
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law that abrogated all contracts to be settled in the cold. there was so much attention joe kennedy's office especially had an executive order with the supreme court ruled against it. of that was to happen that would affect the stock pushed the stock exchange but this was just before it at all the new deal initiatives. the supreme court said it is wrong in it is a legal with the contracts but those of
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reassert running on today silvery uphold that. [laughter] >> as a very important figure, if you present him in the context is that behavior consistent? >> we did talk about that. >> and has pointed out he
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was the man who renamed it boulder dam and then go to buy the republicans in congress and was very characteristic and you is also very suspicious of hoover that he was out there to undermine the new deal. and the focus was entirely wrong. the very important in part because he was the new cabinet members you were there for all 12 years it
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was an important aid and by sir one that he didn't always take seriously he was a curmudgeon tried to get away to threaten but the reason why he was in charge of public works over hoover dam he was convinced he would be so careful with the public's money he would only disperse it very slowly and he did. >> >> i don't know if you have
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readings on patrick moynihan? something that he would say but if i remember correctly he looked at war as a mathematical equations is that not still? >> the member of the commission to save social security with the distinction today he did have those views as a sustainable program with the minority vero the commission
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that included bob dole that the time was not the majority view in if they were some of those were rectified which puts a security and a much broader fiscal. >> the influence of the supreme court the administration of fdr today has been the supreme court decision for those to do
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away with the reform of the constitution. you have done a fairly dramatic effect i think can you expand on your thoughts? >> talking about the citizens united those that overturned restrictions and occur if mr. a-share probably is getting heartburn as a looks almost a certainty but to focus a little bit more on the supreme court in new deal through 1935 embarked on a
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campaign to overturn the new deal initiative with the agricultural adjustment the day overturn to the nra and they even overturned minimum-wage laws and the corollary is controlled by a group of four conservatives who managed to get up and some of those rulings of the supreme court because justices like louis brandeis were very suspicious but also of big
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government so that period and did to pass the tax accord the supreme court actually came around so we do know now that security is constitutional but it is always say joker for the administration to tries to change that. >> tata. [inaudible]
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i was born 1926 my father was a manager in a department store canton ohio. i receive thereof cars. [inaudible] 1934 my father lost his job and we had to move to california. i'm sure glad that we came here. the showmen of the railroad cars those that hire writers
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and playwrights so if there is the chapter roebuck. >> but 20 years later working from harlan county kentucky 1/2 to go off the road that was filled by the conservation corps his whole family was around him diagnose terminal those are on strike for one year because of the terrible health care conditions. for those miners bad day of
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ambulances. >> as you pointed out the one the greatest human possessions as it. >> have you read the review of the book? >> of course, of was familiar with her book she is a conservative writer and basically the critique of it i have some critiques ever
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in my book. [laughter] i figure and a visit -- circumstances were very generous and quite gracious and i told her i appreciate it precedes what i was trying to achieve with the of political. [inaudible] >> how long did it take to write the book? >> the whole project took about three years. and then the knicks since nuclear from the 1940's.
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>> what is really amazing. [inaudible] bear little has been done some other programs that come about if the economy would never otherwise have been done. very little has been done but they were the product of a lot of the work-related programs and to the wpa the
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product and rich in contrast but the point* that your raise is a very important point* and proven today that the new deal programs the preference of the administration they took a vantage but to take money if the economy but also for those projects that were big share.
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that they denied even know they wanted to tell what was bell. told them the essentially to go to hell we have not expanded their great structures and monuments to build it over the last 20 years there really stopped spending. and i think the stimulus plan, there was the ada should address that but there has not been enough money because some of that nature are investing into the country. we drive on the structures and we find at laguardia airport was the single largest construction project
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to say oreo in the gears of the u.s. economy emerson's. >> i wonder for those that is different from when roosevelt came into office three years after the economy with aa directed from when obama's took office and what if anything because of the political differences?
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>> there were political similarities and differences. roosevelt by a no means had it easy. but on all sides to get something done we saw that when he proposed the legislation that yet by the mes and not progressive but there was real fear and desperation among politicians to the taxpayers and the public so search of a in the beginning but opposition a ball size began to a merger very quickly.
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starting in the late 19331939 which i argue it was not very long before you have your conservative congressman to say we are spending ourselves into bankruptcy. it is very clear for what you hear today and they did convince them into is trying stimulus that is what we have if we just listen to it. that sometimes you need more stimulus that no and
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employees may gain political predictions but i tried to avoid this because every political prediction you here today is wrong. [laughter] weather for me your anybody else. i am not really do make predictions when they do it is all about the alternative use the key committee officer. and the smaller i ever heard proposals but i never heard anything. [inaudible]
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>> ronald reagan famously york infamously said government is not the solution to the problem but is the problem. might you comment on the notion the ronald reagan era had a significant role to principle why is the forces and delayed the tough groundwork that was up till? >> i have no doubt. i don't think there is any doubt you are right. those who did crystallize
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and really started as the republican tent for re again to pick up the ball to turn it into a more popular idea or ideology. this goes to the quote levitt was fundamental to the new deal the evil but everything write about the government stepping in with private enterprise. majesties economics point* of view but to the rashly
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familiar with john maynard keynes. through the late thirties but they did understand that when they will lead withdraw from the economy the government had no choice but to step them. but he did not apologize for it and thought that was his role and the role of government but no hoover and roosevelt shared fundamental economic believes but always different was the negative from the constitution. >> we have time for two more questions. . .
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the commentary is that even though the idea wasn't very popular the opinion polls show a
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majority whip in favor of it when you did have a block in the senate that would determine to fight and you didn't have a countervailing passion. the naacp and the encounter that i talked about a few minutes ago went to the white house and said he will be able to defeat the filibuster if you make it an administration bill to. it was a procedural step and would have made it harder. it was something he didn't want to do. he didn't have a personal commitment to racial equality or civil rights. that role in the administration will end by the way before he joined the federal government had been the president at the
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chapter of the naacp and he managed to get the same small memorial because that is the first moment you could see the commitment interestingly enough if you go back and look at a contemporary commentary before the 1936 election the crisis which was founded by w.e.b. du bois issued a judgment but the candidates and fdr, the democrats have a socialist who
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and the critics have said for the negro in america if we had to choose for us would be second norman thomas but we recognize little chance of getting elected so among the other two but it is true and it is a different approach so they didn't take racial politics very seriously at the time. >> last question. >> the point was raised about eleanor roosevelt. how influential was she with the new deal and -- >> in most respects was a
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peripheral figure. she was not involved in any of the major initiatives in the security and to speak to [inaudible] delauro roosevelt had this idea and she had been inculcated with this idea that if you could import farmers to an ideal collective community, provide them with barnes, schools for the children, houses you would be able to create one something. it was in the death of the coal mining district. the land was not very good, but this was the first project so it
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got a lot of conversation and really needed it and it affected was pretty much a disaster overspend on the house is the imported houses to the district from new england that turned out to not to be insulated. the government spent $10,000 per family when the budget was 2000. they wanted to give every family a house before they realized most of them had never built. [laughter] and they built the schoolhouse for the children of the families with of the latest education and families could discover their kids are learning how to read, write and do arithmetic so it all came but existed.
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on the other hand she really was a beacon on civil rights. the whole controversy started when the american soprano was on a singing tour and came to washington at freedom hall by the american revolution. eleanor roosevelt was a member and then she wrote a letter and resounded on the front page one of the most magnificent moments in american history from of
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lincoln memorial to 50,000 people, and really certified that hope for everybody was a part of this industry. >> thank you. >> thank you for coming. [applause] >> his book of the idea of america is a fabulous book and you will be doing a book signing afterwards i'm not mistaken and that is one of those books if you love history not just the revolutionary period but in general this is something you should have on your bookshelf so having said that, i'm hoping for
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10% afterwards. [laughter] the thought we would start by the general questions but history and then we will ease our way into the book as well. to start since we are the national archives the first thing i want to get your thoughts on is the following. many of us in the historical field have lamented the lack of historical knowledge among young people and can you take a second and tell us why is it important that we study history? >> histories to a society but memory is to an individual without knowing where you came from and what your background is you would be lost. i think there's a movie where a man has no memory. can you imagine how terrifying that would be not knowing your past and i think that is for a society a comparable situation. if you don't know where you come
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from it is going to be difficult to know where you're going to go. so i think to get out where are the directions we need to know where we've been. so that's the classic answer to why we should study history. i think it is the queen of the humanities and without knowing history one is living in a two dimensional world, not experiencing reality as it ought to be experienced. i think history is a mode of understanding. i think it is as important as the other senses and once you acquire a historical sense and it's not just information about the past i think once you study history and read it enough to develop what i would call a historical sense so you see the world differently. and ad and dimension on the world on the reality and suddenly the whole world hears different. the perception of the present is
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different because you have an understanding of the past. >> as we sit here speaking, the set of remarkable events are sweeping the world today in the middle east. the so-called era of spring where people are rising up and trying to grab a piece of a greater say in their destiny and self-determination. what do you think the founders could teach them and in the same breath what can they learn by looking at the experience of america as the young americans wrestle with setting up their republican? >> presumably these people are seeking democracy that is what we are told and that is true they want to vote, they want all the other things that come in their mind with democracy. they see how the rest of the world is living and they want a share of that.
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i think the issue is the democracy is hard work it does not come easy and of the authoritarian governments are easy to put together, and the world has always had authoritarian governments, monarchies although it is the wrong word to use now because we have a lot of the benign monarchies, england, sweden, holland, so it is not quite the word but that is how the founders saw it. what they meant was authoritarian government. authoritarian governments existed from time because it is difficult to govern what a democracy because it has to be governed from the top up. people have to be willing to sacrifice their selfish interest for the good of the whole. that's what the founders meant by virtue, classical term, during somebody of private interest for the sake of a public good. it required a lot of self
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sacrifice and it's not easy to do. montesquieu who is the leading french philosopher of the 18th-century very much led by the founders said that democracy can exist only in small states because you can't build a consensus if you have a large diverse population. it was a very important principal with which the founders had to confront when they were drawing of the federal constitution. because montesquieu wouldn't be tall surprised when he found out what t-note was removed authoritarian removed from yugoslavia certainly the serbs and the other ethnic groups or at each other's throats in the yugoslav area, so when the soviet union was removed suddenly all of the various parts began fighting with one another. he would have set of course once you are removed from the top down then these various ethnicities and differences are
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going to come to the floor and they make democracy very difficult because people have to willingly surrender some of their selfish interest and that's not easy to do. the founders would have and they became very pessimistic about the ability of other people to become space. they fought the french were falling down. ten years later and many french leaders thought so, too. lafayette, who was at the outset was one of the leaders of the french revolutions of 1789 and sent to the key to the bastille being the prison and of course in france july 14 this still celebrated the beginning of the french revolution he said the key to george washington and it hangs today in mt. vernon. that is his way of saying to washington you americans are responsible for our revolution
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and the americans assume that they were responsible and they thought they were responsible for all the revolutions that took place in the 19th century somehow or another they were in the vanguard of history spreading democracy around the world when the french revolution was spiraling as too as you for him about a great book the great of people spiraling into tierney, then they became pessimistic about the of devotee of other people to be like them which gave that notion, gave them that notion that they were exceptional. the exceptional some steam which is very controversial which is comparison with europe, but their hope and their dream and that other people would follow last has always been there and that has been one of the articles and essays of my last essay in the book is why america wants to spread democracy around the world. we wanted to do that from the very beginning not necessarily sending troops


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